Disrupting digital technology with human strategy in property broking

A business owner for more than two decades before recently switching careers at the age of 50, Fabrizio Genovese, Leasing Broker at JLL, shares his insights on what makes a successful real estate broker in 2018.

April 18, 2018

While digital innovation continues to disrupt the real estate industry, there is no technological algorithm that can replace the winning formula of the human approach. It is a simple, powerful business principle, yet understanding your customer in a deeply personal way is what brings value to any mandate. Brokers today must realise that immersing themselves in a project – almost becoming the landlord/tenant – is how they can craft solutions that cannot be replaced by technology.

Successful property deal structuring is not a one-dimensional approach. It’s more than square metres, putting people in buildings and walking away. It’s about building and maintaining strong relationships with key role players (landlords or tenants) to ensure your brand remains top of mind. Yes, innovative technologies have much to contribute to the property industry and its processes (robust IT knowledge is critical), but these shouldn’t hinder your role as a broker. And it doesn’t mean broking is dead. The industry needs trusted advisors who believe in their product, who understand the language but are not stuck in the jargon and who individualise every assignment to create real solutions. These are the professionals who will continue to have a pivotal role in any property deal.

Old school strategy and advice is still relevant in an age of analytics and shifting business models:

Become the expert: A real estate transaction is a sales transaction. Have an intimate knowledge of what you’re selling, whether it’s a business opportunity or a new showroom.

Create a rapport: Learn your client’s language. Understand their real estate requirements. Get to know them well.

Be a brand ambassador: Take ownership of your client’s vision. This requires an understanding of real estate requirements vs business strategy.

Understand market fit: Identify the right type of client/tenant for the area, precinct, building or property sector. Segment and select clients based on the space you are promoting. Your stock inventory is crucial.

Be a match-maker: Bring the right parties together. To do this successfully you must have an intimate knowledge of the offering and its location, and what the property owners want to achieve. With a clear vision, you are better equipped to find suitable tenants, either through your network, your network’s network or decision-makers in relevant sectors. It’s important to get in front of clients and landlords and never treat any encounter as a chance encounter.

The human element will always be relevant to real estate investment. The success of a commercial real estate deal relies heavily on the competence of the team who brokered it. No amount of technological progress will change the relevance of a productive business relationship.

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