Willard Says...

June 24, 2016

Stay Informed

As I mentioned in my previous blog, one of the most critical aspects to succeeding in commercial real estate, or any profession for that matter, is to be on top of all current events. Of course, you cannot simply flip a switch and suddenly become an expert; it takes a sustained devotion to learning as much as possible every chance you get, as demonstrating a working knowledge about your industry will enable you to command instant respect. Here are the most effective methods I’ve found to accomplish this:

1) Faithfully follow all pertinent industry and trade publications on a regular basis. In the world of commercial real estate, this includes Crain’s Chicago Business,, Bisnow, CoStar, the Illinois Real Estate Journal, and the Willard Jones Real Estate Weekly Wrap Up just to name a few. Each publication or website contains valuable information on key occurrences such as recent signed leases, buildings selling or going up for sale, people in the industry changing positions and experts sharing predictions and wisdom about various topics.

2) Read the local newspapers. Whether it is online or good, old fashion hard copies, publications like the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, DNA Info and all neighborhood and suburban newspapers contain valuable information on local events that might impact the real estate industry.

3) Attend seminars and conference events whenever possible. There is no denying that some of these events might not be overly stimulating, but there is some intrinsic benefit in listening to expert speakers in your field share their opinions and theories. These events are also good forums to meet new people who might be willing to share information.

4) Network with fellow industry members. Grab a cup of coffee, a quick lunch or a drink after work and pick the brain of your fellow industry members. Everyone has their own, unique take on market conditions and their own special tidbits of knowledge that they are willing to share. The more people you know, the more useful information you will acquire.

5) Research, research, research. The internet is your friend. Use it to acquire as much background information as possible before going into a meeting, talking to someone on the phone or sending an email. This is a quick and easy tool to building up your genius.

6) Continuing Education. Sure, most real estate brokers and managing brokers dread having to do this every two years. However, it is a necessary evil. It is important to have an all encompassing knowledge of the rules, codes and ethics that govern the industry of choice; this provides a basic roadmap for advising clients.

7) Get out there and do your job. Just in the course of your daily travels, you are likely to pick up on helpful details that will make it easier to do your job more effectively. It is surprising how much you can learn during the course of a random conversation with one of your industry brethren.

After being in any profession for a period of time and especially after having some success, it is human nature to become stubborn and feel like you know everything. That could not be further from the truth. Embrace learning and realize that it never stops. The world is constantly changing and clients want to be up on all of the most recent trends and breakthroughs. The more knowledgeable you demonstrate yourself to be, the better the opportunity you will have to impress people and pick up new business, or maintain existing accounts, in the process.

No matter how much experience you may have, walking into a meeting with the ability to demonstrate a strong working knowledge of your field will allow you to command instant respect. Once that happens, your chances for success increase tenfold.