Your ability to set up a clear marketing system will directly impact your results and enquiries in commercial real estate brokerage. If you want to pull in the interest of buyers or tenants, then the marketing system should be specific and direct.
Don’t fall for the ‘general’ approach to property promotion. Put your full efforts into your real estate business; talk to people and build promotional momentum in the target audiences.
As you grow your listing base and market share, you should have more exclusive listings under your control. There is a limit as to the number of listings that you can handle at any point in time. Property types and size of property will dictate the ‘limit’.
Know your Limits
Some property promotions can take a lot of your focus so know what you must do to attract the people to your property listings, and then seek the listing terms of engagement and marketing that you need.
Here are some ideas to help you develop your system of property promotion or marketing. Add to the list as you see necessary:
- Inspect the property before you do anything else. Understanding the property and its location will give you more leverage in the client conversations around marketing and marketing costs. Take plenty of photographs in and around the property as you do the inspection; those photographs will help condition the client in the marketing conversation.
- Develop an inspection strategy and use your photographs to illustrate the processes of inspection to be used. If the client can see that you do know the property and how to hold the inspection with buyers or tenants, then the listing and marketing conversion in a lot easier.
- Define a target audience and talk about where they come from, how you will reach out to them, and why that target audience will listen to you. Help the client see that you can engage with the target audience with great effect and in a timely way.
- Draft you adverts and then have another person review the layout, content, and correctness. Some brokerages today have a specialised person undertake that process for all advertising. In drafting the adverts, remember the property features and the ‘keywords’ that are likely to attract more property enquiry.
- The ideal release of the marketing campaign should be part of a strategy and a timed process. Use a Gantt chart to show the client how you will approach the listing, inspection, and negotiation processes. The visual approach helps when want to enlist the thinking and decision facilities of the client or prospect. Gantt charts do that quite well.
- Mix your online and offline marketing effectively. It is a known fact that newspaper advertising is becoming less effective and is highly costly, so a balance of media choices should be given to the client when listing for their marketing consideration and reflection.
- Go direct where possible when promoting a listing. The direct approach helps with finding businesses and investors looking to move and or grow their property portfolio. Every listing is a good reason to talk to many people. You could say that ‘exclusivity’ is part of that process.
- Review all your activities weekly so you can see where things are happening and how small adjustments can happen to your business approach with prospects. A successful year in commercial real estate brokerage is a combination of many different strategies deployed to a plan and a system.
So, all these things will help you develop your approach to property marketing with your better-quality listings. Take the steps forward to engage with your property market, prospects, clients, and business owners every day.
Your systems will help you achieve good results in your business. Don’t wait for the enquiries to come to you; go out and find the enquiries.
When you have a property to take to the market you will have a number of options to consider as you reach out to the target market. You can promote the property selectively and directly to the right people, or you could undertake a public campaign to the general market. So a good degree of strategy is required to find the right buyer or tenant as the case may be. Understand the listing and the client before you get started in designing your marketing campaign.
Drill Down on the Property Facts
You are the professional person to establish the promotional strategy, and then make the marketing campaign work. You can do things generically, or you can drill down into the real facts of the market and the property; your choices here are critical to the end result. Your marketing choices are really important to the resultant ‘time on market’ and price or rent achieved. When you help the client understand those facts, the conversion of vendor paid marketing funds is a lot easier.
A property marketing campaign is a bit like a sales drive, and that process will be supported by the many promotional tools that we have today both online and offline. Sometimes you can use gimmicks to attract the attention of the buyers and tenants in your target market, but the end resultant inquiry will usually be driven by the facts of the property zone and the listing itself. It is a personal selling process.
Professional Systems in Commercial Marketing
You are the professional to take a property listing forward, so convert the listing exclusively for a good period of time, and then match the promotional campaign through a deliberate mix of advertising strategies including geographical concentration, marketing message, and target marketing. Here are some ideas to help you do that:
- Understand the client first – What does the client want to achieve, and what must they achieve in the marketing of their property? You should understand those facts.
- Inspect the asset – When you comprehensively understand the asset, you can penetrate the targeted segments of buyers and tenants. Don’t do things generally. Promote with focus and significance.
- Resolve problems and challenges – Every property will have issues; some of those issues will be real hurdles in the marketing and promotional process. Resolve those property problems before you go to market.
- Comparable properties – Check out the competition and the other listings in the location. See if there is any conflict with other properties in the region and adjust your marketing efforts to encourage inquiry given all of those other properties still on the market.
- Marketing alternatives – Understand the promotional tools at your disposal for the property and then make the right choices to get the property out into the location or target market of buyers or tenants.
- Focus the budget and the campaign – Achieve target market coverage. You can cross sell and promote all of your listings, providing you really understand the strengths of each of the listings; cross selling is a great concept in commercial real estate brokerage. When you work the target market comprehensively, there is a reasonable chance of gaining inquiry inertia and better results with all of your properties listed.
Take these marketing ideas, and apply them to your clients and commercial listings. Upsell your services where possible and cross sell your listings where the inquiry allows; do more with less, that’s the rule. There are good commissions to be converted in commercial real estate today; there are plenty of business owners and investors looking for a property resolve.
A blanket approach to your listing territory and your property segments will help you to get to know the right people in the right way.
(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)
The marketing process in commercial real estate brokerage should never be ‘generic’ with perhaps one exception and that is in the promotion of ‘open’ listings. ‘Open’ listings generally waste everyone’s time, and will usually only sell or lease through some factor of ‘luck’. You can’t base your commercial real estate brokerage business on ‘luck’.
How Are Listings for You?
Some agents and brokers will claim that they must list ‘openly’ because ‘that is the way the market is for them’ and the only way they can get new listings. Whilst I accept that fact initially for those agents that are very new to the industry, I will say that the best agents avoid ‘open listings’. They grow their profile and market share consistently over time so that the new clients and prospects locally will come to them to list properties for sale and lease. That is when it is really easy to demand ‘exclusivity’.
If the client really wants the best agent then they must accept the terms of engagement that the agent is offering. They are then your terms! Are you ready to package your professionalism and sell it?
Are You the Expert?
If you have a comprehensive and specialised personal brand as a local property ‘expert’, then it stands to reason that people will want to list their property with you rather than some other ‘random’ agent or groups of agents. Take a serious look at your personal marketing processes.
Taking this point further, your market share and listing conversions of an exclusive nature will largely depend on your ability to establish your brand as the ‘go to agent’ for your location and property speciality. You can and should invest more time in building your real estate image and speciality.
Here are some rules to help you do that:
- Your Listings – Understanding the point that I made earlier about ‘exclusivity’, make the marketing process very special and deep with all of those high quality listings that you are bringing in. It is difficult for other property owners and investors to ignore the activities of any agent with the best properties and the best marketing ideas.
- Other Agent Listings – If you are stuck for current listing stock, use other agent’s listings in a location to talk to local property owners and tenants nearby to any listing. Some simple questions and conversations will help you find the next listing in the same street or perhaps a business owner looking to relocate.
- High end marketing campaigns – Get some traction with your marketing by seeking and converting vendor paid funds. If your advertising efforts on any quality property are of a higher professional level than that of your competitors, you should be attracting the new business leads and enquiries very easily.
- The personal approach – You are the marketer of your business. You sell your services well then people will choose the agent that they trust and believe has the better business and market coverage. Is that you?
Simple marketing rules like these help you consolidate market share and listings as an agent or broker in commercial real estate. Follow the rules and grow your real estate business.
You can get more commercial real estate brokerage marketing tips in our ‘Snapshot’ eCourse right here.
In commercial real estate today, agents are and should be responsible for marketing themselves. That requirement is in addition to the general brokerage marketing process. At a personal level ‘information marketing’ can be a valuable strategy for individual agents to develop and use. You can build it into your personal sales plan.
So what is ‘information marketing’? It is the provision and use of ‘quality information’ to attract prospects and people online. When correctly implemented, that ‘attraction factor’ can help real estate agents get substantially more online profile as an ‘expert’ in a property type and or location. The strategy works well in commercial real estate and will help you attract more property enquiries locally, and people to use your real estate services.
Here are some of the big issues to help you get started in ‘information marketing’ as a real estate agent or broker:
- Focus your information and efforts on your local area and your property type. Everything that you do in the marketing process should be centred firmly in your market ‘niche’ and location. To achieve this, decide what area of your town or city is your ‘territory’ of focus. Within that area, what property type(s) will be your special field of endeavor? All of your local marketing efforts should be built around those answers. For example, you may focus on ‘industrial warehouse leasing’ or ‘shopping centre sales’. Choose on market segment and drill down into it. Define your market ‘niche’ and work within it as part of your marketing processes.
- Start a real estate blog on one of the blogging platforms (Blogger, or WordPress) and focus your blogs on your property type and location. Everything that you post to your blog should stay within those niche factors; that will help the search engines see you as an agent and the relevance of information that you provide. Topic consistency is the key to the process.
- All of your blogs should be written about the location and the property type. The blogs should be ‘informational’ and not ‘advertorial’; in other words your blogs should be helpful and useful. When you provide valuable local property market information, you start to build trust with your readers.
- On your blog site, link an auto responder and database service to your blog articles so interested people can register for more information about your property type, and town or city. You can now see why fresh ‘information’ is so important to making this marketing process work. Lots of agents advertise prolifically, but not many actually help people with local property information in a convenient way such as an online blog.
- Integrate your blogs and articles to your social media platforms. Whilst most social media platforms concentrate on being ‘social’, most agents only achieve and focus on that level of interaction (which can be self centered and of little interest to others). Take a step further in personal marketing by being ‘helpful’ with local property market information and articles from your blog; provide the links accordingly across all of your social media channels.
All of the above strategies are simple and yet advanced. They can be implemented to a substantial and successful level by any agent in real estate. They are very suitable for commercial real estate agents and brokers. If you are struggling with being ‘seen’ as a broker in your local town or city, now might be a good time to start the online marketing process. Use local information marketing to achieve that.
In commercial real estate brokerage you need a ‘selling system’. That is a system that will apply to sales, leasing and or property management. It doesn’t matter what part of the industry that you work in, the selling of specialised services should apply. You are the best person to do that.
It can be said that not enough ‘selling’ goes on these days. All too often you see a broker or agent wasting time on ‘dead ends’ and unqualified prospects. The ‘selling’ process involves all of the following:
- Finding new clients to serve
- Promoting new listings in the local area
- Talking to new people every day
- Marketing a property to inquiring parties as part of an inspection
- Advertising online and in the newspapers etc.
So how can you do all of this with reasonable focus? You should have a system that controls your day and your focus. Stay on track in all respects as an agent or broker. Don’t divert your thinking or focus. Do the things that really matter to the clients and deals that you have underway.
You can split the ‘sales’ process up into these segments; in doing that you can improve your action and skills for each segment. Just how good are you at these things below?
- Researching new clients and properties to work on or for
- Prospecting consistently in your area and town or city for sellers, buyers, tenants, and landlords
- Identifying the requirements of people so you know if ongoing contact or perhaps a meeting is required
- Meeting creation for listings and presentations with clients
- Listing strategies that take into account the current market conditions
- Qualifying the right people to work with or take to listings as part of an inspection process
- Negotiation strategies for any stage of the property process and client situation
- Documentation processes and legalities
- Servicing the property, the client, and the deal
Every segment supports and leads to the next. If you have a weakness in any segment then you have a problem to address as a real estate agent. That is where training and role playing in your team can help. A career in commercial real estate involves ongoing and regular personal improvement. Prepare your selling system accordingly and stick to the plan.
Signboards in commercial real estate are a critical part of branding for both the brokerage and also for the agent. The greater number of signs you have in your territory the easier it is for you to build your listing opportunities.
Most of the clients that use our services don’t want to list their property with a ‘secret agent’. They want the agent with the best exposure to the market that can attract the enquiry fast and efficiently. Signboards help with that.
I should qualify this further and say that ‘exclusive listings’ are better for your signboard profile and exposure. On that basis every sales pitch and presentation should be centred on converting a listing in that way. Top agents dominate the market with ‘exclusives’. When you control the listing stock, the market has to come to you. That assumes that you have listed the property correctly and at a market rent or price.
So let’s go back to the matter of ‘signs’. Here are some tips to using this marketing tool effectively for building your profile individually and for the brokerage.
- Do a ‘sign count’ each weekend so you know exactly your position in the market with listings and board visibility. This monitoring process also gets you into your territory on a regular basis so it helps with market awareness. The best time to do the ‘count’ is on a weekend when traffic and access is easy. For some brokers this is first thing on Sunday morning.
- Understand the regulations that apply to the placement and approval of boards on properties. Some local councils or municipalities will have regulations that set some rules to stick to.
- Have a contractor check your signs weekly for vandalism or weather damage. Nothing detracts more from a listing than a damaged sign.
- On any quality listing and particularly any exclusive listing, the board cost should be covered by the vendor paid marketing fees. On that basis the board should be specially created for the listing and the location.
- Use ‘dot points’ on the sign so the features of the property are easily read and captured by passing traffic.
- Put a reference of the property on the board so the person reading the information can call you and quote a reference number to take you immediately to the listing information. Be prepared to take telephone enquiries about a property at any time (that includes weekends).
- Size does matter in this type of property marketing. Understand the best legal size for the board and its placement strategy. Face the board to the passing traffic.
- When you place a board on a property, directly contact all surrounding businesses and property owners. A new listing is an excuse to talk to many people in the area.
Respect the opportunity in marketing that this sign strategy offers you. It is silent and yet so effective. All quality listings should feature a great signage marketing solution.
Every commercial real estate broker or agent today should have a technology plan to help them build market share, and customer contact. We have so many great tools available to assist with the process.
The essential focus here is to allow technology to simplify your business life and grow your market share. Certainly it can do that, as long as you establish the plan and a process. Make commercial real estate easier for yourself in so many ways.
Here are some specialized tips relating to technology and marketplace communication today:
- Every opportunity in all your conversations and meetings, capture the e-mail information and the mobile telephone information from the prospects and the clients that you talk to. Get their approval and consent for ongoing contact. Remember that in any client or prospect today is likely to bring the value over time. It simply a matter of remaining in contact for the correct and well-timed opportunity.
- Understand the challenges that apply to e-mail marketing and e-mail communication. Ensure that you do not breach the spam legislation that applies in each case. You must have the consent of the person that you are connecting with. You also need to allow them to easily opt out of the process if they choose to do so. It is worthwhile noting here that a professional approach to communication will usually minimize the loss of people.
- You should have a plan that relates to cold calling and prospecting. The telephone numbers that you use should comply with the local communication laws and the do not call register. Understand the differences in laws that apply between telephoning a business, and telephoning an individual.
- You can get a wide variety of auto responders on the Internet today to help with your management of your database and your newsletter. All of the auto responders are very user friendly and relatively cheap to use. You can create a banner for the newsletter so that your branding is consistent to the image that you wish to spread.
- Establish your blogging platform so that you can write articles and provide information relative to the local property market and the industry trends. As part of that process, you can obtain a domain name that can be pointed to your blogging platform. Choose a domain name that is either relative to you individually, or relative to the property speciality and location. A well-chosen domain name will help people find you. On your blog, make sure that you have an entry point to your database and auto responder. Write a blog so regularly so that the search engines start to notice your relevance and experience.
- Get involved with social media and use a number of platforms to do so. Choose two or three platforms that can work for you. Link your blogs back to your social media activity. You can also link your quality listings back to your social media activity. Every prospect or client should be invited to join your social media group. Update your social sites regularly with meaningful and interesting information.
So there are many things here for you to do when it comes to technology and commercial real estate brokerage. Use the technology to market yourself personally to the people that you can serve.
You can get more tips for commercial real estate brokers in our Newsletter.
In commercial real estate agency, you need to be the agent of choice relative to the local area and the property type. The clients that we serve need to understand that they are working with experts.
Top agents build their profile continually through a prospecting and networking process. You need to do the same. About 1/3 your business day needs to be devoted to this prospecting activity.
So let’s say that you have connected with a client and you can see a potential listing available for conversion. Give the client some real reasons to choose you as the best agent of choice. Here are some ideas to help with that:
- Meet the client at the property to inspect it together and prior to you creating any proposal or listing presentation. This will allow you to question the client on the history of the property and the current challenges. You can also identify any concerns that they may have when it comes to achieving a sale or a lease in the current market. From all of this information you can construct a very well-targeted property proposal.
- Use a checklist for the property type when it comes to the client interview and the property walk through. The checklist will help you with important and relevant questions, and also show your professionalism to the client when it comes to the potential listing.
- Your personal profile on the Internet relative to the local area and the property speciality needs to be well established. The client is likely to check your name and or your agency online as part of making their final choice of agent. For this reason, you should have a business related blog that relates to your market and the current property trends. The blogging process only takes a small amount of time. You can write a blog two or three times a week about the local area and particular property activities. You can then link your blog to your social media activities and profiles. You can also link your blog to your newsletter e-mail activities.
- Grow your database at every opportunity. Over time this accurate and up to date database can be a clear advantage and give you leverage when it comes to winning a listing. Show the client the size of your database and its relevance to their property listing. You may even choose to short list a number of people from the database to take to the property as soon as the listing is approved.
- Get plenty of signboards into your local area. Signboard presence is still a tool of leverage when it comes to winning a listing.
A successful commercial real estate agent will take simple steps like these each and every day as part of their business building activity. The systems that you create will help you move ahead to a greater and more successful market share.
You can get more commercial real estate training tips in our newsletter right here.
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.