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The 5 Pillars to Grow a Great CRE Business

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When I was running my own commercial real estate firm, I was busy. I would characterize most days as chaotic. Even when I did have a plan for the day, distractions, interruptions, and opportunities would appear from nowhere and knock me off course.

I had bought into the great fallacy of the commercial real estate industry — that fallacy says that you and I are beholden to our clients and prospects. We are at their beck and call. When they need something, we jump to action — regardless of what our plan for the day was.

I was as busy as anyone I knew, but that busyness was not impacting my bank account like I thought it should.

My to-do list seemed to grow every day. I would drive home from work preoccupied with all that needed to be done. I used to comment that if a genie were to give me a wish, I would ask for 4 more hours in every day.

When I was home, my mind was at work. Because I didn’t talk about work much at home, I figured my family didn’t realize my thoughts were elsewhere. Years later my wife shared with me that she could see the stress written all over my face.

Many of the CRE brokers and agents we coach came to us with the same issue. They were super busy but not making the progress they expected.

They were constantly in reaction-mode and rarely had the mental bandwidth to create a plan and proactively attack their days.

It is likely you are nodding your head right now because you know this feeling well.

Systems are the answer to this problem. Systems are simply a series of actions that are decided on beforehand. They produce a predictable result. They are repeatable.

And when these systems are executed, they take all the guesswork out of your business. When you aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel constantly, you have the space to be present in the moment. That is when you do excellent work.

You may be thinking, “That sounds great, but how do I clear the space in my crazy, chaotic business to build systems?” And that’s the rub. It is hard to break out of the habit of letting the day control you.

You have to actually change the way you do business. You must change the way you look at time and start investing some of it instead of just spending all of it every day.

My daughter is 8 years old, and she is a really good softball player. So good, in fact, that she and I are traveling from Kentucky to Alabama to play with her travel team this weekend. The best way to describe her swing is a violent attack on the ball.

She is good, but inconsistent. She lacked balance in her swing so she would lose power. So, we got her a hitting instructor. Once a week, she spends 30 minutes working ON her swing with him. As a former baseball player, Jason knows exactly what makes a great swing. And as a hitting instructor, he can focus his full attention on my daughter’s swing for 30 minutes a week.

Not to brag on my daughter, but she now consistently crushes the ball. Her swing has more power while now keeping her balance. She’s the smallest clean-up hitter I’ve ever seen.



Our clients hire us to coach them for the same reasons. We force them to step back on a regular basis and work ON their business. We are the experts who devote our full attention, for a couple hours a month, on our clients’ businesses. And just like my daughter, our clients are crushing it.

More on how that transformation happens later…

The promise of this post is to share the 5 pillars you need to grow your business. These are the systems you should implement to create something truly special…without killing yourself in the process.

The 5 Pillars of a Great Business are:

1. A Productivity System

Our Massimo Members (that’s how we refer to clients) learn a productivity system that allows them to get more done in less time…so they have more time for their life.

That last part is an important distinction. Too many people work so hard on becoming more productive, and then they fill up that freed up time with more work. That defeats the purpose of (not only) having a great business, but a great life.

This is also where we start with all our Massimo Members. When they free up some time in their week, they can invest some of those hours working ON their business creating and implementing these systems.

If you don’t have the time to work ON your business instead of IN it, then you will never be able to change. Chaos will continue to reign. We call this the transaction treadmill. It is not a good place to be.

You need to be relentless about your time. It is your most important asset and should be invested rather than merely spent, or even wasted.

2. A Prospecting System

Most of our Massimo Members hired us to coach them because they were struggling in this area. Maybe they lacked the confidence to go find and win the business they want. Maybe they were scared of rejection.

Many of them have simply never had anyone show them how to do it…and do it well.

Regardless, we coach our Members to get to know and understand their ideal prospects. They craft messaging that speaks to the core of their prospects problems and opportunities. They can clearly communicate their value in a compelling way…in just 20 seconds.

You should be able to do the same. You should use proven tactics and strategies to warm up your prospects before you call. This raises your connection ratio and leads to more meetings.

The best in our business are those who are great prospectors. They nail their opening statements every time. They prepare great questions ahead of time so their prospects start to open up to them.

Great prospectors are the ones who survive downturns and actually grow their market share. You want to be in this group.

3. A Personal Presence System

When I started in commercial real estate, I worked with my dad. I was always amazed at how he knew everyone. But more importantly, everyone knew my dad.

Beyond that, they knew he was great at what he did.

I remember thinking that it would take me 10 years to scratch the surface of that kind of presence in the market. It didn’t take me 10 years to build a great presence, but it took me years longer than it could have.

There is a simple and proven way to create dominating market presence. Our Members are coached to implement this system not so that they know everyone. They build their presence so that each influential person in their market knows who they are, and that they are a market expert.

Dominating presence is where referrals come from. Presence leads to prospects calling you for help. Presence is the constant demonstration of your expertise for the benefit of others — so that when someone who matters thinks about commercial real estate, yours is the face they see.

4. A System for Great Presentations

Rod Santomassimo, President and Founder of the Massimo Group, often says that because we are a coaching organization — we’ve seen every company’s pitch presentation. If you lay them all out on a table and strip away the names, logos, and colors, they all look the same.

Let’s talk about me and my experience…how great I am.

Let’s talk about my company and our market share…blah blah blah.

Here’s some information about your property…

Now let’s negotiate my fee.

They are all some version of that. The only thing worse than blowing a pitch, is blowing it while sounding like everyone else.

There is a better way – a much better way, in fact. Our way demonstrates your understanding of the true motivations of the prospect. It demonstrates that you understand their situation and allows you to clearly communicate how you are going to help them achieve their goals.

The beauty of a presentation system, or framework, is that it is never canned. You know what you are going to communicate each time, but it is centered around the prospect and their needs.

The ancillary benefit of knowing you can crush your presentation is that you prospect with more confidence. That is a beautiful thing!

5. A Team Building System

Team building is another reason many of our Massimo Members hire us. They have gotten to the point where they are at capacity. They can do no more. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

But how do you go about building a team? What structure should you create? What responsibilities should the team members have? What commission splits should there be? Should you hire people like yourself, or with different strengths and skill sets?

You can build a great prospecting system by trial and error. You can do the same thing in creating your personal presence system.

But making a bad hire is expensive. Building a team can just as easily land you in drama and more chaos. It really hurts when you get this wrong.

We coach our Members through a system where we identify their own value and what they should be doing…and what they should never do again. We help them identify their natural behaviors and their strengths and weaknesses.

Then based on that, we start to identify who their first (or next) hire should be. Together, we create job descriptions and team operating agreements.

This process allows our Members to have the best chance to build a team that will leverage their time and create margin in their life…while their business continues to grow.

That is where you want to eventually be.

So, those are the 5 Pillars of a great business: productivity, prospecting, presence, presentations, and team building. You want to have these systems in place in your business so that you can break away from your chaotic normal day and proactively build your business.

It is possible, and you deserve to have this kind of business.


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