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)
Most years in commercial real estate will dish up a variety of market conditions. You have to be versatile and driven as an agent or broker. If something is not working for you, look for the signs and then implement change. There are plenty of people to watch and use as role models.
(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)
What are the signs?
Top agents leave a trail of skills and information that you can replicate. Watch what they are doing with their listings and marketing, and then pick the best activities for your own implementation. Apply your own twists to a property initiative; there is no point in being ordinary in commercial real estate today. Learn how to stand out as the person that commands the market and the enquiry.
If you are struggling in the market place, then create some major changes in your business and marketing efforts. So how do you do that? Try some of these for starters:
- When you take a property type and specialize in it. You can monitor key performance indicators and weave those indicators into your client presentations and marketing recommendations. Real facts will help you connect with the client. Show that you are a critical part of the marketing process. Tell the client exactly what you will do if the client appoints you as the agent to resolve their property issue.
- Look deeply into your client relationships. Some of those clients will be well placed to take action on a quality listing. Keep your VIP clients fully briefed on the best listings as they come to market. There is nothing wrong with holding an inspection early in the campaign with your preferred and qualified clients.
- The email marketing process today is something that is part of the business. That being said, you can do it generically, or you can do it with relevance. Why not send your campaigns with some focus or property type in mind? Don’t send out too many properties of different types to everyone that you know. Be more specific in segmenting your Email marketing efforts to business owners, tenants, landlords, and investors.
- Don’t just market your listings online; market yourself. In saying that I mean creating some valuable online property based information in a regular way that can help people. The best way to do that is through a blog and a series of resources and articles shared on that blog. You can then link your social media back to the blog, in that way showing your clients that you are significantly better than the other agents locally.
So there are some good things that you can do here in creating major change in your property and marketing efforts. Don’t be ordinary in commercial real estate brokerage; strive to be different and relevant.
(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, market leadership is a very important issue, and particularly so if you specialise in a property type within a location. If you are like most agents you will have plenty of other competitive agents to work around and market against. Through all of that ‘competitive noise’ your services must stand out as real and relevant to the market place. That’s what the top agents of the market do.
When it comes to pitching and winning a listing, most of the clients that we serve want the best agent for the job; the marketing of any listing for sale or lease is not an experiment and the clients know that. It is at that point where the ‘leadership equation’ becomes important. Having spent many years in the property industry, I have seen and got to know many more agents than most people. It is a fact that the truly great agents are few in number, whilst most other agents ‘ride the rollercoaster’ of the property market through many ups and downs. Resilience is a good skill for an agent to have, but systemised action is far more important.
To develop true ‘market leadership’ an agent needs a ‘formula’ to work to that allows for factors of the market place, the property type, the location, and the current levels of enquiry.
Here are some facts and strategies that can help you reach your targets in the local area when it comes to listings and clients:
- Time – Be very conscious of your time and who you let take a ‘slice of it’ each day. You cannot invent time so you must manage your own business day to get the best results from it; all your appointments, prospecting, marketing, client contact, negotiating and paperwork must fit into the working day. Some things will be more important than others, and there will be plenty of daily pressures that can potentially shift your focus; be prepared for some real discipline in diary control and day management.
- Professional Services and Practice – If you want to be the best agent locally for the property type, then your marketing, property knowledge, and negotiation skills should be of the highest standards. A top quality agent with a dominant market share stands out ‘head and shoulders’ above others due to a recognisable difference in listing quality and listing success rate. To achieve that status, your can practice and refine your skills, improve your weaknesses and build on your strengths. Practice is something that most agents forget about as soon as the market or the listings get a bit busy. The opportunity is wide open for those agents that keep on practicing and improving their skills.
- Database – Your real estate database is the basis of creating personal new business and helping with commission growth. It takes time to grow a good database and the daily updates are ongoing. If you are struggling with new business now, it is time to look at your systems; the database should be at the centre of all of them. Integrate and lift your prospecting efforts into your database. Set the standards of daily prospecting that you should work to and start taking action.
- Marketing – Many agents would use only the most basic of marketing skills when it comes to property listings, and they do little beyond that when it comes to spreading the word about a new listing. Today we have some very advanced marketing tools and systems at our disposal. Every quality property and exclusive listing should be comprehensively marketed to produce the best outcome for the client and for the brokerage. Pitch and sell your commercial real estate services on the basis of exclusive listings supported by a comprehensive marketing tools and systems. In that way you will consistently create better results in sales and leasing activity, together with a shorter time on market.
Leadership in the commercial real estate market place is a strategic choice for top agents and top brokers. You can build your systems using some of the skills above and others to take charge of the marketplace and become a real leader when it comes to property sales, leasing, and development. Success comes to those who work hard to a plan and a process.
In commercial real estate you need seller paid marketing funds to spread the word about the property and its upcoming sale. Without that marketing approach, it can be very hard to get the message around the industry about the pending sale and the suitability of the property to the target audience.
If the client will not contribute towards property promotion, you have to ask yourself whether the listing is worth having. Think about all those other exclusive listings that you have where the clients have already spent good money on marketing. Shouldn’t you spend more time on those listings?
Some agents will decline an exclusive listing without vendor paid funds and I tend to agree with the practice. If you have a motivated client then you have something to work with and promote. Marketing funds helps reach out to the right buyers of the listing.
Here are some principles behind the process of vendor or seller paid marketing:
- Get the advertising money upfront before you spend time and effort in the campaign. Don’t start the campaign without funds in bank. Many a client has stalled on paying marketing funds later on, especially when buyers are hard to find or if inspections are slow to create.
- When it comes to advertising on the industry portals or websites, ensure that the client is prepared to pay for premium placement or elite type listings online. Given that there are plenty of local listings on the market at any point in time, your quality property has to stand out above others.
- Your brokerage is likely to have a website for the promotion of listings in addition to the industry portals. Develop a ‘premium strategy’ for quality listings where they feature on your home page for a number of days. The client should pay for this extra service on your website.
- Every exclusive listing should be promoted in your email newsletter. Those newsletters should be going out to the market every 7 or 14 days and should be property type or zone specific. You can charge a special rate for this despatch. If you have a large database, you could charge $150 per email database send. To sell the concept to your clients show them the size of your database and its relevance to the listing. Show them the shortlist of people you have already identified as potential buyers.
- Let’s assume you have an exclusive listing; that listing should be the subject of 3 or 4 different types of advertisements all separately worded to minimise repetition. You can also use a selection of professional photographs to attract the eye of the reader.
- To help sell the concept of seller paid marketing funds, tell the client exactly how you will be personally contacting directly the property owners and the business proprietors locally. Most agents won’t leave the desk to promote a property locally. That is an amazing opportunity for those that do. Physically take your quality exclusive listing to the surrounding property owners and business leaders.
- Communicate continually. When the client has spent good money on marketing, it is up to you to tell the client every 2 or 3 days how things are going in promoting the listing. Give them plenty of feedback on website hits, email click throughs, and direct call enquiries. If you take an inspection at the property, tell the client what you found in the inspection.
You could say that this is not ‘rocket science’ and that most agents should do these things. The fact of the matter is that most agents do not market a listing specifically. Those that do however reap the benefits of better inbound enquiries and commission opportunities.
Personal branding in commercial real estate is quite important. At a personal level you can be a ‘cool brand’, and that by definition is someone that is good to know and an expert in their field of real estate and in the location. On that basis clients and prospects will seek you out at the ‘go to person’ for solving property problems. You could say that you then have real ‘market attraction’.
This image will help you with listings and growth of market share. Are you up to the challenge? Let’s look at this a bit more.
So how do you create this very special image as a top agent and expert in your field? Prospecting will help you a lot, but in saying that you can add some rules and processes to the prospecting process. There is no point in being ordinary in our industry as you will just fade into the already large group of other brokers and agents; every listing pitch will then be a competitive event. Consider these alternatives:
- Ideas person – many properties and clients will be unique and challenging. For that reason you can be an ‘ideas’ person to help solve the complex property situation facing the client. Every exclusive listing should be handled with a high degree of creativity in marketing and promotion.
- Great negotiator – some properties are challenging as to the complexity of the sales contract or property lease. Make sure you have enough knowledge to build the negotiation momentum for your client. Any hurdles to the marketing of the property should have been resolved early in the property listing process. Preparation is the key to resolving negotiation issues.
- Solution provider – some of your competitors will be quite ‘generic’ when it comes to marketing a property and establishing a campaign. Your solutions must be better than all the other agents; that’s how you can convert exclusive listings much more effectively.
- Stand out in a crowded market – to help you stand out in your area and sales territory get plenty of sign boards into your zone. As a priority make sure your signs are more effective in placement and detail. That will mean some vendor paid funds to take the listing to the market.
- Commitment to task – many clients will talk of ‘agents that have failed them’. The fact of the matter is that the generic support for clients with their property today will be of little benefit in converting a sale or lease. If a property is special then you should provide special ideas and momentum to the promotion process. You can only do that when the client has given you an exclusive listing. Can you convert more exclusive listings? If not, why not? Set yourself a challenge to list only exclusive listings of a quality nature.
When you review these points, apply them to your own personal marketing profile. How do you match the image? Can you do better?
In commercial real estate brokerage, what do your customers look like, where are they located, and what do they want from you? Why would they contact you? They are interesting questions; when you know the answers, you have the central focus of your prospecting model.
One of the biggest mistakes in commercial real estate is for an agent or a broker to prospect generically over a large area with little focus. The prospecting message then becomes clouded and non-specific. A message of that type will have little attraction to the target audience of local property investors and business owners. So it is clear that a few decisions need to be made regards the clients and prospects that you want to work with. I like to call it a ‘customer commonality’ process.
To get some direction with your customer focus and prospecting model, consider the following ideas and topics. See how they can be merged into your client contact systems:
- The best prospecting model involves personal follow up and contact. Anything that you send out by way of correspondence, marketing, or brochures, needs to be followed up with a telephone call. It directly follows that your letters sent and brochures dispatched should be in suitable numbers for new personal contact and follow through. The process should be repeated every 30 or 60 days.
- Understand the activities in the market today. What pressures are occurring on property owners and business leaders? Where can you offer the best levels of assistance and professional service? In a town or a city, there are likely to be a number of answers to these questions. For that reason you should consider separate prospecting models and messages for different market segments and different market locations.
- Review your area geographically so that you can split your prospecting efforts up into groups of buildings, groups of properties, and types of people. This then helps you significantly with the marketing message and central prospecting concept. It is quite clear that a generic prospecting letter is of little use and is highly likely to be put into the rubbish bin rather quickly. To lessen this chance of any failure factor, make your marketing messages quite specific and of interest and value to the person that you are connecting with. Provide some information regards the market, recent listings, prices, rentals, or industry changes. Whilst keeping the letter or the correspondence simple, a few dot points will capture the interest of the reader.
- When you break your customer base up into a number of market segments, you will see that there are common factors and leads to be exploited. They may be associated with market trends, property activity, regional changes, and transport issues, property zoning, and planning matters. When something happens regionally that can have impact on property owners and occupants, you have an opportunity to make direct contact with your database in a relevant and real way. That’s what professional prospecting is all about.
In saying all of these things, it is wise for you to focus on a particular property type within a location. In that way you can relate specifically and accurately to the variations in price, rental, market interest, and the supply of new stock. The commercial real estate industry is not difficult; however it does require specific focus and property speciality.
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.