By Justin Beck, CCIM, CPM | President
I read Jonathan Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things when it first came out two years ago. Despite being focused on the technology industry, the book floored me. It was a compelling book filled with actionable insights from real world experience.
One of the most useful pieces was Horowitz’s Good Product Manager/Bad Product Manager. Seeing the similarities between a Product Manager and a Commercial Real Estate Broker, I felt compelled to adapt my own version geared toward the CRE industry. I hope this serves our current team and those considering our industry as a guide and checklist the same way it has served me.
A Good Broker knows the market, the property type, the deals that got done and the competition extremely well and operates from a strong basis of knowledge and confidence. A Good Broker is the CEO of their personal business. A Good Broker takes full responsibility and measures herself in terms of the success of the deals she gets done, not simply by the size of the commission check. They are responsible for right price/right strategy and all that entails.
A Good Broker knows the context going in (the buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, motivation, expansion, contraction, competition, financing vs. all cash, etc.), and takes responsibility for devising and executing a winning plan. No excuses. A Bad Broker has lots of excuses: Not enough time, the client is an idiot, another broker is already on it, I’m overworked, I’m too busy, I’m not good at cold calling. I don’t understand the technology.
A Good Broker doesn’t get all of his time sucked up by the various tire kickers, info gatherers, non-decision makers, appraisers and dumb brokers that aren’t going to execute and don’t have valuable information. They don’t micro-manage the process, they don’t manage the various functions of the office; they are not go-fers, or babysitters. A Good Broker goes to their managing broker early when they have a problem and then goes back to finding and winning new business. They are not part of the listing admin team; they sell their listings and represent tenants and buyers.
Clients don’t consider a Good Broker a person to just “market” a property or find the “right” space. A Good Broker is a trusted ally, advisor and resource for which clients wouldn’t even consider buying, selling, leasing, investing or developing without first asking for their counsel in the form of an exclusive agreement.
A Good Broker has an opinion on everything and advises their client on what they think is best. A Bad Broker is indecisive and afraid of being wrong.
A Good Broker crisply defines the target market: The “who” and execution of the “what,” (i.e. strategy/transaction). A Bad Broker feels best about himself when he gets a lucky phone call or email.
A Good Broker communicates effectively to admin staff, other brokers and clients in writing as well as verbally. A Good Broker doesn’t give direction informally, but consistently gathers information informally. A Good Broker creates leverageable collateral, presentations, white papers, prospect lists and marketing plans. A Bad Broker complains that they spend all day answering questions for their clients and admin staff and are swamped.
A Good Broker anticipates the serious issues in a transaction and builds real solutions. A Bad Broker puts out fires all day. A Good Broker takes written positions on important issues (competitive silver bullets, tough choices, process changes, markets to attack or yield). A Bad Broker voices their opinion verbally and laments that the “powers that be” won’t let it happen.
Once a Bad Broker fails, they point out that they predicted they would fail.
A Good Broker focuses on transactions and clients. A Bad Broker focuses on minutia and the easiest deal possible. A Good Broker seeks out opportunities (buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords, investments) that can be executed with a strong effort. A Bad Broker takes assignments that can’t be executed or lets the client do whatever they want (i.e. List for 10X the market price, accept the wrong deal, etc.).
A Good Broker thinks in terms of delivering superior value to prospective clients and achieving market share and revenue goals. A Bad Broker gets confused about the differences between delivering value, matching the competition, pricing and ubiquity. A Good Broker decomposes problems. A Bad Broker combines all problems into one.
A Good Broker creates the reputation they want in the market. A Bad Broker talks down about everyone else. A Good Broker asks the clients, prospects and influencers questions. A Bad Broker answers questions and gets nothing in return. A Good Broker errs on the side of clarity vs. explaining the obvious, and communicates early and often. A Bad Broker never explains the obvious and is slow to respond.
A Good Broker defines their job and their success. A Bad Broker constantly looks to be told what to do.
A Good Broker knows their pipeline, and sends activity reports to clients because they are disciplined. A Bad Broker forgets to send in their reports, or updates their pipeline because they don’t value discipline. A Good Broker is exceedingly ethical, but uses every negotiation tactic in the book to win the deal. A Bad Broker is reactive and small-minded, they get backed into a corner and does things they shouldn’t to get out.
A Good Broker has a long, sustainable, profitable, fulfilling career – A Bad Broker doesn’t stay a broker long.
Filed under: Insights