Finding your core, your passion, the things that keep you motivated isn’t always easy. Maintaining your passion and your focus can be tough sometimes, especially in the CRE game. But hey, if it were easy everyone would be doing it! That’s why we’re flippin’ and bouncin’ last week’s TOP 5 Things You Should HATE About CRE list into this one. I had a lot of fun writing both and I hope everyone enjoys them. You might even find it beneficial, or even enlightening, to take a few minutes to make you own lists on the 5 things you love and hate most about the CRE biz, or your job, or your firm…. It’s a GREAT tuneup for your perspective and you’re likely to walk away feeling a bit more empowered and excited to be a part of an industry so many people love. Let’s go!
#5 THE BUILDINGS
Technically speaking it should be “improvements”, but you get the point. The buildings are usually what it’s all about. We get to be part of an industry with a great end product that defines so many cities and influences many businesses and lives. Whether it’s a historic office high rise in Chicago, a beautiful art deco apartment in South Beach, a department store on Fifth Ave, a refrigerated warehouse the Midwest, or even that corner office you fantasize about we all get to be a part of something that you can see, touch, feel… and more importantly SELL. Not every industry offers something so real, so tangible and that’s one thing you gotta love about CRE.
#4 THE NUMBERS
When I was younger I remember looking up at the skyline of New York, Philly, or Chicago and wondering How does it all work? How does it all make sense? Why is it here? Now I know, or at least I have an idea. The devil’s in the details and every deal has a story to tell. Crunching the numbers is a great way to find out the story that lies beneath those beautiful photoshopped images and architectural renderings glossing the cover of an offering memorandum. It’s not always fun and can be a bit like solving a mystery. A multimillion dollar mystery! You don’t only need to be comfortable with basic underwriting, but also sales metrics like calls, meetings, lead conversions, etc. Because if you don’t have a clue on the numbers you “won’t last”, as they say in the resi game. That and if a deal’s numbers don’t make dollars, then it don’t make sense.
#3 THE MONEY
Cash Rules Everything Around Me! Just kidding. If that were true it’d probably rank higher than #3. Not many folks get into the biz strictly for their love of excel, passion for reading leases and loan docs, or the wonderful feeling of having your deal drop dead. Just DEAD. Not even a call back or anything. We’ve all been there. You are not alone. That’s why you gotta have thick skin, razor sharp focus and the ability to march forth like the Terminator if you want to make it in this biz. Let’s be honest the money is a great motivator. Not just because cashin’ checks n’ snappin’ necks satiates the ego. But also because it’s empowering. The money adds depth to our core by helping us take control of our lives and allowing us more influence over the things we care about. Any seasoned CRE vet will tell you it is NOT all about the money, it’s about providing value to others, building relationships and focusing on doing great deals.
#2 THE DEALS
The properties, the numbers, the money put em all together and you got yourself a deal. Doing deals is akin to fishing, or whatever other competitive analogy you prefer, in that so many things need to go right in order to land that fish, score that goal or curl that stone. And RARELY does everything go right which is why I call CRE “The Game of One Percents”, and no that’s not a knock on politically divisive stereotypes. It’s just a cold hard fact. Think about it. For most less than 1% of your efforts in CRE yield direct results (see #3 on this list). We are constantly prospecting, putting out fires, lining up the next deal, looking to close and yes even having deals get away from us. But somehow we manage to keep marching forth like that T1000 and throwing that line out there just enough for us to hook the deal and reel it in. Your chances of making it are low, you will see many people fail miserably, quit, or just never make any real headway and YES most of the same players and teams are winning most of the deals. Heck, it’s almost as stressful as it is fun! The only thing that beats the thrill of the chase, which can be VERY unthrilling at times, is the excitement of closing the deal. Followed by the postclosing high of paying your “fair share” of taxes the first commission check is always the most soul crushing. Now get back out there and SELL, SELL, SELL!
#1 THE CULTURE AND THE PEOPLE
“It’s all about relationships.” If you ever went to a networking event or conference you’re likely to hear that saying a few hundred times before the hors d’oeuvre are even served (chicken satay again??). There’s a reason that saying, and others like it, are repeated so often, because it really is at the core of the game. There are quite a few different personality types in CRE, but at the core we are usually all VERY hard working, risk takers ranging from the calculated to the outright maniacal, outgoing, and the words “NO” don’t really slow us down a bit. What’s weird is we actually think we’re normal. HA! We’re far from it folks! The illusion manifests as a result of over immersion in our own universe (the Deal Space) and within our tribe of friends/colleagues/clients. We usually don’t even notice until we’re talking to someone from outside of CRE. Conversations with NonCRE people and the nondeal making public can be quite disillusioning. It goes something like: “Hey, you DO real estate. What kind of loan should I get to renovate my mancave?” or with friends “Man, I’m up for a promotion AND a raise. This could mean another $2 an HOUR!” or “This deal better close. I spent ALL WEEK on it.”
All shallow condescending chuckles aside, to make it in the CRE biz means you can’t be normal. You CANNOT settle for average, fall into an easy routine, ask for permission, or wait for your success to be granted. Being normal in this biz will get you NOWHERE. And what makes the culture and the people of this industry so unique and great is that most of us get it. The successful people have all been there, done that and will do anything they can to help you do the same. That is rare in most fields. Especially where it’s a winner take all game.