For Real Estate Sales Professionals

February 27, 2006 Ezine

February 27, 2006



































Read by More Than 30,000 Agents

Always be determined to become the
best real estate agent in your territory!

In this Issue:

1) It's Time to Make Buyer and Tenant Rep Exclusives Normal Practice

2) Revisiting a Great Commercial Real Estate Book

1) It's Time to Make Buyer and Tenant Rep Exclusives Normal Practice

Having exclusive listings to sell and lease commercial properties was not always the norm for commercial agents. Fortunately for me during my career, I worked in the industrial sector of Downtown Los Angeles, an area dominated by the AIR Commercial Real Estate Association (formerly known as the American Industrial Real Estate Association). This commercial real estate trade Association, which I became President of in 1994, is unlike any other commercial real estate Association in the United States, and maybe even in the world. We've had state-of-the-art forms and addenda for every kind of commercial real estate transaction now for decades. We created which was to our knowledge the first ever DOS-based commercial real estate multiple listing service in existence. And when Windows was released, we created again to our knowledge the first ever Windows-based commercial real estate MLS. Back then Windows was so new that our only real option was to have Microsoft themselves write the MLS program for us, and they told us that no other real estate organization, residential or commercial, had ever created a Windows-based MLS at that time. My, how so much has changed since then!

In talking with the commercial brokers who had been in the industry long before I began, including highly respected industry veteran and acclaimed "Master of Industrial Brokerage" (MIB) Al Rose, it was interesting to learn what life was like as a commercial broker before the AIR created its original industrial property MLS back in the 1960s.

"Exclusive listings were rare," Al told me. "What you would see is industrial buildings with sometimes 6-8 brokerage company signs on them, indicating that the buildings were available. And brokers would try to get from the owners what was then called 'exclusive sign rights,' meaning that the property was still not listed, but your company now was the only company authorized to have it's sign on it. But this all changed once the multiple listing service came along and became the norm."

And changed in a big way, too. This is because building owners wanted the exposure that the MLS offered their buildings, but in order to get their buildings in the MLS they had to sign an exclusive listing agreement with one brokerage company. So in a very short period of time, signing an exclusive listing went from being something undesirable in the minds of many owners, to something very desirable for them indeed.

But here we are now decades later, and exclusive representation for buyers and tenants has still not become the norm in our industry. The most successful brokers in the business are very good at getting prospective buyers and lessees to work with them exclusively, but there are a lot of commercial brokers out there running around with companies on a non-exclusive basis. The problem here is there is so much time being wasted by many commercial brokers in their businesses because of this.

Think about it for a moment...If four agents are working for four different brokerage companies, each one trying to locate a 50,000 square-foot building for a particular company to buy, in the end three of the four agents will have completely wasted all their time and energy. This represents a huge amount of agent-hours continually being wasted every year for agents who continue to work this way. And maximizing the amount of money an agent makes for every hour they work will completely determine the amount of money that agent makes throughout the year.

So what's the answer for solving this dilemma? Well here are a couple of suggestions:

1) Agents must be trained better on how much time they're wasting out of their productive lives by working with prospects on a non-exclusive basis. And they also need to be trained better on how to make great presentations that have prospects say, "Yes" to them whenever they ask for an exclusive representation agreement.

2) In learning from what I've written above about how much the introduction of the MLS transformed the industrial real estate brokerage business in L.A. in the 1960s, and how much owners began wanting to list their properties exclusively because of this, perhaps now is the time to offer the same kind of exposure for exclusive representation of prospective tenants and buyers in the MLS, too.

Let's face it, most transactions are done with one broker representing the owner, while another broker normally represents the buyer or lessee. What about creating a MLS feature that gives the same kind of exposure currently given to exclusive building listings, to exclusive agreements signed between agents and prospective buyers and lessees? If this is done correctly and marketed with the right approach, it could be a genuine incentive for companies to sign more exclusive representation agreements. And agents who know of properties that may fit the potential buyer's or lessee's requirements as posted in the MLS, can contact the agent representing the company directly. You just never know when an agent may know of a property you don't that could fit perfectly for the client you're running with.

And if we can make exclusive representation the norm when representing buyers and lessees, imagine how many wasted hours we'll be saving within the industry that can now be directed towards activities that agents will actually get paid on! And in the process, the brokerage companies will make more money, too.

In all honestly, there are far too many hours being wasted in our industry by agents working with buyers and lessees on a non-exclusive basis. As I mentioned earlier, only one agent will get paid in all of these situations, while the other agents working with these prospects will waste hours, days, and weeks of their time.

It's time we finally did something about this so agents spend more of their time working productively, instead of hoping they'll reach the finish line running with their prospects before their competition does.

Click here for downloadable E-books and live audio interviews with top-producing real estate agents. These interviews are with industry experts who show you exactly what they do to continually make hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars a year.

2) Revisiting a Great Commercial Real Estate Book

When I first began working in commercial real estate back in 1979, I was told to read the book "Winning Through Intimidation" by Robert Ringer. This book was a top seller in the 1970s, and it's been one of the best selling business books of all time. What made this book even more relevant was the fact that Robert Ringer wrote it based upon his own experience as a commercial real estate agent, selling expensive investment properties all across the country.

I remember when I first heard the title of the book it made me cringe. I had this vision of someone forcing people to do things against their will to get what he wanted from them. But this is far, far from what this book is really about, and its value to commercial real estate salespeople is beyond measure.

I remember when first reading the book, Ringer talked about how there are only three types of people in the business world, and all of them are out to get your money. I also remember thinking that he was being a bit excessive with this opinion, too. But I can honestly say, after practicing as a commercial agent for 20 years, that Ringer was right on with this assessment. I have to struggle to think of any principals I knew in my commercial real estate career who didn't fit this description. Some of them may have been friendly, well-intentioned people, but in the end, if we were discussing whether my commission should go into my pocket or help reduce their own expenses instead, they almost always wanted what was best for themselves.

And I remember watching a talk show back then when the book was really popular, too. There was a priest on the show, and he mentioned that "Winning Through Intimidation" was the wrong approach for anyone to be utilizing with others in this day and age. And I could tell when the priest was discussing this, that he had simply judged the book by its cover without reading it.

Ringer's form of intimidation throughout the book was absolutely brilliant. He talked about creating an image of yourself as an agent that was so incredible in the eyes of your clients and prospects, that they would feel compelled to work with you. One of the best examples of this was when he'd have his first appointment with a prospective new seller, sometimes even flying across the country for the appointment. Now imagine the impression he created in the seller's mind when he walked into the meeting with three of his personal secretaries accompanying him! What kind of commercial agent would fly across the country with three secretaries along with him to attend the first meeting? Clearly someone who was above and beyond being the average agent.

And he talked about the difference between closing a transaction and getting paid on it, which can be two very distinct and different occurrences in our industry. Since many of the states he was closing transactions in were non-escrow states, he developed the practice of bringing his own attorney to these closings to ensure against any last-minute foul play between the principals and their attorneys to cut him out of his commission. He recognized, as I later recognized throughout my own career in commercial real estate, that attorneys seem to have an unwritten law of complete mutual respect amongst themselves. Many of them may have minimal respect for you as a commercial real estate agent, but when the agent brings his own attorney along with him to the closing, they treat that attorney with the respect the agent needs to get paid.

If you've never read "Winning Through Intimidation" before, and you're a commercial agent, I can't recommend the book highly enough to you. And if it's been a long time since you've read it, reading it again will probably have a deeper impact on you with your greater amount of experience in our industry. I just finished re-reading the book 25 years after I read it for the first time, and I enjoyed it even more this time!

The book "Winning Through Intimidation" is no longer in print, but previously owned copies of it can be found on by clicking here.

In addition, Ringer has written a more recent book titled, "To Be or Not to Be Intimidated? That is the Question." And reviewers of this book say it's an updated version of "Winning Through Intimidation" with some additional information included also. If you're interested in information on this particular book, it can be found on by clicking here.

If you'd like to read an article recently written by Robert Ringer titled "Intimidated? Ways to Ensure Your Commission," you can click here. Much of this article is taken directly from his "Winning Through Intimidation" book, and if you're a commercial agent I bet you can identify with it!

Commercial real estate sales and leasing can be a very difficult business to be in. There are great opportunities to make a lot of money in our industry, but there are a lot of people along the way who try to keep us from making that money, too. "Winning Through Intimidation" is like a breath of fresh air to read when you're a commercial agent. You can easily find yourself saying, "Finally, here's someone who understands exactly what I go through every day in this business!" And let's face it, very few people understand what we go through in our day-to-day lives as commercial agents.

And in closing, thank you Robert Ringer for writing this book. From one "tortoise" to another, it's been a great help to me throughout my real estate career, and throughout my life also.

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