By Chris Keeley of Phoenix Commercial Brokers
“Pick an area and work it tight.” That was some of the best knowledge we learned in book school. I’m sure your question now is…what in the world is book school? When we were in college, my brother Jim and my good friends Joe and Pat Welchert took a summer job selling books door to door. Yes, DOOR-to-DOOR sales. We were those guys. The Southwest Book Company hired college kids for summer employment selling dictionaries door to door. The first thing we did was go to book school to learn how to sell the books.
We learned a lot at book school, but one of the lessons was to pick an area and work it tight. This means that you pick a neighborhood then live it, learn it and work it hard. It’s hard to sell anything door-to-door but it’s one heck of a learning experience for sales. It made sense in the book field to be methodical and learn the schools and families and let people meet you as well. Sales always improved when the neighbors knew who you were, what you were doing and have heard about your product. The tighter we worked an area, the fewer doors got slammed in our face.
When my brother Jim Keeley started in real estate he followed his book training and picked Scottsdale Airpark and worked it tight. His long-running nickname is Mr. Airpark, and in 2014 he was inducted into the Scottsdale Hall of Fame. Now that didn’t happen just because he picked an area and worked it tight but I’m sure if you asked Jim, he’ll tell you that was a big part of his success.
After 22 years on the Tucson Fire Department, I was ready for a new career and was already involved in commercial real estate in Tucson. When I sought advise from Jim about my career change he reminded me of our book school training.
“Chris, pick an area and work it tight.” he said. He also said the next closest thing to Scottsdale Airpark is the Deer Valley Airpark. So, in 2004 I moved to Phoenix and started my career in commercial real estate concentrating in the Deer Valley Airpark. In 2012 we opened Phoenix Commercial Brokers in Deer Valley Airpark on 19th Avenue and Knudsen. I have made my real estate career living, learning and working this airpark. So when an appraiser needs info on Deer Valley commercial real estate, I get most of the calls.
I’ve spent fourteen years working this area and I’ve seen every deal. I’ve leased and sold millions of square feet. I’ve brokered over $45 million of deals over the last three years. If it’s commercial real estate in the Deer Valley Airpark, I’ve either been involved or know about it.
Joe Welchert and I are still working it tight. He’s the Designated Broker at Phoenix Commercial Brokers. We’re still knocking on doors and on occasion we’ll still get one closed in our face, but most everyone knows us now and usually we know them too.