I’m an avid book reader that loves business and finance books.  Here are some of my top must-read books for commercial real estate agents.  These books have helpful information that can translate to the commercial real estate industry.

Business Development

Purple CowIn the days of yore (10 years ago), businesses could follow this simple formula to great riches, advertising + audience = sales.  As you can guess, this no longer works.  We’re inundated with information, products, and services in every color, feature combination, and price-level.  This short book will teach you the process of breaking out of the dull-gray industry and become something truly unique.

The E-Myth Revisited – I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t that book about a pie shop?!”  Umm…yes.  But the story can translate to commercial real estate service providers!  Granted, The E-Myth is largely about businesses making employee manuals and checklists, but following these directions for yourself makes things amazingly simple!  Consider creating a checklist of everything you need to do when you sign a new listing.  A checklist for doing sales calls, cold visits, setting up for showing property to a buy, monthly / weekly /daily goals.  The point is to create a process for your business.  Your checklists can turn into great marketing materials when you’re listing buying / selling / landlord / tenant rep services. Clients know exactly what’s coming next, no guess work.

The Predictable Profits – Today, potential clients want to feel trust and connectivity without cheesy, corporate gimmicks.  The concept is to tell your business’s story as a human, not a faceless minion.  The goal is to humanize your services by putting a face and compelling story next to everything you do.  Consider Elon Mush, Steve Jobs, or Richard Branson.  It’s about personality, uniqueness, and humanity, not about the features or services you offer.

Built to Sell – Calling all Brokers!  Built to Sell is about creating a brokerage that runs smoothly with and without you.  Most of the advice is about creating a clear process, an established hierarchy, and a mission so easy-to-understand, that your employees can use it to make decisions without your input.


Personal Finances

Combine the sporadic nature of commission-only paychecks to the insurmountable pressure of buying luxury sports cars, high-end homes, and expensive clothes and you have a recipe for disaster.  Brokers believe that pushing agents to racking up debt will give them incentive to make money… do you want to live that way?  Here are some personal finance books that I love!

The Science of Getting Rich – You know the book/movie The Secret that’s all about the universe or whatever, obeying your wishes?  This is where that concept comes from.  Written in 1910, this book explores why some people get rich and others don’t.  It may be a little difficult to get through the first few chapters, as it feels like some religion Wattles is trying to start – just push through because the rest of it is amazing!  It’s all about keeping your goals in the forefront of your mind, giving people services that out-weigh what they paid, allowing your brain to tackle “how to get there” over a stretch of time (don’t rush it!) and doing small things and changing small parts of your behavior to eventually reach those goals.

The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey is truly the master of getting people out of debt.  This isn’t a long read – maybe 2-3 hours, no excuses not to check this one out!  He has a very straight-forward way of thinking about debt, budgets, savings, retirement, college funds, and student debt that will leave you in a cold sweat if you’re in-deep.

The Richest Man in Babylon – I loved The Total Money Makeover, but the rule to save no money until you are debt-free gave me anxiety-spawned hives.  My nerves wouldn’t let me do the debt avalanche!  Shortly after, I read The Richest Man in Babylon.  These are ancient texts from Babylon – the world’s richest city – that were used in their open-forum regarding personal finances.  (Babylon had a free financial class for all citizens!)  I found Dabasir to have the perfect debt/savings strategy.  He was a debtor that fled Babylon to become an outlaw.  He was sold into slavery, escaped, returned to Babylon, and worked diligently to pay his debts and create a savings of “coins to jingle”.  I found his method to be prefect if you have a family, property, and obligations that make only a $1,000 buffer unreasonable.