Networking the old fashioned way… digitally

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September 23, 2015

Networking in CRE

We recently had the opportunity to connect with one of the most recognized names in the CRE industry – Allen Buchanan – to get his insights on networking.  His brilliant and entertaining mind did not disappoint.


Ahh networking in the CRE space. Have smoke filled, red velvet clad restaurants with multiple martinis and prime cut livestock been replaced by a Twitter handle? Has CRE’s pass time, the six hour round of golf followed by drinks, dinner and adult entertainment, been usurped by a LinkedIn discussion? Or have broker open houses, conferences…err adult beverage binges…and seminars seen the last of their effectiveness due to our fondness for Instagram? Good thing Instagram wasn’t around in my early days of brokerage…but I digress. In short, do commercial real estate practitioners network any differently today than thirty years ago? In a word NO.


Commercial real estate networking is the same as it was when Jimmy Carter had a secret service code name…it is still a dick wag. Networking to most commercial real estate professionals revolves around how many deals, how much money, and how on Earth am I going to pay the taxes on this income? Commercial real estate brokers network with EACH OTHER…very counter intuitive…because unless you have an occupant and I have an owner that can coexist, no business is transacted. What we really should be after is introductions to owners or occupants of commercial real estate…which none of our “competitors” will make. CRE networking is tantamount to trolling in the men’s locker room. What we seek is in the women’s locker room…so why waste time in the men’s?


In order to efficiently network, you must be willing to GIVE…not just take…and MANY in the CRE space don’t get that. We will take your leads, but heaven forbid we would give anyone a lead.

I believe that I am an effective networker. I believe that in order to get you must be willing to give. I give through the content that I create and the referrals that I make to my strategic partners. My strategic partners come in two distinct flavors…up deal and down deal. I meet with a group of up deal partners monthly. They include a banker, a wealth advisor, an attorney, a business consultant, a CPA, a commercial insurance broker and the chair of a Vistage group. My down deal folks are an alarm company, a commercial mover, a material handling specialist, a direct wireless provider, and a project manager. I have received more introductions and have achieved more satisfaction working with these two groups that ALL of my CRE broker relationships combined!


Now, am I saying that brokerage relationships don’t matter? Of course not! Brokerage cooperation is the KEY to making transactions. But to invest ALL of our networking time “sleeping with the enemy” is pointless.


So, a word about digital networking. It’s all about sharing with no expectation of a return. Go in expecting to get back and you might as well get out! You must be authentic, consistent, and provide valuable content. The best in the digital networking space…Duke, Coy, Barbi, Bo, Linda, Howard, Michael…do just that.

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