By Buddy Kane




Got a call last week from a past client interested in selling one of his properties. Having dealt with him previously, I was well versed in his fly by knight style and approach. Upon fielding his inquiry, I listened with an experienced awareness, knowing what cues to look for that would help me cut through an extended dialogue and boil it down to exactly what it was he wanted from me. What ensued from this point was an opportunity to apply an evolving philosophy I’ve learned the hard way over a longer period of time.

First, some background to provide context. Looking back on my student years, school was not my finest hour, aside from some extra-curriculars. Academics was never a strong suit of mine. Lotta D’s…

Like most mediocre high school students, I resorted to lazier, more desperate measures to get me through. But my efforts in the form of guessing, getting a copy of the test in advance, or cheating off the girl next to me never helped if I had to show my work, how I actually arrived at my answers. Amazingly, teachers wouldn’t accept that I did all the work in my head…

The message was clear: “No Ticky, No Laundry…” More D’s….

Now, if I had it to do over I wouldn’t trade the struggle, only the amount of time it took me to achieve the same results I could have gotten if I did almost nothing and refocused my efforts on more productive pursuits. Time became the traded currency. I could spend it where and how I chose.  I lacked traceable results.

This was reflected in my overall performance. I remember it all too well, as it usually ended badly for me. Unless, I could better understand where and how to invest my time. It’s a moving target for all of us.

Looking back, who knew that taking shortcuts and cutting corners wasn’t the way to go?

The choice was clear: Continue to just trade time for money, or begin buying more meaningful time with the same capital.

The voice in the back of my head still smacks me around whenever I feel compelled to mail it in, hoping for the best. Better off just doing something else altogether than half-assing it. The voice of reason that tells me to abort certain missions is now unmistakable.

Its amusing to me that this is how a large portion of the world still operates, wagering on hope and luck. We can all use some luck at times but luck alone is not a strategy.


Exhibit A:

Back to the client conversation previously mentioned. Upon receiving his proposal, I responded with a list of questions needed to determine a projected market value of the property regarding its highest and best use, zoning restrictions, building dimensions, cost to construct, forecasted revenues/expenditures, and a host of other details that would only serve to bore you further at this point, but critical to the first steps of an effective Marketing --- and Sales process.

This isn’t some code of conduct I’m spearheading. Far from it. If anything I’d rather push the limits of “accepted” conduct. It’s a conscious choice that increases the chances of consummating a deal and avoids wasting anyone's time, mostly my own. It’s done to accurately and effectively market the property to prospective Buyers, presented in a way that speaks directly to their bottom line, creating a match with the Seller. This is the beauty of commercial real estate. Its business, the numbers work or they don’t. The emotional influence commonly witnessed in residential real estate is mostly checked at the door. The endgame here is the ability to orchestrate deals that come together and actually close. Many commercial deals often crumble in the 11th hour due to a lack of proactive due diligence performed in advance.

Because of this, the real Marketing is the numbers. Its the analyses. The pretty pictures, flowery language and facebook posts of residential brokerage are great, but that’s only the beginning. This alone won’t get you to 1st base. That’s just posturing. Anybody can do that. The most effective marketing aggressively educates in a way that triggers actionable means, providing a sketched framework investors are motivated to acquire. Real Marketing is the setup, paving the way to a Sale. They work in tandem. It’s John Wetteland and Mariano Rivera in ‘96.

Answers to the questions I submitted to the seller were engineered to execute this very brand of marketing campaign, crafted to solidify the ultimate transfer of title. By showing our work up front, we could attract qualified and educated investors in a calculated process capable of producing timely results.

My assignment was simple: Get the necessary intel, do the homework up front, or pass on the deal.

This approach will sound crazy to most agents, given the depleted levels of inventory and revenue shortfalls at this time. Many will take whatever “listings” they can get at this point and roll the dice at the behest of their clients. But the lesson here to me is simple: invest time and energy in areas that get all parties paid, rather than just staying “busy”, incurring sunk costs and expenses in the process.  

In the meantime, line up a side hustle stream of income and insulate yourself from chasing deals that will never close, draining you of your time, energy, resources and sanity.

Alas, answers to my questions would never arrive. True to form, I was notified the seller had no interest in answering the stated questions, only to list the property for a multiple amount of what he paid for it. His logic citing the “market being hot”.

In the end, what he wanted was to “test” the market, and wanted me to do it for him, divorced from any tangible chances of sale. A mighty sweet offer…

I followed up the next day to hear it from him directly. No answer.

I left him a message. No response.

I hope he’s well....  

 -Buddy Kane

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