The commercial property industry can prove to be very lucrative. It can be highly rewarding, offer a lot of interaction and connection, and of course offer a career that will last a lifetime. It’s little wonder then that many eye it up as a career path. But as with a lot of jobs in real estate, success will not come with time or hours worked alone, there will be a number of factors that need to be thought of in order to do well, get ahead of the rest, and gain long-term success.
Here’s three things to consider that will help you build a successful career in commercial real estate.
1. Define your career strategy
To be successful in your commercial property career, define your “career strategy”. This way you’ll have a better vision and a clearer purpose when you’re working, understanding exactly where and how you need to spend your time and efforts in order to be highly productive and achieve those goals.
An easy place to start when looking at your strategy is thinking about your market and your place in it. Perhaps you may want to specialise in certain property types like retail properties, maybe larger warehouses, perhaps your market will be a lot more specific to certain locations, maybe based on property value. Regardless, by clearly outlining your market, you can start to understand it inside and out, refining your research and gathering knowledge that will aid you now and in the future. Key things to research include:
- what’s happening in the market now, including current deals going on
- any key properties or deals that have happened recently or that have shaped the market
- both short and long-term trends
- whether there’s any key players in the industry both client side and competition wise.
2. Foster relationships and network
It’s no real secret that commercial property, just like other areas of the business, is all about building relationships, be it with clients, prospects, even with others in the industry. To get ahead, you need to be thinking of yourself almost in a customer service role, thinking constantly about how you can help, what problems you can help solve, and how you can keep people happy. With this customer-centric and proactive mindset, you will be able to stay ahead of your clients’ needs, service their requirements as and when they need and in a more adept manner, and ultimately leave yourself top of mind for the future. All of these elements will also build loyalty and trust, key things when wanting to generate repeat business, forge your reputation in the commercial property industry, and create long-term success.
Naturally, forming these relationships, whether it be the start of your commercial property career or not, will take time. It’s something that needs to be fostered, with different avenues consistently explored. Basically, you need to network. Be it through more in-person or online, you need to put yourself out there, you need to see who’s around and make sure you’re there when they need you, which may not be right at the time of you meeting them of course. Obviously there’s LinkedIn and other online avenues like forums, industry conferences and events, but also look to industry specific and non-industry networking events as well as social events in and around the areas where you conduct business. Be present in the commercial real estate community and the communities your key markets lie.
3. Be dedicated and persistent
Within your real estate career, your work ethic will play a key role in your success. You need to be regimented and efficient with your time, making sure you get the most of your days - it’s not just about the amount of hours you put in. You need to be dedicated and persistent, covering all bases, and you also need to be resilient. You won’t always get the clients you want, the deals won’t always go as planned or go through, but your ability to bounce back as well as be agile in your approach will pay dividends in the long run. As well, your communication and communication style need to be thought of. Clients have different needs and will want different things from you, so not only staying abreast of it all, but keeping everyone updated, if needed, will help everything run smoothly and help build those relationships also.
A few things to think about in terms of helping to structure your time and work include:
- Can you group meetings with clients or buyers each day or week so that you spend less time on the road?
- Do you need to block time out in your calendar to ensure you have enough time for admin?
- If travelling, can you make use of your time when out of the office by sending emails or making calls as opposed to waiting to be in the office?
- How can you implement certain tools or software that could help you stay on top of your deals, work, and to-do lists, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks?