When it comes to selling or leasing a commercial property, the features of the property will have a lot to do with designing the marketing campaign and building upon the factors of attraction to pull in more prospective tenants or buyers. Those factors of attraction are to be used strategically and the marketing process.
As part of establishing the listing and marketing timeline, you should completely inspect the property beforehand so that you can build on the strengths and weaknesses of the asset directly and appropriately. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the asset, and then determine where the property sits in the market today from a quality and pricing perspective. How relevant will this listing be to the target market that you define?
Look for the strengths
The strengths of the property should be merged into the promotional campaign and may even feature in the advertising layout as dot points. In that way you can attract and improve on the levels of enquiry. Any weaknesses in the property should be removed prior to the commencement of the campaign.
Look at the property from the perspective of a buyer or a tenant. The visual aspects of the property will be of the greatest impact to the momentum of the inspection. Are there any factors that should be addressed to help the property visually? The client may need to spend some money to solve the weaknesses in the presentation of the property prior to the commencement of the marketing campaign. The dollars spent by the property owner in preparing the property can be compounded when it comes to the final price or rent negotiation.
Look for the features
The features of the property will help you understand the target market; you can then build your marketing campaign and strategy to attract the target market effectively and directly. From that target market you can also define the current levels of enquiry coming to your office and what those buyers or tenants may be looking for.
Here are some of the more common factors to understand and control in your listing and marketing processes:
- The location of the property will have a lot to do with the levels and the volume of enquiry. Inspect the property completely and thoroughly in preparing for the listing to go to the market. After completing the inspection, review the local area for competing listings, evidence of prices and rents, and the most successful methods of selling or leasing as the case may be. Look for the matters of change, opportunity, and threat that could derail your marketing efforts.
- The marketing campaign for any property listing is most effective in the first few weeks of momentum. Choose the right media channels and promotional strategies to attract the highest levels of enquiry. If you are already tracking enquiries on other listings, you should know what is working when it comes to promotional activity and inspection conversions.
- Every quality property should be listed exclusively. Your priority should be to achieve that. The marketing campaign for every exclusive listing should be heavily tracked and monitored. Each week the results of the marketing to date should be reported to the client and adjusted appropriately to optimise further enquiry. I go back to the point that the first few weeks of the campaign are the most important. A listing today can become very stale and stagnant on the market in a short period of time. If you are not getting the enquiry that you need, it is the time to seriously look at the marketing strategy and make adjustments where necessary.
- Help the client understand the conditions of the property market today. Take them around the local area to see other listings and the results of successful transactions. Most clients will take some time to accept the prevailing market conditions and understand how they will impact the listing activity. It is your job to help them see that and accept that.
- When you clearly define the target market for the client and for yourself, you can comprehensively direct the marketing campaign to achieve the best levels of enquiry. Have a pro forma checklist relating to the definition of the target market and how you will tap into that group of tenants or buyers. From that pro forma checklist, you can show the client exactly how you will direct the marketing process and optimise enquiry.
The marketing of any commercial, industrial or retail property does not need to be a complex process although it should be professionally explored and implemented. Top agents know how to help the client see the factors of promotional strategy and timing; those factors will help significantly when it comes to achieving a positive result with the listing process. Develop a strategy or a checklist to help you improve every client interaction and marketing activity.
In commercial real estate today, the abundance of agents in the property market means that most listing opportunities are a competition to win the business. Every agent invited to the listing presentation process with the client will put on their best pitch and strategy for the listing.
This can be good and bad, but the fact of the matter is that many agents tackle the listing process very generically; they are largely complacent and quite ordinary when it comes to target marketing and direct marketing. You can adjust your pitch and presentation to be quite specific to the property type, the client, and the location. When you do this your chances of converting the listing rise greatly.
If you are known as the local real estate agent of skill and relevance, you will get invited to more listing opportunities. All or most of your leads and listing invitations will come from your local market presence and personal networking. You cannot wait for the leads to walk into your agency; it doesn’t work that way in this market.
To be known for the right reasons is an unusual equation that requires planning on your part. Consider your local property market. What would make you the top agent? What would let people know that you are the best in a particular property type and location?
Here are some ideas to help you build your local brand:
- Signboard presence will always be the number 1 factor in territory dominance and market share. You cannot claim to be a top agent unless you have the majority of the signboards on all the top quality properties. Now I know that this is difficult to achieve, however dedicated networking and prospecting will get you there.
- The internet will bring you many leads and opportunities today. All of your property adverts on the internet should be optimised for the search engines and customers that are looking to buy or lease property. So how can you do this? Do a keyword search on your property type and local area. Do this in http://Google.com with their ‘keyword search tool’ to see what people are typing into the search engines today when it comes to looking for local property. Take a selection of those words (not too many at once), and feed them into your marketing material and online advertisements.
- Write a blog about commercial investment property in your area. The blog process will cost you virtually nothing to establish using http://wordpress.com or http://blogger.com . Over time you can fill the blog with regular market updates and property tips. Do not focus on listings, but do focus on helpful information about the local area. That simple internet marketing process will help build your personal brand well above the other competitors locally.
- Create an email newsletter that is supported by an auto responder. Put all of your clients into the system and keep in contact with them through the regular email market updates.
- Make lots of telephone calls every day. The telephone remains the most powerful personal marketing tool that we have. Use it well.
In today’s property market you really must be known as the best solution for the clients that you serve. If they can see your name and face in more locations it will help you rise to the top of your market faster.
When it comes to marketing and selling a commercial or retail property today, you really do need to have a solid strategy to take the property forward and create the best enquiry. With less property enquiry and buyers around, you must have a focus of doing more with fewer enquiries that are coming in off the marketing efforts that you adopt.
It should be said that the best way to market a commercial or retail property today is through an exclusive listing process. In this way the agent can focus on creating the best enquiry for the property. Any client that wants to ‘open list’ their property is really wasting their time and yours (if you take the listing). Top agents do not take ‘open listings’ for this very reason.
Here are some rules that should be applied to the sales process for commercial and retail property today.
- Choose a method of sale that activates the market. A timed method of sale such as Auction or Tender may be the best way to go. In this way your enquiry will be optimised. This process also helps you build your database of leads.
- Vendor paid marketing will be part of the listing process today with almost all exclusive listings. The vendor should commit reasonable funds to the marketing effort. Top agents know how to sell ‘vendor paid campaigns’, so you should know how to do this too.
- When a property is marketed comprehensively into the local area you can capture other opportunity locally. One good property listing is a great excuse to talk to many other people and business leaders. Use your listings to open the door on other opportunity.
- Every listing will have a target market. The success of the marketing effort will be largely based on how you attract that target market to you. Given that the property market is so challenging at the moment in many locations, make your marketing effort stand out as unique and high profile. This will also help grow your list of qualified buyers.
- Local property investors are always on the look-out for good property to invest in. Purchase decisions depend on price. Ensure that you price your properties keenly with relevance to the prevailing market conditions.
- Local business owners are always interested in current properties for sale or rent. Every listing that you take to the market should be personally marketed to each local property investor. Send a brochure into the business community and follow it up with a personal telephone call.
- Time on market will change throughout the year. Make the time of property promotion part of your overall advertising effort and strategy.
A commercial property can sell at any time; the results that you get in any sale or advertising for sale come down to matters of pricing and promotion. If something is not selling, then take a serious look at how you are promoting the property and at what price.
The marketing of a commercial property today needs to be quite specific and unique. The attributes of the property, the prevailing market conditions, and the requirements of the property owner will all have some bearing on the marketing campaign to be created.
Gone are the days of a generic marketing campaign. To be fair to every commercial property taken to the market today, the exclusive listing process is highly important together with vendor paid marketing. In this way you will attract the right levels of enquiry to convert inspections and eventually negotiate on a closed transaction.
Here are some tips that can be applied to the marketing process so that you can achieve a high level of well qualified enquiry.
- Inspect and review the subject property in a comprehensive way. Do so with due regard to the existing levels of improvements and the attraction factors that the property provides. If you were a buyer or a tenant for the property, what would attract you to make the property enquiry that is required? What would trigger you to lift the telephone and contact the agent?
- When you completely understand the subject property, you can look through the local area for any competing properties that may still be on the market. You can also look for any existing properties that may have been recently sold or leased. Get details of any recent sales or rentals that have impact on your subject property. This local information will be invaluable when it comes to client conditioning, and future negotiation. The buyers and tenants that are in the market today will understand the availability of other nearby property and the prices or rentals as the case may be.
- Given the two previous points, you can now consider the ideal target market that will apply to the subject property. From that target market, you can construct an ideal and comprehensive marketing plan. I go back to the point made earlier, where the landlord or property owner should be required to give vendor paid marketing funds to you as part of the marketing effort. It is quite normal for one per cent of the expected sale price to be the contribution required of the property owner towards the marketing campaign. It is very wise to get these funds paid in advance into your trust account or client advertising account as part of the preparation for marketing.
- Determine the duration of the marketing campaign given the known target audience and the complexity of the property. How long will it take you to reach the target audience and activate the right level of enquiry? In most circumstances, this can be achieved in a period of eight weeks. For this reason, most marketing campaigns can be focused on an eight week time frame, with suitable adjustments during that time frame as enquiry comes in. You will know during that period if the right messages are being conveyed to the local business community and target market.
- If the local property market is saturated with similar properties of similar type, then you will need to adjust the marketing campaign after the initial eight week period. If the property is to remain on market for an extended period then a secondary strategy will be required. That being said, the initial eight week marketing focus should have created some form of substantial enquiry for you to establish market feedback and potentially some offers.
- Mix your marketing efforts across a number of media types and media strategies. We all know that the Internet has a major role to play when it comes to the marketing of commercial and retail property today. In your local area, you should know the strategies that work best when it comes to marketing property and generating enquiry.
From the earlier comments made above, you will have noted that the exclusive listing strategy is a key component of marketing commercial and retail property today. A good exclusive listing marketing campaign will always create more enquiries and hence give you a better chance of converting a lease or a sale as the case may be.
When you work with and on exclusive listings you will be building a database of well qualified buyers and tenants in your location and industry. Over time this will lift your conversion factors and potential commissions. If the property owner wants to list their property openly across a number of agencies, it can be a complete waste of time from your perspective. Some top agents will not normally work with open listings for this very reason.
Every marketing campaign today in commercial real estate should be carefully considered to help attract the right level of qualified enquiry for each property listed for sale or lease. With limited enquiry from some property types and in some locations, the enquiry that comes in off any advertising or marketing effort is really special and should be optimised into your database and ongoing contact system.
As a general rule, marketing campaigns in commercial real estate should be vendor funded. All exclusive property listings should feature a vendor funded marketing campaign of reasonable flexibility. In this way you will collect better enquiry from all quality properties that are taken to the market.
The simple fact of the property market today is that you cannot easily build your profile as an ‘expert’ off the back of low profile property marketing; think ‘big’ and promote ‘big’ (that is why you need vendor funds for the campaigns).
The top agents of the property market make sure that the local prospects and business leaders know that they are out there and available to help. Every quality property is to be promoted heavily into the local area; that is the zone or precinct that will produce further listings for you at some stage in the future. Quality marketing campaigns are noted by others and will help you build your relevance as the property expert that you are (or want to be). There is no glory in being the ‘secret agent’ of your city or town. Get your profile out at every opportunity on every quality listing marketing campaign.
Enquiry base and database
Top agents work their enquiry base extensively into the future. Any buyers or tenants that missed out on a listing, or that inspected a listing that was not suitable, should be contacted regularly into the future to ensure that any other similar property that arises can be communicated to them.
Keep the ‘doors open’ when it comes to prospects and business leaders in the local area. Systematic prospecting will help you there.
Here are some rules that can be applied with any property that is taken to the market for sale or lease:
- The campaign should be set for a period of time, and that can be 6 to 8 weeks in most cases. During that time you can reach the target audience and track the results that you get. If enquiry is slow or not reaching the targets that you expect, it pays to adjust the campaign quickly; the process of ‘test and measure’ is really important when it comes to property marketing today. Track your enquiry results.
- Look for the methods of marketing that appear to be working more than others today in your area. That says that all enquiries that come in to your office should be sourced back to the place where the person saw the property advertised or the details of such. When you ask the right questions you will get facts that can help you with other properties.
- Every property should be marketed extensively at a local level. When it comes to businesses and property investors, they tend to buy and rent the property that they understand and that is usually a property that is located in the local area.
- Competing properties will always be a factor to consider in any marketing campaign. Get details of all properties in the same location or of the same property type that could compete with your listing. It may be that your campaign has to be adjusted to suit the pressures applied by these other properties.
- Every person that you talk to and every property inspection that you take across a listed property will help you understand just what people are looking for and when they want it. These factors or requirements can change seasonally so be aware of the property enquiry situation today and how it is adjusting throughout the year. Most ‘commercial real estate marketing years’ are just 10 months in duration; the rest of the year is downtime with holidays and seasonal changes. You have 10 months each year to make your listing and commission quota; all the more reason to focus all of your efforts when the business is ‘on’.
What level of enquiry is coming in at the moment for leasing and for sales situations with your listings? What are those people looking for? How much time does it take to convert the average quality listing to an inspection and a successful transaction? Key questions like this will help you with the tuning of the advertising campaign.
Top agents are usually great marketers of commercial and retail property. They get the message out. You can do that as well; make the effort to be the best in marketing of all property listings. Take the steps to improve all of your market campaigns today. In the long run that will help you improve market share and commissions. Your quality listings will give you real profile as a top agent with a dominant market share.