Profile of a CRE Marketing Executive – DJ Sandler

Posted: March 14, 2017 by Doug Shankman – Regional Director, West Coast CREXi


PROFILE OF A CRE MARKETING EXECUTIVE – DJ SANDLER, VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING, JLL

DJ Sandler joined commercial real estate powerhouse JLL in 2015 after a very successful four-year tenure at Raytheon Company as the Deputy Director of Communications (#117 on the Fortune 500 in 2016). Now as Vice President of Marketing for the West Coast at JLL, the Seattle native has brought his data-driven, multi-channel marketing approach to another Fortune 500 company (#436 in 2016). Based in Downtown LA, I had the opportunity to catch-up with my old friend and colleague and learn more about him, JLL, and his views on the commercial real estate market and more.

 

DS: In the constantly changing brokerage landscape, JLL has stayed relatively consistent and focused on their core business. What do you see changing – if anything – during the next chapter of your storied company?

DJS: In my opinion, the next chapter at JLL will be defined by the digital and data revolution. Real estate has been slower than most sectors to feel the full transformational effects of digitalization – think of banking, retailing, and travel and how they’ve been dramatically altered by smartphones and online businesses. You really don’t have to look farther than CREXi to see all of the potential. The real digital opportunities for real estate are still to come. JLL is investing significant time and money with the goal of becoming the clear digital leader in real estate services.

 

DS: What role do you see tech playing in the commercial real estate landscape over the next ten years?

DJS: In ten years, I don’t think tech will be playing a role in the CRE landscape, it will be the landscape. Even in a built environment such as ours, we cannot ignore the trends and changing needs of B2B. After all, B2B is still driven by the people that make up those businesses. As a result, businesses will demand the same benefits from technology as the consumer: convenience, accountability, expertise, end-to-end solutions and transparency – any time of the day, all at their fingertips.

 

DS: You came to JLL following a very successful career at Raytheon. What similarities have you found within the commercial real estate and defense contractor industries? What glaring differences?

DJS: Both industries are driven by a core set of big players, which means sometimes you go up against them head-to-head on a pursuit and sometimes you might end up partnering on a deal. Reputation and integrity matter because you never know who you might be on the phone with a week from now.

 

DS: You have a data-driven approach to your craft. What piece of data or information about how marketing materials are disseminated and received do you think would surprise most people?

DJS: Data driven marketing is all about business development and revenue producing solutions. Many marketing organizations broadly circulate material, cross their fingers and wait to see who comes back – almost like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. That strategy is expensive, unpredictable and hard to prove value. Through data-driven marketing, I know who my prospects are. This allows my team to develop targeted, relevant and engaging materials for a core set of decision makers. When marketing plays a role in converting prospects into customers it’s incredibly rewarding and allows us to justify our extended value in an organization.

 

DS: Without the blinders of a deep background in Commercial Real Estate, what inefficiencies do you see in the industry that sometimes surprise you?

DJS: Perhaps there’s a trend in my responses here, however I was surprised at the dependence on traditional quarterly reporting, which is valuable but is also less forward looking. With the incredible amount of data currently available, I’d like to see a shift towards more real-time reporting. What’s the narrative today? How can we help our customers make good decisions based on the latest market information right now? The speed of economy is increasing and our customers will eventually demand us to keep pace.

 

DS: Most of our early interviews have been with east-coasters so your west coast markets have been underrepresented. What is your favorite food city?

DJS: If you’re a foodie, pick a weekend and book a flight to Portland, Oregon. Hit the food carts for lunch, Pearl District for dinner, and the microbreweries in between.

 

DS: What piece of advice do you carry with you (or first that comes to mind)?

DJS: I try to spend the majority of my day looking forward; it’s helped me and my team focus on the art of progress instead of trying to perfect the past.

 

DS: If money was of no concern and you were proficient at any skill you chose, what career would you have chosen if you could start over and do anything?

DJS: I’ve never parted with my childhood rock and mineral collection and often think I could have been a famous Geologist, if there is such a thing.

 

DS: What trend or fundamental do you think the market-herd is overlooking when analyzing the commercial real estate market?

DJS: In my experience, the ‘herd’ has embraced and successfully leveraged financial and real estate indicators very well. However, we partner with JLL Research very closely to study broader economic and industry sectors to identify up and coming trends in the market, specifically on the west coast. By doing so, we can get out front and meet the needs of both occupiers and investors in a new or developing vertical.

 


Lessons Learned Part IV – Networking, Honesty, and Teaming

Posted: March 8, 2017 by Paul Cohen, Regional Director

LESSONS LEARNED IV – BROKER ADVICE ON NETWORKING, HONESTY, AND TEAMING

And the advice keeps on coming.  This post we cover topics from the importance of networking, honesty, and teaming.  I look forward to receiving more advice.  Checkout the past three posts: 

Lessons Learned Part I – Ten Takeaways from 25 years in CRE 

Lessons Learned Part II – Broker Advice From Around the Country

Lessons Learned Part III – More Broker Advice From Around the Country


More CRE Lessons Learned - Carolyn Niemczyk
Carolyn Niemczyk, CFM
Keyes Commercial, Port St Lucie, FL

Be willing to go the extra mile:  The majority of my clients stay with me thru purchase after purchase and lease after lease. I can get the a/c fixed on a Sunday or a locksmith there Friday night to avoid any overtime charges. Maintain good relationships with all service providers.


More CRE Lessons Learned - Alan Bolduc Avison YoungAlan Bolduc CCIM, SIORSenior Vice President
Avison Young, Charleston, SC

Networking 101.  Find a group, association or organization where you will find the people you want to meet and get to know as possible clients or can refer you to potential clients… BUT, you need to be the only one in the room that does what you do!  And go often.  No one knows when you aren’t there, only when you are!


More CRE Lessons Learned - GG Galloway - CBCG.G. Galloway – Associate/Partner
Coldwell Banker Commercial Benchmark, Ormond Beach, FL

  1. Never be afraid to ask a dumb question…… it may save you or your client a lot of money.
  2. Being in the business for 30 years, one would think you have about heard everything there is too hear…. wrong…… stay actively involved in your trade associations as well as continuing your continued education.  Give back to your communities by being actively involved not just in your professional and trade associations but equally involved in community activities and nonprofits. Reach out and become mentors to others, and help and share some of the success, failures, pitfalls, and sidesteps that we ALL have enjoyed throughout ones career.
  3. Teaming is the way to go.  A team will accomplish so much more than an individual that thinks they have to have it all. There is no “I” in TEAM, a team has multiple fronts, hands, ears, and eyes. Best of all a Team can be at multiple locations at the same time as well as completing multiple tasks outside an office as well as multiple tasks within an office.
  4. Don’t bull shit your way out of a question that you don’t have the answer for…. We are professionals….. and when a question arises that you have no real answer for….. let the person know you don’t know; however, I will find out the answer to your question and report back to you with my findings.
  5. Live by the sunset rule….. if it was important enough for someone to call you today….. call that person back by sunset the day of  or at least before you leave your office if it is after sunset…even if you leave a message to an answering machine….. let ALL know your call is very important to and the success of my business……thank you for the consideration.
  6. Email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, texting……………. how about just an old fashioned hand written thank you note or card……… Thanks for your business or thanks for your time today.
  7. Business cards are not dinosaurs…. pass out two when you give one out…… one to the customer and ask them to give one to a friend or customer of theirs who may need your services.

More CRE Lessons Learned - Aaron LigonAaron Ligon – Managing Principal
LCRE Partners, Charlotte, NC

  • Be clear, and tell the truth.  Brokers often try to solve problems before presenting a difficult situation to a client.  Or in an effort to be helpful, they’ll obsess about how to present a situation or set of circumstances in the most positive way possible. Simply be clear, and tell the truth.  Do it quickly.  State the problem, outline the circumstances, and suggest solutions, or at least some potential action steps to navigate toward a solution. Most problems get worse when you delay discussion.
  • Simple is best.  In a world of deep analytics and tons of data, sometimes simple is best.  Delving into cap rates, levered yields, after-tax IRR’s, and complex waterfall structures can leave your head spinning.  When analyzing a potential acquisition for yourself or a client, don’t forget to also make the simplest possible analysis.  How does the purchase price of the asset compare to other trades on a cost per square foot basis? Is this purchase below or above the cost of reproduction?  Irrespective of a tenant/lease, what is the real rental rate for the property?  Is the underlying land likely to appreciate?  Answering those and other basic questions will often provide clarity around an otherwise complex transaction.
  • Be a value-add for your clients:  Adding value in the real estate service business requires one or more of three basic contributions: 1) Information, 2) Resources, and/or 3) Hard work.  The most successful real estate brokers and investors leverage all three.  If you don’t have financial resources to invest, you should be well-informed and working hard for your clients.  If you’re not offering intelligence, financial resources, or diligent work, you’re not adding value, and you won’t fool them for long.

 

Paul Cohen

Paul Cohen, Regional DirectorPaul Cohen is a Regional Director with CREXi based in the firm’s Miami office and focused on business development in the southeast. Prior to joining CREXi, Cohen was a Managing Director specializing in investment sales and equity raises at Cohen Financial, a national debt and equity advisor. Prior to Cohen Financial, Paul owned and operated his own independent real estate firm following a 12-year tenure at CBRE where Cohen was a Senior Vice President and led the Private Client Group in Miami-Dade County with a specialty in office and industrial investment sales.  Email Paul

Profile of a Legend – Gerald Hines

Posted: February 10, 2017 by Eli Randel, Director of Business Development

TEN HINES DEVELOPMENTS WE LOVE (OR WILL LOVE)

Gerald Hines, the famed developer and investor, developed some of the nation’s most iconic buildings, set new industry standards for building quality, and would ultimately build what’s been affectionately called a “complex empire” in reference to the complexity of his developments and his net worth of an estimated $1.3B

Born in Gary Indiana and eventually receiving a degree from Purdue University in Mechanical Engineering, Hines would begin his real estate career in Houston around 1957 as a side business to his engineering career. He mostly built warehouses and small office buildings until he received a big break in 1967 when Shell Oil Company hired him to build their headquarters in Downtown Houston.

Like most developers in the late 60s Hines began by borrowing money to develop and then keeping profits once his development was sold. It was considered foolish at the time to use your own capital to build. Hines would buck that trend and risk his entire net worth of $5MM to build the Houston Galleria Mall. Eventually Hines would use a development model similar to what we see today by raising outside equity while retaining about 10-20% and earning fees and a promoted interest for successful deals.

In later years Hines would focus on and excel at building “high-class” developments which offered strong profit margins, insulation from a struggling economy, and would allow him to focus on iconic design around the world. Known for their architectural complexity and innovation, a Hines developed building is usually unlike most others in their market. Today Hines (the company) is run by Gerald’s son Jeff who continues the legacy of bold developments, innovative design, and a unique relationship with their tenants.


TEN AMAZING HINES DEVELOPMENTS

THE LIPSTICK BUILDING – NYC

SALESFORCE TOWER – SF

DIAGONAL MAR CENTRE – BARCELONA

ONE MUSEUM PLACE – SHANGHAI

EMBASSY HOUSE – BEIJING

PARK AVENUE DALIAN – DALIAN

DUCAT PLACE – MOSCOW

DEL BOSQUE – MEXICO CITY

RIVER POINT – CHICAGO

53W53 – NYC

 

Investor Profile – Interview with Tricera Capital Founder Scott Sherman

Posted: January 24, 2017 by Eli Randel, Director of Business Development

INVESTOR PROFILE – INTERVIEW WITH TRICERA CAPITAL FOUNDER SCOTT SHERMAN

For seven years Scott Sherman represented ubiquitous New York City retail investor, Thor Equities, most recently as Vice President of Investments. During his tenure, Scott executed over $2B in urban retail acquisitions in markets including Miami, London, Washington DC, Nashville, Austin, and Charleston. Few people in recent years have been involved in closing as many high-profile, high-street retail acquisitions as Scott.

Now Sherman, with business partner Ben Mandell and the support of several capital partners, has formed Tricera Capital to acquire and take a more entrepreneurial approach to deals both big and small. Tricera will focus on both entrepreneurial and institutional sized retail, office, and mixed-use investments with a primary focus on the southeast, Texas, and select northeast markets. Tricera generally looks for transitional deals in transitional sub-markets within stable cities.

Scott and his team at Tricera are dedicated to protecting brokers, underwriting deals quickly, and providing quick feedback about their interest level. Please send Scott deals you think may qualify within their acquisition criteria which can be found here: Tricera Investment Criteria.

In the meantime, I caught up with Scott to ask about the new venture and more.

ER: You’ve had the opportunity to work on some iconic properties. What was your most memorable deal or the first one that comes to mind?  

SS: The first deal that comes to mind was actually my first deal at Thor. We acquired the Burlington Arcade in London. I had never done anything overseas and it was a great learning experience for me. Plus, I had the opportunity to work on a unique and iconic property in the heart of London. We bought it for 104M Pounds and fully renovated the interior and upgraded the tenant. Thor recently took it to market for 400M Pounds…

ER: What was the last great book you read (or first that comes to mind)?

SS: Two books I highly recommend to everyone are “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzii and “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. These two books I would recommend to anyone as they apply to building relationships and how you deal with people, which impacts all professionals across industries on a daily basis.

ER: Do you have any career regrets or opportunities you missed that still bother you? 

SS: There are several deals I have chased over the years that I missed. You need to move on and look for the next one….letting misses bother you will only slow you down. I’d rather not do a deal than force it and do a bad deal.

ER: What advice would you give a high-school version of yourself?

SS: Enjoy your high school and college years….you will never get those back. 2) Figure out what interests you and focus on finding a career path that gets you there. If you do something you enjoy then you will be a much happier person.

ER: Would you encourage your children to follow your career path?  

SS: Yes, my son is two so we have some time, but I would love to see him follow in my footsteps.

ER: If forced to choose one or the other for your son, would you want him to be all brains or all guts?

SS: That’s a tough one…I think the best is a combination of both. In our industry, I think you need more guts than brains. I always say Real Estate is the one area in business that requires more street smarts than book smarts. If you have both then you are going to go far.

ER: Having now left a well-capitalized institutional investor, to become a business owner and entrepreneur, what keeps you up at night?

SS: Very different type of stress these days. I call it good stress….the stress of building a business with my partner Ben, having employees that you are now responsible for and having to provide for my family.

ER: What can you do now as an entrepreneur that you couldn’t as part of an institutional firm? 

SS: Everything. I like the ability to look at any opportunity that I find interesting. At an institutional shop, you are always answering to someone and are typically put in a box in terms of deal type, size, returns, etc.

ER: If asked to host the president for dinner, what would you cook (politics aside)?

SS: Trump looks like a good eater but also has expensive taste. I think the best is to bring in Joe’s Stone Crabs….quintessential Miami and always a crowd pleaser. Also doesn’t require me to cook and that key lime pie never lets me down.

ER: Having traveled to many markets to look at deals, what’s your favorite food city? 

SS: That’s a tough one as I try to eat my way through every city – finding the best operators, coffee shops and new concepts. I’d have to say Nashville and Austin both have incredible food scenes and seem to be getting better. There has been a trend of emerging chefs going to cities like this to get their start because costs are much lower than starting in a city like NYC or Miami.

ER: What small city do you think is poised for a growth spurt?

SS: We have a few on our radar. I’m intrigued by Tampa, Charleston, Cleveland and Orlando.

ER: What do you think is being done wrong (or could be done better) by your peers?

SS: Technology is changing our business and the world so fast. I think the speed at which people adapt and incorporate the new resources into our business could be better. People are resistant to change or slow to adapt.

ER: What do you wish brokers would do differently when presenting you deals? 

SS: Some brokers (not all) need to manage sellers’ expectations better. I get frustrated by brokers who tell owners they can get unrealistic prices. What ends up happening is the seller now has an unrealistic price in their head and it’s impossible to make a deal. No one wins here.

ER: If money was not an issue, what non-business career would you pursue?

SS: I love to travel. The Points Guy seems to have it good….would love to do something like that.

######

Why Now?

Posted: January 18, 2017 by Eli Randel, Director of Business Development

WHY NOW?

When recently discussing our company mission with a well-known investor he asked one wise and Buddha-like question in its simplicity: “why now?”

While I had immediate business answers which I’ve shared below, I continue to ponder the question. The entrepreneur always says “why not now” and presses forward, however today is only a droplet of water in a waterfall of time. Why should anything special happen NOW and not tomorrow? Why hasn’t it already happened?

I haven’t found the answer to the deeper question, but now is the time to continue to grow CREXi, an online CRE platform connecting brokers with buyers and simplifying the often slow and clunky real estate transaction process using cutting edge technology. Here’s why (now):

  • There is a large demographic and generational sea-change occurring in CRE. Brokers, buyers and investors who are accustomed to and demand technology in their everyday-lives are replacing their predecessors. We are witnessing unprecedented industry wide tech-adoption. The demand for the tools exists, but many of the tools have not yet been created;
  • Most of the marketplaces that do exist are ill-suited to handle the changing demands of the market. Many were designed in the 90s or 2000s and have only slowly evolved. Complacent with their early success, many have not kept up with most technological advances and in many ways are people-heavy real estate firms more than tech firms. Most current platforms are satisfying today’s demand with yesterday’s product;
  • Incumbent fee models are widely disliked and perceived at best as necessary-evils. Much like the taxi industry, the service should be better and the costs should be lower. We believe tech and resulting transparency should empower buyers and lower their costs. Sellers should also benefit as buyers can now use their buying power to pay them and not transaction fees. Sellers also benefit from increased liquidity (“liquidity equals value” – Sam Zell);
  • Users want to help design and control their process in conjunction with market forces. Netflix and Amazon users want to promote content with their ratings and feedback. Wikipedia users create and regulate content. Uber does not tell drivers where they should drive, the market does. Brokers want to design and manage their own process and react to market forces with data and assistance from the service provider, but limited interference and friction;
  • The market cycle and overall economy is changing and change will fuel evolution. Value and demand shifts will bring demand for new tools with wider reach as market conditions will likely make deals harder to execute. Conduits connecting brokers with out-of-market buyers are needed. Assuming some distress emerges, lenders and servicers will continue to be early adopters and use online marketplaces to promote transparency and liquidity. Our platform is designed in-part with this in mind (lenders being the only non-brokers we will engage with).

NOW is the time to connect with CREXi and find out how we can help you do more deals, and reduce your professional expenses either as a buyer or broker while speeding up your transaction cycle and making your work-flow more efficient.

Eli Randel

Eli Randel, CREXi Director of Business Development

Eli Randel is Director of Business Development based in CREXi’s Miami office. Eli spearheads CREXi’s growth and sales throughout the east coast as well as overseeing the national sales team. Prior to joining CREXi, Eli was director of dispositions for Blackstone’s Invitation Homes. Eli has also held management positions and production roles with Cohen Financial, Auction.com, LNR and CBRE where he began his career spending three years in Investment Sales before leaving to obtain his Master in Business Administration from the University of Florida.