Posts Tagged ‘commercial real estate’

Your CRE Peers Agree, R.A.M.P. UP© Works

September 1st, 2014 No comments

I have been a commercial broker for over 13 years. The program gave me insights to things that my partners and I can do to improve our business. Collectively we have over 50 years of experience in this business, but we all agreed that there were things that I read and saw in the R.A.M.P. UP© program that can improve our client base and income going forward.
~ Matt Crawford, MEI Real Estate

This is a comprehensive and well thought out approach to generating the tools for success. It is dynamic and allows the individuals to assess strengths and weaknesses so as to tailor the program emphasis to themselves.
~ Jeffrey Rosen, Seattle Pacific Realty

Sign Up before September 7th and receive $100 off the regular price. Use Promo Code RAMP100 at check out.

R.A.M.P. UP© starts with fundamentals and moves through over 450 commercial real estate strategies and tactics. In just 30 days, you’ll have personally generate over 100 ideas on how to improve your business and have completed a 450 point evaluation of your personal commercial real estate business.

R.A.M.P. UP© is an absolute proven practice to maximize income. It is based on a structured, organized process that compiles best practices into an online platform designed explicitly for commercial real estate brokers, mortgage brokers and property managers. This is the same exact diagnostic tool the Massimo Group uses for all of its clients world-wide.

10 minutes a day for 30 days and you’ll have the clarity you need to finish the year strong and make 2015 your best year ever. The program starts on September 15. Don’t let next year be another average year, sign up for R.A.M.P. UP© today!


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.


CRE Brokers Now Using Drones

June 17th, 2014 No comments

Last week I was reminded how long I have been in the commercial real estate game. You see, 25 years ago when I was brokering commercial real estate in Tampa, FL, we would scratch little red adhesive dots on a paper map to exhibit area properties or amenities. If we really felt the property justified the effort, we would spend hundreds of dollars with a professional photographer to take aerial shots of a property from a plane. In a very rare case, we would pay thousands to get in a helicopter with the client and tour the market.

Again, that was 25 years ago. However, for all the controversy of private drones, you know those little automated flying machines that are capable of doing everything from taking photographs and movies to delivering packages and even more strategic and secretive uses by governments, they do have a place in commercial real estate.  And the possibilities are endless.

Last week I was facilitating one of our group coaching programs. During this particular session we were presenting both personal and property marketing strategies.   The group members shared examples of their marketing approaches.  One member, Thomas Conway of Conway CRE in Miami, FL shared with us a marketing piece. Thomas, being the collaborative professional that he is, gladly approved me sharing this approach.

Now, this movie was created for a 7,000 square-foot end-cap retail space lease opportunity.  I could immediately see both the positive impressions on Thomas’ coaching group members, as well as ideas being created in their heads on how they could implement drones in their marketing efforts. Just remember, the FAA is still evaluating drones, and I have been told of possible fines of up $10,000 for commercial use.

Imagine showing an investment or development opportunity to an out of market investor or even an out-of-the-country investor.  What about implementing drone movies in your marketing efforts to pitch a listing or to show traffic volume at key intersections?  I can already see drone-based movies on every big screen at next year’s ICSC show in Las Vegas.


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.


When Your Prospect Says “Send me information”, Say THIS – Prospect Qualification – Part Two of Two

March 18th, 2014 12 comments

In last week’s blog, I noted that NOTHING and I mean NOTHING irritates me as much as a slow maybe. It is absolutely frustrating. Give me a quick no, now. I also noted how I see others (not our clients, they now know better) put themselves in the position where their prospects continue to suggest they are interested in their services but can never commit. take ctrl

I noted how it was time to stop letting prospects control you. It’s time to take control of the process and start working with those who are ready, willing and able to make a decision. Then we shared The “Prospect Spectrum” – 8 steps to determine how qualified a prospect really is.

However, what happens when you do qualify a prospect and the prospect then asks you to “Send Information” or to “Submit a Proposal”. What do you do then?

In this Massimo Minute, I want to share with you the two questions you should ask your prospect when they ask you to prepare material for their review.

The first one is simple. “Great, what information are you specifically looking for that will put you in position to make a decision.”  This allows you to send applicable, customized information, instead of just some boilerplate, put together in 3 minutes. It won’t get you any business; I am really just throwing darts on a wall, information.

If your prospect cannot articulate what they want you to send, then you haven’t qualified your prospect, or perhaps you haven’t articulated your value proposition as well as you think you did. A qualified prospect should be able to clearly communicate what they are looking for to allow them to make a decision. If they can’t, review the Prospect Spectrum from my last blog and see what step(s) you missed.

Second and the most important, once the prospect clarifies for you what to send, ask for a follow up commitment. This “follow up commitment” will save you more time, money, aggravation and frustration than you could ever imagine. Remember, nothing aggravates me more than a slow no; chasing for an answer and being dragged through the field of “only ifs”. You don’t want to go there; this is where you lose all control.

What is a follow up commitment? It goes something like this. “Great, but before I send you ______________ (the information, the proposal, etc.), let’s agree to a specific date and time that we are going to _________(talk/meet) again. During that time we will decide one of two things:

  1. You want to move forward and ______________(the result you are looking for, whether it is getting a meeting, a signed exclusive, a contract, etc.), or
  2. You don’t want to move forward, but you will tell me why, as this will only help me understand how I can better serve you and other clients in the future.

Now, if the prospect won’t commit, you have some options to consider. And these we will address in our next Massimo Minute.


Image courtesy of


Prospect Qualification – How To Take Control – Part One

March 11th, 2014 2 comments

There is NOTHING and I mean NOTHING that irritates me as much as a slow ‘maybe’.  It is absolutely frustrating.  Give me a quick ‘no’ now.  There will be plenty of opportunities in the future to share with the prospect why we are the best at what we do and there really is no better choice than the Massimo Group when it comes to improving income.  Forgive me, but you should feel the same.  You want your prospects to understand they only have one choice and that choice is you.Wating

However, we put ourselves in the position where our prospects continue to suggest they are interested in our services but can never commit.  The prospect that tells you they have not had the opportunity to review your proposal, or they still need to meet with their partners.  So, still believing you have a chance to win their business, you wait, checking in periodically, yet never really making any progress.  When, in reality, you are actually digressing.  You are wasting time with unqualified prospects.

Stop letting prospects control you.  It’s time to take back the process and start working with those who are ready, willing and able to make a damn decision!

There are two steps to determine if the prospect on the other end of the phone line or table is really worth your time.  We will explore the first step today and second, a more significant step, in my next post.

First, you need to confirm where you are on the “Prospect Spectrum”.  This was an approach shared with me by Ralph Spencer, CCIM, a regular contributor to the Massimo Group.

1)     They have a need for some type of commercial real estate solution.  Recognize your prospects may not realize they have a need, and it’s your responsibility to determine if they do.

2)     They are aware of their commercial real estate need.  If not, is there any information you can share with them to make them aware?

3)     They have the authority to execute a solution strategy.  There is no greater waste of time than dealing with someone who has no authority.  You make your pitch asking for a meeting only to find out the prospect needs to speak to their partners, or worse, their boss.  You didn’t qualify.

4)     They have the budget approved to execute a solution strategy.  If your solution is a new lease, a new mortgage, a new purchase or consulting arrangement, make sure your prospect understands the appropriate costs.   We never send a proposal or move down the prospect process without confirming the prospect understands the required investment and expected returns.

5)     They have a relative sense of urgency about the real estate decision.  They may have a need; however, they may not believe it is a priority to them.  If you are not sure, you can always ask the question.  “When will (fill in your service solution) be a priority to you?

6)     They are familiar with your company and have had a satisfactory past experience.  The greater your presence with the prospect before you make contact the better chance you have of moving forward.

7)     They know, like and trust you.  Careful here.  Don’t assume you will win the business because you have done business with them in the past.  Confirm if they are speaking with other service providers.

8)     They are willing to be guided by what you say.  This is ideal, but even so, you need to confirm the prior 7 steps of the Prospect Spectrum.


Once you believe you have qualified (and you really haven’t fully qualified the prospect yet) you may be asked to send “additional information” or even a formal proposal.  I strongly suggest you do not proceed unless you first get one more thing from your prospect.

And that item is the subject of part two of this prospecting series.  We will post part two next week, but for now, start taking control of the process.


Image courtesy of Soul in Motion


A Potential Death Blow to Investment Sales?

February 25th, 2014 3 comments

It is common folklore that a silver bullet will stop a werewolf in his tracks.  In the CRE industry this was analogous to what the economy shot us with in 2007.  Fortunately many, but not all of us, survived.1031

Now we have another, yet more familiar, threat to deal with.  Tax reform.   This week the National Real Estate Investor reported, in late 2013, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) released a series of tax reforms including the elimination of “like-kind” exchanges.  This Sec 1031 tax practice has been an essential catalyst to commercial real estate sales since its creation.

So how bad could the extinguishing of “1031s” be?  Many would say this could be disastrous on commercial brokerage community.  One simply needs to look to Canada, where there is no tax instrument such as the like-kind exchange. CRE transaction volume in Canada is significantly lower than here in the U.S.

How real is this threat?  Remember, this is the same administration that has placed capital gains benefits in peril.  Then again, this led to an increase in sales velocity in the 4th quarter of 2012, as astute brokers leveraged that threat to position owners to sell.  The potential impact on the discontinuance of like-kind exchanges would be much higher.  Any short-term increase in sales volume would be offset by a drop in velocity for years to come.

Let’s all hope this is one reform that doesn’t even make it to the Senate floor.


Original 1031 image property of


A National Championship and Prospecting Lessons all in One Weekend.

January 29th, 2014 2 comments

If you have read my book, Brokers Who Dominate, you may recall the sport of lacrosse has played a prominent part in my life.  As a kid passionate about sports, I related everything to the game.  As adults we continue to compare sports to business.  This time however, I want to switch perspectives and share with you some business lessons from a national lacrosse tournament I participated in this past weekend.

Massimo Group reps Vince and Rod Santomassimo on the far right

Massimo Group’s Vince and Rod Santomassimo on the far right

The Florida Lacrosse Classic brought together 42 teams from across the country, to compete in a national championship event, segmented by a variety of age groups.  The winner of each division would be crowned “Masters National Champion” (affectionate term for old guys who play lacrosse) and ultimately be given the opportunity to play in the World Championships in the July of this year.

I had the privilege of playing with some old friends, and other fantastic players for “Team Florida”, my old stomping grounds when I first broke into the brokerage industry in the late 1980’s.  Like most sports, the object is simple – score more goals than the other team.  Throw in the mix of 50 year old men beating you with titanium sticks while you attempt to score makes it a bit more challenging.

The First Call is always the hardest – During our first game, we were clumsy, uncoordinated and downright bad.  We flopped around with no direction and little understanding of what we were doing.  Personally, I led the pack in sloppiness.  Every time I went to the goal I got beat up and either missed my shots or got smacked into submission by an over-sized brawny defenseman.  Prospecting without a plan, direction, or understanding of your objectives or perspective is just as futile.  And yes, educated prospects will beat you up if you are not prepared.  You might as well “cold call” and at the Massimo Group, we don’t coach cold calling – don’t believe in it.

You have to find your groove – After a bad loss in game one, our team started to figure out how to play with each other, and the goals started falling.  Even my shots started falling; I got my legs and confidence back and was able to contribute.  Not all my shots went in, but you can’t score if you don’t shoot, so I knew I had to generate more shots.  I scored three goals (a hat –trick) in both games 2 and 3 and next thing I knew we were in the semi-finals.  Prospecting takes a plan, but more importantly, it’s the consistent implementation of that plan that matters.  Not every call will lead to a meeting, but I can guarantee you, avoiding prospecting will lead to very few, if any, quality meetings.  You have to take your share of shots, and sometimes more than your share.

When you’re in the groove – keep going.  In the semi-finals we faced a higher seeded team and found ourselves trailing 5 to 2 at one point.  Then our fearless team leader asked us to “have fun and do something stupid”.  All it took was one shot and I was “in the zone”.  I kept on taking my shots, abusing my

When your in the groove, don't stop!

When your in the groove, don’t stop!

body in the process, ended up with four goals and we found ourselves winning 10-9 and on our way to the National Finals for our division.   I have seen far too many times folks giving up way to soon in their prospecting efforts.  They secure one meeting and tell themselves to “stop while I’m hot”.  How self-defeating is that?  If you’re hot, take more shots, make more prospecting calls and ride the wave.

Make “one more call” – In the finals we faced a strong team from Maryland.  However, my personal groove was gone.  I stopped taking my shots.  Things were not falling for me.  Thankfully, we had a strong team; no longer resembling the bumbling old men we looked like only 2 days and 4 games earlier. We took a 7-2 lead late in the game, only to have our opponent tie the score at 8 in the final minute.  The game would go to sudden–death overtime, with the next goal securing the National Championship.  Despite playing poorly, I knew I was ready, in fact as soon as the game was tied I told myself – “Great – now you can end up on a high-note”.    From all the abuse, beatings and moves the defense applied, I knew exactly what to do and how to get us in position to win.  I took one more shot and, luckily, it went in.  We won.  National Champions.

Similarly, there are days I prospect and get beat up all day long, just like you.  The easy decision is to cut your prospecting efforts short and move to another, less productive activity.  However, in any competition, especially sales, winning is not easy.  I can’t count how many times I, or our clients, have secured meetings by simply making one last call.  OK, it is hokey, but being persistent, regardless of how the past has played out, is what will ultimately make the difference.

For me, I am not going to Disney World, but our team is going to the World Championships later this year – even at our old age!



5 Things Every Broker Must do to Finish 2013 Strong

November 19th, 2013 No comments

November marks the last 60 days of 2013. When you take into account the last two weeks are generally lost for personal, well deserved, family time, as well as reflection on the year that was, we really only have about 45 days. But wait, there’s Thanksgiving break, other holidays that you may not recognize, but certainly your clients do and of course weekends (for those of Strong finishyou that observe these) so now we are down to less than 20 to 30 solid business days to make a difference. So what are five things you should do now to make the most of this limited time?

  1. Review with your clients any year-end planning issues.  Next week I am meeting with our accountant to review 2013 and discuss strategies for next year.  We are looking at some structural changes and other business issues.  When you approach your clients as business owners, instead of simply investors, owners or tenants. change your role from mere broker to trusted advisor.  Don’t focus on the transaction, focus on their business and they will include you.
  2. Identify clients 2014 objectives.  Similar to #1, however, much more of a look-forward perspective.  Your clients may have investment, business or personal issues that you can directly affect via repositioning of real estate or restructuring of business leases.  Owners need capital for business expansion, or child’s college, perhaps a sale-lease back, lease renegotiation or building refinancing is the answer
  3. Share any and all success stories for 2013.  Probably the number one failure of most brokers and brokerage firms is the sharing of their success.  We have found most do this improperly and have very little results from their efforts.  We share with our commercial real estate coaching clients  a specific approach for securing testimonials, creating powerful success stories and leveraging these to secure additional opportunities.  The exact approach is reserved for our clients, however, you should review all the closed transactions you completed in 2013, and be assured there are prospects in your market who would be interested in learning more about what you provided to others.
  4. Review all 2013 proposals/OVs submitted and revisit these prospects.  It is unlikely you won every pitch that you delivered this year.  No doubt, you responded to more than a handful of proposals, offered numerous opinions of value or directly proposed your services that unfortunately did not lead to a representation or listing.  Whatever happened to all these opportunities?  Were they really motivated at the time – perhaps they are now.  Things change and if these opportunities were being explored earlier in the year, they may still have some life today, or early next year.
  5. Review and Reflect.  December is the ideal time to review and reflect on the year, not January.  If you wait until January you are already behind the preverbal “8 Ball.”  In December we will post our 2013 Review and Reflection document.  Look out for it, as it will be a free download.   In general, it is time to
    • Review your prospecting, personal marketing and financial progress over the year
    • Reflect on what met and did not meet your expectations
    • Set a vision for 2014

You may have noticed the first two items focused directly on your client, the third item focused on both your client and you and the final two focused directly on you.  Ideally the primary focus of your 2013 was appropriately on your clients, and if so, you should be pleased with your year.


4 Keys to Handling Objections in Commercial Real Estate

August 3rd, 2013 1 comment

Learning to successfully handle objections could have more impact on your success Objectionthan any other skill. It will help you land more listings, take higher fees, put more deals under contract, keep them under contract, and protect your final paycheck. Not only is the skill powerful, but it’s relatively simple to master.  Here are four techniques that will help you handle every objection more effectively.

1. Don’t take them personally. Some clients have objections that are truly legitimate, while other will throw them up just to see what they can gain in a negotiation. In either case, remember that it’s just business and stay cool. Not only will it make the negotiation easier, but it’ll also show what a calm negotiator you are and, hopefully, boost your perceived value.

2. Understand them. For example, when a client says they don’t believe in exclusive listings, they could actually mean one of many things. They could be saying that they really aren’t serious about selling, in which case you might not want the assignment. In some cases, they just don’t understand what you can do for them if they retain you. Sometimes, they’ve had a bad experience in the past and you’ll need to prove you’re different from the previoius agent that did a bad job for them. Once you know this, you can attack the objection the right way, instead of just making arguments blindly. In fact, to be sure you have it right, repeat the objection as you understand it back to them and get their confirmation before proceeding.

3.  Have evidence ready. Some clients will not just take your word for your capabilities. Instead of telling them what you’ll do – show them by bringing samples of marketing strategies you’ve performed for other clients. If they disagree with your pricing, bring comps to support it, and be ready to explain why the comps they have are wrong. As another example, if they think you aren’t experienced enough to represent them, bring your senior partner with you.

4. Solve the problem. This might seem obvious, but I’ve seen many agents fail to do this. Once you’ve identified the objection, focus exclusively on it. For example, your track record isn’t the solution to a fee objection. Assuming you already described who you are and what you’ve done, the client is aware of  your track record. They just don’t want to pay what you charge for it. You, instead, need to point to the specific value you add and why it’s worth what you’re charging.  Remember you already had your client tell you exactly what their problem was, so you should be able to make a focused argument to solve their issue.

In commercial real estate, objections are simply part of the process.  Objections are your opportunity to shine and reinforce your expertise.  Follow these four simple rules and you will move past the hurdle and on to the listing.