In commercial real estate brokerage today, the clients that you serve are not all the same. Some are better than others. You will know the criteria for that segmentation. They may have more buildings, better buildings, or be more motivated to act in commercial real estate soon.
When you have a high quality commercial property to sell or lease, the marketing campaign that you create can be carefully crafted for maximum suspense and impact. Don’t just advertise something in an ordinary way and wait for things to happen.
Take the time to think about how you can build on the promotional campaign momentum and implement the campaign strategically. A good quality property always deserves maximum promotional effort.
Before I go too far into this topic I will say that these rules apply to exclusive listings only. You would not spend the time or effort on any openly listed property. Too many open listings in your group of properties can be and usually will be a distraction to what you are doing in growing your real estate business.
So what is this ‘suspense’ idea all about? You can time your entire campaign for the best results, and you can put into it a number of special ideas and concepts. The effort and creativity that you apply to the process will have direct results in the outcomes you achieve (inbound inquiry and inspections). Here are some things to help with your marketing of property listings:
Best time of year – some properties are suited to a marketing campaign at a particular time of year. Understand exactly who or what your target market may be, and then look at how and when they would choose property activity and movement.
Best days of the week – there are many different advertising methods that you can use with most marketing processes. Stagger the campaigns across a period of weeks both online and offline.
Call your short list of qualified people – check out the people in your database and give them the chance to see the property at the earliest opportunity after the campaign start. Call the people that you know and get them to the property early.
Mix online and offline promotions – we all know the massive advantages of the internet in promoting commercial property today. That being said, the traditional newspapers and mail out processes still apply as part of property marketing. So mix and match your online and offline promotional methods.
Priority placement on the commercial portals – this is a vendor or client paid cost. Priority placement on the online property portals is a valuable strategy to adopt with the right properties. Pitch the idea in your listing presentation; show the client why the idea is so important.
Blog some editorial – every top agent should have a blog that they load material into. When a top quality listing comes onto the market, the blog is a great place to talk about the listing. Use photos and good quality promotional copy on your blog, then feed the link to the article through your social media channels.
Social media – from the previous point, you can see how the blog process and social media interaction go well. Most agents have a ‘bland and ordinary’ approach to social media, offering nothing (or very little) of value or interest. Create your blog and fill it with great material; then circulate that material online and through your social media contacts.
Pre-release and a staged campaign – spread things out when it comes to promoting a property. Set up a few small adverts for the pre-release and then build the story about the listing in a series of different adverts.
Using different advertising layouts – in any exclusive listing property promotion, the advertising layout should have 3 alternatives and be used in that way so that the property tells a new and fresh story across the media channels that you are using online and offline.
Target market focus – know exactly who you are connecting into as part of the property promotion. That awareness will help you with your campaign structure and timing.
Keywords – some if not most properties should be described in the ways that the search engines are being used by inquiring tenants or buyers (as the case may be). A list of keywords can be fed into your property marketing so that the adverts online are attracting more hits and interest via the search portals.
Photos professionally taken – great photos always attract readership. Get professional photos taken as part of your marketing budget.
Dot points of features – the strengths of the property should be clear and precisely laid out in the advert so you can pull in the target market. The dot points should not be the generic ‘fluff’ used by every other agent or broker in your city. Make the dot points special and specific to the listing. Short precise points of focus about the property should be used.
Brief narrative – don’t say too much in your listing advertising. Say enough to get people to call you and use white space simplicity in the layout. Adults don’t read long promotional statements about property; they want the simple facts, and then they will consider if there is a need to go further with a telephone call and or an inspection.
From all of these things, you can see how suspense and creativity have a role to play in property marketing today. Build your commercial real estate marketing accordingly.
There are all sorts of procrastination problems in commercial real estate brokerage today. Don’t let them hold you back or derail your business efforts. Break through the barriers and issues that are holding you back. Time is your most valuable resource, so use it well and dedicate your time to the things that really matter.
Get your business diversions under control and stop procrastinating. Know what is important to your market share, client list, listings, and commissions. Somewhere in that awareness will be listings and leads. You (and only you) are the person to resolve the ‘quandary’.
Your key resource?
So, as I have said, the most important resource that you have is time. Use your time wisely and specifically. Yes, you will have challenging and difficult things to deal with every day, but do the work in an organized and specific way; that is how you build your real estate business. Are you ready to move ahead in the industry?
Solutions to common problems?
Here are the solutions to help solve procrastination, given the typical commercial property agent problems:
Unrealistic clients – some clients will waste your time, so don’t let that happen. You are (or should be) the property expert, so tell the clients what you can recommend with the property listing and or the challenge of the client; if they won’t listen, then you have a choice as to whether you should take on the property and the challenge. Don’t take on a listing or client requirement that is too far off the market. Give good reasons for your recommendations and be very specific when working with clients. Be prepared to walk away from an unrealistic client in a professional way.
Too many meetings – some brokerage businesses are overly controlling of their agents and brokers. The fact of the matter is that top agents don’t need to be controlled; they know what they have to do and they will go and do it if you let them. One brokerage meeting per week is more than enough to control and direct a real estate business, and that meeting should be at a time of day that is not ‘peak’. On another note, any of your junior agents and trainees should be controlled through direct mentoring and not frequent meetings involving others. Allow your good agents and brokers to get out into the market each and every day. ‘Kill’ the extra meeting requirements.
Complex listings – some of the larger properties take a lot of research and investigation before the property is released to the market. That is your job and you can’t avoid the full property investigation requirements. However, when the investigation is done, the mundane listing issues can be done by others. Make sure you have the right administrative support to get this extra work done.
Complex marketing campaigns – this is a special problem to watch. Your marketing has to be specific to the property and the location. You should be taking a good degree of time in structuring and releasing your marketing campaigns on your exclusive listings. Sure, open listings are a different situation and they should not take much of your time, but differentiate your marketing efforts and only spend extended time on your exclusive listings.
Unqualified inquiry – we have all been impacted by people that seem to say that they can purchase or lease a listing. Deeper qualification about their market awareness, intentions, budget, and inquiry will prevent you spending too much time on ‘time wasting’ people.
So you need a plan to solve these things. What could you do with that plan? What could you put into it? Some of the answers here will help you get your plan in motion.
In commercial real estate brokerage, you can find plenty of opportunity locally when you delve into the factors that support and drive the business community. When you understand the business community, you can turn that understanding into property leasing and sales activity.
Property Investments thrive and change when the local businesses are growing and relocating. As part of your brokerage prospecting model, get to know what businesses are doing and what they are thinking when it comes to growth and location.
Don’t be ‘Average’
Far too many agents and brokers wait for the listing opportunity to come to them through some inbound telephone call to the local real estate office; that is the slow way to grow market share.
If you want to get anywhere faster in our industry, then get out into the property market daily and talk to local business owners.
Find out what they are thinking about the pressures of their business and industry segment; some business segments are more active than others and that is what you can work with.
Ask questions about:
More or less space
Head office changes or merges
New businesses moving into the location
Improvements serving the business needs
Access to transport or end user markets
Lease duration or end of lease
The decision maker involved in finding new business locations
As an extension of this idea, you can work with particular types of businesses such as:
Bulky goods warehousing
So when you put these variables into a ‘local area equation’ of prospecting for new business, you can ask some valuable questions about business intentions, shifts, pressures, and requirements. Don’t be afraid to talk to new local people.
Local area business
Most of your new business will come from the local area. You want people to remember you so get out into your zone or territory and talk to the right people in a positive and direct way. Do these things:
Create a list of streets for your location where the better businesses are located.
Segment the businesses in size or type.
Research the leaders of each business before you make the call or contact.
Look for any property pressures in the location by travelling the streets and looking for the tell-tale signs of pressured property occupancy.
Somewhere in that owner/occupant awareness, you will find property change and churn requirements. Grow your property market on the basis of local area awareness. Talk to more people every day and build your business directly.
The shopping centre management process is quite special in so many ways. That is why only certain brokers and agents take up the challenge of retail leasing, management, and sales. There are things to know and things to do. The benchmarks and the indicators are different in ‘retail’.
The goals and targets that are standard to the retail process are usually improving income, reducing vacancy factors, and keeping your good tenants for the long term. You could say that they are the major internal factors of property performance for a typical retail property or shopping centre today.
Know the Retail Factors of Influence
So what else do you need to think about? In addition to the nominated items, there are the ‘external factors’ that are harder to control. The external factors are typically shopper spending patterns, shop visits, frequency of shopping, and the amount of money spent on average per shopper. The marketing of the property will be part of the overall plan.
You can now see why a property performance plan is really important in any retail property today. So let’s put some of this together.
To keep all of these things in balance and on track there are a few business factors to implement in the running of a retail shopping centre. Here are some of them:
Develop a business plan – A business plan in retail shopping centre performance is and should be all encompassing, generally covering all the issues of the daily running of the property and the involvement of tenants, customers, and investors. With a good business plan, you can make choices when it comes to rentals, tenant movement, renewals of leases, and property expenditure.
Know your tenants and their priorities – Some tenants will be trading more successfully than others. Look for the differences to see what can be done with trading and sales. It is wise to look into gross profit and net profit margins with any tenancy group. The averages will tell you if a tenant is trading more successfully than others.
Review all of your leases – The shop lease is the foundation of income recovery and growth over time; with all leases you must know how they work and what is involved in enforcing lease conditions when matters of change or risk occur. Each lease is different so you will need to build a profile of the tenant’s lease and the critical dates. Track the critical dates so you can take action early in any issue or problem.
Establish a tenant retention plan – Differentiate your tenants so that you are protecting and encouraging the best tenants to stay in the property for the long term. They may need encouragement, so a tenant retention plan lets you set the rules to the process.
Watch the sales and trading figures – You can watch these figures if you have the cooperation of the tenants in the property. You can gain and protect that cooperation through the terms of the lease. From those figures you create graphs that show moving annual turnover (MAT) and sales in merchandise or retail segments. Ideally the tenants in the property should have to produce turnover figures for their shop on a monthly basis. From that point it is easy to see the retail segments that are selling products well, and also the other segments that may be struggling. That is where the tenant placement and tenant mix then has a valuable strategy for the property. You can build clusters of tenants around the property so that customer interest is encouraged and sales are boosted between like or complementary tenants.
Develop a marketing plan for the shopping centre – A plan of this type will allow for the retail sales seasons at different times of the year. There will also be themes for the local area and customer interest.
Reduce vacancies with a tenant retention plan – The only reason you need vacancies in a property is when you are about to renovate and move tenants around. A few vacancies will give you the flexibility to change the property. When you look at the total tenant mix in a property, some tenants will be more important than others to the future of the asset. That is where the tenant mix plan comes in; you decide who you want to keep in the property and for what reason. You then build a rent a leasing plan around those factors.
So there are some good things that you can do here with retail shopping centre leasing. Understand the property in a comprehensive way. Then you can match the property strategically into the location and the customer demographic.
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