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How to Keep Disasters from Happening in Your Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Business

By Jim Gillespie | September 7, 2011

I had a catastrophe happen with my 8-year old daughter Jamie several days ago. Jamie loves music, loves singing and dancing, and she was all ready to go to her first rock & roll concert in just a few weeks. She always tells me who her favorite performers are, and I saw that one of her favorites, Miranda Cosgrove, was coming in concert later on this month. So I bought us tickets to the concert several weeks ago, and all of us were excited about going to Jamie’s first concert together.

Then last Thursday the phone rang, and the person calling from the concert venue informed me that the concert had been cancelled. Jamie was standing right in front of me when the call came, she could tell that I was disappointed with what I’d been told by the person on the other end of the telephone, and she asked me what had happened.

I knew she wasn’t going to like what I had to tell her no matter when I told it to her, so I decided to just tell her the news right then and there. But when I told this to her, you would have thought I had just told her that her mother had died. Her face got all twisted, contorted and upset, and she began crying loud and uncontrollably right in front of me. The noise was so loud that my wife came running upstairs thinking that Jamie had seriously injured herself, and she began screaming out, "What happened to Jamie?"

Well the crying and the overall sadness continued, and then finally Jamie yelled out, "This has been the worst day of my life!" (Which of course brought a little smile to my face…:)

Then I decided to immediately snap into action. So I got on the Internet, did a little research, and discovered that Jamie’s favorite performer, Selena Gomez, was coming in concert later on this month, to an arena about an hour away from us in San Diego. So I bought tickets to the concert, told Jamie about this the very next day when she came home from school, and what had been "the worst day of her life" had now been transformed into excitement in knowing she’d soon be seeing Selena Gomez live in concert!

I had taken what had originally been a disaster for my daughter, and turned it into what will now become a wonderful experience for her. In doing so, this reminded me of what it’s like sometimes in commercial real estate brokerage…

In commercial real estate brokerage, you really want to keep the surprises and the unexpected disasters to a minimum, and anticipate any problems in advance so you can alleviate them before they ever become disasters.

You’ll want to know the financial condition of the people you’re planning on working with, so you know they’ll fully have the ability to close the real estate transaction you’ll be working on.

You’ll want to have a Phase 1 environmental report done as early as possible, so that if any problems arise they can be alleviated before negotiations begin…otherwise the buyer can walk away due to the fear generated during their contingency period, if environmental problems are discovered within the property.

You’ll want to see a title report before you begin marketing a property, so that you can remove any problems on the report before they end up stalling everything, and getting in the way of you closing the transaction.

You’ll want to both know and understand the personalities and the negotiating styles of the people you’ll be representing, and utilize this to your advantage when it’s important. When you really know your people you can anticipate what they’ll be doing during the upcoming stages of the negotiations, and you can plan your strategy accordingly.

Along these lines, there are some principals who can help move a transaction forward whenever they’re put face-to-face in front of the other principal, and then there are some principals for whom doing this with them would spell total disaster. With these latter principals, you need to remain as the buffer and the communicator between both them and the other principal, so that the other principal remains interested in doing business with them. There are just some people who when put face-to-face in front of the other principal, try to overpower them with their own ego, and this just doesn’t work.

In addition, you’ll want to work with escrow and title officers who will recognize potential problems well in advance, and who’ll do a solid job of taking care of these situations for you, as this will definitely make your day-to-day life progress much easier for you as a commercial real estate broker.

Getting back to the situation with my daughter Jamie, buying concert tickets whenever a problem comes up in the middle of a transaction may not solve the problem for you, but buying concert tickets as well as tickets to other events, and giving them to the people you want to do solid business with, can be a great marketing approach for you. If you listened to my August Inner Circle call you heard William Hugron, SIOR, CCIM, telling you that for his top clients he has them picked up in his vintage, classic Rolls Royce by a chauffeur, and then driven both to and from a nice dinner or a special event…with everything all being paid for by William.

For your own clients you may need to do this with a limousine instead, but that’s the kind of experience your clients will never, ever forget, and it will solidify them in wanting to do business with you again in the future.


During my upcoming teleconference on Wednesday, September 14th, we’ll be joined by a SIOR member who’s a 27-year industry veteran, he was a top commercial broker for both CB Richard Ellis and Grubb & Ellis for more than 20 years, and he’s now a partner in a brokerage company that’s been designated by CoStar as being a "Power Broker" company within the entire Los Angeles area.

During this teleconference we’ll tell you what you need to be doing right now to produce solid results in your brokerage business in this economy, we’ll show you what’s holding you back from becoming the power broker that you want to be, and we’ll tell you how to break through the barriers that are holding you back, so you take your production in your brokerage business to an entirely new level.

When you’re registered for this teleconference, even if you can’t attend it we’ll still send you the audio CDs, written transcription, and written highlights from the teleconference, all in the mail to you!

Click here for more information on this teleconference if you’re not already registered for it.


If you’re interested in one-on-one coaching to take your commercial real estate brokerage business to the next level, click here to contact me.

"Working with Jim has increased my productivity to a higher level. As the top agent of my firm for the last eight years I was at a point where I thought I had hit a ceiling. With Jim’s help I found that I am only just beginning and am now experiencing my most successful year ever! I can attribute a lot of my success to Jim and his ability to keep me focused on success combined with the tools that he has to get me there.

Scott Caswell
Delphi Business Properties

Click here to see more testimonials from my coaching clients.


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