Don’t Sleep on the Clichés: Lessons from my First Few months as a Tenant Rep Broker

Don’t Sleep on the Clichés: Lessons from my First Few months as a Tenant Rep Broker

Almost every person I spoke to about entering the world of commercial real estate brokerage said the same things.  You’re going to eat shit for at least a year…don’t expect to make any money for at least the first 9 months… you must be a certain type of person to succeed in brokerage.  Then I accepted a job as a Tenant Rep Broker and with it came the clichés.  You eat what you kill…a deal is never closed until ink hits paper…it’s a numbers game…don’t count your chickens before they hatch.  If you are like me, you tend to jump right into situations and prefer to learn by being thrown into the fire.  You also probably thought you would be an exception to the rule or that the clichés were just a scare tactic.  If you are not like me, I will save you the wait.  It is all true.

The sooner you realize this the better.  Because whether you accept it or not, you are going to learn, your first week on the job, just how unforgiving this business can be and it is going to make your first deal falling through sting that much more.  Which is exactly why one of the most important clichés to live by in this business is, it’s never over until it’s over.  I learned the hard way when I thought that my first client ever was a done deal.  I was already doing the math of how much money I would make and fantasizing about what I would do with the big influx of cash coming my way.  I left the office thinking we were about to enter leases and everything looked as if the deal would be closed within a week or two.  I slept well that night, feeling victorious.  But you know what happened next?  I woke up to an email informing me that the deal was dead. Talk about a punch in the gut. Maybe I will get into the details of this story, and the many reasons a deal can fall through in a future blog post; then again, maybe I won’t.  Regardless, the moral of the story is, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule and people will always get good bounces; however, even the broker with the best luck is going to fail.  It’s just the nature of the business.  Commercial real estate for a new broker truly is a numbers game. If you want to succeed you better be ready to fail. Repeatedly. Baseball is considered of sport of failure.  A player that gets only 3 hits out of every 10 at bats is considered a hall of famer.  Yet, inn commercial real estate, a success rate of 1 out of every 10 would make you a hall of famer.  If you aren’t willing to fail, you probably are not in the right business.  So, don’t stay down when you fall, get back on the horse and learn from your mistakes!

One of the hardest parts of being a broker is being in charge of your own schedule and being a self-starter.  If you don’t start hungry, and stay hungry, you will end up spending a lot of time making very little money.  However, if you put in the time and pay your dues, yeah, you’ll eat shit for a while, but there might be a bucket of gold at the end of the rainbow.  (I think. Time will tell).  But just because you work hard does not mean it is going to work out for you.  As a real estate broker, you’re a dime a dozen and every other broker is out to get the same clients you are. So, pick up the phone and start dialing.  Get out and network.  Always be looking for new ways to build your book of business.  And BE PERSISTENT.  What doesn’t kill you actually makes you stronger.  So, the next time you want to roll your eyes at an industry cliché, remember that you eat what you kill are words to live by in this industry.  If you do not live by those words, good luck.

P.S. this is my first ever blog post.  It probably sucks. Feel free to tell me so.  I think next time I will tell you guys about my experience with cold calling.

– The Inexperienced Broker.