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The Retail Brokers Network is a nationwide group of retail commercial real estate brokerage firms.  My company and I have been proud members for over fifteen years.

Retail Brokers Network Member: Eastern PA, Southern NJ, Northern DE

Information

The Retail Brokers Network (RBN) members are an agent’s best source of information. Getting on the national calls, helping to run them, or simply participating helps you get to know the other 700+ members – and the more people you know, the more information you get. You’ll find out which tenants are active, who’s in trouble, which tenants are clients of RBN members, and how deal terms vary from market to market.

The RBN councils are groups of people who focus on various parts of the retail brokerage business, discussing and sharing all sorts of council-specific knowledge, information and best practices. While the Tenant, Restaurant, and Investment Sales council groups are self-explanatory, the Marketing Council is comprised of marketing professionals from our member firms, sharing information and advice on best practices.

The information gained in RBN calls and meetings is invaluable. No matter how good you think you are, there’s always someone doing it better. No matter how long you have been in the business, there’s someone in the network who has been doing it longer – or a newcomer who has figured out how to do it better or faster. The RBN provides these connections, so the members can learn from each other.

National Presence

What does being an RBN member mean to your current or potential clients?  As an RBN member you will be able you will have access to national information and be able to explain how it can help.  You and your brokers will understand where tenants are going and how they’re expanding or contracting.  Your company will simply have a higher standing than competitors who only operate on a local level.

Does a client need a property to purchase or sell, but there’s nothing for them locally?  An RBN member can help.

Is your client looking at buying a specific type of asset?  I’ll bet an RBN member can give you feedback on similar properties trading nationally.

If you were a tenant or owner, with whom would you rather work?  I know I’d want to work with the broker doing everything they can to bring me the most information faster than anyone else.  I’ve lost track how many times a client needed information and I was able to get it in minutes from members located in other parts of the country with only a phone call or text.

Convention Booths

Booths at ICSC conventions and conferences aren’t just a place to sit.  They are a great place to meet clients at the shows, a place to meet other RBN members and friends, and a place to connect with members who are new to you.  When RBN members get to know each other, business opportunities naturally materialize.  The more time we spend with each other, the more business we transact.

Spending time in a convention booth presents opportunities for members to introduce you to clients and for you to do the same.  You never know the relationships and business opportunities that will result from spending time in the booth.

Wouldn’t you rather meet with your clients in the network booth at a comfortable table, rather than huddling in a corner out by the conference registration?

Motivation

I didn’t have ‘Motivation’ on the original list, but it needs to be here.  Every time I end an RBN call, get back from a show with RBN members, or return from an RBN meeting, I’m re-energized.  Talking with other members can pick me up, help me understand, or motivate me to find new ways to accomplish a goal.

In case you didn’t know it, this business isn’t easy.  It helps to have like-minded people to help you figure it out.  We all need coaches, motivators, confidants, and friends.  Get involved in the RBN and you’ll find them in the group.

Referrals

Did you notice I put this benefit last?  Many people have joined the RBN and it’s the first question they ask, “How do I find out about referrals?”

Don’t worry about referrals….worry about the time you are giving to the network because then, referrals find you.  Do you dial into council calls?  Are you heard on council calls?  Do you help answer questions?  Do you volunteer information?  Very simply…..do you say hello to everyone at the beginning of the call?  Do you call members afterwards to say hello and follow up on something discussed? Have you volunteered to be on one of the councils?

It’s not hard.  Volunteer a little time each month.  Many volunteers make light work.  I’ve seen bonds naturally form with other members of the council heads.  Bonds lead to relationships.  Relationships lead to working together.  And working together leads to commissions.

The more you engage, the more people hear your name and realize your market.  The more people with whom you bond and connect, the more business opportunities and referrals you will see from the network.

Thank you to all my friends and colleagues in the RBN.  This business wouldn’t be nearly as fun and fruitful without you.

Rob Samtmann, Principal,

Equity Retail Brokers, Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania