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How to Create More Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Transactions in This Market

By Jim Gillespie | April 1, 2010

Several years ago I interviewed one of the best commercial real estate brokers in the business, Paul Earnhart of Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Ontario, California. During his career Paul has earned 13 awards from SIOR for excellence in his brokerage production. And during my interview with Paul he mentioned a term that he refers to simply as "dealspecting", the ability of a commercial real estate broker, normally with years of experience, to create new transactions that most other brokers would never envision. The opportunity for creating these transactions is out there for many commercial real estate brokers, but they just can’t see these opportunities.

To maximize the probability of both recognizing and creating these opportunities, I recommend that you start taking your past clients out to lunch on a regular basis if you’re not already doing so. Even though they may have mentioned that they’re not looking to do anything right now, the environment you can create over lunch between the two of you can generate creative thinking that can lead to new brokerage transactions for you. And this environment isn’t easy to create when the client is talking to you on the phone in their office for just 3-5 minutes, while other people are also trying to get their attention.

When you’re having lunch, relaxing, and socializing together, the client may mention that they could really use an additional 50,000 square feet of space, but that they don’t want to buy any additional properties right now. And in the process you may remember that the client has 200,000 square feet of land in the same area that’s just sitting vacant right now. So you could then propose 1) Selling half of the land and utilizing the money to help fund the construction of a new 50,000 square-foot building for the client on the remaining land, or 2) Putting a build-to-suit opportunity on the market for 50,000 square feet, and then when the new company has been secured for the build-to-suit opportunity, building 100,000 square feet of building in total, with your client occupying the remaining 50,000 square feet of building themselves. This would then in addition give your client the ability to expand into the adjacent 50,000 square feet sometime down the road.

These are the kind of ideas that can be generated when you’re socializing with your clients over lunch, no matter what area of commercial real estate brokerage you’re specializing in. But you oftentimes must create this kind of environment to recognize these kinds of opportunities.

So if you’re not taking your past clients out to lunch right now to create the kind of environment for these conversations to take place, I recommend that you begin doing so.

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