Good People, Good Brokers: Top Producer Kelly Disser

Kelly Disser is the executive vice president at NAI Hiffman, in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois – and one of our top producers for the year. Kelly has over two decades in the industry, having started his commercial real estate (CRE) career interning at Duke Realty Corporation as a college student athlete, playing Football at Butler University.

Every year at the NAI Global Convention, we celebrate our top producers – brokers managing the highest business volumes in the NAI Global group – and we tap into their expertise to share insight and best practice tips, here on the blog.  

All about the people

Kelly says his favorite part of being a member of the NAI community is meeting good brokers and good people in other markets – and the strength of our local NAI Hiffman office. He’s definitely a people person who says he loves making successes (and money!) for his clients, “because that makes them happy and creates additional trust”.

I love meeting people and have developed some very strong relationships and friendships with some of my clients,” he adds.


Q. What does a typical workday look like for you?

I wake up fairly early , closer to 5:30am every day, and work out then  get insauna and stretch, working and responding to emails as needed. I take my kids to school most days during the school year, by 7:30am. From there I usually head to the office or to a meeting; it’s a case of responding to wherever the day or opportunities or clients take me.

Most seasons I end up coaching atleast one of my kids sports teams…football, basketball, softball, soccer.   There is always something going on, but it is fun – keeps it interesting.   

Q. What CRE trend are you keeping an eye on?

Inflation and interest rates – both continue to increase.  The strength of tenant demand for space has continued to be very strong, which is incredibly encouraging.

Q. What was your biggest achievement in the last year?

Professionally, I’d say a couple of things; further developing our team and partners, and continuing to search for new strong team members, broadening my focus from personal production, achieving top producer in our office (Chicago). I have a great amount of respect and admiration for our perennial top producer Dan Leahy, and had almost thought about giving up on making it a goal to make the top spot.   Personally, I  made it a focus to devote more time to those most important to me. My wife and I enjoyed some nice vacation time together and I strengthened personal relationships with those closest to me – my wife, kids, close friends, family, etc. I think I tried to enjoy what I care about most and not take anything for granted.  Life goes by too fast to not enjoy it and enjoy spending it with people you care about.   

Q. What is your favorite hobby or way of winding down?

I enjoy spending time with my family really in many ways.  This includes playing golf with my wife and kids, taking trips, or just spending time at home or around town.  I also enjoy playing chess and practice yoga.  We recently got a puppy – which I never thought would happen nor would I be significantly involved, but he has been great and a welcome addition bring us all together even more.

Q.  What would be your top broker tip or words of advice for people starting out?

 I’d tell them to focus on these three things:

  1. Relationships (with people who you will want relationships with);
  2. Doing your best every day (don’t waste time);
  3. Be the best broker in your peer group – in your company and in your market. If you succeed in the initial objective, and survive every year, that will have turned into a solid career by your late 30s, 40s, or 50s.
  4. Set aggressive goals on an annual basis but have daily ‘must do’ tasks that lead you to your measurable goals, even if you may not always achieve them.   Never give up

Q. How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?

I think I try to understand what those around me want and understand that they need, and help them get / achieve that.    We try to take strategic approach and different perspective, something I believe I am afforded due to my experiences and finance background. With clients and new client pursuits, we are prepared to “give before we get” – meaning we spend a lot of time securing new clients by providing valuations to earn their business and prove our capability, character, and approach. I also focus on attempting to develop relationships, learning what is important to your clients – even outside of their business lives.  It is nice to get to a point where you have developed a trusting relationship and can have real conversations beyond discussing  “rental rates and sale prices”. Finally, I believe the level of customer service, quality of service and responsiveness differentiate our team.  Its an incredibly competitive marketplace, if we don’t care for our clients, someone else will.