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Posts Tagged ‘top producer’

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!

 

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Your 2013 Brokerage Pipeline – Take a Closer Look

January 14th, 2013 2 comments

Your Pipeline Is Your Bloodline.

 

Being a commercial real estate brokerage professional means that you get pulled in many different directions all at once. To be great at your business, you have to not just handle but master all of these things. But, ultimately, there is only one thing that matters in your business.

Your pipeline.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you don’t need to have a good reputation. I’m not denigrating the importance of marketing knowledge. I assure you that you need to have solid relationships with prospects, clients and third-parties. I also recommend that you earn as much money as possible! When you really look at your business, though, none of those things really matter if you lack a healthy pipeline.

 

Pipelines are more complicated than most commercial brokers realize. Your list of under contract deals isn’t your pipeline. It’s your list of deals under contract. It is a part of your pipeline, and it is the part that you may feel most acutely, but it’s not the most important part. After all, once a deal closes, it goes off of your pipeline and, in many cases, that client goes dormant for a while.

 

The key to your pipeline is to keep filling it up with new opportunities. This might sound obvious, but many commercial real estate agents never think about the top part of their pipelines. The meetings, proposals, offers and listings that you take get filtered out and make up the bottom lines of your pipeline. As long as you keep creating opportunities for yourself, your pipeline will continue to stay flush and your business will keep creating paychecks for you and your family.

 

Think of your pipeline the way that you think of your circulatory system. You’re healthy because your heart pumps freshly oxygenated blood throughout your body, nourishing every part of it. Your business is the same. For it to be healthy, you need to always have fresh opportunities coming into it. In other words, your pipeline is your bloodline.

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Winning the Exclusive – Preparing for the Big Meeting

May 5th, 2012 No comments

Congratulations, you secured an invitation to present your proposal to a client. You can’t hit a home run without getting to bat, so now it’s time to take your swings.  Forgive the baseball analogy; corny as it is, it is true.  Now what do you need to do to make your presentation a success and win the listing or representation assignment?

If you haven’t already, and the opportunity is for a listing, get out to the property and become an expert on it. Take pictures, drive the neighborhood and drive all of the comps you will be using in your proposal. You should also do research on the area to ensure you are aware of any upcoming projects which could affect the marketability of the asset.    If this opportunity is for a tenant or landlord representation, find out everything, and I mean everything, about the company/owner.

We see  listing and representation presentations, almost daily, from across North America.  Many miss the point of the proposal.  Prepare a presentation you can be not only be proud of, but also addresses the specific needs/issues of the opportunity.  Believe it or not, many brokers frequently just slap a few pages together and hope for the best. If you’ve been invited to present, you can be pretty sure your competition was invited also. Put your best foot forward and prepare a well-structured proposal.  Remember, “You Can’t Wing It to Win It”.

Practice. Then practice some more. Make sure you know what you are going to say and that you can say it concisely and convincingly. Brush up on your ability to overcome the client’s objections. The best way  to do this is to role play with a mentor, colleague, your coach or your spouse.  Don’t laugh, my wife has  improved a vast majority of my speeches.. then again maybe she enjoys correcting me.. but I digress.  Whoever  you use, encourage them to throw you some curve balls, to make sure you can think on your feet when the time comes.

I know I just told you to prepare a great presentation, but when you get in front of the client, remember the most important thing is your ability to tell the story, which is completely different than telling your story.  It’s not about you.  It starts with telling the story of the opportunity and how the client sees it. Once you’ve told that story, you can tell the story of why you are the only plausible broker to service the account.  The presentation keeps you in the game, but articulating the right story is what wins you the business.

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Here We Grow Again – Hiring Commercial Real Estate Broker Coaches

April 16th, 2012 No comments

The Massimo Group, the nation’s premier commercial real estate coaching and consulting organization is once again seeking full-time and part time commercial real estate coaches for its growing practice.  The Massimo Group is proud to include every major commercial real estate brokerage firm and/or its individual brokers as clients, along with scores of regional and local firms.

The position will be responsible for delivering the Massimo Group’s proprietary coaching systems, as well as supporting several of the Massimo Group’s consulting assignments.

The position, shall be independent contractor-based.  Licensed candidates are welcomed, and even encouraged.

This is an opportunity for an independent, driven, real estate professional to be part of one of the fastest growing companies in the industry.

The ideal candidate will possess:

  • Minimum 10 years of commercial real estate brokerage experience
  • Proven track record for success
  • A higher industry-related designation, such as an SIOR, CRE, or CCIM is preferred, though not required
  • Brokerage management experience is a major plus
  • Excellent Communication, Presentation and Writing Skills
  • Excellent Listening Skills
  • MS Office, and ACT CRM Skills, preferred but not required

Serious inquiries only please.  Submit resumes to info@massimo-group.com, under the subject “CRE Coach Candidate”.

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Why Broker Dave is Just Average

April 2nd, 2012 3 comments

 

  • Before Duke’s debacle in the NCAA tournament (one of the few reasons I will watch TV) a new Staples commercial caught my attention.  In this commercial, everyone in the office, including the President, the receptionist, the IT guy and the marketing team were the same person.  Dave, the redheaded, bearded entrepreneur, was the reflection of many struggling business owners and commercial real estate brokers.

They try to do it all and be all.

In my 25+ years as a broker, owner and manager of local, regional and international brokerage firms I have yet to find a top producing broker who can do it all.  I have however seen thousands of average brokers who try.

It’s either one of 2 scenarios.  Average brokers think that they really know more about prospecting, presenting, closing, marketing, social media, web design, computers, administrative work and answering the phone than anyone else, or they believe they can simply do it cheaper.

In Brokers Who Dominate, the 8 traits of top producers we explored how top performers
attained and maintain these top production levels.  One key trait is top brokers are “Team
Oriented”.

It doesn’t mean you have to go out and hire a team at high fixed costs or give away a nice portion of your commissions to create a team.  What it does mean is that you have to do these important steps to stop being average.

  • Take an inventory of everything you are currently doing – and I mean everything.
  • Determine how much you are worth –in relation to dollars per hour.
  • Create a ‘Not To Do List’ and simply stop doing those things that do not:
      • Make you money
      • Bring you pleasure in doing
  • Find someone else to do things that is better at doing them and cheaper than it is for you to do them!

Sorry to say top performers are smarter than average performers; they have accepted that they cannot do it all.  Take the 4 steps noted above and leave the ranks of average.  Don’t  be a Dave.

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Brokerage Lessons from a Wild NCAA Weekend.

March 20th, 2012 No comments

They call it “March Madness”, and I was mad as hell on Friday night as I watched my beloved Duke Blue Devils wilt under the pressure of a more prepared, better executing 15th seed. A 15th seed! How could this happen, how could such a lowly competitor beat the national beast?

As it turns out, it was fairly simple. As a “coach” myself, I read deeply into the “coach speak”. How coaches prepare their players for competition and how they respond when the contest is complete. Some of the comments resulting from Mike Krzyzewski, the coach of Duke and Dr. Brett Reed, the coach of Lehigh, resonated directly to why many commercial brokers win listing assignments, where others have failed.

Let’s first look at the preparation of the competition. When asked how Lehigh would prepare for Duke, Dr. Reed noted, it was not a matter of looking at Duke and determining where they were most vulnerable, but instead, you must look introspectively at yourself, your team and your support staff and reinforce the skills you possess and the passion you bring every day. You need to trust yourself and your team that you have put yourself in the best possible position to win. Brokers who win the listing, whether they are with a national power firm, or simply a boutique independent, focus on why they should be the only choice to an owner/investor or tenant and position their presentation (game strategy) to best reflect this.

During the contest itself, it was later reflected by coach K, that one of the main reasons they lost the game was xxx the players from Lehigh were “bold”, where as his team was out of synch. How many of you go to a listing presentation with a “bold” approach. Bold, by its very nature, demands confidence and a touch of aggressiveness. Does your listing presentation say
“why us”, or “why not us!”?

After the game was won, Dr. Reed asked his team if they were happy, and every player said “yes”. They had prepared for the competition, executed to perfection and withstood against the continual odds against their success. But Dr. Reed followed up by asking his team if they were satisfied. And this time, to a man, they said “no”. Winning a listing or representation assignment is only the first step. Being “bold” and aggressive in both your pricing and marketing will ultimately reflect if you move forward, or simply inventory your opportunities.

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Brokerage Lesson From a Vail Ski Lift

March 4th, 2012 5 comments

This past week I took a long weekend (yes we all need to take a day or two away from commercial real estate) and headed to Vail, Colorado for some skiing with some friends.  Some of these friends are commercial brokers, like you, and one particular friend, Jason of CNL, I had not connected with in quite some time.

Me, Jason and Dave

During one of the many ski lift runs Jason ask me “Rod, so you guys are trainers right?”  Not only was his impression of our company incorrect, his comments highlighted the glaring mistake that I had made, and many brokers make when it comes to our friends.  We assume they know what we do, and do not make the focused effort with our friends to consistently remind them of what we do, or provide examples of how we work with our clients.  You see, it wasn’t Jason who made the mistake; it was me who made the error by not keeping him apprised of our services and success.

In past Massimo Minutes, I have stressed the importance of presence.  I have outlined the three essential elements of creating and maintaining presence and outlined the key targets to direct these efforts towards.  These targets include clients, prospects, market makers and influencers.  There are certainly more extensive and detailed targets, but that is beyond the scope of this article.

Two key targets in your individual presence campaign must be your friends and family.  Why; because I can guarantee you that most of them simply think of you as “a broker”.  They have little idea of what exactly this means and how you personally work with clients in a variety of ways to assist them in achieving their personal and/or business goals.

As for Jason, I had the luxury of sitting next to him on several subsequent ski lifts and shared with him how we work with individual brokers, brokerage teams and companies in our coaching and consulting practice.  How our entire organization is positioned to maximize our client’s brokerage income.  I shared with him that most (not all) trainers are vendors, where as we pursue the role of being partners and trusted allies in our client’s success.

The Massimo Minute is distributed to tens of thousands of commercial brokers, many of my friends and all of my family members, and now Jason as well.  The next time you send out  an email blast, success story, white paper or postcard think beyond the obvious targets and be sure to include your family and your friends, for they will be your biggest champions should they hear of an opportunity that may be a great fit for you.

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Brokerage Lessons from the NY City Marathon

November 7th, 2011 No comments

Brokerage Lessons from the NYC Marathon

Last October my friend Charles Herskowitz was visiting from California and asked if I wanted to go for a run.  Back then I was running regularly and could finish 6 miles comfortably and 9 miles if I really pushed it.  Charles however struggled to keep up with my old man pace.  After our run I figured I had shown him who’s boss and he would go away softly.  However he asked me if we could go running the next morning, and I agreed to meet him at 7:00am at my house.

The next morning there was a cold and steady rain.  I hit my snooze button on my 6:30 alarm and rolled over.  30 minutes later my door bell rang.  It was Charles.  “What are you made of sugar?  Let’s go!”, was his greeting.  He pushed me and held me to my earlier commitment and off we went.  He still struggled, albeit less, to keep up with me, but there was no way I would have run without his prodding.

This past Sunday Charles finished his first Marathon.  It happened to be one of most famous marathons of all, but nevertheless, it could have been the Topeka, Kansas marathon and it would have had the same impact and the same lessons.

Over the past 12 months we would communicate by email and telephone.  We would encourage each other and try to outdo one another.  I am more of a casual runner, more of a P90X guy, but Charles kept running and running – faster and longer.  Faster and longer than I could ever imagine.  All culminating with this weekend’s New York City Marathon.

It’s incredible what a steady measure of accountability can do.  Whether you have a fitness goal, or a personal brokerage goal – creating a platform of accountability, a partner, spouse ,  or perhaps a coach is the best approach to keeping you on-track, pushing you when you falter and celebrate when you succeed.

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Brokers Who Dominate – 8 Traits of Top Producers

October 3rd, 2011 No comments

Wherever I travel throughout the country for presentations or workshops, or speak with our coaching prospects, there always the No. 1 question:  What do top producers do to both attain and maintain their dominant positions in the market?  

Having worked with, studied and/or managed literally 1,000’s of brokers during my 25+ year career, I have identified the 8 traits of dominant brokers.  Over the past weeks we have share with you these essential qualities of success.  This week we will explore traits 7 and 8; Team Orientation and Entrepreneurial

Team oriented is your leverage.

It’s amazing how many brokers work in little silos and don’t even try to leverage the skill sets and knowledge of others to maximize their effectiveness. When I talk to some of these brokers, they’re frustrated and often say something like, “I can’t do it all,” but they don’t take the next logical step and investigate the resources they have or can acquire to make their day, and more importantly their effort, much more productive. Here’s the simple exercise we use with clients who want to build a team.

First, identify exactly everything you believe you have to do, from the mundane to the most productive. Put everything in one big list. Don’t leave anything out. Next, go through the list and identify everything you’re good at and everything you like to do. Then we go through that inventory with our clients and we prioritize, we allocate, we figure out what the broker needs to do and then we delegate everything else. Take some time and do the same thing; you should wind up with a list of your most productive activities and a list of everything else to delegate.

Then identify sources, whether external, virtual, or in your office who can handle “everything else.” Now comes the hard part. You have to invest in those resources. That’s a big hurdle for some people, so let me remind you that what you’re really doing is investing in yourself and your career. Don’t forget, your greatest asset is you.

Entrepreneurial approach brings everything together.

Most brokers think and act like an employee, even though the legal fact and practical reality is that most brokers are independent contractors. If you work for a large firm, your firm may have terrific resources and brand, but ultimately your success is measured by how well you leverage those organizational assets. Many of the brokers profiled in this book are aligned with strong regional and national firms, but they act like they’re the CEO of their own firm. They use their brokerage firm as a platform to launch their personal success.

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Brokers Who Dominate: Part 3 of 4

September 21st, 2011 No comments

Wherever I travel throughout the country for presentations or workshops, or speak with our coaching prospects, there always the No. 1 question:  What do top producers do to both attain and maintain their dominant positions in the market?

Having worked with, studied and/or managed literally 1,000’s of brokers during my 25+ year career, I have identified the 8 traits of dominant brokers.  Over the next few weeks we are going to share with you these essential qualities of success.  Follow these principles and you too can put yourself on the path to brokerage success.

Last week we addressed market presence and industry focus.  This week we will dive into traits 5 and 6; Navigate Careers and Assertive.

Navigating your career means taking the long view.

The biggest mistake I see in navigating a career is brokers’ making a change without thinking through what the results will be and how the change fits into their career plan. They jump at an offer, thinking the business or the managing broker will be better someplace else. But they usually forget a couple of things. Number one, the grass is not always greener on the other side. For example, higher commissions are higher for a reason, maybe because the supporting resources are fewer. Number two, when you change your company, your address, there is absolutely a down period, a slow period that will happen during the transition, no matter how sound you think your client relationships are.

Assertive moves you to the front.

Lack of assertiveness shows itself as caution or conservatism. That cautious approach, in a more extreme form, can suggest fear. During their careers, brokers may face several things they fear. Fear of rejection and fear of failing are probably the most obvious. Brokers rarely suggest they fear anything. Instead they say. “Prospecting isn’t really effective” or they need to do a little more homework before they call a client, or they know that client really isn’t in the market or something else that sounds like it makes sense. If you find yourself making excuses for things you know you should be doing, like prospecting or making presentations, ask yourself what you might be afraid of.

Assertiveness is a personality trait. We screen all our clients at the Massimo Group with a personality/behavioral assessment to better understand several such traits, with assertiveness being a key component. We also know if you don’t test at the top of the assertiveness scale, there are things you can do to become more successful. Psychologists tell us people who are fearful usually spend their time and energy thinking about what could happen, but people who overcome fear concentrate on what needs to be done.

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