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9 Keys to Success at Pretty Much Anything

After 20 or more years at the same location in London, Ontario, we are moving our offices. The building has been sold and we are excited about our new space and the opportunities that it will bring. The lessons in today’s blog came from our hunting for office space. We were fortunate to have been represented by Craig, a residential broker, who agreed to help us through the process of finding the right spot. Unfortunately, we had to work through a number of commercial brokers who had the property listed for the landlords. If you want to be successful in what you do, follow these rules:

  1. Show up. Physically and mentally, it’s important to be there when your client arrives.

  1. Be on Time. That means 15 minutes early.

  1. Know your stuff. One agent in her 20s lectured me on how I really didn’t know anything about commercial real estate (have been doing it for over 30 years and own a number of properties), and that all commercial leases make you pay for 1,300 sq. ft. of space even though you are renting just 1,000 sq. ft.

  1. When you don’t know something, just say that. After I had to emphasize with the young agent that she was misinformed, I indicated to her that to have a conversation if she didn’t know something to just say “I don’t know.” She understood that and for the rest of the showing repeated that statement over and over and over.

  1. Be trustworthy. Trust is something that is built up over time, but can also go south quickly in a first meeting. As humans, we are sensitive to this, especially when entering a business relationship or negotiation.

  1. Build your Emotional Intelligence. Knowing what to say, how to say it and when to say it can win or lose you that opportunity. Keep working on this one.

  1. Always keep learning. After 30 or so years in real estate, I know maybe 45% of what I need to. I learn something new every day.

  1. Sometimes you need to fight. I’m not talking physically, but legally, with all the means you have to fight for what you believe is just and right. You will need to fight to gain and retain what you have because just as you think all is well, someone will come along and try to take it from you. Have confidence in your position and surround yourself with those that will challenge you, but respect your right to disagree.

  1. Be aware. When something happens in your life or business, try to look at all of the possible causes for what just happened. With that, notice the little things (in one showing, an agent told us how the landlord was working to fill the building with quality tenants, but she couldn’t explain the graffiti that was painted on one of the outside walls, and how it wasn’t cleaned -- that was enough for me).

You can learn from any experience or interaction you may have on any given day. For Mary, Dan, Malini and I, the search for the right space was an eye opener. I strongly recommend Craig at -- pretty much 99% of the commercial agents on the planet, not so much. In your life, ask yourself how you are doing on the 9 points identified. How are your children doing?

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