What does it take to start from no experience in commercial real estate to having a thriving career as a broker? We’ve asked one of Brenner Real Estate Group’s associates to tell us about her road to real estate success.
Helen Weissman, Senior Vice President, Commercial Brokerage, started at Brenner Real Estate Group in 2006. Since then, Helen has become one of the highest volume associates at the firm. In 2016 Helen closed 32 deals, including 25 leases, 5 sales and 2 subleases. She was the firms’ top producer in 2015 and 2016. Her total lease value totals over $10.3 million and she has logged a sale volume of over $16 million.
We interviewed Helen on her secrets to creating a commercial real estate success story.
Why did you choose to enter the commercial real estate field in 2006? I had always been in sales, of restaurant equipment, as a shoe rep and in the coffee industry. I was encouraged to get a real estate license and use my sales skills to make higher commissions.
What did you think at first? Did you have doubts? No I loved it! I enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many different people in different businesses. I was never bored. Don’t misunderstand, it was not easy. I learned the hard way. I worked many deals that did not pan out monetarily, but the experience was golden.
What made Brenner a good environment for you to get started with? The friendly people and ownership. It is very family oriented and I felt at home and comfortable and not afraid to ask for help.
Were you able to use your previous outside sales experience to an advantage in commercial real estate? Always. Communication is the key to sales, knowing how to listen and understand your client’s needs.
Everyone wants to know… How do you get all those leads? How do you get referrals? Leads are from previous satisfied clients that are repeat clients and recommend people they associate with, as well as many sign calls from existing listings.
What works for you? Networking? Where? I network in various women’s groups and meet- ups. When you meet with other professional women, it is easy to think of helping them or asking for referrals whenever possible.
What are your vital behaviors for being so successful? Persistence is number one; I never give up. NO means Next Opportunity.
What kind of research do you do for your clients? I study their business model and I understand their needs and budget requirements. I typically study the market and know the comps in the area. I study demographics, incomes and traffic counts.
What is your sales pitch? I tell them “I love a challenge, let’s work as a team.” I will keep working the assignment until the job is done and the client is satisfied.
What is your secret weapon to close a deal? Let’s start a non-binding letter of intent to get negotiations started and open the dialogue.
What have you discovered over the years that doesn’t work for you when it comes to commercial brokerage? Spending too much time on a deal that may not be going in the right direction.
What would your advice be to someone who is new to the field? Canvas, meet people. Visit businesses and show an interest in your clients. Never give up and find an area you are passionate about.
What is your favorite part about what you do? Again, meeting so many different people in different businesses. I am exposed to so much and I learn something new continuously.
Add anything else you can tell us that makes it interesting. Thank you for the questions. I just do my best every day. I don’t consider myself superior in any way to any other sales associate. I love my teams at Brenner and the admin support is truly outstanding. It takes a group effort to get deals done and I am fortunate to have the best team support.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Helen’s path and picked up a tip or two that might help you in your business. We’re proud to have Helen on our team!
--The Brenner Blog Team