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4 Leading Entrepreneurs Share Their Best Advice for CRE Brokers

Katie Higgins
Katie Higgins
Director, Content and Communications, VTS

At its core, commercial real estate brokerage is truly an entrepreneurial business. While you might be working at a large, established company, it's still up to you to win new business, successfully manage client relationships and in many cases, run a high-performing team. Ultimately, your success is in your own hands, which presents you with a huge opportunity.

So, how can you embrace the entrepreneurial mindset and take advantage? VTS spoke to four leading entrepreneurs (including our own CEO) from a wide range of industries, to find their most valuable advice for growing a successful business. Read on to hear their top tips for brokers.

Ed Robinson
President & Co-Founder at Stash

Stash is an app geared toward first-time or inexperienced investors who want to invest in small increments. It aims to simplify the investment process and make it more accessible. 

Set the right metrics to track
Decide on the three to five core KPIs of the business – for a real estate brokerage business, these might be the number of cold outreach phone calls or proposals out. Then, communicate these clearly to your team, understand the drivers, and remain laser focused on achieving them.

Speak to customers and listen to their feedback
Customers (aka your tenants and landlords) are key. You need to set time in your schedule to speak to them and listen to what they are saying about the service you’re providing. Understand how they found you, what they like, what they dislike, and what they need/want. Track the feedback and make adjustments accordingly to achieve your business goals.

Constantly test and iterate
Don’t be afraid to make a decision or try something new. For CRE brokers, this may play out in a different method of pitching or exploring digital initiatives to attract new clients. Constant testing and performance tracking is the key to improving your service and metrics across the board.

Grady Laird
President & Co-Founder at Grady’s Cold Brew

Grady's Cold Brew is a New Orleans–style iced coffee concentrate that's brewed and bottled by hand in Brooklyn, New York.

You gotta put on the blinders sometimes. You obviously need to be aware of your competition, but you also have to be careful about their ability to distract and throw you off course.

Billie Whitehouse
CEO at Wearable X

Wearable X is a fashion tech company that brings together design and technology to create a better quality of life.

Persevere. Nothing is impossible. I've always said to fellow tech entrepreneurs, don't let the limitations of technology infringe upon your imagination. For years before we started designing Nadi X (Whitehouse's latest creation – vibrating leggings that give the wearer real-time feedback on yoga poses), I was told that it would be impossible to execute, the technology simply didn't exist. But here we are! You have to be able to live in the future and the present at the same time, and eventually, the technology catches up. This thinking isn't limited to tech – it can just as easily be applied to commercial real estate brokers looking to break the traditional mold and build a successful business. If you love what you do, and you're good at what you do, you'll make it happen.

Nick Romito
CEO & Co-Founder at VTS

VTS unites the commercial real estate industry by centralizing critical data and workflow on a single platform, helping CRE professionals make better decisions faster.

Foster a creative work environment
You want your team to be creative about the way they prospect and get deals done. Your physical work environment plays a big role here, but there’s more to fostering creativity than just having an open floor plan. Consider including elements like whiteboards for brainstorming ideas and informal seating areas for teams to collaborate. These can result in much more productive output than restricting your employees to desks and conference rooms as their only options.

Set OKRs to measure and celebrate performance
Oftentimes, if goals are not specifically defined in a quantifiable way, they can feel lofty and unattainable. To overcome this, set quarterly team and individual OKRs (objectives and key results) and check in on these weekly. OKRs are used by world-class organizations like Google to manage their goals (see more about their process here) and allow you to clearly articulate what success looks like in a measurable way. And when key results are achieved, celebrate them and congratulate your team on a job well done.

Use technology to improve performance management
To successfully use OKRs, you need to be able to actually track individuals’ performance. In large work environments this can be difficult – in fact, all too often people stay at firms for long periods without actually performing at the highest levels. Use technology to track relevant metrics (such the number of phone calls and tours your team members are doing) in real-time. Armed with this data you can then understand where things are working well, help problem solve where necessary, and ultimately ensure your team is a high performing one. Agility and transparency are critical to the success of any business and technology is the arrow in your quiver to deliver that muscle.

Katie Higgins
Director, Content and Communications | VTS
Katie Higgins
Katie Higgins is the Director of Content and Communications at VTS. Subscribe to the VTS blog:
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