A series of very fortunate events twenty years ago changed my life radically. My consulting practice was, by intent, composed of a variety of client types. An eclectic approach appealed to my scholarly curiosity about organizations and management practices.
All of a sudden things became very focused and, today, I am proud to claim some of the nation's most important commercial real estate firms, associations and networks as my clients.
I had some exposure to the real estate industry through my work with the Washington Association of REALTORS(r). One of their presidents, Jeff Lyon, who is now a very good friend, called me at my office and informed me that based on my work with WAR he was going to submit my name to do strategic planning with his firm, Kidder Mathews. Winning that contract in 1995 opened the door to an incredible amount of work within the commercial real estate industry.
While I have always championed my expertise as a strategic planner first, there is no question that 20 years of exposure to commercial real estate brokerage has taught me a lot about that profession along with some important things about sales organizations in general.
On this page I've gathered a few things that speak to the industry and it future.
Check out my past newsletters, too, (see the next webpage, Duke's Casebook) there are plenty of things of interest to commercial real estate professionals in those issues.
An intense session in Birmingham.
A community of professionals
A few years ago I was asked to give a presentation at the annual conference of the National Association of REALTORS(r) in New Orleans. My topic was how to build a career in the commercial real estate industry. This was done at the request of the Realtors Commercial Alliance, the commercial division of NAR.
The RCA has been a great home for me over the years and its last three directors, Bonnie Gottlieb, James Marelli and, most particularly, Jan Hope have given me all sorts of assignments to advance NAR's ability to serve it commercial members.
My presentation in New Orleans led to an interview that RCA provided to its members. In it I explain how to build a "book of business," (clients). The porinciples I outline hold, I think, for anyone who provides a service to customers.
When I started there were networks, basically franchises, of independent firms all over the place. I worked with almost all of them: CORFAC, TCN, NAI, Coldwell Banker Commercial, ONCOR, GVA. Only two, TCN and CORFAC, remain truly independent. There demise makes me sad because many firms now have only options, to sand independently alone or join a corporation. The first option may not be feasible in a global economy; the second is a horrible fate as far as I'm concerned. I've written about the future of CRE networks at length. My latest take on this:
I discovered early on that ownership of a firm meant more than management, it called for leadership. At a TCN International meeting in Toronto I met with affiliate principals to provide some counsel as to how to be a better leader.
It's fitting, perhaps, that this sequence of documents finishes with a presentation I made to NAI Global affiliate principals in Las Vegas. Many of them and a good portion of my clients are at a point where they need to think about winding down their business and selling their firm. There are some very useful tips for entering into the last stages of one's professional career here: