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Debunking the myths of commercial real estate

Perhaps no movie better portrayed the cutthroat nature of the real estate industry than 1992’s Glengarry Glen Ross. In Alec Baldwin’s famous motivational sales speech, he berates a tired and sorry crew of real estate salesmen: “There’s only one thing that matters in this world. Get them to sign on the line that is dotted.”

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Fast forward to the present day. While we would never flip out on our sales teams like Alec did in that infamous scene, the commercial real estate industry still has a bad rap as a ruthless one where sales advisors are fiercely competitive and only the strongest survive. Brick and mortar buildings remain a cornerstone (pun intended) of our business, but over the years our focus has shifted to addressing our clients’ business needs—whether it’s about improving employee engagement, increasing productivity or expanding one’s reach—with the right property solutions. Corporate real estate strategy is about more than just expiration dates.

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While having our clients sign on the dotted line is essential for business, it’s not the most important thing. It’s also how you go about building relationships, finding solutions, and ultimately, helping everyone win and be successful.

Let’s debunk some common myths about working in commercial real estate:

Myth #1

It’s a cutthroat industry. While not for the faint of heart, the corporate real estate industry isn’t the merciless jungle portrayed in Glengarry Glen Ross. Working with Colliers, you’ll be able to leverage the brand and reputation of a global, industry leader while being able to have access to the right support – including marketing, systems, and development – to help you succeed in this fast-paced field.

Myth #2

You’re all alone. While you focus on building relationships, growing your business and increasing revenue, we can provide you with what you need to be successful: courses to help you sharpen your skills and stay on top of workplace trends, top-notch marketing support, and an  innovative, client relationship management system to gain insight on market statistics, sales leads and property details.

Myth #3

You have to have a background in real estate to sell real estate. While it’s necessary to have a license to buy and sell property, what’s really important is you’re the kind of person who takes risks, enjoys networking and managing relationships, and loves to win. Our clients represent a wide range of industries so it’s great when our sales advisors bring their industry experience and expertise into a corporate real estate deal.

Myth #4

All sales agents are created equal. Commercial real estate—just like personal real estate—is local and unique. We pride ourselves on the diversity of our workforce and their knowledge of and expertise in the local communities they serve. If your business is headquartered in Toronto but needs to expand in Calgary, we’ll connect you with the right expert on the ground. We collaborate to provide the right solution instead of just focusing on the individual sale.

If you’ve got a good sales background or business development experience and have always been curious about the commercial real estate industry, I encourage you to check it out. Don’t believe the myths or Glengarry Glen Ross – you may be pleasantly surprised.

Keri Fraser is the Vice President of People Services for Colliers International in North America, where she partners with leadership and management teams to build effective and efficient people solutions that drive employee engagement and meet business objectives.