Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Commercial Real Estate

I’m Buying Your Lunch…Listen To Me! Advice For Newbies

martini_cigarI was asked by a very smart sharp new Commercial Real Estate agent to have a little lunch  He wanted of course to “pick my brain”, you know get a little “seasoned” perspective.  I picked out my usual masculine spot and we met up.  We sat and talked about family and personal get to know you stuff.  We schmoozed about interest rates and market pricing, Cap Rates and ROI.  The standard Commercial Real Estate talk.  The lunch went well and after an hour or so we parted ways with the normal “let’s do some business together” pleasantries.

The young guy reminded me a little bit of myself way back in the day so this started me thinking a little bit and I sat down and made a list.  If I were to have lunch with myself  say, back when I was just starting out .  You know back in my twenties.  When I had it all figured out.  What are the things I would tell myself ?  What Golden Nuggets of business wisdom would my cocky young self need to hear?

1. Networking

Well this is pretty obvious.  Face to face, belly to belly.  Start your outlook up, start connecting and get your ugly mug out there.

2. Invest more in more property

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

You know as much or more about it as anyone   Or at least you have access to all the data and or the people to make a good investment decisions.  Build your own portfolio.  There is also this thing about competing with your clients, be careful.

3. Alliances

You really need to work with the people in similar industries.  They have need and want the same clientele.  Architects and commercial builders are obvious, how about a landscaper or tech support people.  Get creative.

4. Get involved in local regional and national board stuff.

Don’t bitch about what’s not happening and just do it.  Don’t be a Hater.  The old geezers need your help more than you think.  Besides that tech/data thing is important.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

5. Speaking of the geezers

There are great amounts of knowledge and experience in your Commercial Real Estate peers.  They know almost everything and are more than happy to tell it to you…many, many times over.

6. Don’t wait for tech, try and help create it.

Everyone says wait and use what works   Wrong.  Be on the edge, use it as an advantage.  That data stuff is Gold.

7. Gain the most knowledge about your local market.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The conversation always starts with “do you know the building on x street with the dock and blue trim on the front?”  Research, analyze, and maybe actually go in all the available buildings.  If you don’t know the answers to those basic questions, start working on the phrase “Do you want fries with that?”

8. Don’t just carve out a niche for your self.

Instead.  Rip a hole thou the earth and create your own.

9. Gain the most knowledge about your business.

I know I just said don’t niche yourself but, each of these segments will help you gain an overall picture of Commercial Real Estate.  You can be good at all of them.  Some people may not think so.  Who cares what “they” think.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

10.  Don’t be such a bull headed ass.

(I said I was talking to my younger self.)

11. Pay attention to the local politics.

You can sit on the fence politically if you want but stay very involved.  Think the board of works meetings in your area are boring?  Go to a couple and you will probably meet the next mayor.  The city and county reps who will all be involved in politics for the next 10 or 15 years are there, that’s where they start.  By the way, that land your buddy’s friend owns is in the right of way for the new school expansion.  Infrastructure equals new business.

While I pick up the check…. Just a few personal side notes:

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

A. Buy Wal–mart stock and if you here someone say Google. Pay Attention.

B. That girl you proposed to, the one that said yes. You are way out of your league.  Remember the look on her mother’s face, when she told her she said yes?   Priceless.

C.  Work you ass off 24/7 this is your chosen profession. You love this business.  Don’t just half-ass it.

These are just a few of the things that came to mind.  Or at least the one’s that could be posted.  If you could go back and have an hour or two, what would you say to your self at lunch?  Better yet, what would you tell that new Commercial Real Estate agent if you had lunch today?  I can’t wait to see your responses.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Written By

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



  1. patrick braswell

    January 7, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Great blog!! As a 30 year old, it is much appreciated since we probably won’t be able to have lunch together. I would add one point, make sure to have a mentor that not only has a good book of business, but sets aside time to teach you everyday.

  2. 4BostonOfficeSpace

    January 7, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    All great points Duke! Being knowlegable about your market and creating your network are key. Starting off early as an active investor is the surest way to create substantial wealth for the long term as well.
    Mike Giles
    Giles Commercial Realty Group

  3. 4BostonOfficeSpace

    January 8, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Actually, Patrick’s point about having a mentor is probably THE most important. There is absolutely no shorter track to success than being able to leverage the knowledge and relationships of a good mentor who’s been there, done that.

  4. Ken Brand

    January 8, 2010 at 8:44 am

    You can lead me to clean water and I’ll drink it, thanks.

    A bit of advice I’d share, don’t sit around an wait for someone to tell you what and how to do it. A trait that Top Performers seem to share is the “TAKE ACTION” gene. They go find it, they figure it out, they ask around, they try things, they face-plant, pop-up, learn and run forward.

    Another thing, don’t ask the mediocre to success-less for advice, counsel, strategy, opinion, or anything else. In fact avoid them.

  5. Jamey Prezzi

    January 8, 2010 at 9:21 am

    “Work you ass off 24/7 this is your chosen profession. You love this business. Don’t just half-ass it.”

    That is it…… you gotta work!

  6. BawldGuy

    January 8, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Best post I’ve seen this week, by far. I’d only disagree with your #4, but to each his own.

    My experience in prospecting taught me that I have to be a happy Kool-Aid drinker of any particular method for it to work well, at least for me.

    Again, superb post, Duke.

    • Duke Long

      January 8, 2010 at 10:56 am

      Thanks BawldGuy,
      Disagreement is just fine with me. Appreciate the comment. Now about your name … the attitude and check out MY avatar……wooo hooo ….thanks mom.

  7. Duke Long

    January 8, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Excellent point. Find someone who will take you under their wing. In my case I had to do it on my own. Hey, I may be in Atlanta in March at Re Tech South. At the very least we can meet up for “refreshments.”

    The Bromance continues. Excellent point.

    Great blog BTW
    Think DECO Festival in the 80’s. The Cuban inspired food was unbelievable. 24/7 work….mostly.

  8. BawldGuy

    January 8, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Time for a ‘Gillette’ haircut? 🙂

  9. Sal Antsipenka

    January 8, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    All I have to add to this article is flags of the United Nations, trumpets, brass section, percussions and one strange looking flute player. Who cares about this “work your ass off 24/7” rants? Relax, have fun and go to Brazil for a change.

  10. Cindy Marchant

    January 9, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Hey Duke, how much snow you have in Lafayette today! I like your writing style, but then you probably hear that alot. I personally have found in my market, 1 and 3 work together. Most all of my business comes from those I network with and from a BNI (alliances) group. When I meet someone, it is about a minute before I know where they live, my favorite game is “Name that Subdivision”. And it isn’t because I want them to be my client at some point (although I do); I am genuinely interested in where they live because I am an expert in my area and know a lot about different subdivisions. It gives me a common ground subject which is what we all look for in conversing.

    • Duke Long

      January 9, 2010 at 10:46 am

      Thanks. My Mom likes my style too. Great comments. Face to face and networking still rule

  11. Matt Dollinger

    January 9, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I love this post – Duke, today you’re my hero! 🙂

  12. Benjamin Bach

    February 4, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Just re-read this. Terrific!

    Would you start CCIM as a young 20 something broker?

    • Todd Waller

      February 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm


      “CCIM as a young 20 something broker?”

      YES, YES, YES… a thousand times YES!

      I’ve got two of the four required classes under my belt and they provide such an analytical advantage to your residential business alone. If you complete and get the CCIM designation in your 20’s you will have years of experience before your contemporaries even think about gaining the designation.

      The CCIM designation is kind of like getting an MBA in real estate… kind of…

      But then, I’m not Duke…but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night… 😉

      • Duke Long

        February 5, 2010 at 6:51 am

        Yes Yes Yes, and thank you. What if CCIM was a required course for CRE entry? Oh and how about the same for residential. That would filter out the masses!!#justsayin

    • Duke Long

      February 5, 2010 at 6:48 am

      Ben, Simple get in class NOW. I call it the Mini-Mba for CRE

  13. Benjamin Bach

    February 5, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Thx Duke and Todd, I appreciate you 🙂

  14. Office Space Chris Hancock

    February 26, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Its Friday afternoon @ 5:48 and that’s got me jacked up. Especially tip #8, “Don’t just carve out a niche for your self. Instead. Rip a hole through the earth and create your own.” That just became my personal motto. Ignoring suggestion number 10, check back with me in a couple years when I’m The Downtown Nashville Expert.

  15. Scott Perry

    June 1, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Well stated. New to your blog and it’s great insight. You can never read to much and never talk to too many people, whether new or old in the business. Everyone brings something to the table. It’s the successful one’s that are able to spend their time wisely and use that information to their advantage and find out what works for them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.



Commercial Real Estate

When considering whether you should lease your office space or buy, an industry expert outlines the questions you should ask yourself.

Business Finance

(Financial News) New data out could help your business pick the winner between office and retail space, as both are posting gains, but not...

Tech News

(Tech News) Commercial real estate shoppers and practitioners are finally catching up as a whole to the advances in technology and mobile device use...

Commercial Real Estate

(Commercial Real Estate) The commercial real estate sector has improved substantially since the economy crashed, but is now showing signs of slowing, but data...

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.