Broker Duke Long, owner of The Duke Long Agency in Indianapolis, has one of the commercial real estate industry’s most visible online presences. On his website – which bears the tagline “Commercial Real Estate with a Little Attitude” – and in his Twitter feed, he offers an often acerbic take on the sector. He also has appeared at real estate conferences nationwide to discuss such topics as social media, marketing and content creation.
We recently got a chance to discuss with Long the commercial real estate industry’s use of technology, his tips for brokers entering the field … and his driving skills.
Long: My general assessment is that the integration is about fair. There is still a lot of talk about what we really should be doing. The number one issue is still defining what the real return on investment (ROI) is for any digital media. I have one simple question for everyone. Tell me the real ROI on your mom. Seriously. Tell me. I will wait.
OK – maybe that is stretching it a bit far, but the entire world uses digital media everyday, and we do not need to only define a digital strategy by dollars. In my opinion, the most dynamic use of digital media is occurring in the retail sector. It crosses all platforms, and it’s breathtaking to watch the innovation and adoption. Sadly, the most discouraging segment is brokerage, which too often is ignorant and embedded in a “worst practices” mentality – and, of course, damn proud of it.
HS: If you were speaking with someone about to enter a brokerage career, what advice would you give them about how to best succeed in this day and age?
Long: First and foremost, find a mentor. Unfortunately, the good ones are few and far between. The second thing is to define the market and segment that you want to dominate. Example: Chicago downtown retail. Walk that market and literally know every building, owner and tenant and be able to answer any question about that market in your sleep. The third thing is tools, both online and off. Get a set of 10: customer relationship management (CRM) software, mapping software, etc. The final thing is relationship building. Be in front of a potential client every single day, and nurture that relationship.
HS: Your website has a poll asking readers about their preference in the presidential election. Do you think the race is having an effect – good or bad – on the commercial real estate sector, and how much of an impact do you expect the outcome to have?
Long: In all honesty, I don’t think it will matter one little bit, and that in and of itself is a sad statement.
HS: If you weren't a broker, what career would you want to pursue?
Long: Easy: racecar driver. Formula One, IndyCar or NASCAR. I am a graduate of Speedway High School. Unfortunately, I have a “checkered” driving record to prove that my “skills” are still as sharp as ever.