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About The Guest
Bob Richards is the Executive Vice Chairman and member of the Global Advisory Board at Cushman Wakefield. Locally, Bob leads the Cambridge/Urban team and also heads the Life Science and Healthcare Practice Groups. He also serves on the Boston Office Steering Committee. Bob has represented numerous corporate clients in transactions nationally and internationally. He has successfully completed complex assignments in India, China, Singapore, Australia, The United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Denmark, as well as all major cities in The United States.
He counsels tenant clients such as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Raytheon, Forrester Research, CRISPR Therapeutics, Acceleron, and The Wyss Institute. Prior to joining Cushman & Wakefield, Bob was a founding partner and president of Richards Barry Joyce & Partners, which was acquired by Transwestern in 2013. Prior to co-founding RBJ, he was a Principal at Trammell Crow Company. Beflore entering commercial real estate, Bob spent five years working as a sportscaster for CNN and WTBS in Atlanta.
- 09:13 – Being comfortable speaking to anyone.
- 10:54 – How to manage a career pivot.
- 22:31 – Moving to Cushman Wakefield.
- 30:26 – Remote work & real estate.
- 41:06 – Bet on yourself.
- 43:01 – Your clients are a reflection of you.
- 48:05 – Always have clarity of purpose.
1. Hubspot Podcast Network
2. Ladder — Life Insurance Solutions
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What is the Success Story Podcast?
On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups and entrepreneurship.
The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.
Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.
Machine Generated Transcript
people, commercial real estate, organization, real estate, career, life insurance, company, cushman wakefield, HubSpot, opportunity, customers, wakefield, clients, world, business, years, cushman, helping, lease, sportscaster
Scott D Clary, Bob Richards
Scott D Clary 00:00
Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host, Scott D. Clary. That success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to start and grow a business HubSpot Podcast Network hosts act as on demand mentors to entrepreneurs, startups and scale ups through practical tips and inspirational stories listen, learn and grow with the HubSpot Podcast Network at hubspot.com/podcast network. today. My guest is Bob Richards. Bob is the Executive Vice Chairman at Cushman Wakefield and he is also a member of the Cushman and Wakefield Global Advisory Board. He is in the upper echelons of commercial real estate Bob leads the Cambridge urban team and also heads up the life science and health care practices group. He serves on the Boston office Steering Committee. He has represented numerous corporate clients in transactions nationally and internationally. He has negotiated and closed some of the largest commercial real estate transactions in the world. He has successfully completed complex assignments in India, China, Singapore, Australia, the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, as well as in all major cities in the United States. He counsels tenants and clients such as Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Bristol Myers Squibb, Raytheon Forrester Research CRISPR therapeutics, acceleron and the Wyss Institute prior to joining Cushman and Wakefield. Bob was a founding partner and president of Richard’s Barry Joyce and partners, which was acquired by Transwestern in 2013. Prior to co founding RBJ, he was principal at Trauma velcro company. And before entering commercial real estate, he spent a significant portion of his career as a sportscaster at CNN and W TBS in Atlanta. So Bob has had an incredible career. He’s crushing it in terms of corporate real estate, obviously, real estate in general, where we’re working, are we going into office that has so much changed over the past two years, so I’m gonna obviously pick his brain on that. But we dive into his origin story, we speak about how he made a huge major career pivot from broadcasting into real estate, how he went from working for somebody to starting his own firm to successfully exiting his firm to working for somebody again, at Cush, Wakefield, and obviously reaching the upper echelons of commercial real estate. So we speak about some real estate topics and things that hopefully will provide some value to business leaders trying to understand the dynamics of the office environment in 2021 and beyond. And then we also just speak through some incredible stories and some insights that he has from his career across multiple industries, building his own company, just killing it at Cushman Wakefield. And now of course, he is one of the names at Cushman Wakefield and manages billions of dollars in real estate transactions. So let’s jump right into it. This is Bob Richards, executive vice chairman at could walk me through your origin story, you can kick it off right now we can go right into it.
Bob Richards 02:59
For sure. Great. Yeah. Well, I grew up outside of Boston and a little town, Norwood, Massachusetts. My father was a public school teacher. And my mother was a homemaker, oldest brother, three younger sisters. I played a lot of sports growing up, fortunately, had such some success and in hockey, and that helped me get into a good prep school, and then helped me get into Dartmouth College, which, you know, made a really big difference in my life. So I’m very, very blessed with those opportunities. After that, I always had had an interest in broadcasting. So I started, my senior year in NBC television station opened up in White River Junction. So I was hired as a sports reporter there, as opposed to doing the college radio station gig and had some, you know, great exposure there. And then after that, I moved out to upstate New York to Binghamton, where I was hired as a sportscaster and also weatherman, which was a little bit of a not expected but retrospect was great, great training for me over time in terms of sales presentations, and from there, I moved down to CNN sports in Atlanta, work there for five years as an on air sportscaster, you know, had a lot of fun, great national exposure worked really hard. You know, they brought in a lot of young people and gave them great opportunity. You know, we didn’t make much money, but we had great opportunity. And, you know, at that point in time, had two kids and you know, just thought that broadcasting career of living on two and three year contracts and having to go to any place part of the country that was sort of interested in you, you know, was not a way to make a good family life. So ended up looking around and networking and kind of doing the, the Jerry Maguire sports agent thing, you know, made the most sense. And I interviewed with some of them. But one of my good friends growing up that I played a lot of sports with my wife worked at a real estate company in Boston. And her boss happened to be a Dartmouth grad, and brought me in and gave me an opportunity to begin work as a real estate broker, and, you know, started in this industry at 30 years old. So, coming out of the block, Scott, I kind of felt like I was, you know, five years behind everyone else. And, you know, had some, some pretty funny stories, like, early on, I can remember going into my boss and, and, you know, they had me reading a bunch of leases and was saying, you know, I have to find out who the CFO of a Delaware corporation is because these guys seem to be involved in every company of looking at it. That was like, Oh, my God, I like your instincts, but please go back to your desk. So you know, a lot lot of fakes along the way. But after a couple of years there I was, you know, a top performer. I went to a boutique firm, Fallon Hines, and O’Connor where I get an opportunity to run the Cambridge Massachusetts market, which has been very influential in the in the life science world and just technology in general. And I was there for about 13 years, and then decided, I think there’s a better way to do this business. So several of my buddies and partners, we started our own boutique firm, Richards, Berry Johnson partners. And we ran that for 13 years and sold it to Transwestern. And then after three years made the transition to Cushman and Wakefield, where I’ve been for two and a half years right now.
Scott D Clary 07:17
Amazing, and that’s a lot of a lot of risk a lot of pivots. So walk me through your mindset when you at 30 years old, did you have you have a spouse? You didn’t have kids yet? I’m assuming that you have kids? Oh, yeah.
Bob Richards 07:31
Yep, married, you know, two kids at the time when we left the Atlanta, including a newborn. And, and since then, you know, we’ve had Jake, our youngest, who’s now you know, 24 years old. But so the mindset was, you know, once again, as you know, my, my background, I mean, my, my last year at CNN, I was doing my on air work, I was doing play by play radio on Friday nights for high school football. I was doing the Braves postgame show on TBS. And I was on Sunday nights, being a camera man for pro wrestling. And so did do whatever it needed to do. And I think my last year there, I made like $50,000. So we didn’t have much savings. And so my mindset, Scott was, frankly, like, I don’t care how thick a brick wall is, but I gotta go through the brick wall. So if it’s six inches thick, I’m going through it if it’s six feet thick, I’m going through it. Because, you know, I sort of felt at that time I had had, you know, spent a bunch of time and another career that wasn’t going to have that much utility with the career I was going into. So I didn’t have any any time or effort to waste.
Scott D Clary 08:58
And day one and day one a real estate, you’re not making any money. Like this wasn’t a salaried position, right? You’re just real estate, dialing, but I was like, yeah, yeah. Was it like, did you start off like every other real estate agent, you’re doing rentals and everything like that and everything.
Bob Richards 09:13
So it was commercial. And but, you know, I just, you know, wasn’t shy about getting on the phone and getting in front of people. And I think, you know, that real estate background and, you know, interviewing the, you know, whatever, you know, Mark, Muhammad Ali’s and, you know, Dale Murphys, and Larry birds, you were, you know, I was not intimidated by talking to a CFO or a CEO and it just made you comfortable. So I think that was, you know, something that in retrospect, I hadn’t wasted, you know, those eight years or whatever. It was actually, you know, sort of good, good training and, you know, to win your sports Gasser and you go and live, you know, you live and die on that three minutes a night, right? So there’s no no redos, there’s no editing. So, you know that that was my mindset going into it. But you know, it was certainly intimidating in some ways to be going into an industry that I literally knew nothing about. Nothing.
Scott D Clary 10:21
You just drank from the fire hose for sure. I’m the first you know, first little bit. Alright, so you’re growing your real estate career. You’re you’re just consuming as much knowledge information as possible. Now, the real the real, I guess, the real like hockey stick growth curve in your career would be when you started your own brokerage? Yeah, what? What differentiated you that made you because now look at where you’re at, like this is? This is the epitome of real estate and commercial real estate. You’re there now. But how’d you get that? Correct?
Bob Richards 10:54
Yeah. So um, you know, I mean, one, you know, when when I talk to younger people, I think one important lesson is don’t be afraid of moving on from success, right? Because, think about it, I was 30 years old at the time, I only been in the business a year and a half. And I was fortunate to be, you know, the top salesperson in that real estate company with probably, I don’t know, 40 brokers, you know, a year and a half in. And so it was kind of like, why would you ever leave this company to go to this fledgling boutique, Valentine’s and O’Connor, but I just knew in my gut that I was going to have more opportunity and a wider runway, then after being with that organization. And having a great run, I think one of the things that really fueled my desire there was was leadership and having a chance to, to lead an organization, you know, wasn’t as rewarding to just do another deal or a bigger deal. But it was a chance to kind of help young people and, you know, we ended up you know, starting the company, you know, in July, whatever that was three months before 911. So talk about terrible timing. And, and, you know, we went from at that point, it was big organizations, but we just thought there was a better way to have a smaller boutique company. And one of the really interesting things we did was we went as opposed to straight commission, we went on a salary bonus program. So as opposed to everybody eating what they killed, whatever everybody earned, we brought in and twice a year sat down, subjectively bonus, the non partners, and split amongst the partners equally, what was remaining. So the team work in the knowledge sharing, and the support that we develop there really differentiated ourselves, and then, you know, after the horrible 911, and the economy in a tailspin, you know, when people were, you know, thinking about trying to get rid and market their excess property, they said, you know, we can go with the normal folks, or we’ve got this young, aggressive, energized group, and they were like, listen, we can take some chances, because we got to get rid of this space. You know, if if the world had been smooth, I think we would have had a really much harder time. You know, getting going, but the fact that the economy was in a bad, a bad place, and you know, ordinarily, you could kind of, you know, have your head down and say, Oh, geez, you know, no one can make it work in this environment. It was the total opposite for us.
Scott D Clary 13:51
That’s a messy, you were 100%. Like you. It was funny. It’s funny, because it was it was a poor economy. It for most people looking outside in it’s the worst possible conditions you could possibly ever expect, right? But that’s opportunity. You’re not in a malicious way. It’s it’s opportunity in like, you have to you have, you’re going to work hard, you’re gonna hustle, you’re going to differentiate, you’re going to take advantage of the fact that no one else can get this done. And you’re going to have a team and a culture that supports this, this kind of mindset, how did you find people that were they were right for this?
Bob Richards 14:26
It was really hard. And it was really happenstance. I mean, frankly, like, you know, the, you know, so it’s Richards, Barry Joyce. I mean, John Barry, I had done some work with and Mike Joyce, we were playing in a pickup Hockey League. And I remember just saying, you know, who’s that number 11. And so that’s my choice and you could just see the way that he competed on the ice and then you know, we filled in other like minded people with within other geographies to cover but we just had that mindset and you know what? Once again, by doing the compensation the way we did, it just fostered this sort of brotherhood of commitment. And it paid great dividends.
Scott D Clary 15:13
I just want to take a second to thank the sponsor of today’s episode ladder, a ladder allows you to get access to life insurance, but I wanted to just give some context. So I was excited when ladder reached out. I’m a big advocate of life insurance. Of course, a lot of us over the past two years have lost loved ones. But for me, it actually came back to before COVID. Fortunately, I actually haven’t lost anybody, but I have lost people far before their time previous to COVID. And it just so happens that when a younger family or a younger person loses their life, God forbid, way before they should. They haven’t thought of life insurance yet younger families in general, don’t look into life insurance to the same extent as perhaps somebody with adult children or even grandchildren look into life insurance. So you end up having if something happens, these costs and these financial burdens that are passed on to their family. And it’s a lot of stress, it’s a lot of things that somebody who just lost somebody who they loved, shouldn’t have to think about. And that’s why I’m such a big proponent of life insurance. Now, ladder makes it extremely easy, which is why I was excited to partner up with them. Ladder is 100%, digital, no doctors, no needles, no paperwork, all the things that stress you out about figuring out life insurance, ladders, remove that friction, so you just need a phone or laptop to apply. And there’s an algorithm that will validate and confirm your coverage for up to $3 million. In under 30 seconds. It’s all digital all self serve, you can of course call them and speak to somebody if you want to speak to somebody, but you don’t have to, which means that the barrier to getting life insurance, getting a policy getting a quote is next to nothing. The quotes are set for life. So if you lock in a quote, especially if you’re younger, and you’re healthier, you can carry that quote on for as long as you’d like. There’s no contract. So if you want, you can cancel that quote, whenever you want no obligation, the price they quote you is the price you’re paying, there’s no fees, there’s nothing added on. So of course life insurance is good to give you peace of mind if something does happen. But also they’ve removed any stress in at least starting to think about it. So what I would recommend is if you do not have life insurance, or even if you do have life insurance, because there’s no effort to actually get a quote, go to the length that they set up for everybody who’s a success story, podcast listener, and at least inquire, start to look into the process because it can save your family an immense amount of stress. So the the link that they set up for everybody who’s a success story, podcast listener is ladder life.com/success story, that’s ladder life, L A, D, D, E, R, L, I f e.com/success, su CCESS story, s, t o r y. So go there, get a quote, and under 30 seconds, you’ll get up to $3 million in coverage. And then you can start to investigate and hopefully get life insurance so that you and your family will be taken care of. Alright, let’s get back to the show. And I was gonna say one of the you mentioned like brotherhood and this culture and you did it by changing the way that people are confident compensation drives behavior and traditionally in like hard sell industries, where it’s like pure commission, you know, eat what you kill, like, that’s very competitive, not brotherhood, and brotherly, you know, culture driven organization. Right. Nobody’s supporting each other. Correct. That’s probably different cater to
Bob Richards 18:44
Yeah, and, and sisterhood. I mean, I’m amazed. You know, here it is. So, you know, we sold in, in, like, 2017 that want to say, but I’m sort of surprised that there haven’t been other companies like that, that have popped up, you know, but when you get into the sales organizations, and it’s this kind of, you know, pyramid scheme of the senior broker, take taking, you know, big pieces of every deal and spreading it around, you know, as they see fit. I’m sort of amazed that, that, you know, I think it’s really hard when you’re at the top of the pyramid to say, you know, there’s a you know, there’s another way to do this, right, so I think that’s what’s kept people because once again, every person when we started Richards, Barry Joyce was very successful in a, you know, mostly commissioned environment. You know, Fallon, Heinz, and O’Connor where I’d been had a similar system, but it was it was sort of modifying over time. But But I think, you know, sales organization especially smaller ones can look at that. I mean, it’s, you can’t replicate that as you get to be a, you know, 100 person group, you know, 1000 person group, it’s, it’s too hard to divvy up the pie. But for smaller boutiques, I think, you know, you want a commonality of purpose, and a commitment and a spirit. You know, how you divvy up the pie can, as you say, drives some behaviors?
Scott D Clary 20:29
Yeah, no, that’s, it’s very impressive now. So you, you built this up, you sold it, you decided to jump right back in, walk me through that mindset? why did why did you want to make the move to Cushman and Wakefield, what was the play there?
Bob Richards 20:46
Well, I mean, I’ve never worked, you know, so really, every organization I had been in, we had to kind of figure out every resource that we had ourself. And I had never had an opportunity to work with an organization that had deep resources, and, you know, a real international focus. So, you know, I talked to, you know, seven or eight firms when I decided to leave, you know, including staying with my former partners in another big organization, you know, CBRE, that’s a great organization. And I was fortunate to get, you know, a bunch of offers, but to me, at this point in time, you know, my, my real my focus was, I wanted to have fun, I wanted to really enjoy the people I was working with. And I wanted to have, you know, an opportunity to sort of help mentor other people, and put myself in a position that we could win any piece of business, right. I mean, yeah, compete at the highest level. So it wasn’t about, you know, who gave you the biggest signing bonus. I mean, frankly, I left a lot of money on the table coming to Cushman but, you know, at some point in time, really, it’s not, you know, the compensation is not your only reward and a career, you know, after you’ve had a level of success.
Scott D Clary 22:20
So, you’re, you’ve joined question, and for people that don’t know, for people that don’t know what you’re doing a question, but also what Cushman Wakefield does maybe just give a brief rundown of what their purpose and their vision is.
Bob Richards 22:31
Sure. Yeah. I mean, Cushman and Wakefield. So, large organization, international organization, 50,000 people across the world 140 offices, you know, great client. You know, great, great clients, represent tenants represent landlords, you know, sell properties, manage properties. It’s a it’s a very, you know, very substantive company, you know, competes with the CBR E’s and the Jones Lang LaSalle. ‘s of the world.
Scott D Clary 23:07
Yeah. Good, good. Okay. So, what are you so what are you working on? What are you working on at Cushman Wakefield? Now you got you also work in a very interesting and interesting niche or niche for my American friends. What do you do at Cushman Wakefield? Sure,
Bob Richards 23:23
well, you know, so I lead our Cambridge group, and also lead our life science practice in Boston. So I think as you’re aware, right, the life science industry, you know, thanks in part to MIT, and Harvard, has had, you know, explosive growth in the greater Cambridge market. So, you know, we are very, you know, humbled to work with groups such as, you know, Pfizer, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Bristol Myers, Squibb, CRISPR, you know, some of the gene editing companies. So we’re helping those organizations strategize on how to build their, their real estate portfolios, not only locally, but across the country and across the world. So it’s a great opportunity, you know, that when you think about the mission of a Dana Farber, or what Pfizer and BMS are doing for people in the world, you know, our opportunity for our team to just help a little bit on that mission, you know, something that’s really rewarding to our team.
Scott D Clary 24:36
Now, I am curious, what are some of the things that you’ve seen as we’re all living? We’re all living virtual now. So that impacts real estate. Yes, that that’s impacted real estate in a big way. Walk me through some of the things that you’ve seen over the past year and a half when it comes to commercial real estate, what companies are doing, how is it impacting? I’m curious to see Yeah,
Bob Richards 24:59
well, I mean, I do I think on the life science side, it has not been as dramatic an impact because, you know, you can’t work in a lab remotely. Right. So the lab had to be at work, but certainly on the office side, you know, there, there has been significant impacts and a lot of space on the market. And I don’t think anybody has quite figured it out yet. But you know, as you think about interesting issues that are going to come into play, I think a lot of people have gotten very comfortable working remotely. So I think as you think about attracting tenant talent and retaining talent, especially younger folks, I think if there’s a high growth opportunity where they can work from home, two or three days a week and be in the office, you know, two or three days a week, that’s probably going to give some organizations you know, an advantage in really the real estate business that we’re in, we’re really in the talent business. So it’s really not about bricks and mortar. You know, the CEOs and C level folks are really focused on how can I use my real estate to attract the best and brightest people for my company. And, you know, some of this back to work and workplace strategy and, and hybrid scheduling, I think is really going to play out Scott across all industries over the next few years, and, and there’s not a one size fits all, it’s, it’s going to be different company to company, industry to industry, age group workforce, you know, I think it’s going to be really impactful and very interesting to watch.
Scott D Clary 26:49
I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode, HubSpot. HubSpot. CRM is the easiest tool you can ever find. To align your team. There are two features that you need in a CRM that optimize every activity your team does. It’s the ability to communicate meaning chat, email, etc. Messaging, as well as a unified system of record. Your company’s gonna use a CRM to manage conversations with prospects and customers throughout all stages of the buyer journey. And as your company grows, these conversations get a little bit more difficult information may get lost communication may be disjointed, and HubSpot solves all that using HubSpot, as your CRM makes sure that all of your communication and your records are unified across your entire organization. Meaning that from when you first have that initial touch point with the customer, and they enter your funnel all the way through to when they actually sign that contract and after with customer success. Every piece of information every bit of communication is aligned and congruent across your company. You can install live chat on your website and allow sales or support to talk to prospects directly. You can send marketing emails on behalf of a sales rep to compliment their outbound campaign, you can allow prospects to book meetings directly from marketing emails right into a sales reps, calendar and all the interaction all the communication is seamlessly documented into your HubSpot CRM so that if somebody else has to look into an account or to help out, they know exactly where the last person left off, best of all, with HubSpot, various price points and flexible pricing any company at any stage and take advantage of the various features that HubSpot has to offer, starting with free and allowing for more scalability and complexity as your organization grows, learn how to scale your company without scaling firstname.lastname@example.org. Alright, let’s get back to the show. As it as it impacted, like financials impacted commercial property values, I only follow residential and I think that’s what many people follow. But you’re you’re in it. So what is it done to commercial property?
Bob Richards 28:43
We have not seen you know, I mean, life science rents have continued to escalate that that, you know, very healthy three to 5% increases the residential market in Greater Boston, you know, with the workforce needs have have continued to grow very dramatically. So, you know, I think it really depends on where you are and where you live, and what kind of job opportunities because, you know, unfortunately, this parts of the country where, you know, the, the work opportunities are not there, and they’re going to be harder and harder to come by. But, you know, one interesting sort of trend that we talked about is, you know, you think of somebody working for, you know, pie in conglomerate type of company, and you need to pay them what a working wage in New York or Boston or Chicago brings. If some percentage of those jobs do not have to be in office, and you can handle those remotely and you can have people in my are sort of rural parts of the country. And you can afford to pay somebody, you know, whatever, 50% less to live in another locale, I think that’s going to have an impact on organizations because you know, you don’t have to pay top dollar if people aren’t coming into the office anymore, and can do things remotely. So that’s gonna be a very interesting trend, I think to follow.
Scott D Clary 30:26
Yeah, cuz now, if you think about that, now, people who were working in New York, in a pay band for New York, and they’re making New York salaries, and they move to nowhere, they go to someone, you know, somewhere else. And their peer there was working in another city in another pay ban? Well, now, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be paid the exact same. Yep, that’s a huge, that’s an HR issue. Now. Now, you got to figure out the ethics of what to pay people and what, that’s a big deal.
Bob Richards 30:53
Totally. Totally, totally. I mean, you know, you think here and was just on with some folks yesterday, and it’s like, you know, people not want to live in Boston and enjoying the lifestyle in Maine. Right? Well, you can live a lot more comfortably in Maine, economically, then you can in Greater Boston. So you know, are there going to be jobs that move that way? Or is this going to kind of advance that a little bit, because, once again, it’s all about talent, you need the smart people, and if, if they want to, if they don’t want to live, where you want them to live, or to commute in, and you still want access to that intelligence, you know, you’re gonna have to work with them in order to once again attract the best and the brightest, and it’s so competitive, you know,
Scott D Clary 31:47
because now you can work from anywhere you can you can you can leave a job like that and work anywhere in the world. No problem. Totally. Right. Totally. You see, you see companies. Now I know. So this is this is life science. So I get it, life sciences, probably not changing that much, because you need to be in a lab for the foreseeable future, doing things physically. But have you seen across Cushman Wakefield, have you seen companies migrating from more of a co working environment? Have you seen, or just people are just trying to do like a hybrid model? Or any of that?
Bob Richards 32:19
Yeah, yeah, I mean, I would say everybody, for the most part is at least going to a hybrid, and a model. And, you know, that’s getting into discussions with. So you know, if you used to have an office or a cubicle that was assigned to you, and you’re only going to come in three days a week, do you still get your assigned desk, or cubicle? Or do you no longer qualify for that, you know, if you’re a four day a week, person, you get an office, if you’re a three day, a week, person you don’t, or two days or so on and so forth. So it’s happening real time across organizations right now. And as I said, it’s not a one, one size fits all, it’s, it’s different for every organization, and it’s a major opportunity for Cushman and Wakefield, to help organizations try to figure this out.
Scott D Clary 33:14
Yeah, I’m now I’m here to have you’re the guy who champions and sells commercial real estate, have you been more productive at home? Are you more productive in an office?
Bob Richards 33:25
I mean, I never would have predicted how efficient I have been remotely. And you know, even time to time, you know, folks will say, Oh, you know, you coming in tomorrow, and it’s like, literally, I, I cannot afford them in tomorrow, because I can’t afford to be on the hour and a half commute. Or even, you know, to have a lot of unexpected interactions, which are fun, because, you know, working remotely is certainly not fun. But it’s extremely efficient. And even, even on the on the process itself. I mean, you think about when you were working with a company and showing them new sites or alternatives. Of course, you used to do that, you know, you got in a car and you took four people, and you looked at building a building B Building C. Now, through this, the vast majority of some very large transactions have all been done remotely, where you just do, you know, back to back, Microsoft Teams or Zoom presentations, and it’s all a, you know, sort of virtual presentation on the property. Here’s the product, the site and it’s funny, one organization, a life science group, who has people from all over the country. So, you know, we’ve had to do them in this virtual way, but they all happen to be in town. And so we did an actual tour a few weeks ago, and their response was, Oh God, this is like so much Much worse, it’s such a waste of time, when you know, we got to do these virtual this getting in the car and fight and traffic is, is no way to do things. So it’s very interesting to see how how that’ll evolve. But
Scott D Clary 35:12
and if you’ve closed commercial transactions virtually in the last year and a half Oh, yeah,
Bob Richards 35:17
yeah, many, many. I mean, yeah, had a very, our team had a very strong year last year, and, you know, expect the same this year. So, once again, a lot of that is, you know, being in Greater Boston and being a lifesigns, broker advisor, you know, it’s sort of like a good place to be right. It’s much harder for, you know, just a strict office brokers, you know, that it’s a heck of a lot harder.
Scott D Clary 35:46
And I appreciate that. It’s very, very just so interesting how the world’s changing and you’re kind of just living it every single day because you’re working and you know, you’re working in the in the office space in the commercial real estate, and that’s one major area has been impacted. I actually have family that worked for more guard in the in the commercial retail, and they’re, well, they’re getting slaughtered. They’re not having the same positive conversation that you are, they’re putting on anchors on malls, and that was the job before now everything’s revamped. So it’s been it’s been a tough go. Yes. For sure. Okay, so what I wanted to so that was really that was that was great. Now, you took you took the, you had the foresight to write down a couple points that I thought were interesting, that I wanted to just unpack, because they’re really good career. They’re not obviously we’re pivoting now from commercial real estate and COVID. But they’re really good just career points. And I thought they were interesting to talk through because they’re, they’re provocative a little bit, some of them. So one of the one of the ones I thought was interesting is you only need to make three to four big career decisions. You mentioned moving on from near term success. But why is that important for people that are earlier on in their career to understand what that means for them, I just want to take a second and thank the sponsor of today’s episode, quantum metrics. So what quantum metric is going to do is it’s going to allow you to develop a single source of customer centric truth that can help you understand how to position your products, how to sell to your customers, because anyone is a digital leader who wants to understand your customers better, it should be 100% of you, you should want to understand the customer experience when they hit your website. And then you also want to understand not just your customers, but who else in the world is having similar experiences. And how can you use that information to make informed decisions about how your business moves forward, we are gearing up for an unprecedented 2021 ecommerce season, ecommerce sales are expected to exceed 2020 benchmarks. Even though COVID is lightening up consumer behavior has changed forever. And with quantum metric, you can prepare yourself to capture every single customer revenue opportunity. So their unique approach to the digital experience that the customer has well engaging with your brand helps top retailers e commerce outlets quickly identify and prioritize large and small revenue opportunities, and they keep customers coming back. So everything from page hits, mouse movements, scrolling, typing out of the box interactions that you couldn’t even think of various events, API calls literally everything. They quantify that data and they present it to you so that you can use that data to make informed decisions about how customers interact with your brand online. So if you want to reduce customer friction, if you want to increase conversions, drive more revenue, optimize user experience, personalize the shopping experience for all of your customers, go visit quantum metric.com/pod offer that’s quantum metric comm slash pot offer and go see if you qualify for the 12 days of insights offer using the code success. The 12 days of insight offer gives you 12 days of access to the quantum metric platform with a bespoke insight report that will help you identify where customers are struggling and engaging with your online experience and your digital product. Some restrictions apply. But for the majority of people go to quantum metric.com/pot offer enter the code success and you will be able to receive their 12 days of insights offer get ready to understand your customers with intimate detail that can optimize experience and revenue and give your customers and overall much more pleasant experience when they hit your site. Alright, let’s get back to the show.
Bob Richards 39:34
Yeah, I mean, I just don’t think there’s that many, you know, there are that many maybe even opportunities. But, you know, you don’t have to make that many big decisions in your career. But one thing that I think really holds a lot of people back is being in a in a role that has kind of success at that moment in near term success. and not being able to kind of peek over the mountaintop to say, you know, well, maybe on the other side, there’s even more opportunity not like, there’s no way I can ever leave this job. You know, or this role, because I’m so comfortable doing what I’m doing. And, you know, that happened to me a few times, right? I mean, you know, I transition from broadcasting to real estate, I’m doing really well at this well established, you know, old line firm, you know, why would you go to a fledgling startup? And then why would you leave that to start your own firm? And then why would you leave that to go to Cushman Wakefield, so I just don’t see that many, you know, decisions that I’ve had to make make, but I think a lot of times people get very comfortable. And they they’re not willing to take that risk for more success. Because, you know, not everybody is driven that way, I guess, either. Right. So, you know, some people can settle for less.
Scott D Clary 41:06
What about what about this one? Make a bet on yourself and take the chance to be a difference maker?
Bob Richards 41:14
Yeah,totally. Well, I mean, I just think, you know, as we said, we have an opportunity to work with some great organizations, which gives us kind of great reward. But, you know, I think people, you know, I think in our role, they’re, they’re looking for advisors that can kind of help steer them into what, you know, an educated person experienced person thinks is going to happen, right? Because there’s, there’s constant decisions, should we sign a three year lease? Should we sign a five year lease? is the market going to get worse? is the market going to get better? And, you know, especially in the real estate, brokerage world, I always like to say, you know, to clients, when they’re asking about their advisors, I’m like, when your real estate broker tells you not to do a deal, that’s when you have an advisor and not a broker, right? I don’t think we should go transact right now. Because I think it’s going to be better in three years, you’re not going to find a lot of sales, people that are going to say, I’m going to turn down today’s commission, because, you know, hopefully, I’ll be working with this company in three years, and we will transact so you know, that, that, that’s, that’s what I mean, by making a bet on yourself. And it’s, it’s once again, people that kind of get stuck in, in roles that after a while, they just don’t find rewarding. They’re there, they’re not really you know, passionate about it, they’re not having that much fun at it, but they’re afraid to make a bet on themselves and and do something else and take a chance.
Scott D Clary 43:01
The clients you work with are a reflection of you. Yes. I mean, yeah,
Bob Richards 43:05
I think it’s, um, you know, actually, is one of our receptionists had pointed that out to me years ago, just on kind of fielding the incoming calls. And this was really pre, pre voicemail even, right. So you know, you’d come back and you get a stack of, of pink slips. And so, you know, our receptionist would be interacting with everybody’s clients. And she just, you know, notice that, you know, I mean, she just said, you know, my clients were the nicest people to deal with. And, and, and I think, you know, over time, the, you know, super analytical clients deal with the Super analytical advisor in the most socially networked, you know, entertaining at night, folks work with the most socially, you know, involved people, and, you know, the hard acids work with the hardest. And so, I really think over time, you know, you can’t fake it. And people hire people that they trust, that they like being around in and that they believe in, and I don’t think you can fake that, you know, if you are, if you are, you know, dealing with somebody who’s very technically proficient, and over time they find out you’re not technically proficient. I don’t think that’s a match that works long term. So that’s what I mean by that.
Scott D Clary 44:43
And even even even take that a step further and set differently if we extrapolate that concept to anybody. If you are, if you are very self aware, and you find yourself constantly surrounded by really shitty people. Yeah, that’s a really good introspection point where you should be like This is this is a mirror of potentially, who I am. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it goes beyond sales. And beyond real estate. This is I found that an interesting point, because I don’t think we think about that.
Bob Richards 45:14
Even you know, I mean, and you can’t fake it, it’s like, Listen, if you are a huge, you know, if your clients a huge opera fan, and you live for the NFL, you know, over time, it’s gonna be hard to continue to find the commonality of talking about things, not just about business, right? And you can’t really fake it. And, and you shouldn’t fake it. Right? I mean, you shouldn’t take it.
Scott D Clary 45:39
It’s a life lesson. That’s not even, that’s not a sales, that’s a life.
Bob Richards 45:43
To you, to you. Yeah.
Scott D Clary 45:47
One other one that I thought was interesting finish as strong as you start. Obviously, everybody thinks that that’ll make sense. But what have you seen? We can talk about in a commercial context, commercial real estate context, sales context, just just, you know, as a, as a good business, individual or professional. Walk me through that concept? Yeah.
Bob Richards 46:05
Well, I mean, that’s a lesson I learned from a mentor of mines wife, you know, was the headmaster of a private school, where were two of my kids went and she was always like, finished strong, it’s sometimes easy to, you know, start things get almost to the finish line and fade, you know, you got to get through the finish line and be just as engaged at that point in time, as when you were first even, you know, pitching a project. So it’s just so important. And I mean, it happens in real estate all the time, especially in commercial real estate, where, you know, you get to like an MOU, or it’s called a letter of intent in real estate, where you, you nail the business terms, and then you start negotiating the actual lease document. And there’s a lot of people that just get it to the business, to the loi, and then just kind of keep their fingers crossed, that everything’s gonna work out, and the two attorneys are going to work through the lease. That’s not how we were, you know, we, you know, provide extensive lease comments to the in house counsel or outside counsel, for our clients in Iran, every lease negotiation call, you can fade early, or you can stay on and I think our clients really appreciate it. And you know, once again, the the Cushman resources, we have people in our organization that are attorneys and operating expense experts, and measurement of properties, experts and project management experts that dig into every detail of that lease. And that’s how you separate yourself from the pack of dropping off, before you even started talking about, you know, issues that will cost hundreds of 1000s if not millions of dollars over the course of you know, 15 year major lease.
Scott D Clary 48:05
Amazing. And then last one that I thought was interesting was always have clarity of purpose. What’s that?
Bob Richards 48:11
Well, that’s really, I think it’s really more like appreciating what our clients are doing. And it’s really, you know, it’s really helping them with their success. And, you know, how lucky are we to help somebody, you know, to work with a Pfizer, right, who’s bringing, you know, the vaccine to the world? Yeah,
Scott D Clary 48:34
to work with me. Not an unknown name.
Bob Richards 48:37
Right, right. I mean, in to work with the Dana Farber that’s helping to cure cancer and protecting their real estate interests, like, every dollar that’s spent on rent is is your dollar, I think, you know, just reminding our team, the clarity of that purpose, and what they’re up to, and how lucky we are and how we can, you know, in some small way, help them support their amazing missions that, you know, make what we do, you know, seem very, very insignificant.
Scott D Clary 49:11
You know, it’s very, especially the life sciences, you work with some very interesting. Yeah, very, very interesting customers, for sure. Okay, so I want to, I want to do some rapid fire career questions that I finish these interviews off with, but before we pivot, last thoughts on commercial real estate, your career and then where do people reach out to you? Where do people find you if they want to get in touch social media or otherwise? Oh, sure.
Bob Richards 49:42
Um, so I mean, any I mean, I think the commercial real estate industry is, is changing dramatically. I think, you know, in our, I don’t know what we say COVID world, it’s not pre or post. I think there’s going to continue to be a lot of changes that every organization He’s going to go through and we’ve got a deep team to help. The best way to get ahold of me would probably just be through email, Robert dot Richards at cush awake.com, cus H wa Ke. And you know, my mobile number is 61794339 to eight but always interesting in in understanding challenges that organizations have and, and being able to help them out or even helping, you know, younger folks with career decisions, which is, you know, tremendously rewarding at this stage of my career.
Scott D Clary 50:37
So now I know you’re a real a real salesperson, because nobody’s ever given out their phone number on this show before.
Bob Richards 50:44
Wow. Yeah, bring it on. Let’s do it. All right, good. Very good. Okay. This will be one of the few times anyone will call we have to call them. Right. So that’s true. Very true. Great. Way to look at it.
Scott D Clary 51:02
I love it. Okay, a couple rapid fire biggest challenge you’ve had in your career? Which point was that? And how did you overcome it?
Bob Richards 51:11
I would say the biggest challenge was definitely transitioning from broadcasting into commercial real estate. And I don’t know how I overcame it really just with persistence and passion and intensity.
Scott D Clary 51:28
Good, very good. A mentor a person I know, there’s probably been many, but you have to pick one. Who was that? What did they teach you?
Bob Richards 51:36
I would say, probably that would be my sort of high school hockey coach and ended up being the, you know, Headmaster were two of my three sons went to school. And he just just taught, you know, how to do things right, and not take shortcuts. You know, one thing I see a lot of people doing and I counsel against it is spending a lot of effort trying to figure out the easiest way to accomplish a task. And instead of figuring out the easiest angle and how I can shortcut this and that, just do the job, and go through and get it done. And I think I learned a lot of that from from, you know, Mr. flot.
Scott D Clary 52:28
Very good, that’s smart. That’s good advice. What would be a resource that you’d recommend people check out a book or a podcast that you maybe would recommend that you’ve that’s impacted you over your career, anything in particular?
Bob Richards 52:42
I can’t really think of anything. Specifically, I just think it’s, you know, staying in tuned with kind of what’s going on and having sort of broad interests. And I wouldn’t get very segmented, I would be really open to, you know, we always said, you know, like, when, when I was would talk to the marketing folks that Richard Berry, Jason partners, that would be like, Listen, I don’t want the best marketing materials and commercial real estate. I want the best marketing materials in industry. So what are the automotive folks doing? Well, what’s going on and insurance? Investments, I think it’s very important to have kind of a broad perspective as you’re advising clients, because you just can’t be, you know, to to segment did on on one particular expertise.
Scott D Clary 53:38
What would be one thing that you would tell your 20 year old self?
Bob Richards 53:42
Ah, my 20 year old self, don’t watch the 1987 World Series between the Red Sox and Mets? I think that that would be, that would be my first or the Patriots giants. Super Bowl game has been a few Yeah, yeah. But um, you know, I can’t really think of, you know, I mean, once again, I don’t really consider myself a risk taker. I mean, I remember talking to my dad about transitioning from, from, from broadcasting into real estate, he’s like, Well, what are you going to do? It’s like, well, you know, I’m going to help companies find, you know, space, they need to run their organizations. And he’s like, Well, what happens when they have all find found the amount of space they need? I’m like, good question, dad. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen. No, it’s It’s gonna be a short career. But I would say, you know, I would just in Bolden myself to continue to kind of take chances and, you know, really wanting wanting to be a difference maker and wanting to know that you are giving your clients the best advice there is out there, right. I mean, don’t settle for anything less than Then then being the best.
Scott D Clary 55:04
And last question, what does success mean to you?
Bob Richards 55:08
Ah, success means to me providing for my family. Right, giving them opportunities that that, you know, we didn’t have growing up. I think that’s really what it means. I think its success means helping others to become successful. You know, some lessons learned like our talk today. How can you help pass it down to the next group of folks because, you know, helping somebody get it and change the opportunities they can provide their families is just, you know, amazingly rewarding.