This January, as we always do, we’ll be presenting our annual look at the most successful commercial real estate professionals throughout the Midwest in Midwest Real Estate News’ Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame issue.
The best part about putting together the issue? Sharing the career advice from the Midwest’s top real estate professionals. These pros aren’t shy about telling us what has helped them reach the heights of the industry.
As a preview, here is a look at what three of our Hall of Fame inductees say has helped them succeed in the competitive industry of commercial real estate.
Geoffrey Kasselman, executive managing director at the Chicago office of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, said that brokers must always be learning new skills and must constantly study their markets. By amassing as much knowledge about their specialties and markets as possible, Kasselman says, brokers can make themselves “different, compelling and irreplaceable.”
Kasselman said, too, that brokers must learn how to set realistic expectations for their clients. Brokers must make their clients understand that they are not magicians.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all business,” Kasselman said. “We can’t conjure up the perfect building in the perfect location at the perfect price on a moment’s notice.”
Alec Pacella, senior vice president and managing partner with Cleveland’s NAI Daus, says that the “secret” to success in commercial real estate is no secret at all: You have to work hard, and you have to be flexible enough to handle last-minute changes to your schedule, changes that happen on a frequent basis.
“This profession requires self-motivation and drive. You can never let off the gas. You need to be on the
clock well before 8 a.m. and well after 5 p.m.,” Pacella said.
And as for all those changes and uncertainties of crafting a career in commercial real estate? Successful brokers don’t panic when their plans for the day suddenly take a turn.
“I think about the deal cycle being a lot like being on a roller coaster,” Pacella said. “There are ups and downs, fast times and slow times, but we are really just passengers who are along for the ride.”
Claire Roberts, associate vice president with the Minneapolis office of Marcus & Millichap, said that technology has changed the business of commercial real estate. Everyone today can easily access listing information. But accessing information isn’t the same as using it, Roberts said.
It’s still up to brokers to fashion the best deals for their clients, and to help them find the best possible locations for their businesses.
“Maintaining personal relationships and becoming an invaluable member of your client’s team is going
to become the difference in being successful or not,” Roberts said. “The information is out there for everyone to access. How we as brokers use that information alongside our experience, integrity and work ethic will determine our relevance and value.”
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