COMMERCIAL SUCCESS: Nathan Bragg (top), Tamer Youssef (bottom) and the Fontana, Calif., property.
By Dorota Wright-O’Neill
Some deals are easier than others. Just ask Nathan Bragg and Tamer Youssef, who recently closed a $6.6 million, 84,000 square-foot industrial building in Fontana, Calif. These two commercial heavy hitters with RE/MAX Time in Rancho Cucamonga seemingly had the best scenario: a prime piece of commercial real estate, in a hot market with low inventory. Cakewalk, right? Think again.
Even though the owner was someone Bragg and Youssef had sold that very property to just a few years ago, the two still had to fight to get the listing. It took a comprehensive 60-page marketing plan and a lot of convincing to win the deal.
They relied on their extensive business savvy to identify the right buyer in a field of contenders: a particular company that had to secure extra storage space for a client. Bragg and Youssef knew that it would be easier to convince the company to make a compelling offer – and increase the budget if necessary – than investors looking for the greatest profit.
“No one wants to lose a client,” Bragg says. “That prospective buyer had the most to lose by not going after the space. Sometimes putting together a deal is not necessarily about who has the best financing, but who has the greatest need.”
The most demanding part of the transaction came when multiple offers poured in. Bragg and Youssef needed to earn, and keep, the trust of their Chinese owner-client (who spoke almost no English) while negotiating with multiple buyers, agents and attorneys. Through a translator, the two spent countless hours over several weeks explaining the offers to the owner, going line by line over many deal points.
The negotiation was tough, Bragg says, and Youssef credits their expertise in getting through it successfully.
How does a novice, or someone trying to expand their business, get to where Youssef and Bragg are today? Youssef boils down his advice to three points: education, networking and adapting successful residential marketing techniques to the commercial realm.
Bragg’s most effective residential marketing strategies that he uses on the commercial side include individual property websites, email blasts, Facebook presence, area canvassing with fliers, door knocking, and even cold calls.
Both Bragg and Youssef are big proponents of lifelong education in commercial real estate.
“Get certified,” Youssef says. “Gain commercial literacy, and learn its specialized language. Rub shoulders with other agents and businesspeople.”
They cite the Accredited Commercial Professional Certification and Top Dogs Commercial Real Estate Training as “must-haves” and say that industry events such as the RE/MAX Commercial Symposium are especially helpful.
Finally, never underestimate the importance of networking.
“Find mentors and get to know experts. Connect with them regularly, and always, always take the opportunity to learn from them,” Bragg says.
Nathan Bragg is a voracious reader who recommends these books for business ideas:
* “Competitive Advantage” and “Competitive Strategy” by Michael E. Porter
* “The Psychology of Selling” by Brian Tracey
* “The Effective Executive” by Peter F. Drucker
* “Negotiating Commercial Real Estate Leases” by Martin I. Zankel
* “The Site Book” by Richard M. Fenker
* “Urban Land Use Planning” by Philip R. Berke and David R. Godschalk