The Pros and Cons of Social Media Use in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

There are plenty of things that you can do with social media in commercial real estate today.  In saying that, there are rules to follow if you want to get reasonable results.  Most agents and brokers do not have a social media plan, and that is where things fall apart from a personal perspective. (NB – you can get plenty of commercial real estate tips in our ‘Snapshot’ program right here)

Social Profiles

So, you can and should use online social media tools as part of promoting yourself and your listings in commercial real estate brokerage.  There are lots of property things to talk about online in a professional way to help you build your profile.

When you think about the basics of what you do, hear, and see every day, there are factors and information that you can convey.  Here are some of the most common facts to use:

  • Sale prices from recent ‘public’ sales
  • Rents achieved in larger lease deals
  • Current levels of inquiry for property
  • Precinct changes
  • New development activity
  • Supply and demand for property

Every one of these local property topics will be a social media theme that can be expanded on as an article and then placed online.

So, what goes wrong here?  Many agents take the easy way out when it comes to their profile, listings, and articles online; they just place property adverts into their social media channels.  They do nothing more than that.

The issue here is that the listings are already on the portals and the websites, so the processing of the listings into social media channels is just an ‘overkill’ and mostly irrelevant.  Those agents ‘waste’ their time taking the easy way out with social media.

Use the Tools Online

We have all heard about the various ‘social tools’.  Some of those ‘tools’ are aligned more to ‘business’ and others to the ‘personal’ end of the spectrum.  If you are going to build your business profile online, then do it correctly from the start. Here are some rules to respect in this ‘online promotional process’:

  • The portals are only for property listings – all your exclusive listings should be on the portals. Open listings should not feature in your ‘online’ activities.
  • Websites are for listings, articles, editorials, and blogs – make sure that your brokerage website has all the ‘channels’ of communication open and active. The search engines like information that is useful and helpful.
  • Social media channels are for interesting and valuable local property information – provide information that is accessible and locally based. Have a few stories to tell about the area and the precincts.  Think about how a newspaper journalist would handle local property information.  Write your articles accordingly.

If you work the logic of each method correctly, then your property and personal marketing efforts can be far more successful.  Separate the strategies; that’s the rule.

Proven Ways to Jump-start Your Career in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

If you are starting a career in commercial real estate brokerage, then it is absolutely critical that you develop a personal marketing plan and skill development strategy at the earliest stages of your new job and career.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

You will come across many different and challenging characters as part of your business activities; preparation is the key to the process of improvement over time.

The professional skills and systems that you develop will take you through the challenges of the industry effectively and directly.  Practice is also a good thing to build into your business day.

 

The facts

Some clients are better than others, and some properties are better than others. You will also come across some very special properties with unique challenges from an investment or marketing perspective. Preparation is the key to progress. Your skills and your local area knowledge will need to be improved over time as the property market changes and shifts given economic sentiment and business activity.

To a great degree, many brokers and agents learn on the job, that is given the factors of property ownership, marketing, and investment that are unique to the location. That being said, professional skills and local area knowledge will always need to be improved over time at a personal level.

So you need a few strategies to kick-start your career and keep it on track towards the best possible results available. Set the rules and the strategies for yourself professionally. You can control your time and your focus. Don’t let others do that for you.

 

Specific strategies

So you need some specific strategies and actions to jump-start your career as a broker or an agent. You will need to work through the challenges of the location, the competition, and the available listings. Local area research will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the location from a property and client perspective, thereby giving you some ideas and some strategies to work with.

 

Proven ideas

Here are some proven and direct strategies to help you jump-start your career and shape it over time:

 

  1. Establish a personal marketing campaign – most of the business that you generate over time will come from your personal marketing processes. Fortunately, we have many different marketing tools available at our disposal today. Look at the ways in which you can promote yourself directly and indirectly to your targeted segments and the property owners in your location. Understand exactly who the decision makers and business owners are for the location. Make a direct approach and merge those people into your personal marketing initiatives.
  2. Specialize in a property type and location – set a specific zone of focus as your primary zone of business generation and prospecting. Use the geographical boundaries and the main roads to contain your primary prospecting territory. Inside that zone you should have at least 2000 or 3000 properties to work on and with. Over time you will get to know all of the property owners and all of the business proprietors in that precinct. That is why location specific prospecting is so important in our industry as is the number of 2000 to 3000 properties. Don’t spread yourself too far; better results come from location based prospecting. As part of that territory focus, choose the property types that offer the best opportunity in sales and leasing activity over time. From that point on-wards, match and monitor the factors of supply and demand in that segment and that territory.
  3. Start prospecting immediately – start connecting with new people in your location as soon as possible. The processes of prospecting are varied and can be shaped to your skills and location. Don’t take too long to establish your prospecting model; refine the results that you achieve in talking to new people locally. Over time you will soon understand the elements of prospecting that work for you and give you the better outcomes in both listing activity and client connections.
  4. Improve your presentation strategies through practice – most property presentations today are competitive by nature. There will very likely be a few agents chasing the same client for their property listing. Your presentation needs to be of the highest quality and most relevant to the client situation. That requirement takes care and consideration. Practice your listing presentations and client communication strategies. Role play the dialogues that you use given the variety of property situations for the location and the property types. Preparation and practice will always help you convert listings at a greater level. The same can be said for inspections and negotiation in both sales and leasing situations.
  5. Talk to new people and build strong client relationships – your database should be at the centre of your real estate business. Every day and each week you should be loading new people into that database after you have qualified them for potential property interest and activity over time. When you know you have connected with the right people, the investors, or the business owners, take the time to build strong and valuable relationships at a professional level in commercial real estate today. Local area information will always help you do that.

The five facts mentioned are simple and yet so important to the momentum you require in your commercial real estate career.

How to Build Credibility with Your Commercial Real Estate Clients

Your credibility as a commercial real estate agent or broker will be a big factor in how you convert local listings and client opportunities.

Our industry is one that is supported by personal contact and personal trust. Your credibility sits solidly within that definition.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

Think about these questions.

  1. So how can you prove your credibility in a regular and ongoing way?
  2. How can you attract the interest of clients through a credibility equation or business strategy?

The answers are relatively simple.

Put yourself at the center of your marketing campaigns locally.

Here are some ideas to help you:

  • Drill down into the existing property market so that you understand comprehensively the pressures of change and churn as they may apply. There will be certain problems that most business owners or property owners are struggling with; identify those issues. You can be the solution to those problems. For every problem, there will be one or two solutions that you can apply to a quality listing or a quality client. Importantly you should look for solutions and provide definite recommendations. Good agents do exactly that.
  • There is no point in pitching and presenting your commercial real estate services without allowing the client to consider the variations of the prevailing market conditions and then helping them with specific alternative recommendations. Most clients like to have two or three alternatives to consider as part of property marketing, listing, negotiating, and settling. Make their decision activities easier. Build all of your recommendations for a client based on real market evidence, the facts of the property, and the pressures of the existing parties.
  • Always provide a few alternatives to a situation and then make your recommendations. Clients feel more comfortable in moving ahead when they have some choices that they can move through. Yes, the client may want a higher price than that which the market is providing, so you are the person to professionally help the client through those facts. And so what if they don’t listen? Walk away from the listing, and let some other agent or broker waste their time on the property and the client.
  • There will always be a clear and better way to close on a deal. You simply need to understand all of the facts as they exist and read between the lines. Understand the pressures that each party is working within and provide suitable solutions to motivate their interest. Learn more about the skill of negotiation and be prepared to show that you are the ‘top negotiator’.
  • The marketing approach for any exclusive listing today should not be generic. Put some personal effort into the marketing campaign showing your client how you will create more interest and attract more inspections. You will find that such a strategy will help you close more exclusive listings over time. Put personal effort into your prospecting focus and talk to more people every day.
  • Incorporate your database into your listing pitch and marketing strategy. Explain to the client how you will be using your accurate and up to date database in helping them; that database can be used throughout their property campaign and sale or lease requirement. Tell them how you will be identifying a shortlist of buyers or tenants (as the case may) be from that database. Show them an edited version of that shortlist as part of the listing presentation. It will be hard for a client to ignore a list of potential prospects to lease or buy.
  • Do not ignore the inspection process. Tell a client exactly how you will be taking people through the property so that the features of the asset can help you encourage or close on an offer or negotiation. In some cases, it is wise to take the client to the property and walk them through the inspection strategy deliberately and directly.

The top agents in the commercial real estate industry today know how to build their credibility and focus, to attract more clients and quality listings.

Get the equation right

These points mentioned above, should help you with the credibility equation and the conversion of new business.

You are a big part of your business success. Understand how you need to market your skills deliberately and directly to the right people in the right way.

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How You Can Create Leverage and Relevance in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

In commercial real estate brokerage, the sales team or sales force should have a number of strategies supporting their activities and new business drive.  Without those business tools, any listings and client conversions will be difficult to achieve and slow to develop.   Don’t waste time, take deliberate action every day.

Make no mistake, the commercial real estate business today is very competitive.  Those agents wishing to control and grow their real estate business will need special business systems supporting what they do and how they market themselves and their listings.  We all have choices.

Why are you special?  Your answers are important if you want to grow market share.  Here are some critical strategies today that can help you with client and listing coverage:

  1. Get in front of the people that need you – There is no great secret to the commercial real estate business and the industry overall. You have to get in front of the people that need you now or in the future, so that they can relate to your skills and relevance.  They have to remember you at the right time when ‘property’ becomes an active issue.  It takes months if not a few years for a client to move to the next stage of property choice and or action; when that happens, you want them to remember you and give you a call.  Establish a prospecting system that takes you closer to the right people in your location.
  2. Why are you relevant? – This is a simple question and yet the answer has to be very special to the client. So many agents and brokers come up with answers that are ‘self-focused’ with no real deep client significance or leverage.  They say things like, ‘I provide the best service’, ‘I know the market’, ‘I work for the client’, and ‘I work hard’.   The issue here is that none of those statements will have any great importance to a client or prospect; just about any agent will say the same thing when it comes to relevance.  It is far better to have answers that are deep and useful to the client such as, ‘The database I have created covers all local medium sized businesses in a 20-mile zone’, or ‘I have a list of businesses here and now that are looking to relocate in the next 6 months’.   There is a degree of client relevance in the latter statements.  It will be hard for a client to ignore an agent with that level of market coverage and control.  Use your database as a point of leverage.
  3. How can you attract and control your brokerage opportunities? – I have heard of many agents and brokers that keep spreadsheets and basic lists of the people that they know. In most cases those agents and brokers are not comprehensively growing their lists every day, and are failing to get back to the same people over time.  It is important to remember that in most new business opportunities you will never really know when a client or prospect will have a property challenge.  You have to rely on them to remember you and give you a call.  Keep in regular contact with all the people in your database and monitor them for property action and property pain.  Somewhere in that level of assessment will be a listing and or a deal.

 

There are plenty of listing opportunities out in the local area for you to action and move on.  Everything in our industry comes down to people and relevance.  Do you know enough people?  Are you relevant in every way possible?  If not, you have some work to do; get busy.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

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Commercial Real Estate Brokers – The Right Things to do in Creating Real Investment Strategies

When you take on an investment client in commercial real estate brokerage it is likely that they will have problems and issues to address in their property portfolio.  You can help them with an array of strategies to lift property performance.  Ultimately that means fee and commission potential for you.

Don’t just focus on being the sales or leasing specialist in commercial real estate for your location; you can go a lot further into offering specific services and factors of property improvement.  Look at the challenges that some clients have with their properties.  Understand how you can be the best person to resolve those things.  Design your services accordingly.

Here are some ideas to help you with this:

  1. Property precinct studies – Track all the activity and property availability in your territory or location. Watch what is happening and how things are changing with supply and demand.  The changes in the precinct will give valuable indications of what could occur with prices, rents, and occupancy.  Ultimately commercial properties are in the main occupied by business tenants so also watch the levels of local business activity and where those businesses like to locate themselves.
  2. Searching for good quality tenants – The challenges with vacancies will always frustrate local landlords. If you keep in close contact with regional tenants, and particularly the high profile tenants, you will soon understand what their occupancy needs may be with location based business be it expansion or contraction.  Within your database ensure that you have all your tenants segmented so that you can look for those special businesses to locate into upcoming vacancies.  If you have a comprehensive tenant database for the location, it will be hard for landlords to ignore your professional services and offerings.
  3. Rental growth numbers – Within your zone and location, there will be shifts in lease rental by both type and amount. Certain areas will be more attractive from a leasing and tenant perspective, and you can identify the trends and the opportunities.  Chart the rental trends so you can show your landlord clients exactly how they can be part of the income growth patterns for the area.

When you work with landlords as investors you should be able to help them through key questions like:

  • Who are the best tenants for the location?
  • How can the net rental for the property be improved?
  • What are tenants looking for and how can those factors feed into the future of the property?

There are many things that you can do here to help property investors improve their property performance with both rental returns and capital value.

You can get our free eCourse on Commercial Real Estate Brokerage right here.

Commercial Real Estate Brokerage – Seller Paid Advertising Rules for Marketing Campaigns

In commercial real estate brokerage, the advertising and marketing process is a big part of enquiry generation.  The advertising process can be running at the same time that an agent is directly promoting a listing to the businesses and investors in the local area.

A good listing and particularly an exclusive listing should be directly marketed; since you control the listing, there is no other better way to create enquiry.  Things get a little bit ‘skewed’ however when an agent doesn’t have many people in their database to talk to about property listings as they come in.  Your database, its size and segmentation, and its growth are critical parts of commercial real estate enquiry generation and listing conversion.

Understand the relationships and important issues at play here.  Direct marketing and general advertising are both very important tools to be used with any good quality listing.  When you connect with local people about your listings you will find other local information and leads that you can work with into the future.

Exclusivity Really Matters

Take every exclusive listing and promote it directly and locally.  Then take the same listing and use seller paid marketing funds to comprehensively promote the property through advertising both online and offline.  Good agents convert advertising money from the clients that they service.  That is how they create more enquiry at a higher level than those agents that just list properties online and hope that something will come from the property listing.  The ‘list and hope’ method of marketing has no place in commercial real estate brokerage.

Exclusivity sits at the center of all of these things.  There is huge value in the exclusive listing process.  Are you up to the challenge of converting seller paid marketing monies?  Top agents convert marketing money.  That’s a fact not to be overlooked.

A Story of the Property Market

A young and perhaps relatively ‘new’ agent recently raised a point with me recently that exclusive listings are just not done in his city; he claimed that fact based on his experience and because ‘that’s the way things are’.  I then had to correct him and say that ‘he was very wrong’ and was quite likely not rotating and working in the best levels of the market with good listings and clients.

High quality listings are never marketed ‘openly’.  Any quality property is given exclusively to the best agent that can pull in the property enquiry.  An ‘ordinary agent’ listing average properties is never likely to know that or change their listing results.

If any agent is not converting ‘exclusively’, then it is not the market that is at fault, it is the agent.  Agents in that situation should look at their value and business strategy.  It is likely that they are not regarded as the best agents locally for the market segment and property type.

Seller Marketing Funds

So let’s say that you have converted seller marketing money.  Here are some specific rules to the process of directing such a campaign to convert better outcomes:

  1. Full Marketing Campaign – Spread your advertising spend across a period of time where you can focus your promotional momentum. Typically a marketing campaign should be over an 8 week period.
  2. Client approval – Have your client sign off and approve of the campaign and the advertising formats before you do anything. In that way any debate and disagreements about the core marketing message can be removed from the promotional efforts.
  3. Primary targets and Secondary targets – From local investigations you should have a very good idea of who your targets are for the property and where they are located. Split those targeted property segments into primary and secondary.  Spend most of your money in the primary segment of prospects.
  4. Get your money up front – If your seller has promised and committed marketing dollars to your advertising campaign, get that money upfront before you spend any time and effort in the campaign.
  5. Online and Offline balance – Understand just where your buyers for the property are located. From that information, drill down on a balance of promotional spending that attracts the people looking to purchase currently and into the future.  Understand and choose the right media channels that will help you get the message out there locally.
  6. Feedback from enquiries and inspections – Help your client understand just what is happening from the advertising spend. Tell them about the number of enquiries coming in and what the comments are from the inspections undertaken.  If anything you should be able to condition your client from the comments received from your inspections.
  7. Track enquiries on all similar properties – Sometimes one property will attract more or less enquiries than others by type and location. Look for the variations in property enquiry and shape your marketing campaigns for the best results.  Give the client plenty of reasons to move on your promotional recommendations.

So there are plenty of good things that you can do here with your advertising spend funded by the sellers of your listing (your clients).  Get the clients involved from the very start and keep them fully appraised of just how the promotions and marketing effort is working with their property.  That is what top agents do all the time.

You can get more commercial real estate marketing tips in our eCourse Snapshot right here.