WKrp Indy

Curt Whitesell

We all know someone that sells commercial real estate or at least know of someone at this point and many times they get thrown into a common crowd of Realtors and just anyone that sells real estate. Unfortunately, they could not be further from being a Realtor or someone that just sells real estate. Ask any commercial broker what they do and you will most likely receive a brilliant, confident and well prepared elevator speech and at some point feel as if you have met the one and only commercial broker on earth. Commercial Brokers are a rare breed in my eyes and historically the successful ones have climbed a pretty steep mountain of broken deals and ego’s to get to where they are. Commercial real estate is an all business profession that has proven itself to have completely passed by the emotional side of real estate and plowed its way into the lions den of deal making. I love it and below I will offer you up a view of the traits that make the top commercial brokers the best in the game and the stripes to go along with it.


1. Confidence – To sell big real estate and walk a prospective client into a mountain of debt with your new idea takes a big pile of confidence. Commercial brokering is not about falling in love with a space but selling a new opportunity. The successful brokers stand toe to toe with all industry experts and convince them that they probably know more about their location and space and how it affects their business then they the owner do. No confidence in Commercial Real Estate – No Commissions….. Guaranteed!

2. Connected – Within the first few minutes of meeting a commercial broker you will be given a short break down of accomplishments and deals made that would qualify them to work for you on your project. The best way to do this is dropping names and letting you know that they have done deals for the best in business. The best commercial brokers will work their way through your contact list and find a top associate to cross connect between you and them as quickly as possible. Many times these brokers do not have an interview period so they offer the interview themselves. “You know ________ ?, I did his lease up at the __________ project.” This immediately qualifies them in your eyes as capable and the last thing you want to do is not use the best amongst colleagues, so pay attention and be amazed at the number of brokers that have somehow worked the same hot project for your friends.

3. Market Knowledge – Commercial Brokers make a living at knowing what is happening where and who is a part of it. Want to know the best new place for retail growth ahead of time? Ask a commercial broker. Want to know what city is on the cusp of redevelopment or investment opportunities? Ask a commercial broker. Want to know where the best new restaurants are? Ask a commercial broker. This is one of the value’s that brokers bring to a deal for their clients and should be leveraged by investors and developers. The top brokers have an ongoing market list of “up and coming” and “gotta be their” locations for retail, office and developers. This is where the brokers often earn their money.

4. Side Projects – Because commercial brokers have their eyes on a project early or know who is making moves way before the public typically knows, they also get to take a stab at those opportunities before the public gets to. So they have side projects like actually owning the real estate they sell or putting together triple net investment groups to capitalize on that first hand knowledge. They also like to race cars, gamble in Vegas and pretty much anything that seems like a high risk/reward experience. The top commercial brokers are many times the top money makers in a town and they have proven more then capable of finding fun things to do with those commission checks.

5. Business Wise – Whats that mean? Commercial brokers spend everyday helping new companies and retailers try new things at new locations and they also see what works and what does not. There is a long list of locations that do not work for restaurants and if it weren’t for the big commission check coming from their landlord client, that restaurant deal would be shunned and warning flags everywhere. They see vacant spaces and hear why a company may have not done well and also see expanding companies that have a edge on the market. Obviously no one knows more about their business then those in that business but commercial brokers seem to have an amazing pulse on whats working and what doesn’t stand a chance. Now getting them to come off that info may be the real trick.

As a commercial broker myself and absolutely loving the business I enjoy meeting new brokers each and every day. While we can be a tough nut to crack or a little full of ourselves, we remain a necessary part of business development in our communities. Hopefully this was a little fun mixed with honest experience and beyond that a measure to who you are working with. For more info on commercial real estate in your area feel free to contact me at curt@wkrpindy.com or 317.698.2700 as well as everywhere at #wkrpindy .