Posted: June 28, 2017 by Paul Cohen, Regional Director
New to Commercial Real Estate?
Read these 10 books and accelerate your career
It started in the 1990’s and is becoming more and more pervasive. I’m talking about the new wave of brokers and their shocking lack of reading.
I noticed it first when junior brokers in my firm would start using basic phrases that every salesperson from the pre-nineties era, who had studied the likes of Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar and Jim Rohn, would never say. Like “You wouldn’t want to make an offer on this property, would you?” I’d cringe and then take them aside, thrusting a copy of Tom Hopkins “How to Master the Art of Selling” into their hands. Months later it was clear they hadn’t read it. I once wrote on the second chapter of "See You at the Top" by Zig Ziglar, "When you read this, come and see me and I’ll give you $100." They never asked for the money but did tell me they enjoyed the book.
I have given this some thought over the years. Why do these gen-Xrs think they can just wing it? I’ve watched these brokers “grow up” in the business and they make money based upon sheer determination, smiles and their ability to instinctively connect with some clients. However, because they don’t know why they do what they do, they sometimes don’t get the business and have no idea why. Generally, they blame the client, the market or a competitor but the fact is, it’s them. I explain that sales in commercial real estate is a skill that needs to be honed and practiced. Just willing something to happen doesn’t make it so. Learning to build rapport, ask questions, growing a business over time are fundamentals that seem to be missing from the “instant gratification” generation. Don’t get me wrong, I love the optimism and over confidence but a little nuance goes a along way.
If you don't like to read, you can download an audio book as I like to do. Check out our blog debating the reading vs listening to books. Without further ado here are the ten books I recommend every aspiring commercial real estate broker should read:
- How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie. Warren Buffet took the course and said it was the best thing he could have done for himself when he started out.
- The Richest Man in Babylon, George Clason. Time tested principals for gaining wealth.
- Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill. Time tested wisdom from a man who studied the likes of Andrew Carnegie.
- How to Master the Art of Selling and Listing Real Estate, Tom Hopkins. It’s a little dated but you’ll learn some good basic techniques.
- The Secrets of Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglar. In my opinion, this is best as an audio book. Zig’s enthusiasm will get you pumped.
- The Psychology of Selling, Brian Tracy. More sales stuff. You’ve got to absorb this stuff as Brian Tracy breaks down the mind game.
- Seven Habits of Highly effective People, Steven Covey. Probably the best overview of how you set yourself up to be successful in life
- Influence, Robert Caldini. Important if you want to understand why people decide to buy.
- Spin Selling, Neil Rackham. It seems that every major sales organization rebrands the principals of this book for their own purposes. Get the original.
- Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude, Napoleon Hill & W. Clement Stone. This was quoted in the Ray Kroc movie (Founder). As the words were recited it reminded me of when I started in the business. This stuff stays with you.
“Hey new broker. Yes I am talking to you.”
I know you think that because you are well liked and you work hard, you don’t need to read these books. Trust me, I’ve worked with hundreds of brokers over the years, and they all make money. However, the ones that learned these principals make much more. Even if you make just 10% more each year, that’s almost a million dollars over a career. (That’s a Brian Tracy thing. You’ll see.) Now this is just the start, there are hundreds of books you should read. Some haven’t even been written yet. I personally recommend biographies - Sam Zell has a new one out now. Enjoy!
What book do you recommend for new brokers? Send me your recommendations.
Paul Cohen is a Regional Director with CREXi based in the firm’s Miami office and focused on business development in the southeast. Prior to joining CREXi, Cohen was a Managing Director specializing in investment sales and equity raises at Cohen Financial, a national debt and equity advisor. Prior to Cohen Financial, Paul owned and operated his own independent real estate firm following a 12-year tenure at CBRE where Cohen was a Senior Vice President and led the Private Client Group in Miami-Dade County with a specialty in office and industrial investment sales. Email Paul