Every week, we ask a real estate professional for thoughts on the top trends in real estate.
This week, we talked with Andre Brown, Global Real Estate Advisor for American Da Tang Realty LLC.
Miami Agent (MA): How has your military experience prepared you for the real estate business?
Andre Brown (AB): I was in the Marine Corp for 15 years and served in seven combat tours. The first thing they taught me was discipline. Being able to wake up early and making sure I show up on time. Another thing was the importance of communication with everyone working on a deal, along with doing my due diligence with research. I was in the intelligence community, and the information I provided the commander allowed him to make the best decision possible. It’s the same with real estate clients.
Leadership, as well, is one of the things that gives me a competitive edge in real estate. Being able to implement a regiment and being a confident decision maker was one of the key things taught to me by the Marine Corps. as well as seeking self-improvement, how to be technically and tactfully proficient, as well as setting the example for my team.
MA: How important is understanding culture to your business, especially when working with foreign clients?
AB: It’s very important. When you understand culture, you have the advantage of knowing what to expect and it allows you to know what to expect. You don’t just jump right into meetings, you have tea and get to know each other first, you build that relationship with your clients while learning about their needs and desires. I drank a lot of tea in Iraq while establishing relationships and building respect. You can’t operate inside a box anymore, it’s about being globally connected.
One of the most important things I’ve learned is patience. The western American way is everything is fast and in a hurry. In other cultures, you have to be patient and transparent. Your reputation is all you have, and when you’ve spent months building up a relationship with a client, one incident can throw all of that away and you’ll have to start from scratch again.
MA: How important is networking to your business and what have you found to be most effective?
AB: You need to establish a networking budget: How much money are you going to spend going out to networking events? How much money are you going to spend joining trade organizations? When you go to events, you have to go in with the intention of meeting a certain caliber of person. You have to go in with the intention of meeting a potential client. If I go to a panel discussion, I’m going to try and meet one or two of those panelists directly, whether I meet them for their information or as a client. I research them beforehand, look at their bios, and know at least one unique point about them.
The other part is you have to be willing to give, especially volunteering time. I’ve met a lot of people in this industry who aren’t willing to give up time for the sake of building a relationship. I am in the Homebuilder’s Association, and I’ve gotten a lot of business because I’ve donated my time to the organization in order to help them develop.
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