PRO Perspective: Jay Oshlonsky and Managing Through Crisis

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On April 8th, 2020, our National Director Paul Cohen virtually sat down with Jay Oshlonsky as a part of our PRO Perspective webinar series. This conversation ranged from the evolving impact of the coronavirus to how to work with clients and manage your business through the current crisis.

Jay Olshonsky, FRICS & SIOR, has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of NAI Global since December 2012. Jay oversees all operations at NAI Global, one of the largest commercial real estate (CRE) firms, representing over 1.15 billion square feet of property and over $20 billion in annual transaction volume. NAI Global has more than 375 offices and 6,000 members serving customers in over 36 countries. NAI Global has earned a spot among the Top 5 Commercial Real Estate Brands by the Lipsey Survey for the seven years running.

Before leading NAI Global, Jay worked 15 years at CBRE in Baltimore, Washington. During his tenure, he led many Washington DC area offices with full profit and loss for the Washington DC office that had over $100 million in revenue, 75 CRE brokers, and 50+ million square feet of property management. Jay began his CRE career in Washington, DC, in 1982 as an office leasing agent. 

Check out the PRO Perspective episode here:

Here are some key takeaways from the conversation.

  • “China CRE markets are starting to recover. People are getting out and about…Stores are starting to reopen” says Olshonsky. It’s likely that the rest of the world will shortly follow suit as populations flatten the curve of coronavirus.
  • NAI Global is looking for individual membership plans in markets where they do not have coverage. Started in the UK and Spain, but will soon arrive in the US. Remote working is an option – so brokers who are looking for a global network to join, this is an opportunity.
  • Technology won’t be able to replicate local market knowledge or the ability to “kick tires,” in a network. Those who balance CREtech with foundational sales tenants and market knowledge will be the winners.
  • Reach out to clients. Don’t sell, educate, and over-communicate as much as possible. Try to have an honest conversation and see how you can help. We’re all facing the impact of the coronavirus together, so it’s important to be human.
  • Partner with technology to facilitate work continuation – try platforms such as Zoom, online banking, and Crexi.
  • Retail and hospitality among the hardest hit in the CRE sector – currently markets hitting 5% occupancy in previously high-resilient places such as Orlando, New York City and New Orleans.
  • As NAI Global is composed of independently owned offices, this distribution will help prevent layoffs as a result of coronavirus, compared to other national firms that are publicly traded.
  • Co-working spaces may not bounce back as quickly, as small business owners become more comfortable at home and become less likely to rush into sharing a space with strangers. But they’re still more likely to resurge as people seek to avoid large, clustered office spaces.
  • If they’re able to, tenants should pay rent. “There are no free lunches,” as the saying goes. If you ask for a free term, you should be prepared to send financial statements and add the term to the end of the lease.

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Paul Cohen
Paul Cohen

National Sales Director

Paul is the US Director for Crexi where he utilizes his experience in assisting brokers in getting deals done. Paul is widely recognized as a market expert in Commercial Real Estate and has represented numerous private owners with underwriting and developing marketing strategies and has over $1 Billion in total transaction valuation.

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