What Does It Take to Make it in Commercial Realty? 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been approached by a hungry, determined agent with the question, “What do I need to do to make it in commercial real estate?” But the answer isn’t as simple as the question. There’s no magic bullet when it comes to success in commercial realty. It takes a multi-tiered, nuanced approach that is bound to test your fortitude, your willpower, and even your bank account. But if you’re serious about taking the long and often rewarding journey into commercial realty, I’m happy to break down the top tenets that have worked wonders for me. 

Just another day in the life of a commercial realtor!

Make Sure You Have Startup Capital

Becoming a commercial real estate agent isn’t a decision that should be made on a whim. It means doing your homework, fine tuning strategies, and a lot of tedious grinding. But even if you master all of the above, it won’t get you very far if you don’t already have some cash set aside. Why? Because you’re not going to see your first check for a long time. 

If you’re serious about commercial realty, then look at your career as an investment. Set aside some of your nest egg to carry you through those early months. You likely won’t land your first deal right away. And even if you do, it will still be some time before you can cash that check. Budget for somewhere between six and eight months of dedicated work before you earn a cent. During that time, you’ll be living solely off your startup capital. It’s not for the faint of heart. But if you do it correctly, it can be rewarding to say the least. 

Cold Calling is Part of Your Day Now

success in commercial realty requires lots of cold calling
Photo credit: Envato

A lot of realtors are attracted to commercial real estate for the thrills. It’s understandable! It’s difficult to think of a moment more rewarding than when you close an against-the-odds deal. But if you think commercial real estate is wall-to-wall excitement, I’ve got some bad news for you. You’re not going to get anywhere without devoting a significant portion of your day to cold calls.

Cold calling is essential for generating leads and building your network. Sure, nine times out of 10, the calls will go nowhere. But that 10th call could be the one that changes everything. And when you make hundreds of calls daily, you’ll have plenty of 10th calls. Do the work and you’ll see the rewards. It’s really that simple. 

Have a Plan and Set Detailed Goals

It’s amazing to me how many rookie agents think they can just jump into the deep end without any foresight. In a career so reliant on strategy, it should come as no surprise that careful long-term planning is important. How “long-term” are we talking? I’d make four business plans: six months, one year, two years, and three years. Get as detailed as you possibly can when drafting these business plans. Concrete numbers are far more useful in helping you to visualize your success and measuring your accomplishments. This goes doubly for your ultimate goals. Each business plan should include very specific goals, preferably quantifiable. 

Will your business plan need to be adjusted? Possibly. But you should do everything in your power to stick to your plans once you’ve finalized them. Your four business plans should always live prominently in your mind, informing your actions. 

Commercial Real Estate Demands You Stay Disciplined

Photo credit: Envato

Once you’ve fine tuned your daily schedule, you’ll need to stick with it. This factor separates a lot of fantastic agents from those who just can’t cut it. It’s one thing to hold yourself to a schedule for a couple of weeks. But this isn’t a temporary thing. This is your career and it deserves your respect. When in doubt, think of it the same way you would any job you had leading up to this moment. Sure, you’re setting your own schedule with a career in commercial realty. But that doesn’t make the snooze button an option. Flex your willpower. Hone your self-discipline into an almost religious devotion. Perhaps the unparalleled pleasure of success motivates you. Maybe you’re more moved by the agony of failure. But find your balance, focus on it, and let it drive you to an unwavering self-discipline. This kind of commitment is vital to success in commercial realty.

Find the Commercial Realty Right Team

Commercial real estate is far more difficult if you approach it like a lone wolf. This is an industry all about connections, so you should try to align yourself with the right team as soon as possible. A personal rapport is important when seeking your team. But you also want to pay attention to a team’s track record. Do they fit your ideals of success? At the top of this team, you’ll find your mentor. A solid mentor is indispensable in this business. They’ll teach you tricks of the trade, illuminate you with new strategies, introduce you to new business philosophies, and impart you with their concentrated expertise. Sure, you could learn from your own mistakes. And in all honesty, you will make some mistakes that turn into valuable learning opportunities. But if you can reduce these firsthand mistakes by learning directly from a commercial real estate master, you can enjoy exclusive knowledge without the pain. 

Having trouble visualizing your day-to-day life as a commercial real estate agent? JohnHart’s camera crew recently joined me in filming a day in my life. If you’ve read through this blog and still have questions, this brief video will likely answer them. I’ll be honest: being a commercial real estate agent isn’t easy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be difficult! Watch my video and if you still have questions, feel free to give me a call!

About Blas Fernandez

Blas Fernandez started his commercial real estate career on the retail side, working for 5 years as the in-house leasing director for Reliable Properties, a renowned company owning well over 100 shopping centers in the California area. Today, as one of JohnHart’s top performing commercial agents, Blas focuses on the sales and investment side with special attention to industrial, office, and retail asset classes.

View all posts by Blas Fernandez

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