What does it take to become a commercial real estate agent or broker?
Janet Marshall, recipient of the Property Council’s Women in Property Award in 2019, should know. She started as a broker in 2005 without any sales experience, after a year in brokerage support. She went on to become Colliers International’s Rookie of the Year in 2005, Marketer of the Year in 2013 and a Director of Colliers in 2016.
Marshall says passion and drive are vital to making it in the industry.
“Commercial real estate brokerage is an exciting and challenging career. Unlike residential property, which relies more on emotion, brokers need to provide a high level of expertise and build ongoing relationships with clients.
“It’s also more complex than residential property, with brokers needing to understand earthquake ratings, zoning, and be good with numbers.
“While there are 14,000 real estate agents in New Zealand, just over 2,000 work in commercial property. Many entered the industry with a property degree, a previous qualification as a lawyer, police officer or accountant, or previous sales experience.
“While a qualification is not necessary, an understanding of property will provide a good head start, whether from investing in commercial property or knowing others who work in the industry.”
Marshall says many have queried why there are not more women in the industry.
“I believe it is a lack of information and not knowing what to expect in commercial real estate. In reality, there is a core set of skills that will allow anyone to thrive in this career.
“What’s crucial is a determination to work hard. You’ll need good organisational skills, initiative and discipline. A competitive streak is also vital for a commission-driven role.
“Mental toughness is also key. Positivity, resilience and persistence all go a long way.
“Commercial property also requires a high level of integrity. You’ll need to really enjoy working with people and have good communication skills to become a trusted expert to your clients.
“And of course, you’ll also need to sit for your real estate salespersons licence. Many chose to do this while learning the ropes in a support role.”
Marshall’s role at Colliers is Director Commercial Investment Sales and Leasing in the Colliers office in Takapuna, which is headed by Director and General Manager Jimmy O’Brien. Marshall is now involved in brokerage recruiting for Colliers and is excited about this new role.
Marshall says a commercial property career provides a high level of flexibility and remote work options.
“Brokerage offers good work-life balance, with weekday business hours rather than the weekend work common in the residential sector.
“The role also offers autonomy and independence, but also plenty of opportunities to socialise and collaborate.
“We don’t want people to fail in the industry, so candidates with potential are handpicked and offered good training and support. Colliers is renowned for its collaboration, teamwork, mentorship, and regular recognition and feedback.”If you think you have what it takes, whether you are already a leader in the industry or keen to see what could be at Colliers, please contact Janet Marshall on 021 684 775 for a coffee and chat.