Selling Hotels

I was asked in a meeting yesterday what words of wisdom I had for the young real estate agents in the room. I thought about my first week as a hotel broker (May 1990) and shared the story.

I went to a friend of mine that sold hotels and was the head of a hotel group. It was very small at the time with only five brokers and two assistants. I wanted to learn how to sell restaurants (that was all I knew) and he told me he didn’t know how to sell restaurants but would let me see if I could learn how to sell hotels. I can remember (34 years ago) that exact meeting and the exact words said.

So, I showed up the next Monday and he hadn’t told any of the other brokers I was joining. I think he wanted to see if I showed first. Ha. Well, I did and was given a small office with a phone. No training, no support and very little further advise. Sink or swim, so I jumped off the high dive.

After three or four days of not having one conversation about a hotel, I got in my 1988 chevy and was determined to get some people to talk to. I pointed the chevy south down I-75 and over the next day, stopped and when in 132 hotels and ask for the owner. When I came back to the office, I had a stack of names and some people to talk to. I started selling in May of 1990 and by the end of the year (8 months) I had sold seven hotels and won the national rookie of the year award for hotel brokerage.

As I look back on it, it was that road trip that flipped the switch for me. If I hadn’t made that trip, I don’t know how long I would have lasted. Unlike today with all manner of ways to communicate, back then, it was only phone, mail or face to face. That was it.

We can’t go back to a simpler time, but we can choose to be simple (old school) with our time. That is what I told all the young real estate agents yesterday. Who knows, maybe one will keep it simple and build a business. KT

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