There are two types of marketing plans in commercial real estate. There is the one that applies to ‘open listings’, and then there is the one that applies to ‘exclusive listings’. There is a radical difference between the two.
An ‘open listing’ is a process of luck, so get away from listing in this way whenever you can. You have no control over your client, the property, or the parties to the deal. I would go so far as to say that you cannot trust a client in an open listing situation; they are likely to be talking to other agents constantly and comparing your offers or inspection results. If you want to dominate your market as an agent, get away from ‘open’ listings as soon as you can.
Only an exclusive listing process will give you the best solution for promoting and marketing a quality commercial, industrial or retail property. The time and effort required in matching a property to its target market requires the commitment of the client to one agent for a reasonable period of time; usually 4 months. The selected agent can then dedicate the right focus into finding the best people to talk to and setting the momentum to inspections and offers.
Here are some marketing tips to help you in establishing a quality promotional campaign with an exclusive listing:
- From the full inspection of the property you will understand the best target market that you should be tapping into with the marketing. Give the client a complete understanding of what that market is looking for and how you can work with that.
- Determine the features of the property that can help you with the momentum in promotion. Build a story and a pitch for all your advertising using the property features. Select the 5 property features that are of the greatest interest to the target market. Use those as dot points in all you advertising. When you change from advert to advert in different publications, create different messages. This is most important on the internet so the search engines give your advert broader appeal.
- Use keywords for your advertising based on the internet search terms. You can get this information from a ‘keyword’ search on the major search engines.
- Build a headline and sub headline for the property using words that sell. You can see good examples of that with magazines and other property adverts. The history of the property may be relevant to the local area and on that basis can be used in the marketing to real effect.
- Match your marketing recommendations to the target market so the client can really see that you understand how to solve their property problem. Be very specific at a personal level to help the client see how you will take the property to the market.
- Always give your client 3 alternatives of marketing so they have a set of promotional choices to consider.
Successful marketing campaigns in commercial real estate agency are built from specific focus and speciality. The ‘generic’ promotional process in property today does not work.
In every listing presentation in commercial real estate, we like to think that we have the best solution for the client given the prevailing market conditions and the subject property. Communicating those facts as part of the sales pitch will be a central component of your presentation and listing conversion.
Most presentations today will be competitive. There will be a number of agents chasing the same client and listing. In a short period of time, the client will need to make sense of the strategies offered and the relative skills offered by the agents. Only one or agent will win the listing in most circumstances. Joint agency appointments where two agents share the same listing are usually an experiment of confusion. Help your clients understand the benefit of having one agent work for them on an exclusive basis.
Here are some questions to address as part of your sales pitch or listing presentation. They will help you prepare for the client and the challenges of the property.
- Why has the client approached you? Get to the real facts and the background behind the client coming to you for property assistance. As part of the investigation, review the history of the property, its ownership structure, and tenancy mix.
- What does the client know about the property market today? A selective question and answer process will help you identify what the client really does know about the prevailing market conditions. You can then fill in the gaps when it comes to property prices, rentals, and competing listings. Provide some market evidence using graphs and charts. The visual approach will be far more effective than a bulky proposal document.
- Given the previous point, does the client consider that they are an expert when it comes to the local property market? You may need to show the client some understanding and talk them through their observations and intentions before you table your property proposal or presentation.
- What will the client need to do with their property, and when will be the best time of year to achieve the result? Every property type will have strategies and solutions when it comes to the best method of sale or lease, and the best timing of the marketing campaign. Provide some logical recommendations based on your market knowledge and experience. Show the client what has worked in the past.
- Be careful when it comes to using industry jargon in your presentation. The use of jargon will disconnect you from the client. Simplify and explain your recommendations rather than let the client fill in the gaps and make the assumptions.
- Be sensitive to clients that are new to the area or the property type. Help them understand what the market has been doing and how they can be part of that property momentum.
- Have some relevant stories of the property market available to tell the client. Those stories should be applicable to situations today and the type of property in question. You are the solution provider and thereby you should put yourself into the success stories provided.
- Provide some testimonials from other clients in similar property situations. To support those testimonials, have a selection of property photographs available to display.
To win a listing presentation today your communication skills should be of the highest order and regularly practiced. These other facts provided above will help you with selling your services and professional skills as a top agent.