CRE Broker or Information Analyst

What is the role of a commercial real estate broker today?  What is the most important task that we do for our clients? Is it analyzing the market data?  By definition (via Wisegeek) an information data analyst is:

A data analyst is a highly trained individual that specializes in collecting, organizing, and analyzing data from various resources. For example, the data may be obtained from secondary source documents such as statistical studies, or from direct consumer marketing surveys. In terms of analysis, the data analyst generally uses data management and reporting systems to collect and organize specific data drawn from relational databases. While this process is largely automated, it must first be initiated by developing mathematical computations and collection protocols in order to extract and extrapolate data into meaningful statistical analysis or “what if” scenarios. Four basic tasks are:

1. Data cleaning

2. Initial data analysis (assessment of data quality)

3. Main data analysis (answer the original research question)

4. Final data analysis (necessary additional analyses and report)

Sounds a lot like what I do every day for my clients.

Here is my problem.

Commercial real estate data is now a commodity.  Everyone has it and everyone has access to it.  Brokers, Developers, Banks, Receivers, Clients, etc. I know that I have made this statement before but, most of it really sucks.  If it’s all out there for everyone then, what do they really need you for?

Points of Reference for Today’s Broker.

Your only advantage is your knowledge of your local market.

Clients will now find you after they find the building they want to occupy.

Specs of the building are relevant but only to compare and shop the space.

Your communication with that client will be a huge key.

Your expertise is the only thing of value to your potential client.

It is now more important than ever that you get quality data, but how and from where?

What if the consumer or client is better at analyzing the data than you are?  Is there a need for your service at all?

A little help.

Dominate your area by giving out true and accurate data.  Interact with more than just your 5 to 10 person firm.  Research and help define the market.

Let everyone search and get as much information about your and everyone’s available properties.  They are going to find it anyway.  Be THE source.

Create an online environment for your local market that can be researched, sourced, and interacted with. You might be surprised.

Your role needs to change.

Be the provider of true and accurate data in your market.  Be the source for commercial real estate information.  Give it away and don’t pay to get it back. Interact and converse with other brokers, bankers, affiliates, clients.  Information analyst = commercial real estate broker maybe still.  But maybe, not for long.   Are you going to let the market define you or are you going to define the market?

Photo via Flickr:

Duke Long