"Every deal is special!" - from the professional life of a broker
In the third interview of our series with real estate agents, Dario passionately tells us about his calling and what happens as soon as good preparation and the right opportunity meet. Find out what tips and tricks the 28-year-old broker has to offer in the following conversation. As a sports-loving Berlin native, he not only knows his city very well, but is also well informed on the latest trends in the real estate market.
Ziegert EverEstate: How did you find your profession?
Dario Machiana: Originally, I worked in management consulting: After school, I completed an apprenticeship as an office clerk. In the second year of my apprenticeship, I was given the opportunity to become a part of my current department, the sales department. The head of sales at the time then contacted me and said that I definitely belong in sales and not exclusively behind the desk. (laughs) We started a kind of pilot project with me as a junior, because at that time the sales department was still being set up and I attracted a lot of attention due to my young age. After two years in this position, I felt like trying something new and my interest in commercial real estate led me to a position in business centers/parks in a listed company. After another two years, two things happened at the same time: the day I decided it was time to leave the company, I was contacted by a friend about an open position as a real estate agent.
It is not for nothing that it is said that there are no coincidences in life.
Dario Machiana: That's right, isn't it? I also always like to say: Success comes when good preparation meets the right opportunity. For me, one thing led to another – after my conversation with the Chief Sales Officer and the Team Lead, we quickly agreed that everything fits and I was hired pretty quickly. I have been working as a broker since 2019.
What was the decisive factor for you to start working as a broker?
Dario Machiana: Commercial real estate was already a lot of fun for me, but the sole B2B orientation was not enough for me. It's more objective here, which didn't really satisfy me personally. I currently see myself more in the B2C area. Now it's much, much more personal thanks to individual customer care. I have a face in front of my eyes and I really want to know who that person is and how I can help. Customers are also very grateful if you understand this and, above all, implement it.
Is there a particularly positive experience in this regard?
Dario Machiana: Basically, I think it's great that we offer such a wide range of products: From commercial real estate to capital investments in a wide variety of cities to rented or vacant apartments in new and old buildings, everything is included. As a result, I have to respond very closely to the customers and their different needs. It is extremely important to first find out what makes this person special and what they are specifically looking for. What makes sense to offer? Each of my inquiries is a completely new customer for me and is advised individually. I listen a lot and take my notes. In particular, the first meeting is only about the prospective buyer. In the company, we like to say "start-up talk" because it is the founding of something new. This is less about what I have to offer and more about what the potential buyer has in mind.
What is an important part of individual customer service?
Dario Machiana: Listen carefully and ask the right questions to get the really important information. Every buyer is different – some are a bit more closed and some talk freely. The right feeling helps here in order to be able to respond to the customer accordingly, as well as clear communication.
Does the initial consultation take place by phone or in person?
Dario Machiana: Sometimes by phone, sometimes in person. There were times when I preferred a meeting in person. This already shows the commitment – is the interest in an offer strong enough to make a personal appointment? Due to the pandemic, the initial conversation shifted a little more to phone calls and video meetings. Of course, it was advantageous that I was given a little more time in the appointment calendar, as telephone appointments are usually very efficient and goal-oriented. Regardless of this, it is still important for me that my customers have a face of me, at least via video call.
What is your day-to-day work as a broker like?
Dario Machiana: Actually, my working day starts on the evening before: At the end of each day, I check my upcoming appointments for the coming day. Every day can be very different. My ideal working day starts with morning phone calls, making appointments, and answering my emails that reached me in the meantime. To be honest, I like to respond to inquiries and give feedback to interested parties as quickly as possible. I prefer to go to the office rather than work from home all day. The planned visits follow at noon, ideally in sunshine. (laughs) In the afternoon, post-processing in the office or home office follows. Viewings can often be carried out in the evening, if my customers don't have time for it during the day because of their work – then I start at their end of the day.
Is that a disadvantage or an advantage for you overall?
Dario Machiana: I think that's the price to pay for the flexibility we have as brokers. In return for the fact that we can structure our working day so freely, I am happy to accept occasional visits in the evening or on Saturdays. For me, the many advantages of my job clearly outweigh the disadvantages, such as the flexible working hours. In previous positions, I learned that I'm not the type of employee who enjoys already determined working hours, but that I'm happy with creating my own work schedule. It may be that this means I work at times when others are free, but that doesn't bother me. I value my flexibility as a broker very much.
What helps to form a good and trusting relationship with the customer?
Dario Machiana: Every broker should listen sincerely what the potential buyer has to say and not stubbornly try to get their own opinion through. Sure, it's important to mediate at the end, but it's more important to lift up the customer so that they feel comfortable and trust is built between you. That is the most sustainable approach. Based on the initial consultation, it pays off if you go the extra mile as a broker. Not everything always runs smoothly – be it that documents are missing or you were too slow despite all efforts and the object is no longer available. In these cases, it is important to show that you continue to strive for solutions. This is gratefully accepted and rarely forgotten. Even if a deal does not materialize despite the best advice, the efforts often pay off in retrospect. Former prospective buyers contact me again six months later because they remembered my advice. I'm very happy about that.
When was the last time you went the extra mile?
Dario Machiana: At the end of last year, I brokered a beautiful 2-room apartment to a couple, who bought their second unit with us. The first unit was for their own use and the buyers noticed that the real estate market is still booming and that a capital investment therefore makes sense. Relatively quickly we found a second suitable apartment within the given budget, with a balcony and completely renovated. After some time, I was contacted again, asking if I knew someone who was looking for a flat as a potential tenant. Without further ado, I asked my circle of acquaintances and someone was found on the spot in a high-demand housing market like Berlin. Both parties clarified everything else directly with each other and everything worked wonderfully. That's what I mean by the extra mile. I am all the more pleased when, in the best case scenario, all parties are happy with the result and I was able to successfully contribute to it.
Which deal do you remember in particular?
Dario Machiana: Every deal is special. (laughs) Earlier this year I advised an investor who was looking to buy four rental units, and was originally interested in buying a house on the outskirts of town to rent out. The first conversation was all about his wishes and the second more about the Berlin real estate market. He brought a lot of questions, which I felt were testing my technical knowledge. We came to the conclusion that he could spread the risk better and I offered him four rented units in Berlin-Charlottenburg. The whole process went smoothly as well. The whole process was definitely fun
What tips do you have for brokers?
Dario Machiana: Empathy is very important so that you can pick up the prospective buyers properly. It doesn't hurt if you're talkative – in a pleasant way. Make sure you can always add value. Even if it doesn't come to the conclusion of a deal, it's nice to leave a lasting impression. And of course always stay tuned! (laughs) It helps if you constantly educate yourself, inform yourself or exchange ideas with colleagues and friends about current topics. For me, it was also very helpful to learn from more experienced colleagues. When great successes are celebrated in the company, you should also have the courage to ask the people how they realized it. Personally, I also talk a lot about real estate in the private sector, which sometimes opens up new opportunities. In addition, you should be self-reflective – both the market or the company change and in my opinion you should never go straight ahead blindly, but stop from time to time after a few steps. Each broker has his own tips and tricks, from which you can learn a lot.
Translated by Elvis Miculis