Peter Caruso, SVP, Retail Brokerage, is the ultimate example of patience + persistence = prosperity. Prior to joining JLL, the market had begun recovering from the worst downturn in modern day Retail history. For Peter, things were good; however, he was functioning on a regional platform. He was excited to come to JLL, a global platform, which was the wave of the future. To Peter, it doesn’t feel like a big corporation. Each business unit is run in an entrepreneurial manner which is more than he could’ve imagined – this allows him to build the team he wants and aids in the success he has today.
He has been able to see a successful 2017 because of his team… and patience. He didn’t have a full team who worked together until about one year ago (November 2016). To provide some background, Peter designed a team plan four years ago. After three years of building the plan, putting the right pieces of the puzzle together and implementing, as of last year they were able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Keeps him motivated? His family. Has a wife and three children who are his biggest supporters. He really enjoys the business and loves what he does, but nothing is more important than enjoying time with his family when he isn’t in the office. They keep him hungry for more success.
Things weren’t always as smooth as they are now, there was a time where Peter doubted his future in the business. In 2009, it would’ve been easier to assess what challenges Peter didn’t face. He was three years in the business, still learning how to make deals and the trials began. The company he worked for couldn’t pay him a draw, their biggest clients at the time (Starbucks, Best Buy, and TJ Maxx) were no longer opening stores that year, and his wife was pregnant with their first child. In the simplest terms, Peter expresses, “It was really challenging.” However the tables began to turn. Going into the summer months of 2010 a breakthrough came. Peter continued to show up to work every day and cold called clients daily. One Tuesday afternoon, he received a call from a Sprint franchisee that he showed space to a year prior. The client called five other firms that day and Peter was the only one available. Others were golfing and would call back later, but Peter didn’t have until later. Because of that call, Peter landed the next 15 Sprint deals within the surrounding Chicago and Florida markets. “I woke up every day uncertain if I was in the right industry. I was looking at other options, and the next thing you know I landed that tenant all because I was in the office at the right time. Everyone else sort of gave up on the business, but I kept pushing – and after that I never looked back,” Peter shared.
Without the influence from his Father-in-law, David Bossy – one of the biggest names in Retail Brokerage, who knows where Peter would be today. He introduced him to the business because he thought he’d be a good fit. Not looking for any handouts, Peter never worked for David, but he went to work for a company he suggested. Peter expresses, “I wanted to work at it and learn it on my own.” Although they didn’t work together initially David taught Peter two major fundamentals 1) always get a meeting and 2) K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid).
Secondly, Meredith Oliver, was influential as he was the first person Peter was a Junior Broker for. He was the one who taught Peter how to get to the end game and how to execute the two fundamentals his father-in-law introduced.
To continue his success in the future, Peter plans to continue hiring those who complement his weaknesses – that simple. The more he continues to grow, the more he finds people that can help him execute and do the things he can’t do on a day to day basis. Also, it’s top priority to keep it fun, give clients more than competitors can and always try to figure out new ways to grab the client’s attention.
With all of the wisdom shared, you may still wonder what made 2017 a successful year for Peter. “My biggest deal and a turning point in my career was the completion of Canada Goose at 800 N. Michigan Avenue. That deal single handily helped launch our city and urban platform in Chicago, and gave me the credibility needed to represent or meet with some of the top landlords in the market,” Peter added. “While the deal took nearly a year to complete, not only did we get our client, Hyatt Corp, more rent than the previous tenant, Armani, we brought them a true first-to-market-deal that our entire brokerage industry is talking about.”
Peter’s advice? Time and market knowledge are a brokers best assets. Utilize your time properly and focus on the right clients and projects. As my wife’s grandfather told me years ago, “the harder you work, the luckier you get.” Can’t stress enough to just work hard and stay persistent. If you do, you’ll help your clients make money and in turn they’ll continue to give you more opportunities.