Broker Duke Long, owner of The Duke Long
Agency in Indianapolis, has one of the commercial real estate industry’s most
visible online presences. On his
website
– which bears the tagline “Commercial Real Estate with a Little Attitude” – and
in his
Twitter feed,
he offers an often acerbic take on the sector. He also has appeared at real
estate conferences nationwide to discuss such topics as social media, marketing
and content creation.

We recently got a chance to discuss with
Long the commercial real estate industry’s use of technology, his tips for
brokers entering the field … and his driving skills.


Duke Long Hartman Simons Commercial Real Estate BlogHS: What's your overall assessment of how
well the commercial real estate industry has integrated social media and other
online technologies – what's it doing well and what’s it doing poorly?

Long: My general assessment is that the integration is about fair. There is
still a lot of talk about what we really should be doing. The number one issue
is still defining what the real return on investment (ROI) is for any digital
media. I have one simple question for everyone. Tell me the real ROI on your mom.
Seriously. Tell me. I will wait.

OK – maybe that
is stretching it a bit far, but the entire world uses digital media everyday,
and we do not need to only define a digital strategy by dollars. In my opinion,
the most dynamic use of digital media is occurring in the retail sector. It
crosses all platforms, and it’s breathtaking to watch the innovation and
adoption. Sadly, the most discouraging segment is brokerage, which too often is
ignorant and embedded in a “worst practices” mentality – and, of course, damn
proud of it.

HS: If you were speaking with someone
about to enter a brokerage career, what advice would you give them about how to
best succeed in this day and age?

Long: First and foremost, find a mentor. Unfortunately, the good ones are
few and far between. The second thing is to define the market and segment that
you want to dominate. Example: Chicago downtown retail. Walk that market and
literally know every building, owner and tenant and be able to answer any
question about that market in your sleep. The third thing is tools, both online
and off. Get a set of 10: customer relationship management (CRM) software, mapping
software, etc. The final thing is relationship building. Be in front of a
potential client every single day, and nurture that relationship.

HS: Your website has a poll asking readers
about their preference in the presidential election. Do you think the race is
having an effect – good or bad – on the commercial real estate sector, and how
much of an impact do you expect the outcome to have?

Long: In all honesty, I don’t think it will matter one little bit, and that
in and of itself is a sad statement.

HS: If you weren't a broker, what career
would you want to pursue?

Long: Easy: racecar driver. Formula One, IndyCar or NASCAR. I am a
graduate of Speedway High School. Unfortunately, I have a “checkered” driving
record to prove that my “skills” are still as sharp as ever.

Connect with Duke on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, and check out his website at DukeLong.com.