The main reason that most of the marketing in Commercial Real Estate is not created equally is for the main reason that, in most cases, it’s never created in the first place. Commercial Real Estate does have major differences than its younger brother, Residential Real Estate; however, many of the same rules apply when marketing Commercial Real Estate.
Photos are worth 1,000 words. We have all heard the same adage, yet most agents just don’t care. Here’s the deal, “Jack of all trades” should ALWAYS be followed by “Master of NONE.” Agents should not snap their own photos of a property. A good photographer should only run $200 to $300, MAX. Furthermore, it leaves more time for the Sales agent to be doing activates that sell the property.
Don’t hide the bottom line. If the buyer can afford the property, they can afford the property. Bottom line. The price needs to be clear and displayed. There should be no reason to hide the price; if the sales agent has done the legwork to justify the asking price, then let it be know to the world.
Add some pizzazz! So many of the marketing pieces that I see are missing “it”. I have heard many colleagues claim that Commercial Real Estate is sold on numbers, unlike Residential. While it may be true that the numbers play a big role, sales are still based on emotion. A property trading at a 10 cap might not have the hottest sticks ‘n bricks in town, but even ugly properties have someone who wants to buy them. Think of it this way… agents are being paid to market a property and should put the same amount of effort into each transaction. If the agent doesn’t have a passion for the property they shouldn’t be listing the property.
These 3 points can honestly be summed in one, very simple word… Passion. I see many agents finding reasons why not to do these things, but if the listing agent would put the same amount of effort into doing these 3 steps, as opposed to finding reasons not to, they would sell so much more. It boils down to finding the niche that works for each individual agent and sticking with what they know. Many agents I have met are afraid to turn down a listing. In most cases, turning down one listing outside of the agent’s niche will provide more listings in the agent’s niche referred by the person the agent turned away.
Big investor firms and institutional buyers don’t like competition because competition drives the price up and this does not help their bottom line. Also, if they are not feeling exclusive then they don’t have a leverage going into the deal. Leverage is the key for these buyers. Without it, they know that they just waste their time.
For every listed commercial property, there is almost 6-8 off market properties out there. These owners are not thinking of selling their properties and they are not in that state of mind for many different reasons. Maybe timing is not right, or maybe they just don’t want to sell it dirt cheap giving the market conditions that we are in. Or, perhaps, they don’t want their employees to know that the business is for sale, and start looking for job else where. Therefore, losing good key employees is not a good start. Especially, in the early stages of selling your property and business.
Some of these sellers are looking for a way out but don’t know how to, or which brokerage to contact to. Because in their mind, all commercial real estate brokerages are the same. They are going to list your property and sit on it until a buyer comes along. Also, signing a listing agreement that they can not even get out off until it expires, with a hefty commission percentage is not just what these sellers have in mind. So they just sit on these properties and do nothing. Until someone creative comes up to them and give them all the solutions they have been looking for months or years.
Is that someone you?
Can you really deliver all these goodies without listing their property for sale in the major listing services?
Can you really find them a buyer without letting any of their employees know that business is for sale?
Can you do all of these things for a reasonable fee without tying them up in a long term listing contract?
If you have answered “YES” to the questions above, then you are the right broker with unlimited income potential in this field.
You have to offer something unique that has not been offered by others, especially big players in the commercial real estate market. Because this is the only thing that will make you stand out from the crowd. Let’s not forget that you can not match service and expertise level of big commercial real estate brokerages. Nor, you can convince these sellers to pay you a hefty commission like big brokerages. That being said, big brokerages have so much on their plate that they will not have time for personalizing their service for most of those sellers.
Therefore, this is where you come in and close the deal. You offer such an unique service that no big brokerages offer out there. In fact, not even many small brokerage firms offer this.
Today every real estate agent and broker should have an action plan based on their goals and business plan. Our industry can be quite unforgiving when it comes to any agent that takes a generic approach. When you do basic things in a random way, you achieve the average results.
Top agents do specific things to a plan that has been well considered and structured. Filling their pipeline of opportunity will always be important when it comes to new sales and leasing opportunity. The same can be said from a property management perspective understanding that the client targets are more long-term than short term.
So the action plan you create should allow for current market conditions, your client base, marketing strategies, and the resources that you have available at your disposal.
Before you can get what you want, you need to know exactly what you do want. The action plan should be structured around that focus. Set goals that are realistic but challenging.
What resources do you have at your disposal? How are you using them today?
Here is a list to help you with resource identification:
Time to do the work required
Support staff and administrative staff
Marketing Materials within your brokerage
Reports and market evidence relative to the local area and the property type
Social media tools, newsletters, and websites
Your current database of clients and prospects
Communications Systems and tools including the telephone, e-mail, and direct mail
This is a simple list and yet so many agents are doing very little within some if not most of those categories. The resources like these are usually available and yet generally under-utilized.
Here are some tips to help you with this strategic action process within commercial real estate sales and leasing:
The reality of the market will always be around you and observable. There will be leads and opportunities to seize and delve into. Every property, client, and professional relationship will give you leverage for asking questions about referrals, leads, and repeat business.
One of the simplest of marketing tools that we have available is that of the business card. You really don’t need many other tools to help you build fresh and new relationships. Make it a target to give out at least 10 new business cards per day. Most business cards that we handout are kept rather than discarded. Many top agents have created their success and market share momentum from distributing business cards regularly each and every day.
Whilst there are plenty of technology based tools to use including social media, websites, newsletters, and e-mail marketing solutions, most of the successes that you create as a broker or agent will be from ongoing personal relationships established with qualified prospects. On that basis you do need to get in front of the right people to establish trust and loyalty over time. Relevance and property specialty will be part of that process.
Mix and match your prospecting activities around the things that you are comfortable with and can implement every day. Most top agents will diversify prospecting within cold calling, direct mail, newsletter activity, door knocking, success letters, signboards, and industry related listing brochures. A simple approach will always get you in front of new people quite comfortably and frequently. Your prospecting approach must be a habit in your diary.
Set some target numbers that relate to your business plan. The numbers should be related back to daily activity and weekly targets. Normally the targets should be focused on the outbound calls, new meetings, property presentations, successful listings, exclusive listings, and advertising dollars. All of those things will have a direct impact on your market share. Track and measure activities within those categories. Increase the numbers to a substantial ongoing target.
When you create a plan of action at a personal level, track and measure your progress so that you can see how things are improving at the end of each week. The property market will always change and as a direct consequence your prospecting activities should similarly be adjusted for best practice and outcome.
When it comes to marketing a commercial property for sale, there are plenty of choices to be made in the promotional process. The generic marketing approach does not work well today, given that there are plenty of listings on the market for sale, or the factors of competition require special decisions and strategies.
Look at all the alternatives to marketing any commercial or industrial property. If you really want to make a sale, match the advertising to the target market, and then get personally involved in the promotion. Every property that is listed exclusively should be marketed ‘exclusively’.
Recently I heard an agent talking to a client about a listing that had been on the market for a very long time. There was little enquiry coming in and agent was blaming the market and the price for the current situation. Whilst those factors can be somewhat true, the real facts of the matter are that the agent did not get out into the business and property investor community to push the listing.
We are or should be ‘masters’ in matching properties to buyers. Every new listing should be carefully promoted. That says not just advertising the listing and hoping for a result.
All the ‘alternative’ marketing strategies should be looked at when you are preparing for a sale promotion. Choose the right ones based on the target market. Here are some ideas to help you:
When you list the property on the internet, create a few different formats of advertising and layout so you can change them weekly over a 6 week campaign. The same property can be re-worked with different descriptions and photographs.
Use the keywords in your advertising that match those words used in the market or target segment of buyers.
Get some high quality professional photographs prepared for use in your campaign.
Have a professional copywriter finish off your adverts before they are submitted to the media.
Set up a direct mail campaign to qualified property buyers that exist in your database. When that happens, have a checking process to personally follow up all of the direct mail.
Create an email marketing campaign to buyers on your database, given the criteria identified in earlier discussions or property inspections.
If the property is matched quite clearly to a market segment such as ‘doctors’ or ‘solicitors’ you can start a direct mail and call approach using the local telephone book and your business lists.
Door-knock the local businesses to see what they are doing with property today, and if they are looking for a property change over or purchase soon.
Every good quality listing will give you plenty of reasons to talk to other property owners and business leaders. Focus on quality and the deals will be easier to put together.
It is easy to dominate your market when you are known as the agent with all the best listings. That strategy is easier to achieve when you work to a marketing plan and adopt alternative marketing strategies.