Broker Tips: Learn On The Job… And From The Best

For commercial real estate (CRE) brokers just starting out, learning the ropes can be a daunting task. Everything from contract negotiations to managing clients is par for the course – and that’s without even touching on the challenges specific to their market or sector.

One of the most valuable resources available to any new broker in that context is the experience and knowledge held by colleagues. Especially those who’ve been in the industry for years.  

With that in mind, we launched our “broker tips” series as a way of sharing insights and advice from some of the top minds in the NAI Global network.

For this edition, we chatted with Neil Kilian, the head of NAI Emory Hill’s commercial brokerage division.  Neil is a seasoned CRE all-rounder with an impressive track record and wide-ranging experience of property sectors, investments, and development scenarios. Here’s what he had to say.

Follow through and do

The most important soft skill brokers should have, says Neil, is follow through.

He notes: “Make sure you address everything on your to-do list. Deal with all the action items on your active transactions. Return calls and emails, and make sure you’re never leaving any threads hanging.”

Know your market

Another big part of the job is staying up to date on what’s happening in the market and keeping an eye on dominant trends.

At the moment, Neil notes that the maturing debt situation and troubled office assets are both on his radar as we watch to see where the market goes in light of recent events.

Learn through experience

Neil also points out that new brokers can learn a lot from both personal experience and the expertise of others. His top advice? “Focus on prospecting – that’s how you’re going to get ahead.”

He adds: “A new broker should also be spending as much time as possible with their mentor. You should be shadowing your mentor and picking up everything you can from how they conduct themselves and do business.”

That’s it for this edition but be sure to check back soon for more succinct tips from the minds of NAI’s top experts. Until then, we echo Neil’s advice of learning from the best, and urge brokerages to keep in mind the value of providing strong mentorship programs to help new professionals build a career in CRE.