Recently Geoff Kasselman, SIOR, LEED, AP, invited me to this year’s SIOR Fall World Conference in Chicago. Indicating that numerous members of the organization listen to CRE Radio, he thought it would be productive if I “experienced” the conference. Flattery will get you everywhere! Three weeks later, I’m on a jet, squeezing into a seat half my size, searching for the answer to one of life’s biggest mysteries, “Why SIOR”? As usual, I found my answer in the way I least expected.
Geoff made it clear when he invited me that there were “no strings attached”. I didn’t have to conduct any interviews or videos or even tweet. Of course, he knew I couldn’t help myself and I would do something to express myself.
Curiosity getting the better of me before the first scheduled meeting of the morning, I registered early. Having coffee in one of only three seats available, I struck up a conversation with Frank Hird, SIOR, a broker from New Haven, Connecticut. He told me he just closed a deal in Mumbai and another in Ireland. I assumed he had connected with his international client being geographically close with numerous international corporations. Wrong again!
Frank made it clear he was hired by his client because of SIOR. He told me his story assuming I was a fellow SIOR broker. Little did he know I was going to broadcast his story all over the world. What luck! My first conversation at the conference and it was interesting. More on Frank’s video story in another article.
From the beginning of the conference, I recognized the global focus of SIOR. Wherever I walked “international” accosted my senses. This is not to say that global brokerage is all that SIOR is about. But it is something of which they are highly aware, and on the forefront of for real estate brokerages of the future.
Later in the day I attended an educational session with panelists discussing the business of office & industrial real estate in Mexico, India and France. Real estate in these countries couldn’t be anymore different but so much the same as in the United States. It was during this session that I had my trust and referral epiphany.
Using France as an example, Charles Tatham, SIOR, described how their laws, heavily favor tenants, allowing them to terminate leases within 3 years, no matter how long the original term was. He made it sound like being a landlord was a really bad investment. Yet, despite French law, there are still plenty of landlords in France. Obviously there is more to this than immediately met the eye. During the presentation it became clear that while the rules were different, as you knew the rules, you could still get to the bottom line and make money. You just had to look through the eyes of someone familiar with doing business in France. Proof to the saying that, “there is more than one way to skin a cat”.
As a U.S. broker, I would be nervous about doing business in another country. It is tough enough knowing your own market, rules and laws, but knowing what to do in another country? No way! You definitely need someone with boots on the ground. How do you find someone you can trust in France, Mexico, India or other country? Enter SIOR.
SIOR membership is an earned distinction. Not everyone can join. SIOR members will tell you that each member is fully vetted as part of the admission process. This is something that they are not only proud of, but rely on.
Much of SIOR is about referrals, both sending and receiving. It is so much a part of the organization, and the reason for being a member, that no member can afford to lose the trust that comes with membership. While being a member is no guarantee of trust, it sure promotes the process! Wouldn’t it be easier to refer a client to an SIOR in India, Ireland or France knowing you can rely on and trust the brokers that you work with in those countries? Congratulations! You have expanded beyond self-imposed borders and your business has now become global!
Thank you Geoff, and SIOR, for opening my eyes and helping me answer one of life’s great mysteries.
P.S. These gentlemen are absolutely religious about the use of their designations following their names. This should show you how valuable they feel their involvement in SIOR is.