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Keeping Pace with Rapid Change is a Challenge—and a Must, Says SIOR’s Duclos

SIOR confers one of the most valued designations attainable on office and industrial brokers who earn it. Yet, it does considerably more for its members than simply give them the right to put the acronym SIOR after their names.

SIOR connects the world’s most influential and knowledgeable commercial real estate professionals to countless resources, including education, events, and people. One such way it facilitates connections is through its annual Spring World Conference, taking place April 10-13 in Washington, D.C. Mark Duclos, president of Sentry Commercial and President-Elect of SIOR, takes Connect Media readers behind the scenes.

Q: The industrial market is evolving rapidly, from both a user standpoint and a technology/design standpoint. What do industrial brokers need to do in order to stay current, and how does SIOR help them do this?

A: One of the biggest challenges in brokerage today is keeping current on all the changing needs and priorities of our clients. The e-commerce revolution, the refinement of logistics, and the acceleration of automation (thus efficiencies) in the warehouse and manufacturing process are just a few of the items today’s broker needs to understand. Technology has certainly played a central role in these changes, both from an operations standpoint (how our clients operate their facilities), and from the standpoint of how clients use technology to make facilities decisions (availability of suitable labor, cost of labor, operating expenses like utilities). Not to mention, how brokers use technology to serve their clients.

SIOR continues to play a significant role in our members’ careers by providing consistent, valuable content on industry trends and forward-looking insight. This is accomplished in many ways—through educational classes, website portals, webinars, specialty practice groups and content and education provided at our local chapter meetings and events, regional conferences and world conferences, just to name a few.

Q: The Spring World Conference is coming up in April. How is this year’s content especially timely?

A: There are so many moving parts in our world right now that it is impossible to cover all the “timely” issues in a two-and-a-half-day event. That said, at our conference in Washington, D.C., we have content that covers a number of cutting-edge topics. These topics include: how demographics affect our future; the future of transportation; urban development (where our cities are headed); real estate sales tax strategies; how to do business with the GSA; emotional intelligence; investment; and industrial national market updates. All these topics affect our members and their clients every day!

Furthermore, “content” is not limited to the formal presentations, speeches and roundtables. Content includes the exchange of ideas and information among leading brokers from around the world.

Q: One of the key themes in this year’s conference is change. How can SIOR membership help brokers to navigate and thrive in a changing environment?

A: If someone tells you they know exactly where we are going and how we are all getting there, then I would turn around and run! The reality is that none of us know exactly where this is all headed. However, SIOR leadership and its members, collectively, spend countless hours seeking insight from corporate America, industry (and non-industry) thought leaders, strategic partners, industry experts etc. on what they are doing, the tools they are using to get there, and the tools they believe they will be using in the future. Whether it’s how our world is affected by automated intelligence, automated cars, edge computing or remote manufacturing, we are talking with those in the know, and developing insight that will help our members make educated decisions that will enhance their business.

Furthermore, and just as importantly, we continually develop better ways to deliver that message to our members, tailored to their specific interests.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just getting started in commercial real estate?

A: Whether they are with a local, regional, or international brokerage firm, I would first and foremost tell them to open their eyes beyond the market they are in. Far too many times I see practitioners believe their universe is limited to the immediate area they practice, but it’s not. Your practice will be affected by events, trends and people that are not located in your market.

The second piece of advice would be to focus on your client. All too often I see practitioners spending most of their time finding new business, instead of taking the time to take care of the business (clients) they already have. Brokerage has changed drastically in the 33 years I have been in it.  It used to be about doing deals. And, while we all still need to “do deals,” we only “do deals” if we are taking care of our clients.

Lastly, because we need to serve our clients, find a brokerage firm that provides you the tools you will need to support the services you require to serve your clients. We aren’t writings deals on the back of napkins anymore, but there are still some firms that try to. Find yourself a firm that stays on top of… actually no… that keeps ahead of the technology needed to do your business in a professional and productive way.


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