As an agent in commercial real estate for many years, I know that every bit of marketing material needs to be carefully optimised. The rule applies even to the envelopes that you use in your direct letter or brochure campaign.
You want your letter to be seen and opened. The envelope will help with that. If the envelope is too ‘business like’, it will hit the rubbish bin faster than you can imagine. So we should set some rules to the letter process to be adopted in commercial real estate.
Try some of these:
- Use a non-standard envelope colour. Blue is good and also is orange. The colour should still allow the address details to be clearly seen.
- The ‘return to sender’ address on the back of the envelope should be hand written with an address only. Leave off your name.
- Use a non-standard envelope size. Try an envelope that is smaller than the traditional business DL size.
- Use real stamps on the letter and not a ‘franking machine’ embossing. Real stamps attract the eye and help the readability factor.
- Hand written addresses on your envelopes should be in blue ink. Make sure that your handwriting is clear and legible; it shows respect.
- Do not bulk up the envelope with too much marketing material. A business card is all that you need inside the envelope with your letter to send a professional business message.
- Open rates on envelopes are better between Wednesdays and Fridays. To achieve this delivery focus, send your letters on a Monday.
- If you want your letter to be seen amongst others, pay for priority postage and overnight delivery.
- Always follow up your letters a few days after sending.
- Sign your initials across the envelope flap on the rear of the envelope. It appears like a ‘seal’ to the reader and then adds to the personalisation.
Simple rules like this will help your sales letters reach the required person. More importantly they will help your envelopes get opened and the contents read.
Personalised envelopes and direct letters can be a good part of your marketing campaign to build your prospect list and support your direct prospecting efforts or cold calls.
The commercial real estate industry is based largely on relationships and trust. You can extend and grow those factors in the way you address and send your envelopes to prospects and targets.
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Today it is a fact that email newsletters are a part of commercial real estate marketing. Every agency should have a solid system of client or prospect contact using a database and an email newsletter.
Permission marketing is part of the email process in that you should only send these emails to people that have agreed to be part of the process. You can easily get ‘permission’ through refined strategies when talking to clients and prospects. That will be in:
- Telephone calls
- Property inspections
- Previous marketing efforts with other listings
It should also be said that the email system you adopt should have an opt-out provision and capability so that any person can step out of the newsletter system if they require.
What do you want to do?
If you are going to create a newsletter in this form, it is essential to develop the right strategy and processes. There are just too many poor quality email newsletters sent today. Relevance is everything.
So let’s look at how you can improve the process and make it a valuable part of your marketing effort.
- Use an auto responder to send the emails and track the open rate. You will then see what articles or properties create more interest.
- Many agents struggle with the issue of frequency in sending the newsletters. At a minimum they should be sent every 2 weeks. In an ideal situation they should be sent every 7 days with meaningful and new market information and listing detail.
- The best time to send the newsletter is between Wednesday and Friday. The ‘open rates’ on emails are generally higher at that time. Publish on time every time. Get a pattern to sending your emails.
- It is easy to get an email template established to start your newsletter. You simple add content inside the shell of the email
- Add to the value of the contact process by providing quality professional photographic images of properties for sale or for lease. Think and display quality at all times in your newsletter. One poorly photographed property will detract from the entire newsletter.
- Your exclusive listings should be marketed in your newsletter. Open listings should not get the newsletter treatment (open listings are a process of luck). If the owner of a property did not trust you enough to give you an exclusive listing, then they do not get the quality marketing processes.
- Have property relevant information in your newsletter that tells the reader about the local commercial real estate market and any changes that are coming up. At the top of the email, have an editorial area for this process. As agent you should write the commentary of 3 or 4 paragraphs and include a photograph of yourself in the process. You are building your ‘brand’ remember, and a photograph will help with that.
- All of your newsletters should feature links to your website listings, your informational blog, and your social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook). Make it easy for people to follow you.
- Each email newsletter sent should be about 6 properties in depth, plus an editorial. If you work on different property types, you may like to make the newsletter specialised to the property type (eg Retail, Industrial, or Office).
When it comes to marketing yourself and your listings today, these are critical issues to take your listings and your real estate business forward.
You can get more tips like this in our free Newsletter for Commercial Real Estate Agents.
In commercial real estate sales or leasing, every little bit helps when it comes to marketing the property to the target market and local area. A correctly constructed marketing campaign should be 75% focused on the local area and 25% focused on the greater region and beyond. Here are some tips on marketing from our Newsletter for agents.
In just about all property marketing efforts, we find that most enquiries will come from local business owners and local property investors. This is the reason for the bias to local marketing. Sure you may have some properties that are an exception to the rule but almost always it is the local enquiry that really matters
So all of this being said, the advertising effort for any property and listing should be comprehensive and across a number of marketing tools and systems. The days of ‘generic’ advertising and promotion are well gone.
So let’s differentiate marketing between ‘open listings’ and ‘exclusive listings’.
- In the ‘open listing’ situation you have no control on the property or the client. For this reason advertising is largely a matter of convenience. You put a sign on the property and an advert on the internet. Any enquiries that you get you can process in an ordinary way. Importantly you should not waste much of your time on any ‘open listing’. If the client will not trust you with an ‘exclusive’ agency, then understand that your focus should be elsewhere on your better listings.
- ‘Exclusive listings’ are better for the client and for you. If the client is genuine in the sale or lease process, ‘exclusive’ listings allow you to get deeply into promoting the property to the local area. The communication between you and the client is a lot stronger and more relevant to getting results from the marketing campaign. Every ‘exclusive’ listing should include a reasonable amount of vendor paid marketing funds.
When you are to promote a property to the local area, a campaign should be structured on the target market, and personally driven by you as the agent or salesperson. When you get too many listings, the ‘personal’ side of property promotion gets a lot more difficult. The number of ‘exclusive’ listings that you can take on at any one time is about 15 listings. Beyond that number, you need a personal assistant to help you with the required systems and processes. Remember that the client wants to talk with you and not your assistant.
To put high value and relevance into your property promotion, take every listing personally into the area and the business community. Use every listing as a reason to talk to business owners and property investors. In this way you will get better results from all your marketing campaigns.
You can get more free tips like this in our Newsletter for Commercial Real Estate Agents.
Leasing commercial property is a special process. When you understand the elements of the process, you can improve your listing conversions and lease negotiation outcomes. Here are some tips from our Newsletter.
So the landlord of a property approaches you to see if you can help in leasing their vacant tenancy. The inexperienced agents immediately accept the request with little further thought. Top agents ask quite a few questions and get the right market information before proceeding.
Here are some tips on how to lease commercial property today:
- Get the facts about the property location and the landlord. Check out the ownership detail on the title before proceeding.
- Inspect the property to review the improvements in the vacant area or tenancy. Also look at the services and amenities that are available for the tenants that take up a lease.
- Get professional photos taken of the property so you have something to use in the marketing campaign.
- Get physical details about the tenancy and make sure you get some plans to review. The best plans to get a copy of are the ‘as built drawings’. They will be helpful to the leasing process and tenant layout when you find a tenant.
- Identify what landlord works should be done in the property before it is released to the market. Presentation is really important today.
- Check out the comparable properties that have not leased in the local area. What rents are being asked in those properties and how will they impact your property? What can you do that is better and different?
- What are the market rents that apply to a lease of that property type today? Give due regard to gross rents, net rents, and outgoings that will all need to be set before the marketing process for the property commences.
- Should the landlord offer an incentive to get a new lease going in the property? If that is the case, do your homework on the size and type of incentives that are available in the property market today and with that property type. Any incentive that is provided should be ‘paid back’ over the duration of the lease term. It is your job as agent to know how to amortise the incentive back into the lease and the rent structure to get the landlord back the initial cost of the incentive.
- Establish a marketing campaign that is based on the target market for the property. Get the landlord paid advertising funds to cover for all the promotion of the property.
- Get an exclusive listing of the property so you can devote extensive effort to marketing.
- Draft advertising for the property and get it approved by the landlord before you proceed with the marketing.
- When the property is released for marketing, take details of the property to all the local businesses and property owners. This is a personal thing and should occur on a business and door by door basis.
- When you start getting the enquiry from your marketing of the vacant tenancy, qualify the enquiry before you take people to the property.
Leasing a commercial property is not hard; it is just a specific process that should be exclusively handled by each agent. It this way you will get better enquiry.
You can get more tips like this in our Newsletter.
Lease administration forms part of the leasing and management services offered to Property Management clients in commercial real estate today. It is a specialised service and has major impact on the property under management.
The real estate agency staff involved in the management and leasing of a commercial or retail property, really do need to know what they are doing when it comes to lease administration. When done well the process will help the landlord client achieve income and tenant benchmarks in the property that would otherwise fall short of expectations.
Why do things in investment properties need to be ‘administered’? The answer is quite simple; the market is constantly changing and expectations of the tenant mix, income, and local area will change. Top agents work ahead of the changes and they know what is going on in all comparable properties.
Here are some factors that you can merge into your lease administration system for your clients.
- Review all leases as a priority. In this way you will know what is coming up with each tenant and occupancy. When you are managing and leasing larger properties, the task is complex. For this reason, any lease review should involve a ‘synopsis’ process where key issues from the document are extracted and noted in an appropriate document and diary system. In this way you can be prepared for the major events well before they happen.
- Check out the rent reviews coming up for each tenant. The market rent reviews will be the hardest to predict and negotiate. Any market rent reviews should be flagged for early attention. You will need some good comparable market rental evidence from the local area and this takes time to locate.
- Options for lease renewal can be a good and a bad thing, depending on the property, the tenant, and the landlord. Leases should have an early window of time where any option that exists can be negotiated and finalised. In high quality shopping centres, the process of giving an option for a further lease term is not desirable; it places far too many limitations on the tenant mix and how the client landlord can work their shop ‘clusters’. As a general rule, any top quality property should not give ‘options’ as a standard offering in any lease negotiation.
- All leases will have factors that need action at some time during the year or the lease term. Typically those things are insurance certificates of currency, rent reviews, options, renovation dates, and make good provisions. Get to know your leases so the critical dates area correctly actioned well in advance.
Attention to detail in lease administration is really important. This means that all actions and correspondence should be correctly recorded and implemented. All of this action should be supported by a good property management and leasing fee.