Derek Anthony Knows the Value of Conversation

The Woodmont Company’s Derek Anthony shares his methods for achieving a record-setting second career in commercial real estate

Derek Anthony is a pure seller. The Woodmont Company’s vice president of commercial real estate loves the game, loves the negotiation, and his passion for the retail space—one that took him years to find—is immediately present. His journey to real estate was winding, simply because whatever industry Anthony found himself in, his passion for the sale and forging new relationships always took precedence.

Derek Anthony, VP of Commercial Real Estate, The Woodmont Company Dan Pope

Having truly carved out a space for himself at Woodmont as one of its highest producers, Anthony has also made a name for himself by creating the company’s first podcast, Rated R: Real Estate Uncensored, while (at the time of speaking) engaged in 39 concurrent and active deals.

“I’m just a man of commitment,” Anthony says. “I like to see things through and be a man of my word. I believe in that wholeheartedly.”

The First Half

Before highlighting Anthony’s present work at Woodmont, it’s imperative to log his résumé. The first half of Anthony’s career was primarily dedicated to consumer electronics. As a regional sales manager for the Coby Electronics Corporation, he hit 150 percent of his quota, was elevated to director of sales and marketing for North America, then wound up building out expertise in Chinese and Indian procurement and retailer relationships with the biggest big-box stores in the country.

Anthony earned his real estate license on the side but genuinely saw himself in the electronics business for life. “I thought I’d ride out the high-paying position for 10 or 15 years and end up being a president of a company someday,” Anthony says.

The executive’s entire career would be turned upside down by a small light sensor. The patent on the tiny light that reads DVD discs on virtually any company’s DVD player is owned by the same company. The leadership at Coby Electronics Corporation—where a young Anthony worked in sales and marketing—had not paid the royalties on the device. A $64 million lawsuit was filed that made it to the Supreme Court of New York. Coby leaders filed for bankruptcy and essentially scrapped the company.

“Here I was in my midthirties, thinking, ‘What do I do?’” Anthony remembers. “I was the breadwinner for my family, and my two daughters were getting ready to go to college. I just put my head down and pushed forward.”

Anthony would transition from casual residential real estate to full-time commercial work and find his way to Woodmont in 2017. The year 2020, dictated entirely by the COVID-19 pandemic, was also Anthony’s record sales year. That is, it was until 2021. A new all-time high.

What’s New

Anthony is currently up to 15 stores across the country on behalf of the Spartan Safe company. The relationship is only about a year and a half old, but the VP’s dogged efforts have helped the offshoot company of Spartan Safe make its physical presence known from California to Tennessee to Massachusetts.

His budding relationship with the Lone Spur Cafe has also seen significant progress in a short period of time. The breakfast and brunch restaurant, which also boasts a full alcohol bar, has already established itself in Arizona and New Mexico and is looking to open between four and six new sites in the Dallas–Fort Worth area.

“We’ve got two locked in, one is due to close [in July 2021], and I’d put the others at about 90 percent done,” Anthony says at time of speaking in summer 2021.

While those projects are what Anthony calls his “bread and butter” at the moment, it’s imperative to note that there are three dozen other tenant reps, landlord leasing, and various listings that occupy the VP’s day. And given Anthony’s motivation, those numbers have likely gone up.

The Old Ways

 What’s most viscerally apparent with Anthony is his absolute commitment to his field. He displays the passion of someone who loves what he does. He scouts clients by attending chamber and networking events. He reads articles about new projects in trade areas and new tenants or operators—and keeps himself current on Inc.’s “500 Fastest-Growing Companies.”

“It is guerilla marketing 101,” Anthony says frankly. “I’m not sure there are a lot of people in the younger generation that quite get that yet, or maybe they’re just not as hungry.”

Anthony name-checks a study by British psychology professor Richard Wiseman, whose research indicates that extroverts with an optimistic outlook have a probability of being luckier in life. Conversely, introverts, who tend to eschew risk and often feel more negatively toward themselves and others, have a higher likelihood of being unlucky.

“That means that the person opening up and talking to someone in an elevator or restaurant line is going to have better outcomes,” Anthony says. “You don’t have to be annoying or unprofessional, but you might be able to give them your card instead of standing there with your head buried in your phone.”

The VP also talks about the importance of emotional intelligence. “School doesn’t teach you that, but it’s so important how to learn to read a room and understand another party’s pain points,” Anthony says. “You want to be trusted as a partner and a consultant, not just as somebody trying to sell something. The only way you’re going to understand another person’s perspective is to ask them, then ask another way, then ask another way. You want to understand the root of their issues so you can help present them with solutions.”

Rated-R

Derek Anthony may be hitting new records at the Woodmont Company by engaging business the old-fashioned way, but his outlook is future oriented. Anthony personally petitioned to bring a real estate podcast to Woodmont, Rated R: Real Estate Uncensored, a podcast he hosts in conversation with other experts in the commercial real estate world.

“I’m so grateful the leadership here has been supportive of this project,” Anthony says. “My number one goal will always be doing deals, but this is a fun way to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening and hopefully a chance to learn and share with our guests and listeners.”

As the country’s largest specialty safe retailer, Spartan Safe has had the pleasure of working directly with Derek Anthony and Woodmont on our expansion around the US. Of our now 12 locations, Derek has run point for us on property identification, negotiations, lease structuring, and much more on our latest 10 stores. Derek is proactive, persistent, and responsive in his work with us and has become an invaluable piece of our extended development team. Spartan Safe is proud to work closely with Derek and looks forward to much more in the future!