No Cell Phone?
By Jill Jamieson-Nichols
Call it commercial real estate unplugged.
At 24, Daniel Close is a tech-savvy industrial broker who
does business via iPhone and iPad. He didn’t know what an IBM
Selectric looked like until one recently showed up on his desk.
As part of Close’s training at CBRE, industry veterans Murray
Platt, SIOR, and Paul Kluck, SIOR, RPA, thought it would be a
good exercise for Close to spend a week learning how industrial
real estate was done in 1984, the year Platt started in the business.
That meant no cell phone, no voice mail and no computer, so no
email or Internet.
“I think he was very, very reluctant and thought we were
kidding up until about two weeks before we put it into place,”
In fact, everybody thought it was a joke, said Close, who
showed up for an interview carrying a folder full of paper, includ-
ing a printout of his contacts and calendar for the week. “I feel
like I’m not very connected with what’s going on,” he said. “The
only way to really find out what’s on the market is to drive up and
down the street.”
Platt and Kluck’s motive was twofold: they wanted Close to
understand the value of phone calls and face-to-face meetings,
and they also thought the experience would give him rapport with
senior brokers in the Denver market.
" The commercial real estate
business is a relationship business,
and relationships are not built by
Brad Neiman of Brad Neiman Associates was among those
who offered advice. “If you take somebody that age and how they
communicate with their peers, they don’t talk on the phone, they
text everything. The point I tried to make to him is that the commercial real estate business is a relationship business, and relationships are not built by text messaging. You want to be not only
talking to people, you want to put yourself in front of people as
much as you can and as often as you possibly can,” Neiman said.
Close began what became known as “Hell Week” with a
typewriter, rotary-dial phone and a box full of quarters for
“To be able to find a place to plug that phone in our
office was nearly impossible,” said Close, who
found a fax outlet in a small kitchen/lunch
area, where he made calls as others
passed by and snickered. “I
stand there, and I dial …
and I dial,” he said.
He was afraid to
leave the office for fear
of missing calls, but had to
visit clients and go to county
offices for information. “It really
made me show up at people’s doors,”
Close discovered most gas stations still have
pay phones, and that people look at you funny when
you’re dressed professionally and talking on one. He has
one client who likes to talk – long-distance. “The phone call
went on 15 minutes. Do you know how much money that is? I’m