If you haven’t worked it out yet, online marketing is taking over commercial real estate advertising and property promotion. Every year there are new things to do and learn as part of property promotion in both sales and leasing. It is regrettable that many agents and brokers just do the ‘ordinary stuff’ in commercial real estate marketing. They don’t ‘step out of the box’ when it comes to property promotion.
If you want to rise to the top of your local property market, you will have to get your property marketing under control and drive it comprehensively online. Only you can do that. A system of marketing is required. Have you got one now?
Here is a challenge for you. Factor up your online marketing and drive a solid marketing strategy online with all your exclusive listings (open listings really don’t deserve the extra effort). Penetrate your online marketing activities across your location and property specialty. Here are some specifics to help you with that:
Frequency – The search engines love ‘frequency’ and that means doing something every day online. The thing or things that you do must be tuned to specific keywords relevant to your location and your property type. Put your name behind and into everything that you do online. You are part of the promotion, so remember that key element and make it work for you.
Blog – Every agent and broker should have a property blog that they professionally write and service. Each day that agent should be posting something about their location or property activity. Make it interesting and put some good facts into your blogging activity; talk about your town or city, and how property facts are changing and shaping. You have plenty to talk about when you really think about things.
Branding – Your branding online may be something to do with your brokerage, but you should also be promoting yourself online. People do business with those agents that they remember and trust. Your branding and personal marketing has to position you in that way. It’s a personal thing.
Images – Always use good quality images to pull in the eye and interest of the reader. Take plenty of photographs locally and keep them for placement in your blog and or articles online. A good image will help your brokerage brand. First class marketing solutions always include excellent quality images.
Advertising Copy – You can get quite good at writing advertising copy and property editorials. There are some good books available that provide marketing ideas to attract readers, words that sell, and phrases that sell. Get away from the ‘ordinary stuff’ in your property advertising online. Use words and phrases that pull in the reader’s interest.
Headline – A good headline is 50% of the equation in pulling in the reader to any property article or advertisement. Look at how newspapers and magazines use headlines in this way. You can get plenty of ideas from those sources to help you with headlines.
Keywords – You are a broker or agent working in a location and with a property type(s). From those 2 factors you can use specific keywords in all of your marketing and articles online. Search engines look for keywords when matching property inquiry to search results.
Social media – I have deliberately put social media last on the list. That is because you should not start your social media activities in commercial real estate unless you have all the other issues underway and under control. You can link all of your social media efforts back to your articles, blogs, listings, and noteworthy helpful hints.
From these ideas you can now see how you can and should build your online marketing presence as a commercial real estate agent or broker. When you do that comprehensively you can penetrate your property market online and put your personal brand forward as the ‘agent of choice’ for the location. This is not a random process; it is very specific.
When it comes to promoting a commercial property for sale or lease, try to put some suspense and anticipation into the property campaign. Get away from ‘generically’ marketing, and be very specific in your promotional efforts.
Know the Property
Look at the property for what it is and the strengths that the property provides over time for the buyers or tenants. Understand the target market for each exclusive listing so that you can really tap into creative marketing processes that pull in the right segments of people.
Ultimately you want a reasonable level of property enquiry with every exclusive listing; from that you will create inspections and lots of them. How can you do that? In simple terms you look at your property and build the marketing campaign or plan using relevant promotional leverage. You then implement that promotional plan.
Your Promotional Plan
Here are some ideas to help with promoting your next high quality listing:
Give your property a name or identity – If there is some history about the property or the location, you can use that information as a point of leverage and branding in your advertising copy. People relate to a story. The history of the property is likely to have a few stories that you can use in your headlines, feature points, and editorials.
Set the time for the campaign – Start the property promotion at the right time of year or month. Seasonal holidays and business cycles all put pressures into property promotion. You want the right people to see the advertised property so start the campaign at the right time of month and on the right days of the week. The campaign can be ‘rolled out’ in a staged way using ‘early release’ information, and then primary promotion coverage.
Use the right media channels – When you really understand your target market you can choose the best media channels to tap into your segments of buyers or tenants as the case may be.
Personal involvement – Put yourself into the staging of the property promotion. Tell the client what you will do personally to get the message about the property to the right people. Most top agents win more property listings because of the promise and strategy they offer in personal involvement. In exchange for that personal involvement you should insist on exclusivity with your listings for a reasonable period of time.
When it comes to leasing commercial property today make sure that you understand the current market conditions, and that you convey those market conditions to your local clients, landlords, and the tenants that you serve. Our industry is not an experiment; it is a very specific process and it is established on set investment, marketing and negotiation principles.
Help the Client Understand the Facts About Leasing
Any misunderstandings or missing information when working with tenants and landlords from a leasing perspective should be realigned to current day market conditions with clear market evidence and relevant supporting material.
Your job is to have that ‘comparable’ material available and handy solve any negotiation, listing, or leasing challenge. Condition the people that you work with in the correct and the most professional way; use market evidence.
Your Message on Leasing?
The concept here is that you are the best person to ‘recondition’ your property market and the people that you work with; you understand the realities of the property market far better than they do. Help your clients and prospects realize that the real market conditions are here to stay and brief them on those conditions. Explain the prevailing market conditions comprehensively.
Gather the facts and then help the landlords and tenants that you work understand the prevailing market conditions across:
Rental activity – track and measure the levels of rental activity across all recent leasing transactions. Compare the differences between net and gross rentals in each case. Understand how they relate to the location and the property type. Provide the rental details to those that do not fully understand what is happening locally with property segments.
Market rentals – real market rentals are determined as a result of negotiation between willing and committed tenants and landlords. Some of those rentals will be impacted by local vacancy factors, the available competing properties, and the asking rentals applicable to each property and landlord.
Competing listings – where appropriate take your clients to see competing properties in the location. The visual approach will help them understand the influencing factors that impact levels of enquiry and offers.
Property improvements – with older properties there will be issues with the standards of property improvements. Do assessment of improvements, services, and amenities when it comes to every leasing vacancy.
Industry enquiry – understand where the levels of enquiry coming from today when it applies to particular locations and property types. If you are marketing effectively in an ongoing way then the enquiries coming to you should show trends and opportunities. Every inbound call generated by a quality listing should help you understand what tenants are looking for today. You can chart those requirements and provide recommendations to the landlords that you work with.
Methods of marketing – certain methods of marketing in commercial real estate will be more successful than others. A lot depends on the target market that you are chasing however choose the right marketing solutions to suit the situation, the current market conditions, and the target audience. The Marketing Solutions that you adopt will be somewhat subject to the amount of available funds and the prevailing market conditions. +
Inspection processes – some properties require specific inspection strategies allowing for the improvements, the property layout, the strengths and weaknesses of the listing itself, and the landlord. As part of every exclusive property listing process, establish the inspection processes that will feature the property correctly and directly at all times. In a complex property, establish the track or route that you will take across floors and through common areas.
So, all of this is informational and helpful when you are working with property investors, business owners, landlords and tenants today. Are you prepared to provide and explain all the elements of the property market to those people? Have you got all of the information to help ‘close’ on a leasing transaction?
Recondition the clients thinking and perceptions in leasing properties and premises locally. You are the specialist to do that.
In the commercial real estate brokerage today, the classic sales letter will always create opportunity for an agent or broker if the process is put in place successfully and consistently. It is necessary to understand the logic behind the process, the timing of the letters, and the requirement to do it regularly.
It is a fact that the e-mail prospecting process has taken over a large section of the real estate industry. For this very reason, the traditional sales letter sent through the Post Office System will create a major point of difference in marketing when it comes to the prospecting activities of an agent or a broker.
If you want to stand out from the crowd when it comes to your marketing efforts, merge the sales letter process into your personal marketing efforts. Here are some rules to help you:
The sending of letters needs to occur regularly. Send your letters to groups of prospects on a monthly or bimonthly process. Given that each letter is specifically written for the target market of property owners or tenants, it is quite easy to group your prospects into segments. At different times of the month you can send your letters to selected segments.
So a key factor here is to write letters specifically to the targets within each group. You can are groups for landlords, tenants, business owners, investors, and developers. Specific letters are used in each case.
As a general rule, and wherever possible, take the time to follow-up each letter with a telephone call. If you know the telephone number of the person concerned, make the call. Many letters will help you convert more meetings.
It is preferable that the letter process is simple and select. Three or four paragraphs on a single page will get the message across. Sign your letters individually and ensure that they are personally addressed to the people concerned. Enclose your business card with every letter. You are marketing yourself and your contact details; that is what the letter and the message must do.
Given that this is a prospecting process, the letter is designed to connect with the person you are sending it to, so that you can get more meetings and opportunities. On that basis the message and the letter needs to be simply designed. Do not fill the envelope with bulky marketing material that will confuse the central message. Marketing letters are best left to a different approach and a generic mail system.
Make it easy for people to contact you as part of the mail out. Some people will call you as a direct result of getting the letters regularly. That is why you enclose your business card as part of the process. It is quite likely that the receiver of the correspondence will keep your business card for future reference.
So the direct mail process is a real and important part of the commercial real estate brokers marketing system. Make it an important part of your regular marketing efforts.
In commercial real estate and brokerage, the exclusive listings that you convert and create will help you build market share. Open listings are generally a waste of time and any results that you get from the open listing process will be a process of luck more than anything else.
In some markets and with some agents, it is common to hear that the open listing process is the only way to build listing stock. The problem is quite common when it comes to industrial property and with the newer brokerages or agents. Those agents are quite generic in quality of service and marketing activity. They have no point of difference to help their listing process and marketing plan.
Your conversions to exclusive listings will elevate when you are working as a property specialist, and are regarded as the local expert to solve the client’s property problem. It is very difficult for a client or a prospect to walk away from or ignore the services of a top agent.
Generic agents take on open listings just to get the stock; specialized agents take on exclusive listings only. If you want to improve your market share, you will need to practice your processes when it comes to pitching for an exclusive listing. You will need more exclusive listings.
To improve your conversions for exclusive listings, here are some ideas:
To convert more of these listings, you do need to feed your contact pipeline with a systematic prospecting process. Every day connect with new people that you have not spoken to before. Over time, repeating the connection process with the same people will allow you to convert more meetings and make more presentations. On average, it takes about three or four telephone calls to get a meeting with some property owners and property investors. Establish your call contact system, and implement it every day so that your pipeline of opportunity is growing.
There are two reasons why you will get an exclusive listing. The first will be that you are regarded as an expert in the local area, and the second will be that you are regarded as a marketing specialist. It directly follows that you will need to build your brand and prospect model accordingly. Every pitch and proposal that you make should be structured with those two issues in mind.
A good quality property will always create more enquiries from your marketing efforts. Top agents will usually focus on the best properties and the best clients. Those top agents walk away from poor quality listings, open listings, and unrealistic clients. Protect your time and your agency procedures as part of that process. Don’t take on a listing that you regard as unnecessarily difficult and unrealistically priced.
As mentioned earlier, the exclusive listing process will help take you to the top of your market with a commanding market share. Practice your pitch and your proposals accordingly. Role-play your presentations in each sales meeting so that both you and the team can provide special services and solutions for the clients that you serve.