CRE Brokers on How They Build an Effective Personal Brand – Commercial Property Executive
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Developing a personal brand based on trustworthiness and your unique skills and experiences is critical for commercial real estate brokers. Veteran brokers with highly developed reputations offer their strategies for making a name for yourself with clients and peers.
Find Strong Mentors
In 2015, Owen Fileti, Los Angeles managing director at Raise Commercial Real Estate, set out to develop a reputation as a leasing representative for major Fortune 100 and Fortune 200 tech companies. His branding began to build once he was tied to several large social media companies.
When asked what contributed most to his success as a broker, Fileti mentioned mentorship as a key building block.
“I think early in your career as a broker, having that mentorship is absolutely critical to laying a foundation of future success,” said Fileti. “Having a great mentor in any industry is paramount, but in commercial real estate and brokerage learning the traits and the craft is one component. Having someone who is going to be there, be a soundboard, offer guidance and give you exposure and client-facing interaction is really helpful.”
Market Yourself and Your Ideas
Suraj Desai, Senior Managing Director, Black Bear Capital Partners, began building his brand in investment brokerage in a small family office with a heavy focus on hospitality. Over the years, he developed an expertise in hotels.
As a second-generation South Asian, Desai was also able to establish genuine connections with developers and owners who possessed similar backgrounds and values.
He has established his brand further by marketing himself online. But while the sharing of opinions, blogs and articles can demonstrate an expertise in a space, Desai believes it is most important to market your own executions and successes.
“Some people do podcasts, and there are a lot of ways to be successful, but I would say focus on, when you get your first deal closed, marketing it,” said Desai. “Keep focusing on marketing closings because, then, people see success.”
LinkedIn, in particular, can be a huge advantage when it comes to getting your name out there. “Real estate is a relatively smaller space than people think, even on a national level,” said Desai. In a few years, brokers can gather a large network by sharing their successes on LinkedIn and having their network like and share their posts.
READ ALSO: 10 Intriguing CRE Deals and the Brokers Who Made Them Happen
Be a Mentor and a Sage
James Nelson, Principal and Head of Avison Young’s Tri-State Investment Sales Group, markets himself by penning White Papers on emerging topics and client concerns, contributing to podcasts, posting on LinkedIn and even writing his own book. In his soon-to-be-released publication, Nelson will share his expertise for the benefit of both veteran and aspiring brokers. “My goal is always to teach someone something new and give someone a new perspective,” said Nelson.
The key to building an online presence and marketing yourself is connecting with clients and a larger network about successes and beneficial information. “I really try to put myself in my clients’ shoes,” Nelson told CPE. “I want to be thinking about what is keeping them up late at night and what is the recent challenge or issue that I can help them navigate.”
Meeting other individuals in person has always been the most impactful way for brokers to build a brand and establish a network. Fortunately, after a long pandemic-related pause, people are back in the office and back to attending industry events.
“We encourage our team: ‘Don’t just be a joiner. Really get involved,’” said Nelson, who sits on the board of several organizations and has co-founded multiple councils and organizations. “I really enjoy bringing people together. I think if you have a leadership role that is super helpful.”
Any means of connecting with others in the industry brings about opportunities to increase your outreach, grow your network and connect with individuals that share something in common: a passion for CRE.