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A Day in the Life: Commercial Real Estate Sales Agent

7:00 a.m.: Check e-mail and voicemail while having breakfast. Scroll through wsj.com and nytimes.com (Wall Street Journal and New York Times) to get quick idea of news, also to see if any clients have been mentioned in the articles.

7:30 a.m.: Get into the office, check voicemail again, and go through contact database to line up cold calls for the day. Get online and look through the business sections of sites I regularly visit, checking again for mention of clients, prospects, and relevant industry news. I have to stay on top of this, especially because I work on commission.

8:15 a.m.: I meet up with my business partner to discuss our to-dos. We discuss things like our current lease or purchase negotiations and strategy. Every morning we have this meeting, providing we’re both in the office that day, to make sure we’re on the same page and aren’t duplicating efforts. We divide tasks to be done and set up a team meeting time for the end of the day.

9:00 a.m.: Check in with some coworkers to find out what deals they’re working on and if they have some market news (e.g., trade lease or sale comparables and find out which tenants are in the market).

9:30 a.m.: Start morning cold calls, with the goal of setting up meetings with decision makers. I find out as much as possible over the phone about their real estate needs. Determine who makes the real estate decisions. Make note to follow up with marketing material later that day.

12:00 p.m.: Break for a prescheduled lunch with a client. (Sometimes I’ll have lunch with prospective clients, leasing agents, or colleagues.) The client and I discuss current market conditions and I’ll try to extract information that will help get more business or help current lease negotiations.

1:30 p.m.: Check and return voicemails and e-mails.

2:30 p.m.: Check in with clients and clients’ attorneys to discuss ongoing lease or purchase negotiations. Make calls to architects or contractors to see how the construction of clients’ buildings is progressing. Report any time-sensitive information to client. Set up building tours for later in the week and try to get a sense of what the owners of each building are looking for financially and how desperate they are for a deal.

4:00 p.m.: I usually block time in the late afternoon to do the follow-up work to the morning calls. This is when I write follow-up e-mails and letters and prepare marketing material for prospects.

4:30 p.m.: Several commission checks haven’t come through yet. I call the internal accounting department to check the status. I explain the time value of money to them. They respond with, “We’ll look into it and get back to you.” That tells me nothing, which I share with them before hanging up on them. It’s never a good idea to get angry with the people who control your payments. I call back and apologize.

5:00 p.m.: Check in with the sales manager. She wants to know which deals will close this quarter and if everything is on track to hit forecasted numbers. I pump her for information about where her sales numbers are in relation to coworkers’.

5:30 p.m.: One last meeting with my business partner and coworkers to recap the day. Discuss any problems and come up with solutions. Make follow-up phone calls to leasing agents or clients. Gossip about the day’s market activity. Set a meeting time for the next day.

6:15 p.m.: Look through e-mails again and respond as needed. Also look through snail-mail, which we still get a lot of in this business. Received a written response to a request for a proposal from a building. Make a copy for partner and spend time reviewing the details. Hand another copy to the analyst to run the numbers associated with the deal.

7:00 p.m.: Attend a networking event that’s being hosted by a professional association I belong to. These are quarterly events, usually a happy hour or dinner. I can’t always get to the events but tonight’s is dinner at a restaurant near our office, so it’s convenient and the timing synchs with my schedule. I enjoy the networking events, and I’ve gotten some great referrals from them. In fact two of my best clients came about because of my membership to this group.  

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