Passive Real Estate Brokers…Striving for Mediocrity

Considering the current challenges in the global economy and the commercial real estate marketplace, it is amazing that a few brokers continue to take a laid-back and nonchalant attitude toward their business, their clients, and their potential customers.  

While this type of attitude may exist across all segments of the commercial real estate industry, and other industries for that matter, I have most recently experienced this confusing approach with a handful of landlord representatives.  Even more disturbing is the adversarial used car salesman-like tactics I continue to see proffered by some low-rent brokers.

These brokers even use terms that support their largess on their path to mediocrity.  They “show” their landlords’ properties.  Showing anything to another person basically says: “Here it is, see for yourself.”  Showing something only permits a view of what’s on the surface. That’s exactly the problem.  Showing property won’t accomplish anyone’s objective in an over-supplied commercial real estate market!  The most successful brokers I’ve met, those who represent either landlords or tenants, understand that not merely showing a property but, presenting it in its best light, and providing insight as to both its attributes and its short-comings is the optimal approach to inspiring a potential tenant to consider it as a possible future corporate home.

Interestingly, I have found more passive brokers representing buildings, than on the buyer or tenant side.  But, these brokers do not represent the majority of the landlord representation segment of the commercial real estate brokerage industry.  Passive brokers can sometimes afford to be more sedate, as they wait for the phone to ring and  look like heroes.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking landlord and property brokers…not at all!  I’m just fed up with the lazy ones and those who simply don’t do their job!  Some of the most impressive professionals in commercial real estate today are property brokers who understand that their success is directly related to their ability to support the objectives of their clients (landlords), while serving the needs of their customers (tenants and their brokers).

Passive brokers don’t return your calls right away, they take their time opening the emails you send them, let alone responding.  And, when they do respond to your emails, it is often in only a few words, poorly written without punctuation or proper grammar, leaving you to figure out what the heck they mean.  Passive brokers can usually be identified by sloppy and incomplete proposals and offers, and by missed deadlines attached to a long list of excuses and promises never to do it again. 

As competitors, I like passive brokers for one reason; it is pretty darned easy to win against them.  And, most often, they don’t even see successful brokers coming!  So, why do I care?  Because I must deal with them when they represent transactional opponents, and they get in the way.  Moreover, these kind of devil-may-care brokers, most of whom will put in less than an 8 hour day (even in this economy!) perpetuate too many of the negative stereotypes that many of us in the commercial real estate services industry work so hard to quash!

So, in a hard scrabble business like commercial real estate, in the worst economy in decades, do you really want to be one of those laid-back, wait-for-the-phone-to-ring types?  If so, then go sell something else, and get out-of-the-way!  There are some pretty hard-working brokers in commercial real estate who prefer not to have to step over you on their way to serving their clients and customers!

Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.   Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America.  By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit http://www.RealStrat.com.

Acquire new ideas about commercial real estate at RealStrat’s blog at http://www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com.   Follow RealStrat and Andrew Zezas at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

Check out The Executive’s Guide to Understanding Corporate Real Estate Transactions.

Where is Andrew Zezas?

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2010.  All Rights Reserved. 

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2 Responses to “Passive Real Estate Brokers…Striving for Mediocrity”


  1. 1 Denis Rosu December 22, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I agree, it’s totally easy to beat these types of brokers – just get back to every client the same day! The problem becomes that they start giving the profession as a whole a very poor image.


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