In commercial real estate agency today, the basis of networking and lead generation has expanded. The traditional methods of contact are still there, but we now have quite a few other tools to use. Anything that makes the life of a commercial salesperson easier has my ‘vote’.
The networking and lead generation systems we should always use are really all about convenience, contact, and relevance. In the past we could do all that with cold calling, meetings, constant contact, newsletters, and direct mail. Those things today still exist and should be used but we can now do more with other tools and strategies. In effect we are bringing more technology into the loop of contact.
If we get the equation correct, we can get better results in lead generation. Make no mistake here; in no way am I suggesting that you should stop the traditional methods of contact, I am just suggesting that you should add to them.
Here are some ideas to help you establish the new system of contact and ongoing networking.
- Twitter is a process of simple short messages known as a mini blog. The process is free, and can be strategically used as part of ongoing business contact. You must however use relevant and helpful information as part of the process. This then says that you could send twitter messages twice a day with comments regards your commercial real estate product, the market, or services. You could add to that some market commentary or links to other interesting topics related to your area and precinct. If you are going to use twitter for business, do not allow personal small talk to enter into the loop. You must remember that some of the people that are following you on Twitter are business people and they do not need to see your personal ranting’s and ravings. Personality is one thing; when the comments get overly personal and biased they are a detriment to your business profile.
- Facebook is something that is used by many people today. It is preferable that you establish a Facebook page for business purposes, and then retain your personal profile elsewhere with a page for your friends and family. Facebook in business has a particular strategy which doesn’t mix well with standard personal contact. That being said, Facebook in business really does work. You can take feeds from Twitter and LinkedIn to your business page. When you use Facebook in business, segregate your followers into Friends, Family, and Business. In this way you can control who gets access to particular areas of your pages.
- LinkedIn is a great business tool and contact system. In business and commercial real estate it has a much higher value to us than Facebook. If you are a successful business person, your clients and contacts will expect to see a comprehensive and up-to-date LinkedIn profile. After every meeting with prospects and business contacts, send them an invite to join your LinkedIn page. It is questionable whether you need a free or paid LinkedIn account. Most people I know use the free version; however you do have a choice. If your LinkedIn activity gets a lot of use and is growing, perhaps you should revert to the paid version.
- Blogging is an extremely powerful business tool. You can set up a free blog on Blogger or WordPress. It takes about 20 minutes to set up the blog and it is really easy. The only cost to you after that point is time. What a blog allows you to do is establish greater online credibility as an expert in commercial real estate locally. This blog process adds to any other website presence and advertising you may do. You can write a blog about your commercial real estate specialty and area. Information is the key. Use the blog to give value and information about commercial real estate. Use it to show that you really are the expert.
So these are some of the main technology based tools that you can use today. Build them into your business system and start networking.
In today’s property market, we have marketing systems to support our personal branding and our property listings. These are two distinctly different challenges when it comes to marketing. The properties will come and go from the market, however your personal brand needs to consolidate and grow.
So let’s look at some different aspects of marketing and the challenges to be handled.
When it comes to property marketing, you will be competing against other properties, the market trends, and other agents. Through all of this, you need to attract the right level of enquiry and then qualify that enquiry for potential conversion. Given that the property market currently is rather challenging, every marketing effort must be specific, direct, and effective.
The ultimate goal of every marketing campaign should be to establish enquiry from the target market. When you get enquiry, you can create inspections. Over time the enquiry that you create will allow you to improve your database of qualified prospects; those qualified prospects can go into your database for regular ongoing contact. That is exactly what top agents do and how they create better transactions from the market over time.
To correctly market a property today, you need sufficient funds and a dedicated marketing campaign. Vendor paid marketing should be the rule and not the exception. That being said, you should also ask for an exclusive listing to allow you to spend the necessary time in marketing the property for the clients that you serve.
The property market today requires real effort on the part of the agent. That effort can only come through exclusive listings. Those exclusive listings also allow us to build our market share and database of qualified prospects.
Here are some factors to incorporate into a property marketing plan:
- Determine the features relative to the subject listing. Those features and improvements will dictate the target audience. The advertising that you create should be directed at the target audience with a consistent message relative to the property.
- You will need to determine those three or four factors that create the interest relative to the property today. Those three or four factors will need to feature in each and every advertising or media channel used. Consistency is the key when it comes to property marketing. Every advertisement should send the right message consistently, given that the same person may see the property in a number of different media channels. Eventually the right message could very well encourage the person to lift the telephone and make an enquiry.
- Understand the differences between the different types of marketing today, and use the ones that are most successful for your property type and local area. In most cases, newspaper advertising is becoming less relevant to the commercial property industry. Direct marketing and internet marketing are taking over as the tools of choice when it comes to creating property enquiry.
- Research the keywords that are used on the search engines relative to your property location and property type. Those keywords can be easily researched and then incorporated into your property advertising and marketing. That will therefore allow each advertisement to be tuned to the requirements of property enquiry today.
- As part of the property marketing effort, use plenty of professionally taken photographs in the advertising and in the brochures. You can always see when those professional photographs are used. The placement of the property on the Internet will also be enhanced by quality professional photographs. Most commercial salespeople and agents do not have the knowledge and experience to take photographs from the right angle or the time of day. You only have one chance to market the property, and on that basis the photographs need to help you in every way possible. The cost of getting the photography done is minimal when you consider the value of the property and the potential sale price or rental.
When it comes to marketing any commercial property today, create a plan relative to the client, the area, and the property. Drive that plan in a way that encourages enquiry. It is the enquiry that you want and that will help you with conversions.