An interview with Steven Weinstock, first vice president / regional manager / national director of National Land Group at Marcus & Millichap
Headquarters: Calabasas, California
Local company address: One Mid America Plaza, Suite 200, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
Industry: Commercial real estate investment sales
Annual sales: $14M (local office)
Number of employees: 60 (local office)
Family information: Married 30-plus years to Lisa -- sons Nathan and Jeremy
Residence now: Chicago
Q: Describe your company.
A: We work with owners of commercial real estate, specifically income-producing properties, as they journey through the various phases of property ownership: selling, buying, holding or refinancing. We are a collaborative sales force each of whom specializes in a specific property type and geography.
Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?
A: Drone videos. We are able to fly over a property and provide great visual perspectives for a potential client or buyer to experience. It used to be that we would use a 35 mm camera, then a digital camera, then our smartphones.
Now we engage someone to do that for us, freeing up our time while providing amazing results.
Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
A: Yes, we're continually growing. We've added numerous new and experienced agents, agent assistants and office staff to our roster during 2017.
We recently completed a significant renovation of our offices including state-of-the-art technology in conference rooms.
Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?
A: 2017 was a tremendous growth year for our office. Although the market will be tighter than it's been in recent years in 2018, we've laid a foundation of hard work and skill development along with market knowledge such that we should be able to enjoy even more growth. As the market becomes challenging, it's even more important that we interact with our clients so they know their current position as it compares to the market and fully understand their options and capitalize on those opportunities.
Q: If you had one tip to give to a rookie CEO, what would it be?
A: We each have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk. When we ask insightful questions and then listen, people know we care about them.
Q: Do you have a business mantra?
A: Make it about the client. Clients know when someone is really about helping the client versus helping themselves. When we help our clients succeed, we all succeed. We are in a service business and it has to always be about the client. This applies not only to our agents and their clients, but also to me personally as the regional manager working with my core clients: my agents.
Q: From a business outlook, whom do you look up to?
A: Warren Buffett. He has a very grounded practical approach to business. I appreciate the simplicity of looking at value, not price, as a key element in decision-making.
Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?
A: George Marcus worked for Grubb & Ellis before starting his own company in the 1970s. Rather than end their relationship, Hal Ellis became an advisory board member of George's company and provided tremendous insight and guidance to George including maintaining our focus on investment sales and not being distracted by other opportunities in commercial real estate.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: My wife and I enjoy traveling abroad on trips where we are active. We've recently hiked the French and Italian Alps, Costa Brava and the Spanish Pyrenees and hope to do Iceland in the coming year or so. As for me, I love to cook and am known to spend an entire day in the kitchen in order to feed my friends a good meal.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: Excitement about new ideas or opportunities. When it strikes, I must get out of bed and work through a concept before my mind can rest. I'm not someone who stays awake worrying, but I'm known to work through the night on new ideas.
Q: If you were not doing this job, what would be doing?
A. Instead of managing a brokerage firm, I'd be actively brokering transactions. I enjoy helping people achieve their goals.
Q: What was your first paying job?
A: I was a newspaper delivery boy for competing newspapers in the metro Detroit area. If I was going to walk down a street to deliver one newspaper, I figured why not deliver both? Good thing I didn't get caught!
Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?
A: Augusta National Golf Club. Golf is an incredible sport requiring not only physical ability but commitment, perseverance and, most of all, ongoing skill development. It's a lifelong pursuit full of valuable lessons that can be played by anyone of any age. What other sport encourages you to "shoot your age" as you get older?
Q: What is one funny thing that has happened to you in your career?
A: More ironic than funny: I was helping an owner sell a portfolio of apartment buildings in Denver. We finished the paperwork for one of the closings but were unable to fund that day. It had been a tough transaction that "blew up" a number of times. The next morning, the owner called me to say the deal had "blown up" that evening. I assured him deals "blow up" all the time, but we'd get it closed. Little did I know, one of the buildings in the complex had an actual explosion, and walls moved 7 inches on the first floor. No one was hurt, and we were able to complete the closing two weeks later. I coach my agents to never use the phrase "a deal just blew up" to describe a transaction going sideways.
Q: Two people to follow on Twitter and why.
A: Simon Sinek and the Dalai Lama. Sinek provides insight into the business world through books like "Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action" and his TED lectures where he discusses how people think, act and communicate. As for the Dalai Lama, I enjoy his perspective about mankind and our obligation/connection to one another. Both men cause me to take pause.
Q: What book is on your nightstand?
A: "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. Simple and effective lessons that last a lifetime.