Why a commercial real estate agent needs to be like a bungee cord!

Don’t lose it just yet…stick with me for a minute and it will all make sense.

Wednesday I was getting ready for my regular sales meeting, I was thinking about what “wisdom” I wanted to impart to my salespeople, and there it was…a bungee cord! Yes, a bungee cord!

I picked up the bungee cord and stretched it, bent it, watched it snap back into shape, and I thought what useful purpose does it serve?
I decided to play a game of “Table Topics” (if you’re a Toastmaster you know what I mean). I asked everyone to tell me about the bungee cord. One agent volunteered that it was flexible, one said stretchy, one said resilient, one said strong, and one said it was used to secure things.

Eureka…I had my ideas!

I told them that like a bungee cord a good commercial real estate agent is flexible. Why flexible? Because the one and only constant in commercial real estate is change. Frequently, the best-laid plans blow up, implode, or cease to be relevant to the task at hand. A good commercial agent assesses the situation and modifies their approach…they flex and bend to the new situation.

A good commercial agent is always stretching…pushing the boundaries of their skills, knowledge, and expertise. Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s is quoted as saying “Are you green and growing or ripe and rotting?” Tony Robbins talks about people having “30 years of experience…or 30 one-year experiences”. Commercial real estate is constantly changing, evolving, and shifting…are you keeping up with it or are you having another “1-year” experience?

A bungee is resilient…you can stretch it, bend it, tie it, and yet it always snaps back to its original shape. In commercial real estate, you are going to take some hits. There will be setbacks, there will be upsets, there will be problems. It’s not possible to avoid them, in fact, you should welcome them. If there is not a problem in a commercial real estate deal…that’s a problem. No problems…no deal. Problems are how you know the transaction is moving forward. You will get knocked down…it’s how you get back up that is the hallmark of success in our business.

I had an agent working for me that seemed to only come to life and work on a transaction when it was on “death’s door”. In fact, I told her I was going to buy her a crash cart (like the use in the Emergency Room) because it seemed that she only worked on a deal when it was on life support. She probably lost as many as she saved, but she was right back at it the next day and onto the next deal.

One characteristic that was mentioned was being strong or tough. This ties in well with resilience and is part of the same process. You must be strong to prospect every day, you must be strong to face the rejection, you must be strong to maintain the discipline required to succeed. If you can’t bring yourself to hear the word “No” you career will be short lived. Hundreds of agents leave the business every year because they are not strong enough to take the actions necessary to succeed in the business.

If you have the strength to face the challenges, the rejection, the problems, the rewards can be great…even massive! Think of the challenges, rejection, problems as the price you pay…your capital outlay to get into this business. There is no business that doesn’t have a cost of entry…either in monetary terms or “sweat equity”.

Finally, security. A bungee cord provides a measure of security, whether in keeping something from shifting and breaking, falling off, or getting lost. One of my agents is a professional firefighter and Toastmaster. He described how the fire department uses bungee cords in rescue operations that routinely save lives.

Just like a bungee cord, a commercial agent who practices from a position of strength, flexibility, and resilience will provide a level of security. If you are in possession of those qualities…good market, bad market, sideways market you will be able to succeed in the business and prosper. You will be able to secure a lifestyle that many agents never achieve, and your skills are portable. Your skills and attitude go with you, so if you change markets you take your “business” with you. And unlike the corporate myth of “cradle-to-grave” employment, you take your “business” where ever you go.

If you fully inculcate those attributes, you carry your security with you. You can provide for yourself, your family, and make a real difference. I say be a commercial real estate “bungee cord” be flexible, strong, resilient, and strive to stretch yourself expand your boundaries, learn new skills, and watch your “security” increase and explode.

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