If you are looking to grow your market share and improve the results for your clients, then you simply must seek and convert vendor paid marketing as part of your business model. It is the best solution for creating inquiry. It is also the best solution for getting results for the clients that you work for.
Lift Enquiry in Better Ways
As the level of property inquiry escalates as part of a dedicated and special promotional program, this is what typically happens:
Your database grows with quality people calling you on the better listings
Better quality listings allow you to speak to active investors and business leaders for the location
Your existing listing stock allows you to talk to other local people.
You get known as a property specialist for the location and that then helps you build listings with other locals
Other local property owners get to notice you as the ‘go to person’ for the location and property type
So these are all good things. Your ability to create vendor paid marketing will help you get started on the road to improved market presence.
So here are some ways to sell the marketing message and the requirement for vendor funds in your listing pitch:
Vary your packages offered – Most clients like to have a choice when presented with property matters and challenges. Give them 3 different approaches to marketing and advertising coverage (also provide the reasons for the different packages). When they have choices, the advertising spend gets a bit easier.
Show the value of a timed campaign – When should the campaign start and why is that the case? You should have answers to those questions and feed those matters into the client presentation.
Focus in on a target marketing – Put your targeted buyers or tenants into your campaign and categorize them for the client. That then makes it easier for the client to see who you are chasing for inspections and how you are going to create their interest.
Differentiate between local area marketing and regional coverage (where the property makes it necessary). There are differences in approach for each market segment, so treat them differently in your marketing.
Split campaign focus into primary and secondary coverage both online and offline – When you have done this, you can stage the campaign into segments and points of focus.
Use a private website portal to help the client see your feedback and results coming in – Make it easy for the client to see the results of recent marketing and inspections. A private portal can easily be merged into your website for the VIP clients and Exclusive listings that you have now and those that you will convert.
Put yourself into the property campaign – Help the client see that you are important to the promotion of the property, because you will be doing certain things that are critical to getting results with both inquiries and inspections.
From these simple and yet specific things, you can drive better levels of property enquiry. Look at your listing processes in commercial real estate now and consider how you can convert vendor paid marketing with each and every presentation that you make; your career will escalate faster if you can resolve the equation.
The commercial listings that you place on the Internet should be carefully considered and crafted to achieve the best inquiry results possible. The online marketing process is becoming a busier and more complex in most towns or cities; your property marketing cannot be ordinary.
If you want your property to stand out as a valuable and relevant commercial property, then you will need to seriously consider how you promote the property online across a number of portals and marketing activities. Choices should be made with due regard to the property and the local market.
Avoid this problem
So what is the problem? The generic marketing approach doesn’t work in our industry, especially if the town or the city is large. If you are to achieve reasonable levels of enquiry from the quality properties that you advertise online, then it is always a good time to have a look at how you are placing the properties in the portals, and then undertake a review of the wordage and advertising copy that applies to all of your exclusive listings.
Direct your Internet marketing effectively
Here are some ideas to help you optimise your Internet based property listings:
Look at the location from the aspect of the tenant or the buyer that you are trying to attract. How will they search a property requirement? That question needs to be addressed in your Internet listing promotional copy.
Use professional photographs to attract the eye of the reader. Given that there will be other listings in the location available for sale or lease, your listing should stand out visibly through the use of better quality professional images.
Use particular keywords in the promotional campaign that focus on the property type and the location. You have some choices relating to suburbs, streets, and property types. Brainstorm the right words as you craft the marketing campaign.
Think about how a tenant or a buyer of property would enter a search request in the search engines. Those words should be central to your keyword choices. They should be woven into the advertising copy, the headlines, and the feature points.
Use the industry portals, and where ever possible and affordable achieve dominant priority placement. Every quality property should be promoted through a priority placement on the portals. There is no point in the listing being lost at the back of the website in and around many other properties for the location. If you have a top-quality property to take to the market, then make sure you have priority placement in the vendor paid marketing costs.
Use some strategies involving social media to push people to your listings online. Through a series of editorials, articles, and social media placements, you can activate more interest back to the property and the campaign.
Taking all of these strategies into account, you can start a promotional initiative with more focus and direction. Always track the levels of enquiry that you are achieving with each and every exclusive listing. You will soon know the methods of marketing that are producing the better levels of results for you.
In commercial real estate brokerage the principles of push and pull marketing are quite special and deliberate. As the broker or the agent working on specialist listings, you need to know exactly how you are pushing people towards your listings and pulling in their interest. Special strategies apply to sales, leasing, and property management. Understand the outcomes that you are trying to achieve to attract sellers, buyers, tenants, and landlords. The marketing coverage is quite special and unique in each case.
Given these facts, you are working with a particular listing and the target audience relative to that listing. On that basis every property and client situation should be carefully considered to attract the results at you seek from a promotional aspect.
You should also consider your own marketing strategies as a professional in the industry. There are many alternatives of promotion today both online and off-line that relate to both individual and listing marketing. Soon you need a promotional plan to address both of these issues.
Here is an audio recording by John Highman explaining the important facts of push and pull marketing as it relates to commercial real estate brokerage today.
Don’t complicate the marketing process in commercial brokerage today. Keep things simple and get out and about locally among the people that matter. Our industry is based on personal contact and professional relevance. If either of those things are lacking in your property business, then you have issues and you will struggle to stand out as a top agent.
Resolve the property challenge comprehensively by and through a process of direct marketing. That’s how things happen in our industry; everything else is just luck and luck doesn’t do much for market share.
Here is a simple and yet effective process of direct marketing for brokers and agents. See how you can modify your business skills using some of these contact ideas:
Find new people each day – the best way to get this started is by using the business telephone book (the online and offline versions). There are thousands of businesses in that list for your town or city that you can call direct. Ideally you just want to know if they have a property challenge or issue where you can help them. Make the calls and talk to the business owners. It’s a simple way of connecting with new people. Some of those business owners will lease the property they are located in, whilst others will own the property. Either way you get to connect with property interested people.
Create discussions – the people that we class as ‘clients’ or ‘prospects’ are typically business savvy, and they are very experienced with direct business conversations. Master the art of the business conversation using local property information as leverage. Facts about sales, leasing, listings, developments, and marketing will always create some form of a discussion. Practice your meeting and call conversations.
Take notes of meetings and conversations – given that you will be contacting lots of people in a location, you will never remember everything that is said to you. Your database has to track conversations and contact processes. Put your marketing processes into and around your database; you cannot delegate that process. Take ownership of your database so your prospect list is up to date and growing each day. Build momentum in direct contact.
Send follow-up material – every quality conversation, be it across the telephone or in a meeting will give you a chance to send out material in follow-up. Choose the right material for the location, and not some generic ‘fluff’ that no one wants. Be specific and be real in the information that you send out.
Use a database pipeline – a contact today is potentially a listing or transaction in the future. Everything depends on what you do with that contact and how you open up the pipeline of information; your database should be at the centre of that contact. Relevant local property information will always help you open doors on business contact so create a regular informational marketing process around email, telephone calls, meetings, and referrals. Consistency and regularity will help you with that.
The promotional marketing process in commercial property doesn’t have to be complex, but it does need to happen. Keep your direct marketing activities local in focus and frequent in momentum. That’s what the top marketers do all the time. Are you up to the promotional challenge?
To do that well you can feed ‘keywords’ into the marketing and editorial content for each and every listing; the internet search engines then pick up on the property more easily. The listing then potentially has a greater search result and consequently ‘hits’ from interested parties.
Be Specific and not Generic
This says that you should not ‘generically’ advertise a property online; be specific and target market relative. Think about the property, the improvements, and the location, and then what the buyers or tenants may use as searching criteria in their property search. Design your property marketing with those factors in mind.
To do something positive with this, take this back a further step. Where are the inquiries and hits coming from with your properties and listings? What are or where are the websites that are taking the inquiry? Usually it is a mixture of the following:
In each of these online sources of activity you can feed into your online marketing strategy.
So What are the Words to Use?
So let’s look at what those keywords could be for your property promotion:
Location – There will be certain suburb names that will be relevant to you and your listing. Those names must be fed into your advertising copy. Some suburbs or streets will be used by inquiring parties. Get those location names into your advertising.
Property improvements – Think about how you can describe the improvements, such as ‘clear span industrial warehouse’ or ‘high exposure retail showroom’. There are many variations you can use here when you really think about things. Be different in your description but be relative to the property and its ‘points of difference’.
Lease or Buy? – Ultimately the property will be offered for sale or lease so those base words should be fed into the property headline, so there is no misunderstanding of what is happening with the property.
Size – Many times you hear of or see a buyer or tenant searching for a property by size and location. So those factors will be essential to your property marketing processes and inquiry generation.
You can use these words in the following ways. Put them into these promotional layouts:
Most agents and brokers that are struggling in the property market today are doing so for the simple reason that they are not ‘relevant’ to the prospects and clients that are looking for property help.
Relevance wins property business; the ‘generic approach’ to commercial real estate has little magnetism for pulling in listings or commissions.
Disaster strikes when there is no real reason for clients, business owners, investors, or tenants to remember a particular broker or agent, and particularly so at the right moment when they are handling property issues and challenges.
So where are things now?
Want to improve your real estate business? Answer this question. Why should a commercial property client or prospect choose you to help them with a property challenge? It’s a scary question to ask; commonly the answers given by most agents are ‘generic’ and bland like these. They can provide:
Local market knowledge
Team service for the client
Client communication, etc.
All of these things are too ordinary, and just about every agent or broker uses the same ‘ordinary stuff’ which inevitably makes little or no difference to the clients that they serve. The statements are of no real attraction or interest to any client wanting property help.
So what can you do here when pitching your services? Clients prefer ‘specifics’ that are matched to their property challenges. For example:
A database of 2000 tenants in the location, 250 of which have been shortlisted to the client’s property listing (Leasing)
15 parties ready to inspect the new listing in the next week (Sales or Leasing)
Savings of $40,000 to be found in energy by load shedding (Property Management)
4 investors that missed out on the last local campaign are to be contacted (Sales)
If you haven’t got a very specific answer to that question given, then it is likely you will struggle for some time in converting business leads and opportunities.
Why do you have to determine a clear answer to that question? In simple terms you must be able to market yourself specifically as the best agent for the job. The only way you can do that is through a mixture of the following:
Locational coverage – Split your city up into a ‘primary zone’ for implementing all your prospecting, and a ‘secondary zone’ where you will still take business if it arises. In this way you can really cover the right people and the right properties in your ‘primary zone’. This extra level of focus in prospecting helps you with local area information, market evidence, and personal marketing. The question arises as to how many properties and or owners you should have in your ‘primary zone’. The answer is related to your capabilities to cover the patch with a direct marketing approach. You are the person that has to make the calls, create meetings, and door knock streets. In an ideal city location, choose a primary zone of properties and streets containing about 2000 properties. Then you can split the location up into activity zones that you can move through in a logical way.
Marketing mastery – Ensure that all of your promotional efforts are well crafted and implemented. Use words, phrases, photographs, and layouts that pull in the enquiry. Top agents are usually respected and chosen for their marketing skills.
Database depth and relevance – If you prospect directly into your area, you can build a database that will help you build your business. It is very hard for a client to overlook an agent that has a top quality database containing people from the location and within the targeted segment of business owners, tenants, buyers, or business leaders.
Property speciality – Get to know everything that you can about a property location and speciality. From that effort you will then understand where the next listings are likely to evolve and why that is the case. You will also know what things are selling or leasing for. You will understand why some levels of enquiry are better than others with certain listings. When you understand the enquiry, you can do something with it and improve it over time. Know what people are looking for in local commercial property and then market comprehensively into that.
Commercial real estate brokerage does not need to be complicated but it does need to be relevant. Get involved with your property market and show the right people why you are highly relevant to them as they seek to solve a few property problems.
As a commercial real estate agent or broker, you can use a blog as a professional and personal marketing strategy. There are plenty of things that you can write about when it comes to your local area, your town or your city.
The blog is something that you can do individually at very low cost. It is also something that you can do in your spare time or perhaps in the evenings when the pressures of the working day are diminished.
As a special note and as part of the blog marketing process in real estate or commercial property, you should not write about particular property listings and clients. Leave that marketing strategy to the brokerage websites and the portals where you can and already do promote existing listings and particular properties.
The blog process is all about providing commentary and information or knowledge. That is why the search engines rank the process so highly when people offer valuable information and insights. As a real estate agent you can do exactly that and hence the blog strategy can help you greatly when it comes to building an online personal profile.
So what would you write about in the blog and why should you do it? Consider the territory in which you work and the specialisation or the property knowledge that you can bring to the market; if you are truly the specialised property agent or broker that you claim to be, there will be plenty of things to write about and information to share. Here are some ideas within those factors to help you get this strategy underway:
Look for the changes in the property market in prices, rents, and future supply. The changes in the property market and the analysis of history will give you plenty of things to write about. You can create simple graphs relating to growth in prices or rentals, shifts in yields, or enquiry rates relating to property types.
If you are a specialist in a particular property type you can talk about the future growth and opportunities that apply within the zones or precincts in your town or city. Property investors will always show an interest in a well-crafted article giving valuable information about recent property trends and predictable changes. As a case in point and as an example, the retail property segment and particularly that of shopping centre performance stands alone as a specialist part of the property market. Within that topic there will be plenty of things to talk about when it comes to tenancy mix, rental strategies, vacancy rates, leasing opportunities, customer requirements, franchise tenants, and shopping trends. I go back to the point that valuable information provided by industry specialists will always be of interest to the players in the property market.
Any upcoming property developments will shift the balance of supply and demand when it comes to particular property types and property occupation. From that new supply of high quality modern space, you will find that the older properties will become redundant and be potentially ripe for redevelopment. Consider the changes that apply within a property type with any new developments coming up and write about them in your blog. Talk about the changes and the investment opportunities or adjustments; look for the strengths that evolve from newer property developments shifting the balance of occupancy and property ownership.
There are plenty of things for you to write about when it comes to the blog and Internet Marketing process. In this way you can build your online presence as an agent or a broker, and show your expert comprehensive property knowledge and experience to the right people in your town or city. A good article written around the facts of the market can also be linked to your property newsletter and your client emails. When something is worth talking about in our industry, it is worth sharing.
We all know and expect that to get anywhere in a sales related career you have to work hard. Commercial real estate brokerage is like that. Yes, you do have to work hard, however if you have a systematic approach to what you do, things will improve dramatically and in a better way. In simple terms you can set some rules to the brokerage process.
Here are some specific facts to help you get your career under control and hence improve your results:
One listing leads to another – If you list quality properties, you will find that the marketing process of one listing will let you talk to many people locally. You will also have some good enquiry coming towards you. Carefully capture and nurture the leads and information that you get from all marketing campaigns. Build your database and client base from all your marketing campaigns.
Directed marketing – When you win a listing it is the start of the marketing process. Quite a few decisions need to be made about target market and promotional strategies. Maximum effort can be applied to an exclusive listing; however you do need vendor paid funds to attract volumes of attention in the campaign. With most property types you will need about 1% of the value of the property to be applied to the marketing campaign. Spend the money wisely and directly on promotional efforts that are well considered.
Marketing variations – Any one good quality property should be marketed in a few different formats; that includes advertising layout and content. That then allows you to promote the same property more effectively on different websites and industry portals. Some brokerages have a professional copywriter overseeing and helping with advertising copy. Whilst it is an expense to every campaign, it can be justified and the rewards are many. Add the specialised service of a professional copywriter to your vendor paid marketing budgets.
Refreshing listings – Every 14 days of a marketing campaign, refresh the listing with different photographs and promotional copy. Include as part of that a modification of price or rent if those factors are published in the campaign. To do this you will need a client that is conditioned to market conditions and inspection results. The message here is that a change to marketing will help with enquiries coming back in.
Feedback – When you conduct an inspection or get an enquiry from a qualified prospect, record the results in client feedback form. At the end of each week you can use the form as a way of updating the client and also conditioning them to the facts of the market. The good thing here is that the comments given are from other people and not you. You are just the ‘messenger’. When handled correctly you can position the client and the property for a shorter time on market and an effective deal negotiation when it starts.
From these things you can see that the property marketing process is one of considerable planning and process. Every listing should be positioned for real momentum and enquiry opportunity.
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 this property market it pays to work with the clients that are open and honest with you. Secure those clients on an exclusive listing. You will find all types of clients in the market today. Those clients that give you an ‘open listing’ are quite likely to be more difficult to deal with; so understand the differences and pressures of the listing types.
So what is wrong with an ‘open listing’ approach? Most of the time you will see that it is influenced by other agents and brokers talking to the client; frequently a client in that type of agency relationship is ‘closed’ to the realities of the market today. They want their price and fail to accept the facts of the recent market evidence.
So what does a ‘good client’ look like? Try some of these:
Open and honest
Ready to act
Understanding the current market conditions
Are motivated to make a decision
Will keep you fully advised of their intentions and changes
They give you some leverage in negotiating and closing on a deal
It is a fact that clients of this nature are more likely to be secured on an ‘exclusive’ listing for a reasonable period of time. Providing you get that listing, you can really drive the marketing process at a personal level. Exclusivity helps you believe in the listing and marketing process. You can then easily see the results at the end of the marketing ‘tunnel.’
It is worth noting that prospects and clients will come to you in a couple of ways. Some will feed to you through the office or brokerage leads. Others will respond to your prospecting activities. Lastly and most importantly many more good clients will convert to you by ongoing contact and relationship building. They are the ones that will likely be the ones to give quality to your market share and new business. For this reason your database and prospecting model is really important.
When you serve a top client well, it will ‘open the door’ on referral and repeat business. Look at those clients that you have helped over the years. Have you placed them into a ‘VIP’ process of contact in your database? Have you differentiated them from the general contacts and people that you have in your pipeline?
So the message here is quite clear. Focus on creating great client relationships that encourage ‘exclusive’ listings. Over time that will give you traction in building your market share with quality listings.
In commercial real estate brokerage today, every property and every listing can present unique challenges when it comes to the listing presentation. In every case you will need to understand the property market, the client, and the listing so that you can match your recommendations to the clients required outcomes in selling or leasing the property.
A persuasive presentation is one that addresses the concerns of the client in a proactive and relevant way. To achieve that, here are some recommendations that you can adopt or merge into your commercial real estate sales pitch strategy:
Determine whether the property and the client are correctly matched to the levels of inquiry coming into your brokerage today for that property type. Is the property so unique that it will have limited inbound inquiry? If that is the case, you will need to choose the right method of sale or lease for the best possible outcome. The duration of the exclusive listing will also need to be extended to support the special and diverse marketing process. It is not unusual for unique properties to be on the market for many months and in some cases over 12 months. To devote the right focus to that type of listing, exclusivity is required in such cases.
Prepare and structure your proposal following a complete and comprehensive review of the property and the market place. As part of that, understand the competing properties, the prices and rentals currently being achieved, and the levels of inbound enquiry.
Present your recommendations to the client based on their needs in price, rental, timing, and outcome.
Review the property for any weaknesses that will need to be addressed prior to the commencement of the marketing campaign. In the case of investment properties, make sure that any weaknesses in the tenancy mix or existing lease documentation are addressed prior to commencement of the promotions.
Check out the cash flow from an investment property with due regard for passing income, expenditure management, outgoings, and net income. If the property is to be resold back into the investment market, the checks and balances need to be correct when it comes to investment performance.
Property performance will need to be supported by proof and evidence. You will need to ensure that all the elements of property activity, performance, and structure are available for scrutiny and due diligence.
Talk to the customer at their level of understanding. Lead them through the recommendations required for a property of that type in today’s market conditions. Give reasons for your recommendations and evidence from the local market.
It is not hard to win a listing in today’s market providing you are correctly matching your listing and marketing recommendations to the property, the client, and the local area. Local market knowledge and professional skill will help you complete and convert more commercial real estate listings over time.
Leasing commercial property today can be a challenge for all sorts of reasons. The landlords that we act for and the tenants that we negotiate with all have requirements to be balanced into a lease structure. Negotiating a lease can be a real challenge.
When you look at the financial or calendar year, there will be ‘seasons’ of property activity. Sales and leasing activity for a property type will vary during those ‘seasons’ of business and tenant activity. As the local real estate agent you must do the best you can with leasing given the rental and leasing requirements. Understand what the property market is doing and then ‘prospect’ into it. You will soon find the landlords and tenants that require help.
Reflecting on today’s property market, here are factors that require attention of the leasing agent:
Comparable properties in the local area should be understood and watched. From time to time you will see those comparable properties take your tenants or seek to attract your tenants away from their leases. It’s all about you being competitive as a property when it comes to lease terms and conditions. Use a tenant retention plan to keep your tenants happy and in occupancy. Talk to your tenants regularly.
Market conditions will change during the year. Pay particular attention to the factors of market rent and vacancy rates. See the trends in both and look for the upcoming new property developments that could impact the supply and demand factors of occupancy.
Rents and incentives will change during the year. Gross and net rents will rise and fall based on the supply and demand for space. Importantly your vacant areas should be competitive when it comes to marketing vacant space to new tenants.
Local property types will show trends when it comes to rents and vacancies. Watch what the market is doing. Stay ahead of the trends and advise your clients and landlords how to handle their tenants and rents.
Landlord requirements will vary based on the holding requirements and cash flow of the property investment. The leases that you negotiate will also be based on the holding requirements of the landlord. Understand these factors.
Vacancy factors will have an impact on the tenant mix. Work with your tenants to keep the vacancies under control. Talk to new tenants to encourage lease negotiations of currently available space.
Outgoings recoveries will help the landlord with net rents. Look at all the leases to see what recoveries can and should occur. Reconcile and charge those outgoings correctly in accordance with the leases.
Lease documents will vary across a property and on a landlord by landlord basis. Read your leases and enforce them correctly.
To be successful in leasing commercial property today, you must understand the market, the landlord, the local rents, and the property performance. It is a fine balance that is a professional requirement for property leasing agents.