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Commercial Real Estate Broker

John Goodman

Tell us about your work---what do you do? My company is a national commercial real estate brokerage and consulting firm . We represent corporations, professional service firms, and non-profit organizations on strategic planning, and transactional work for the acquisition and/or disposition of commercial real estate . What skills are needed? Many of the people we hire have a strong interest in sales and marketing . A background or ability in financial analysis is a plus. Some employees have backgrounds in law, architecture or consulting which are all helpful but not necessary. This job requires strong negotiation skills . Since we are in a very commission-based business, people should also have strong entrepreneurial skills . Our employees are highly motivated and outgoing people, and/or are highly analytical. What was your major? Economics . How did you get started in your career? I started my career in sales as a broker . I also conducted market research for my company. I collected data on office space and building occupancy rates for a quarterly report published by the company. There are three avenues for entry-level personnel, one is via sales and marketing channels, two is the analytical approach, and the third centers on market research. What experience do you need in this job? A college degree is a requirement, but we hire people with diverse educational and professional backgrounds. We look for smart, highly motivated people. Our most successful employees strive for individual excellence, but are effective in working in a team environment. Describe your "typical" workday: My time is divided between new business development and transactional work. New business development may include calling on prospects by phone or in person, or making presentations to prospective clients. The transactional process involves managing and negotiating real estate transactions for a client. This process includes meeting with potential landlords and with the clients (tenants), and negotiating the details of a deal to conclusion. What is the hardest aspect of your job? The hardest part of this job is developing new business. This is a highly competitive industry. Initially one does a lot of cold-calling and long-term development of business relationships. For a major client, it could take several years to develop a relationship, and potentially another year or two to close a deal. It is difficult to deal with rejection early in one's career. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? The most rewarding aspect of my job is winning an important piece of business, and closing a deal to the satisfaction of my client. I also get great satisfaction out of seeing young people who work hard and achieve success. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? I would recommend developing a financial background while in college. An MBA is useful, but not necessary for success in this field. During your college career, try to secure an internship or job in an area of business that includes sales or cold-calling, or an internship that gives you experience with financial analysis and problem solving. Computer skills are very important. You should develop the ability to conduct research on the Internet and to create analytical decision-making tools. Finally, developing public speaking skills and presentation skills would be very useful.