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

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.

Forget Hillary, Where Did Your 30,000 Emails Go?

Posted: December 28, 2016 by Paul Cohen, Regional Director

FORGET HILLARY, WHERE DID YOUR 30,000 EMAILS GO?

I recently met a long-time broker-friend for lunch. In typical broker-friend style, he texted me five minutes before we were due to meet telling me he was finishing up a project and asked if I would come to his office first. I did. He was hunched over a workstation with who I assumed was his marketing assistant at the computer’s controls. As I approached, he greeted me with “BaBoom! 30,000 emails. Let’s get lunch.” Turns out that my broker buddy had just hired a new marketing whizz who had revamped his marketing platform. They both looked very excited.

“That’s great,” I told him, “So, what’s your delivery rate been?”

Blank stare.

“How many unique page views are you generating?”

Blank stare.

“OK,” I said now feeling a little like a bully “how many offers have you gotten?”

“We got one last week on the downtown development site!”

Turns out he wasn’t clear whether the offer came from his email campaign or a call off a sign, but 30,000 emails must have generated some of the deal activity he was experiencing. Right?

I explained to my friend and his whizz that technology was available that takes the guess work out of email campaigns. You can analyze exactly how many emails were delivered, viewed, resulted in downloaded OMs, and who performed these activities all on CREXi.com for free.

“Why are you paying a service without these capabilities over $200 a month when you can use CREXI for free?” I asked.

“Free is good but we don’t have time to learn a new mail program. Time is money, Pauly-boy,” was his reply. I logged into his CREXI account (of course, he had a CREXI account) and in three clicks created him an email marketing campaign. The campaign was customizable and directed buyers to his listing page where they could quickly execute his NDA, access his sleek offering memorandum, and open a due diligence vault with all the property information (he was still paying a firm $100/month just for a DD vault).

He was impressed. Then he noticed on his dashboard that each listing had a number of page views, Executed CA’s, Downloaded OM’s. He swore he had never seen that page before (He had because I had given him the demo). Then he looked at the Downtown Development site and clicked on the leads tab. The buyer who had submitted the offer had downloaded the OM over two weeks ago. I suggested that he should probably check his other listings. He agreed but after lunch and he was buying!

Paul Cohen

Paul Cohen, Regional Director

Paul 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.  

How Long Should It Take To Receive An OM?

Posted: December 21, 2016 by Paul Cohen, Regional Director

HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE TO RECEIVE AN OFFERING MEMORANDUM?

Back in 2002, I was at a conference for a select group of CBRE brokers who were invited to be part of a new division called the Private Client Group. It was an exciting time. Led by a maverick named Glen Esnard, we had one mandate: to design and build a platform within the CBRE network to work with the thousands of private real estate owners across the country. Previously, the company had a more institutional focus, but now recognized the opportunity to service a wider entrepreneurial client-base.

One of our first breakout sessions was led by a forward thinker named Jim Crupi; a consultant to many Fortune 500 companies and a former Army Ranger commander. I was pumped. His first question to us was: “how long should it take to get an offering memorandum?”.  I looked around the room, thought about how long it typically took; figured he was looking for a short answer and suggested one I thought was low but not crazy: “less than 24 hours.” Many of my colleagues could tell by his reaction that he was looking for a shorter time and offered their newly revised responses with the lowest being “one hour.” Of course, an hour was doable but in my experience, was not the norm. By the time a buyer gets a broker on the phone, the broker e-mails an NDA, the NDA is received, printed, executed, and then faxed (yes faxed) back, the executed NDA is then received by the broker and finally the offering memorandum is sent, at least a day if not several has usually elapsed. Crupi then challenged us to a group exercise. Our task was to pass a tennis ball around a circle of 20 people in the shortest time possible. Now we were a very competitive bunch so after three attempts we got it down to under 5 seconds. Crupi commended us but encouraged us to do it quicker. After some brainstorming, strong teamwork, and logistical coordination we finally touched the ball simultaneously. That was Crupi’s point: “Don’t accept the norm but challenge yourself to find new ways to do it better.” He invited us to do the same with Offering Memorandums. My mind was blown. What if we improve on and change the norm in other areas of the business?

Fast forward to 2016, I find myself with the same level of excitement as I did in the early days of the PCG: a member of a band of free thinkers with the goal of disrupting traditional norms. Providing tools to brokers to make them more effective with client reporting, email marketing, due diligence vaults, offer submission, and analytics. Oh, and you can download an OM instantaneously. Check out www.crexi.com and take the OM Challenge.

Paul Cohen – Guest Contributor

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.