Here to Satisfy the Licorice Tooth

Commercial Real Estate Analysis Licorice Tooth

photo credit: midnight-digital

The licorice tooth of any Commercial Real Estate agent is the first big commission.  It’s the reason many of us are here, and it’s what we’ve termed in the business, the $300,000 carrot.

So what if the fantastic reward of an 8-digit transaction takes years (or more) to materialize?  I’ve seen agent after agent falter and skip town when that carrot just seems too far underground.

Commercial Real Estate is competitive, so how do you know if you’re in the right place?

When we started REsheets, we were lucky enough to be well connected in the Los Angeles commercial real estate community. We took a risk, no different than a junior agent, and much of our early business relied on the working relationships we’d acquired over the years.

We were averaging a sale a week, grateful for the encouragement, and enormously worried that every sale-to-date originated in a well connected contact. In other words, no one was jumping on Amazon and purchasing our book based on the inside-cover alone.

When I performed commercial real estate analysis for my firm in Los Angeles, the junior agents were evaluated based on the number of times they dialed out for the quarter. The management considered each call a statistical proportion to a sale, but some agents lost their fundamental footing (one particular agent dialed every Laundromat within a 30 mile radius in search of the least expensive dry-cleaning, saving money on dry-cleaning and satisfying management with an exceptional dial-out statistic).

And for awhile, we felt much the same with REsheets. We were doing everything in our reach to drive traffic to our site, build our credibility, and encourage one stranger to believe in our product, but what was it worth?

We unveiled a version two site, leapt forward in site-traffic, increased twitter followings and newsletter signups, finally saw some blog commentary, and even cold called our way through some major commercial real estate firms, but the ‘stranger purchase’ remained static – nothing.

So where was the fruit of our labor? How do we know we’re not just moving through the motions?

It was nearly three months from our inception on the morning I received an unexpected email.  I had stepped in from a Friday run and my heart spiked: “payment successfully received”.

That morning, a stranger deposited $500 into our account for a software template. With all the truly prospective activity, we had finally built the trust it takes to convince a complete stranger that $500 is safe with us.  Soon one sale led to two, two led to three, and three led to we’ve-never-looked-back since; and now I look back on the importance of the stranger sale.

So how do you know if you’re in the right place?  That first transaction, not from a friend, not from a family member, but from a cold-call, from that non-relationship who believed enough in you to let you list a property, tells you everything you need to know.  And believe me, he had his choices.

If you can prove to one person you’re capable, if you can find one person to trust you, then you’re in the right place, and the carrot just isn’t so far away.

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