Commercial Real Estate

CRE Opinion: 30 Years of Age vs. 30 Years of Experience

Millennials and baby boomers may have different perspectives, but both camps bring value to the table.

Emily Rankin of Transwestern

Isn’t it interesting how people of various ages and experience conduct their business on a daily basis? Things that some value as most important are considered by others as small-scale items. The experience of any number of years can affect the way you view a deal, the way you perceive the market, and determine how you will respond. In some form or fashion we are all dealing with the same struggles, day in and day out, no matter what our age and experience may be.

Young people in their 20s and 30s are continually wondering where they can pick up a new prospect, consistently inquiring for help from more seasoned minds on the creativity of a deal, networking and looking for any kind of connection via school, church, or children’s activities. They constantly ask to sit in on meetings and observe deals in order to pick up new ways to work with clients or insight on how to respond to tough negotiations. They are always asking questions to sound out their differences in opinions, or to position themselves with information that their competitors don’t know in order to gain an advantage. It’s not a light jog around the block—the hustle is unreal! To top it off, the millennial brain truly operates differently, and this unique outlook and attitude often perplexes other generations. The book “Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business” by Jason Dorsey describes us perfectly. It’s worth a read.

To the 20 to 30-plus year seasoned brokers who have been around long enough to see the market cycle more than they care to mention, their perspectives are vastly different from the younger generation of brokers, due to their years of hard work and efforts. Most of their prospecting consists of referrals from their existing clients and in my opinion, that’s the best compliment of all! They may call up old colleagues and discuss deal points offline to get a transaction done (reminds me of a gentleman’s agreement), or meet at the country club on a Friday morning to take clients golfing. They are the respected, go-to brokers who are running the meetings on big pitches, and everyone on their team supports their opinions. These veterans have had so many listings and/or tenant clients over the years that they are even in-tune with what’s going on with the tenants next door. In turn, they can provide industry information to new prospects to display the value of their market knowledge.

I feel the most impressive acknowledgement of a seasoned broker’s expertise is when he or she is contacted by the media and given a platform to comment on what is happening in Dallas-Fort Worth or in the industry, in general. They are respected enough to have the floor, so to speak, and by virtue of their extensive experience of several decades in the business grind,  their outlook can potentially shape what direction the market will go. What great knowledge and what great responsibility they have!

So yes, the differences can be night and day between these two groups—the millennials and the baby boomers—and their perspectives follow suit by being at opposite ends of the spectrum. Our similarities are that we have the same thoughts during the day: How do I stay relevant? Where can I make a difference? How will technology affect this deal or this client? How can I balance my time effectively?

The bar has been raised quite a few notches and it will continue to be raised just as fast as technology is changing our world. We millennials are ever-evolving, trying to find our place, and developing the unique value we bring to the commercial real estate community.

Emily Rankin is a senior associate at Transwestern.