WASHINGTON, DC—“No one likes to cold call, and if you say you do, you’re lying.” That was Sean Moynihan’s frank assessment of the intimidating practice. Moynihan joined a group of other up-and-coming pros—Young Guns in the parlance of Avison Young—at the firm’s annual general meeting here to discuss some of the challenges they face. All of them have yet to log more than a decade in the business.

He reported that 92% of his business comes from cold calls—and cold emails, all with the intent of getting “one to two meetings a week. And you feel like a rock star when you get those meetings, even though it’ll be 12 to 18 months before I get paid.”

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