Bold statement, I know.
Generally speaking, adults are smarter than teenagers. Call it life experience, additional schooling, etc, but being more advanced than our children is usually a given. However, there are times when teenagers show tenacity and initiative that those of us in the commercial real estate industry can learn a thing or two from. Here’s how:
They Never Take No For an Answer – I know from firsthand experience that the word “no” does not sit well with a teen. Whatever the question may be, if they don’t get the answer that they want, they find ways around it. Call them determined, call them smart, but whatever the case may be, they end up with what they want in some form or fashion. This too can help in commercial real estate deals. If you want the deal, find ways around the objection to achieve your goals.
They Get More “Likes” Than We Do – Our teenagers maintain large networks of friends across all major social media sites. On Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or whatever platform they choose, they get more “likes” (I’m using “likes” as a generic term – it could be favorites, re-tweets, re-pins, etc.) than most of us could ever dream of. They achieve this in two ways – they stay very active on the sites, and they return the favor by “liking” their friends’ posts as well. The lesson here is to collect, maintain, and respond to large networks of people. Be an active social media presence; a relationship farmer that make as many personal connections as possible.
They Are Technologically Advanced – Teenagers stay on top of the latest technology. Whatever the latest app is, they know about it and have it. The commercial real estate industry can learn from this. There are many apps that can help us become more productive: LoopNet Commercial Real Estate Search and CoStarGo are both excellent apps to search for commercial real estate. There are many financial calculator apps to assist in financial calculations. LinkedIn has an app, as well as other social media networks, including YouTube, to record a video walk-through of an available space being listed.
They Are Great at Garnering Other People’s Money –What teenager doesn’t know how to get extra cash from you? They have mastered the art of spending other people’s money. Using OPM, or other people’s money is key in commercial real estate. Leverage is a powerful tool and the means to getting a larger deal done. The lesson to those of us in commercial real estate is to use OPM and maintain relationships with lenders to achieve yours or your client’s goals.
The funny thing is, ask a teen about these qualities and they’re second nature to them. So while we continue to teach and lead our teenagers by example, let’s not forget that they have a lot to offer, and try to harness some of their effortless personality traits into our daily lives of commercial real estate.