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Riis Christensen: 14 Surefire Ways to Become a CRE Dinosaur

I continue to marvel at the evolution, longevity, and production of brokers like Thom Clark and Wayne Swearingen. I started to think about their impressive ongoing success and enthusiasm versus the ways that many brokers have failed to evolve or have become extinct over the years.
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Riis Christensen
Riis Christensen

I continue to marvel at the evolution, longevity, and production of brokers like Thom Clark and Wayne Swearingen. I started to think about their impressive ongoing success and enthusiasm versus the ways that many brokers have failed to evolve or have become extinct over the years.

So here’s my list of 14 surefire ways to become a commercial real estate dinosaur:

1. Keep thinking that social media is having a drink with Dale Hanson between broadcasts. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are what pubescent teens use to communicate. Because, hey—fire and the wheel were just fads, too.

2. Be a generalist. Don’t specialize in a product type, market, or industry. Rep a nail salon. List a bait shop. Sell a doublewide. Know a little about a lot. Be an expert about nothing.

3. Never walk buildings or submarkets. That would take you away from your ball chair, Dr. Dre headphones, double-caff latte, and bank of computer monitors. Just pull expirations and square footages off of CoStar. See America last.

4. Keep Lone-Rangering it without benefit of other people’s relationships, skill sets, market, and product knowledge. That way you can keep 100 percent of nothing.

5. Don’t learn new tricks. Sit, beg, and commission rollover are the only three that really matter. Just take MCE for 10 minutes every two years. Because learning how large of a mortgage an ex-Coastguardsman can qualify for is so perfectly relevant to what we do, right?

6. Don’t have any accountability with another broker or manager on your hours, calls, appointments, or production. You’re a big boy or girl and swim in the deep end now. Accountability is kiddy pool stuff.

7. Don’t keep any powder dry. Spend like there’s no tomorrow. Your gargantuan production last year is a surefire indication of what’s to come this year. Grab a Mercedes or two and strap on a 30-year ARM for an eight-bedroom home.

8. Don’t set actual face-to-face meetings with prospective clients. Just send them annoying spammy e-mails, leave them lots of messages, and drop off coffee-table books without actually every seeing anybody. Be a faceless commodity and not a problem-solver. And always take no for an answer.

9. Let outside distractions rule your time in the business slot. Play some Words With Friends. Pay some bills. Buy something on eBay. BS with co-workers. Post some selfies on Snapchat. (Write a blog for D Magazine’s D Real Estate Daily?) And certainly don’t plan what you’ll do tomorrow today.

10. Keep thinking that you’ll never lose existing clients. Surely a 25-30 percent per year attrition rate is impossible for you, you big stud(ette). Just keep doing deals with the same companies and never replace them or add to the list.

11. Keep looking in your rear view mirror talking about some enormous deal you did back in ’85 when a loaf of bread was a nickel. Don’t focus down the road on future business pursuits. Rest on your a…, uh laurels (wreaths given to ancient Olympic victors. Never mind).

12. Don’t ever stop to sharpen your ax (or to invest in a big Poulan 48″ chainsaw). Stagnate, don’t innovate. Because this is the way you’ve been doing it for years, and it’s as comfy as a plus-sized Barcalounger in full recliner mode with a cold Shiner in the cup holder armrest. Change is for wet and soiled babies.

13. Just focus on rate, operating expenses, tenant finish, and parking, and get on to the next deal. Who really needs a renewal option or cleaning specs? And don’t read leases or contracts. That’s what attorneys are for.

14. Screw (over) other brokers (including those in your own shop) and re-trade deals with everyone. Your father’s word was his bond, but you’re exempt if it isn’t in writing and enforceable in a court of law. The truth is flexible.

So non-Raptors, follow these 14 surefire steps and you’ll be Jurassic pork in no time.

Riis Christensen was born in the Pleistocene era and earned a doctoral degree in cultural brokerage anthropology from Transwestern in Dallas. He also earned a desk and telephone MBA from several now defunct institutions over his 30+ years in CRE. His large, erect and well-preserved skeleton is currently on display at Providence Towers. Contact him at [email protected]

 

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