Posts Tagged ‘commercial real estate advice’

Plan Worked, We Failed

July 22nd, 2014 No comments

Last week I wrote about our plan to fail. I shared with you how I was participating in a 50 and over lacrosse World Championship in Denver this past week, but that our team had not done any preparation. We simply arrived thinking what won us the National Championship back in January would carry us forward to the World Championship.  Of the 11 teams in our age group, I believe we finished 7th with a record of 2 and 3 over the 4-day tournament.

Worse part was that if we had prepared, and played liked we did back in January, I truly believe we would have been in contention for a medal.  But as I reiterated last week, you cannot wing in to win it.

So, why did we fail, besides the lack of planning?

1.  We just showed up, assuming we had done this before, why do anything different?
2.  No one on the team really understood their roles and we didn’t take the time to define them.
3.  We were not prepared for the environment. There’s a lot less oxygen in Denver!
4.  We did not have a true leader. Having too many cooks in the kitchen leads to chaos.
5.  We underestimated our competition.

Losing isn’t fun. It particularly hits me very hard, even in something as trivial as a lacrosse game. But knowing why you lost, especially in the competitive world of commercial real estate, is one of the most valuable lessons you can win.


I Am Planning to Fail This Week

July 15th, 2014 No comments

Four months back I blogged about my experience playing in an old man lacrosse tournament and compared it to prospecting.  I shared how our team came together and won the elusive “National Championship” of “Grand Masters” lacrosse –they call us old guys who are over the half-century mark.

This week I am off to Denver to participate in the World Championships.  We are set to play teams from Australia, England, Canada and a few other US-based teams.  Here is the kicker: my teammates are all flying in from different parts of the country.  Most of us have never played together and many of us don’t even know each other.  Not a very good plan for success.

You can be rest assured our competition from Canada, England and wherever else have been playing together for a long time, if not all summer.  Regardless how skilled each of us may or may not be; we don’t stand a chance.  Simply put, you can’t wing it to win it.

Lesson for the Massimo Minute is simple – rarely does one win any competition by simply winging it. You can’t make prospecting calls or presentations and simply say “we’re here”.  It doesn’t work.  Yes, we may pull out a game or two, but we won’t come back with the gold.  We will have lots of fun, a few beers and share some old stories, but in commercial real estate – that doesn’t make us winners.


4 Steps to Correctly Processing Referrals

July 8th, 2014 No comments

With less than 175 days left in 2014, it would be a great time to look back at the first half of the year and review how your opportunities were sourced, and from there, implement a process for insuring your referrals will keep coming.  By the way, if you have not as of yet, make sure you download our free Mid-Year Review form.

This week, we have the pleasure of having a guest blogger provide insight on how to properly process referrals.  Paul Reitz is a seasoned veteran of the commercial real estate arena with domestic and international experience.  We are also proud to have Paul as one of our coaches at the Massimo Group.

Referrals as a Process

It’s no secret that a significant number of our real estate deals come from referrals of clients and friends.  Yet many real estate agents lack a process for not only managing the referral business but more importantly for driving it.

Let’s start by examining the reasons that would motivate your client or friend to give a referral.  This list may include:

1)     They want to help you

2)     They want to help someone else

3)     They like being in the know or the attention that  it brings them to be a resource

4)     They are pleased with past service and feel safe recommending

5)     They receive financial or other forms of benefit

So what happens when a client or friend gives a referral and never hears about it?

Their motivation to keep doing so declines or gets redirected to someone else!

The logic here is pretty self-apparent, yet like many things, turning the concept into action is the key step differentiating top producers from the “also ran in the race” category

We recommend a four step process that addresses the opportunity and becomes your “Referral System. (NOTE- It is a given that your will provide exceptional service to the new prospect)


  1. Within 24 hours or less, acknowledge the referral with a phone call, preferably or an email.  No Exceptions.
  2. Thank the client or friend for the referral and let them know how much you appreciate them doing so and what it means to you and your business.
  3. Inform the client or friend what you have done to act upon the referral; briefly what you will do throughout the process, assuring them of the same service level that the client or friends has come to expect; and how you will communicate to them about the status of the referral so that they know their referral is being handled.
  4. Take the opportunity to ask the client if they need any help with their real estate needs (always prospect) and as important, ask them how you can help them grow their business if appropriate.

Customize your referral process along these lines to suite your business.  We recommend making a referral form for your deal file that outlines these steps and integrating the use of this form into your standard business practice

Think of it as the checklist that your airline captain uses every time he or she flies a plane.

Most of us have good intentions about referrals, but have also been through the crunch periods where things can fall through the cracks.  By turning the handling of referrals into a process and utilizing a checklist, you will minimize the opportunities lost and maximize growing this important component of your business.

One last thought….the effort to develop business from people that don’t know you is challenging at best.   When your past success creates a new opportunity through a referral, you have a “warm call” queued up and ready to go!  Taking the time to acknowledge, show appreciation and demonstrate your professionalism to the clients and friends sending you’re the referral will keep these leads coming and reinforce the reasons that motivate them to think of you when they hear of someone needing real estate services.


Free Personal Mid-Year Review & Reflection Assessment from the Massimo Group

June 25th, 2014 No comments

We are having the best year ever – are you?

In two weeks, we will be conducting our internal mid-year review with our board of advisors. Although I am never completely satisfied, I am pleased that we are having our best year ever in terms of financial performance.  More importantly, so are the majority of our clients.

Regardless of whether you are having your best year, you are reaping the harvest of the seeds you have sown. The winners are benefitting from both their prior investment in success principles and the recovering market.  The also-rans are only benefitting from the market and will likely slump again when the market flattens.  Thus:

  • If you are not making money in this market, you did not set yourself up for success.    
  • And if you are making money in this market, congratulations.  Is what you are doing sustainable when the market eventually turns, whether that is a year, two years or three years from now?

The mid-point of the year is a great time to take stock in yourself.  Click here to get a free copy of our Massimo Mid-Year Review & Reflection Assessment.  This is the same diagnostic tool our clients world-wide use.  With this tool you’ll be able to evaluate your production from the first six months of the year and lay the plan for the remainder of 2014.

It’s now time to review and reflect on the first six months of 2014 and find out if you’ve done as well as you could have and position yourself for the best second half of the year possible.

All my best to your continued success!


Getting Ready for Your Mid-Year Review

June 10th, 2014 No comments

At the end of this month I will be meeting with our board of advisors to review the progress we have made during the first half of 2014.

I will first review our original 2014 plan, the key strategic initiatives and tactical sales goals.  Thankfully once we set our plan in motion back in January, we held both weekly sales (prospecting) and marketing (presence) meetings as well as monthly strategic reviews.

Have you been doing the same? Congratulations if you have. If not, we highly recommend you take a pause at the end of this month to review and reflect on your progress.

To make this easier for you, we will be posting a free Mid-Year Review and Reflection Assessment download on our website later this month.  It has been updated for 2014 and is the same document we will be using with our 100’s of coaching clients.

So be on the lookout for this free download in the weeks ahead.

All my best to your continued success!


3 Steps to Becoming “Uniquer” in a Competitive Market

June 3rd, 2014 No comments

This past week I had the good fortune to co-facilitate an on-site client engagement–we call these “Massimo Immersions”–with one of our Massimo Group coaches, and lead-strategist, Blaine Strickland. Together we assisted a client in repositioning their already successful brokerage team for greater success.

As I noted in last week’s blog, successful commercial real estate professionals are continually looking for ways to improve.  They are willing to do those things that their less-successful peers are not.

This particular client, aligned with a major national firm, already had a presence in their market (a major city in the Southeast of the U.S.).  They also had a solid pipeline and team structure that aligned well with the natural strengths of each individual.  However, they had a desire to grow and consistently find and win even higher quality opportunities.  They recognized the need to distinguish themselves as being more unique.  Blaine jokingly noted that they needed to be “uniquer”.  This stuck.


  1. Being “uniquer” requires both strategic planning and tactical application.
  2. Being “uniquer” requires a dedicated decision to get off the Transaction Treadmill (this is where you spend all your time pursuing and servicing deals, but never actually growing your business).
  3. Being “uniquer” requires discipline to consistently implement solutions.

Next week Blaine will travel to Southern California to assist a boutique firm in repositioning themselves for growth and becoming “uniquer”, and then we will both be in New York with a team from another major national firm that wants to become “uniquer”.

What are you doing to become “uniquer” to your clients and prospects?  This month I would ask you to take some time off the Transaction Treadmill and start building your business for continued growth in a continually competitive market.


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5 Sales Lessons from ICSC Vegas

May 27th, 2014 No comments

Last week I, along with an estimated 36,000 others, attended RECon 2014, the ICSC annual retail extravaganza in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Like most attendees, my days consisted of back to back meetings.  My nights included a rotation of parties.  However this year, compared to years I have attended in the past, was better attended and had a much higher vibe.  Not sure a 50-year-old knows what “vibe” is, but there simply was a higher level of energy!

As such, here are 5 key lessons for all in the real estate community, even those who don’t necessarily work in the retail sector.

Rod Santomassimo of the Massimo Group with client Jeff Rowlett of Marcus and Millichap

Rod Santomassimo of the Massimo Group with client Jeff Rowlett of Marcus and Millichap

1) You have to be seen.  Think about it.  It is highly unlikely ALL your clients, prospects, influences and referral sources are not located exclusively in your local market.  The Massimo Group has clients throughout North America, and most brokerages have more than a local presence.  There is no substitution for meeting someone face to face.  Admittedly I met scores of our clients for the first time.  Many I had only seen on our video conference calls, others I had never met.  These relationships are now greatly enhanced, simply because we were able to shake hands, bump fists and even man-hug in some cases.

2) Its not only a retail conference.  What, did I actually suggest ICSC is not a retail conference?  Of course it is; however, many of our office and apartment brokerage clients were attending because they understood their targeted owners would be there as well.  And according to #1 above, it is essential that they physically meet and interact with these clients.

3) Party at the Pool.  The actual conference hall was almost explosive in terms of velocity of people and conversations.  The only place that outpaced the quality of these conversations was the pool.  Both during the day and evening festivities, the pools of Vegas resorts were ground zero for owners, brokers and developers to assemble, entertain and engage in relationship-building activities.

4) You must invest in yourself.  We have always preached that the greatest asset you have is YOU! So you need to make the investment in yourself.  Tens of thousands of people invested thousands of dollars to travel, attend and house themselves.  Companies spent Hundreds of thousands of dollars as well.  Why?  See #1-3 above.

5) Never sleep in the Chicago Airport.  Due to horrendous weather, coupled with sold out hotels, I had the opportunity to sleep, or at least attempt to, at Chicago O’Hare on Tuesday evening.  Thank goodness for the internet.  As this was a time to review all our meetings, and schedule follow up activities to ensure our investment (see #4 above) will provide ample returns for years to come.

So, next year I hope to see you in Vegas as well.  Maybe at the conference, preferably by the pool, but hopefully not overnight in the Chicago airport!


1 Vegas Rule You Must Always Break

May 20th, 2014 No comments

This week I am headed to ICSC’s RECON 2014 in Las Vegas, along with some tens of thousands others I am told.  Sorry Vegas, but no one attending this trade show wants things to “stay in Vegas”, at least not on the professional front.

As with any conference or tradeshow, registrants are paying thousands of dollars to prepare, attend, meet with key prospects and clients; and ultimately create new opportunities or enhance existing relationships.

The most successful attendees have already:

  • Prepared a targeted plan of who they want to meet with and have confirmed these meetings
  • Practiced their value proposition, as well as defined a specific action they want to leave their meetings with
  • Established follow up materials that can quickly be customized and delivered to your audience once they return from the conference

If you want to ensure a return on your investment and involvement , then follow the three steps above, but absolutely break the cardinal rule of keeping things in Vegas.


The 1 Mistake You Must Avoid in an Improving Market

May 13th, 2014 4 comments

The commercial real estate market is improving.  Are you?

Be careful how you answer this question.  If you simply base it on income, then you may assume you are also improving, and you know what they say about assumptions.  Face it, in an improving market your income better be improving.  For those of you that can remember 2006 to 2008, it seemed everyone was making more money.  However, not everyone was actually improving.  When the market shifted, many of those who rode the rising tide found themselves beached with nowhere to go and no clients to serve.

I was once told that we make our greatest mistakes when times are good.  We assume everything is going to remain “hot”.  We don’t invest today for tomorrow, or we don’t invest in the right areas to fully leverage the opportunities in a rising market.

Everywhere I go, people ask me what top performers do differently.  I always respond with a suggestion for a more important question – “What do top performers do consistently”.  Anyone can have a good year, but can they repeat it again and again, regardless of market cycles?

I look to our coaching clients, and it is inevitable that they all invest in themselves (coaching is but one example), their personal business and their team.  They position themselves as an ongoing entity and not an individual looking for the next transaction.  They realize, regardless of market conditions, the greatest asset they have is themselves.

If your income is improving this year, as it should, then congratulations.  If not, condolences.  Either way, it will have little bearing on your income during the second half of this year, or next year or the years after that.

On the other hand, if you are building your pipeline with consistently high quality deals, creating a targeted prospecting plan for high probability brokerage, establishing a leadership presence in your respective market, building your personal team, and spending your time effectively each day to make this possible, then you have yourself a reason to celebrate – improving market or not.


4 CRE Brokerage Owner Marketing Tips

May 6th, 2014 No comments

Did you know a solid company marketing campaign is also a great lever for agent/associate retention? One of the best ways to retain your brokers is to periodically provide them with good, quality leads. At the same time, you also need to ensure that your office has a strong name in the market. This increases your agents’ credibility and makes it easier for them to close clients for business.

While there are a lot of ways to build a market presence, doing it for free will really boost your bottom line. At the Massimo Group, we implement our “Presence Pyramid” of Personal, Physical and Digital

1. Every time your office signs a lease, sells a building or lands a management contract, send out a press release. You’d be amazed how many of them get picked up by the local real estate and business papers. This strategy works even better if you already have a face-to-face relationship with the real estate reporters in your community.

2. Building a social network presence is another way to get your message out to hundreds or thousands of people at little or no cost. If you are with a national firm, your company is doing it and at least some of your agents are doing it but are you? Creating a personal, professional blog, maintaining a Facebook page for your office and tweeting about the market are all excellent ways to keep your office on the top of your prospects’ minds.

3. One of the easiest ways to help your brokers do more business is to go on meetings with them. It sends a strong message to clients that the firm cares about their business and it also gives you an opportunity to ensure that your marketing message is getting communicated to clients. It is likely that some of your more senior brokers will be resistant to this in the beginning, but if they see you helping less senior agent earn business, their attitudes will likely change.

4. Another excellent way to generate leads for your agents is to stay in touch with inactive (never call them “past”)  clients. Whether you signed a lease with them, sold a property for them or just did a BOV or proposal, add them to your email list and social networking feeds. You can even check in with them periodically. This tool is especially powerful if the agent that originally did business with them leaves your office—you can then hand the client off to another agent.