Meet Sébastien Duval
”I want my clients to remember the value I have brought them long after the deal is done.”
– Sébastien Duval
Q&A WITH Sébastien
WHAT DO YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU WISH YOU KNEW WHEN YOU STARTED?
Don’t focus on the money; focus on the result. Never assume anything. Always keep an open mind. Always have something in the pipeline. Always deliver 10x the value that your client expects of you. If you set a goal that doesn’t scare you, set a bigger one. Be authentic. Build, keep and maintain relationships. Always ask questions. Always be willing to have a student mindset, even when you have achieved some level of success and experience.
What do you love most about commercial real estate?
Its dynamic nature. I love the fact that even though I have worked on hundreds of transactions, I still have not ”seen it all” and that is what keeps me involved in learning, growing and thriving in the commercial real estate space. The way I see it, the vast experience I have gained is the catalyst for gaining more experience and further developing my skills.
What has been your biggest career win?
Strangely enough, my biggest career win – the one that is most memorable to me anyway – was in Amherst, Nova Scotia, back circa 2016. I had 5,000 SF to lease above a newly-built pharmacy building, essentially clinic space. I had just finished touring the empty space to take photos. I walked outside to my car, looked up and saw a small physiotherapy clinic a few steps away, located in an old house. Instead of leaving, I decided to walk into that clinic. I asked to speak to the owner. The place was packed and awkwardly demised. She allowed me a few minutes between patients, during which I simply and boldly told her, ”I have a great space on the second floor of that pharmacy that I think would be a much-needed upgrade to your current situation here.” She said, ”is there an elevator?”. I replied ”Yes.” The deal was done. A simple 4,000 SF physio clinic deal that taught me that sometimes, what you are seeking is relatively much, much closer than you think! Keep your eyes open.
How has the industry changed since you started?
I started in commercial real estate in the summer of 2011. I have witnessed, here in Atlantic Canada specifically, a massive shift from brokers towards more sophistication and professionalism and increased collaboration, exchange of ideas, etc., to create win-win scenarios for all involved. We are a small market, and as such, collaboration is quite essential. I have also witnessed a growing level of confidence and understanding from the client side in terms of why use a commercial real estate broker. For my part, I have been promoting the value of using a broker for years. It essentially comes down to value. Clients need to see the value we bring to the table.
What are the industry trends you’re seeing?
Densification of our downtown and suburban areas here in Moncton. This has also led to the arrival of mixed-use buildings such as apartments with ground floor retail, services and restaurants – basically, amenities to boost the lifestyle component of the multi-residential project. We’ve seen a growing trend also in the food and beer industry with many microbreweries and small, local specialty restaurants. In the office sector, the co-working trend has had some traction in our market and startup incubators are doing well. On the industrial side, the Moncton market has adapted to the demands of occupiers with the rise of the 32′ clear buildings.
What are the toughest technological challenge in the industry you are seeing?
I think this is relative to the size of the brokerage firm. For us here at ONE., the challenge is marketing and metrics (data). These two items require consistent attention and effort in order to maintain their integrity and relevance in the business sense for a brokerage firm. The world moves faster than ever; industries and trends move and morph at light speeds. The challenge, from my perspective, must be answered by a two-part solution: WHAT needs to be done technologically and WHO needs to do it. Once you solve this, you can move forward, also at light speed.
What does the cre industry need?
I strongly believe the commercial real estate industry needs to have its own licensing process, specialized training and continuing education. Here, in New Brunswick, there is no distinction between a residential real estate license and a commercial license. I think we need better organization and support to be able to better onboard new brokers into this fantastic and dynamic industry. Then, we need to have relevant and dedicated training that is compelling and useful in the commercial real estate sector, taught by experts who have worked in the industry.
What technologies should brokerages be investing in right now?
Immersive, engaging and relevant content production to be delivered on digital platforms. This is a general and broad way of saying brokerages should double down on their identity online. As commercial real estate brokers, we are responsible in many ways for economic growth and have a direct relationship with our market’s prosperity and business wellbeing. Brokerages need to be everywhere at once, all the time. That is our objective, along with delivering real, relevant results along the way.
What do you like best about Spacelist?
Spacelist helps me get my listings out in front of potential prospects. I especially like the listings’ search engine integration into our company website. It was easy to set up and simple to maintain. I believe there is a great audience out there that Spacelist does, in fact, capture, and that is beneficial for my clients and for our firm.
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