No work is too small or too big; if one does their work with passionate determination, one will eventually climb the ladder of success. Having such strong determination, Derek Anthony, worked at 22 jobs in his professional journey learning a valuable lesson in hindsight. Each of these lessons molded Derek into becoming the Vice President of Real Estate at The Woodmont Company. His tremendous corporate background in sales, marketing, operations, P&L, and negotiation skills are unlike anyone in the real estate business.
Woodmont specializes in every aspect of commercial real estate, including development, asset management, tenant representation, brokerage, construction supervision, and investment sales.
A Distinct Journey
Grown up in North County of St. Louis suburbs, from cutting grass, to lifeguarding in high school, to stringing rackets in college, to help pay for bills, to buy an engagement ring, and then graduate from Missouri State in Marketing, Derek wasn’t sure what he wanted to pursue. Derek took his first job out of college at Woods Wire Products, Inc., which got him on the right foot having a wonderful friend and mentor, John Wiesehan Jr. John had 15 years with GE and a corporate structure background in Sales & Marketing and patiently got Derek to break out of his shell. Since then, Derek has taken every opportunity that knocked on his door utilizing his ability to put deals together, which has been with him even after the Woods Wire days. Over the next 17 years, Derek managed, sold, and marketed Consumer Electronic products to big retailers and distributors throughout the United States with Coby, Uniden, X-10, Fulfillment Plus, GPX, and many more brands. Derek traveled the world, visited factories, learned about different cultures professionally, took his strengths of direct reports, and incorporated those traits into how he manages and leads his team today. Speaking about his journey, Derek says, “Given all my experiences from operations, P&L ’s, people skills, emotional intelligence, and how to read a room, makes commercial real estate no different. It just comes down to deal-making and figuring out how to get to the closing table and being sensitive to both sides views and having an open mind, while making the soft ask.”
Crossing the Hurdles
Derek has come across many challenges in his journey. He remembers one company he worked for was dealing with a lawsuit of $64,000,000 for not paying royalties and the company was shutdown. Derek had to sign up as an Uber driver to take care of his two kids and wife, even though he had the highest-earning period of his life and a mortgage. He also applied for a warehouse job at Amazon and was offered the job, and a day later, The Woodmont Company called. For the first two years, he worked fingers to the bone for 12 hours a day through cold calling and networking, getting every lead he could until he was satisfied with the prospect list. He notes, “Singles and Doubles are good starting points to get to the home runs, eventually. For the last four years, I still am still doubling my business year over year.”
Derek mentions that today’s real estate industry makes decisions driven by data, as much as financial. Data in terms of mobile tracking, demos, sales figures, and data at our fingertips helps the company make more of a finite decision. It can now track visitors and pull them for yesterday, last quarter, or last year, and compare the rankings of that same operator elsewhere in the market, city, town, or US.
Derek states that CRM’s are all over the place, and the biggest challenge in the real estate world is the schedule, follow-up, and staying on track on every deal. However, prospecting Landlords and Tenants there are several avenues to go down on each of side of the table. Derek wants to create a business plan and stay on track. He notes, “Google Earth and Google maps have been a savior for the CRE world and amazing tools that are free to help us with our job. There are smarter folks than me that will create the next best thing, but I look forward to embracing it and learning about it!”
Prepared for Changes
Derek believes that touring a space with virtual reality could be the next disruptor; however, it all comes down to who pays for it. Woodmont is vetting new software partners all the time, only if the technology is efficient, productive, and cost-effective. Currently, Woodmont partners with CoStar, LoopNet, Placer AI, Retail Trac, and Site Seer for commercial real estate vetting and analysis.
Derek envisions himself conducting deals, making new friends, and growing his team to a more prominent national footprint in Nashville, Charlotte, Austin, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Denver, and others in the next ten years. He also expects organic growth or acquisition to always be on the table.
Lessons over the Years
Derek advises aspiring entrepreneurs not to get too excited or too down; if you are doing the tedious, mediocre tasks to get you a deal, that is what it takes. He says, “No deal is ever done until it’s done, and the commission has been paid, and tenant is open. There will be uncontrollable substances or decisions made in the process, and you cannot let it get to you.” Concluding his thoughts, Derek asserts, “It’s not that hard; you have to be disciplined in your everyday tasks and don’t get distracted. Remember, attitude is a choice. What gets measured gets improved.”
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