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Five Minutes In The Mind Of A Commercial Real Estate Broker

gearheadIt’s the end of the year and all kinds of predictions and lists pop up.   In Commercial Real Estate there are some very though and technical predictions about the market for the next year and what the smart investor/broker/owner/manager/reit/institutional/developer/everybody else can look for in 2010.  I’ve decided to look back at the last year and see what topics and issues that topped my list.   So in descending order with some comments here are the most commented and viewed topics on my Posterous.

10.  Who else wants to be a commercial Real Estate Broker?
My idea was to outline the Industry from the Broker side.

9.  Socialnomics
Put this out there for Commercial real estate people who may have no clue. What the impact of Social Media could, will and does have on their business.

8. Is Technology The Commercial Real Estate Market Killer?
People can work from anywhere.  Is there less demand for space?   Some commenter’s still hanging on to the 80’s…amazing.

7.  Commercial Real Estate BarCamp
The un-conference coming to a town near you.

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6.  Who Are The Voices of Commercial Real Estate?
There are some unbelievable people in my business.  I so much enjoy the opinions points of view and personal conversations.  This internet thing might just make it.

5.  Augmented Reality For Commercial Real Estate
This is gonna happen.  Again amazing to me the Dm’s comments and e-mails about how this will not effect my industry.

4.  Seth Godin
This kind of shocked me.  Not because the content is not Commercial Real Estate.  I was at a Commercial Real Estate conference and the question was asked “Who has heard of Seth Godin?”  Two out of sixty people raised their hand.  I know he is pretty well known, just not in CRE

3.   Mashable’s Social Media Guide for Small Business
No surprise here.  Great Source.  Great Site.  Great Content

2.  Girl Power
Man, did this get a lot of comments.  Twitter Dm’s went crazy.  My e-mail lit up.  Hey, the ladies pay attention to each other and are not afraid to talk about it   I was a little surprised at this one

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1. Five Minutes In The Mind OF A Commercial Real Estate Broker

One a long drive back from a meeting, I had a little time to think.  What are the issues or topics of interest that I, a “typical” Commercial Real Estate Broker have been paying attention to?


It’s anything and everything for my business.   So much to disseminate and yet I feel that sometimes it can be just a waste.  I am typing this on one of those mini e-books thingy’s.  The CRM program I use is great, but is it just busy work?  The phone I have does everything, why then do I use it to just call and talk to people most of the time.  I can scan, pdf,  gps,  jpeg, and video with the best of them.  Why then, when I meet a client at a site half the time I end up sending any information to their daughter or son who “knows about the e-mail type of stuff?”  One foot in front of technology, and one foot behind.


This has had a major impact on my career.  The Baby Boomers have always been in front of me every step of the way, dominating the Commercial Real Estate business like no other.  The typical CRE broker is a 55 years old, male and is not looking to go away any time soon.  They hold the prime positions in most of the organizations I am a member of.  They have built up a tremendous client base and hey, power to them.  How about the “Young Blood”?  The new people with maybe two four five years in the business? Yes, if you only have been doing this for five years (with all due respect) I still consider you a newbie.  I wonder… is all the boomer money and next generation clientele going to filter back or does it change forever?

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I have been through my fair share of so called cycles.  Sixteen and eighteen percent interest. ARM’s with three year buy downs.  No Doc don’t tell.  And this era I call the “Your first born won’t even get you in the door, because the government saved our ass and we will make billions without you” Cycle.  The financial piece of any deal I do is the most important part of the deal.  My simple question to the national regional and local lending Institutions is “What in the hell are you doing now and what are you going to do?”  And how about communicating it not a little bit better but how about communicating what you are doing at all.


Go to college, get degree, create resume, join CCIM, and apply for job at Top 5 firm.  Get job, starve first three years, and team up with mentor.  Get a few trickle down leads, prove your bones, schmooze and network at industry events.  Be really nice to Principle’s family.  Do not and I mean do not hit on bosses daughter.  I’m just say’ in.  Prove you got the goods tweak out a better split, be vice president of something, then senior vice president of something.  Did I mention the bosses’ son or daughter will be a principle kinda no matter what, but hey that’s cool?  Decide to buddy up and go out on your own with a couple of your best buds.  NOW What?  Set your thing up the exactly the same as the place you left?


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I’m all over the GREEN.  Tree and brick hugging, kind of green?  No.  LEED.   USGBC kind of green.  I think this will be at the core of my business for many years to come.  Don’t think so?  Then try and do deals without it in the future.  Not gonna happen.

National MLS The RPR( “The Ripper”), Loopnet and Co-Star.

So much data so many places to put it.  Who other than brokers can or should see this data?  My opinion is, the more the merrier.  When is an informed consumer not a good thing?  Did I mention Google is starting to compete with all of the above?  Who is going to rise above and where should my listing data really go?  Will I have to pay?  Should I have to pay?

Social Media

Is Social Media just a tool to help create and nurture client relationships?  Is it a total waste of time?  Is it a Fad?  Something I have to do or admit I am clueless?  300 million people on Facebook and they are telling me what they had for lunch.  Who cares?  I do! I am using social media to put my digital brand in front of every potential client I can.  Online conversations, invitations to speak, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blip Uh….blog posting to show my points of view and expertise.  All lead to Networking, Face to Face, and business opportunities.  The generation behind me doesn’t even blink.  I’m not either.

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The Ladies/The CREW

Am I the only one paying any attention to at all to The CREW.   Highly organized, Great events, educational opportunities.  Real face to face networking with not only peers but vendors and believe it or not actual clients.  A chapter I am familiar with took junior high schools girls on a field trip (at least two years ago) to an airport to explain the role commercial real estate plays in the economy, how we do what we do and how they may want to be involved in the business.  I can barely meet any other brokers to do anything unless the words OPEN BAR are in the event description.

The Mirror

All of the questions asked and comments made really come from a cold hard look at myself in the mirror.  Why not quit bitching and do something about it?  Why not give some solutions or answers to the questions?  Well, hey I’m working on it.

Many thanks to Lani and Benn for the opportunity to voice my Commercial Real Estate opinions.  The next year should bring some interesting, controversial, how to, hardcore and “why did he say that?” type of subjects.

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Written By

Broker/Owner in Lafayette, IN, whose passion is Commercial Real Estate with focus on Technology, Social Media, and Networking.



  1. Steven Ladin

    December 23, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Great post as always Duke. It always amazes me how many people still don’t know Godin. Btw, I meant to rate your post 5 stars but due to my fat thumbs on my iPhone I slipped and gave it 4. 🙂

  2. Linda Martinez

    December 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Not to worry, I have skinny fingers and I was able to give it a 5.
    Always thought provoking and mind stimulating. As Arsenio Hall used to say, “makes you wanna say ‘hmmmmm’…..” Thanks for your posts, Duke. You do a terrific job.

    • Duke Long

      December 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm

      Thanks Linda,
      Much appreciated. Planning on making you say..”He said what ?”

  3. Duke Long

    December 24, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks Steven,
    Hey 4 is better than zero. Really gonna crank out some great topics this coming year. Looking forward to a #FF meeting.

  4. Omar Ting

    December 27, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    referenced your article in my most recent blog post (; I’m a young blood, if you will. Great writing btw. Short, sweet, to the point. Good for those of us with ADD.

    • Duke Long

      December 28, 2009 at 3:20 pm

      Thanks Omar,
      Reading your blog. COLD CALLING! Now that’s training! Did the CEO of Sperry Van Ness not say that all the company peeps were going SM as a way to attract clients? I’m going to write a post just on you and your “mentor.” It will be 2010 in 3 days. Go thru my posterous and click on the links that have SM and CRE ,go to and read the articles. Look at @coydavidson stream and look at his blog. Come on dude ! Oh and other than an office number…how do I contact you? ………Hint think Facebook ,LinkedIn Twitter,and so on and so on. Crank out some original CRE content. Your “voice” is all that differentiates you from anyone else with a listing or client. Thanks for the comment and the bump. Hit me anytime…I’m not hiding. Oh and look for CreBarCamp …I definitely want to com to L.A.

  5. Square Feet

    December 28, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    right on … my favorite part of the post….

    Go to college, get degree, create resume, join CCIM, and apply for job at Top 5 firm. Get job, starve first three years, and team up with mentor. Get a few trickle down leads, prove your bones, schmooze and network at industry events. Be really nice to Principle’s family. Do not and I mean do not hit on bosses daughter. I’m just say’ in. Prove you got the goods tweak out a better split, be vice president of something, then senior vice president of something. Did I mention the bosses’ son or daughter will be a principle kinda no matter what, but hey that’s cool? Decide to buddy up and go out on your own with a couple of your best buds. NOW What? Set your thing up the exactly the same as the place you left?

    • Duke Long

      December 28, 2009 at 9:03 pm

      The direct responses to my e-mail are priceless……”you got no cred”..” our company is the Biggest bestest in the world”.. and “ can you describe my life?”
      I still love my business !!
      Keep cranking out the content !!

  6. Office Space Chris Hancock

    February 26, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I found the brokerage model to be hilarious. Partially because I am young, but more so because I can see how true it is. That is the path before me, as soon as I get out of this starvation phase.

    As a new member, that’s the fifth article I’ve read and they keep getting better.

  7. Jeremy Cyrier, CCIM

    October 12, 2010 at 9:24 am

    The broker model is so true. This commercial real estate broker industry needs some disruption and innovation.

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