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.
As a general rule in commercial real estate brokerage, every proposal that you put together should be benefit focused on the client. Show the client exactly how they will benefit from using your comprehensive services as a marketing specialist.
Use a Gantt chart to show the client the stages of listing, marketing, inspecting, and negotiating. This illustrative charting method is very effective when it comes to helping the client through a comprehensive and complex marketing process. It can also be a major point of difference in your proposal layout.
In today’s property market, the generic listing and marketing approach really doesn’t work. The competition in the marketplace is significant from other listings, and the experience and expertise of your competing agents and brokers will also place pressures on your listing conversions. Give the client some real reasons to choose you as the top agent of choice to solve their property pain.
It is worthwhile remembering that the client doesn’t want to be an experiment in marketing. They want their property to achieve the best levels of enquiry in the most effective and direct way. You hold the keys to the process and your proposal will need to clearly outline the strategies and recommendations.
Here are some tips to help you with constructing and submitting a proposal to sell or lease a commercial property today:
- Stand out as uniquely qualified to handle the property type in the town or city. You will need some testimonials and market evidence to help the client understand those situations and recommendations.
- Review the property for the strengths and weaknesses that will have an impact on the marketing campaign. The weaknesses may need to be addressed prior to the commencement of promotion. The strengths can be helpful when it comes to advertising layout and points of attraction.
- Determine the target market that will have a keen interest in the property type. Build your marketing campaign around the target market using specific points of difference and promotional processes that clearly tap into the target audience. Help the client understand those strategies and the reasons you are making the recommendations.
- Show the client how they will clearly benefit from utilizing your brokerage services and market coverage. Use your database as a point of difference when it comes to creating enquiry and spreading the message about the property. Create a shortlist of buyers or tenants as the case may be from the database; tell the client how you will be connecting into the short list of qualified parties as a priority as soon as the property is released to the market.
The focus of your proposal should be to attract the correct level of inquiry and generate inspections as soon as possible. When you get the inspections underway, you have something to work with and can then give the client feedback from those inspections.
In today’s property market, we have marketing systems to support our personal branding and our property listings. These are two distinctly different challenges when it comes to marketing. The properties will come and go from the market, however your personal brand needs to consolidate and grow.
So let’s look at some different aspects of marketing and the challenges to be handled.
When it comes to property marketing, you will be competing against other properties, the market trends, and other agents. Through all of this, you need to attract the right level of enquiry and then qualify that enquiry for potential conversion. Given that the property market currently is rather challenging, every marketing effort must be specific, direct, and effective.
The ultimate goal of every marketing campaign should be to establish enquiry from the target market. When you get enquiry, you can create inspections. Over time the enquiry that you create will allow you to improve your database of qualified prospects; those qualified prospects can go into your database for regular ongoing contact. That is exactly what top agents do and how they create better transactions from the market over time.
To correctly market a property today, you need sufficient funds and a dedicated marketing campaign. Vendor paid marketing should be the rule and not the exception. That being said, you should also ask for an exclusive listing to allow you to spend the necessary time in marketing the property for the clients that you serve.
The property market today requires real effort on the part of the agent. That effort can only come through exclusive listings. Those exclusive listings also allow us to build our market share and database of qualified prospects.
Here are some factors to incorporate into a property marketing plan:
- Determine the features relative to the subject listing. Those features and improvements will dictate the target audience. The advertising that you create should be directed at the target audience with a consistent message relative to the property.
- You will need to determine those three or four factors that create the interest relative to the property today. Those three or four factors will need to feature in each and every advertising or media channel used. Consistency is the key when it comes to property marketing. Every advertisement should send the right message consistently, given that the same person may see the property in a number of different media channels. Eventually the right message could very well encourage the person to lift the telephone and make an enquiry.
- Understand the differences between the different types of marketing today, and use the ones that are most successful for your property type and local area. In most cases, newspaper advertising is becoming less relevant to the commercial property industry. Direct marketing and internet marketing are taking over as the tools of choice when it comes to creating property enquiry.
- Research the keywords that are used on the search engines relative to your property location and property type. Those keywords can be easily researched and then incorporated into your property advertising and marketing. That will therefore allow each advertisement to be tuned to the requirements of property enquiry today.
- As part of the property marketing effort, use plenty of professionally taken photographs in the advertising and in the brochures. You can always see when those professional photographs are used. The placement of the property on the Internet will also be enhanced by quality professional photographs. Most commercial salespeople and agents do not have the knowledge and experience to take photographs from the right angle or the time of day. You only have one chance to market the property, and on that basis the photographs need to help you in every way possible. The cost of getting the photography done is minimal when you consider the value of the property and the potential sale price or rental.
When it comes to marketing any commercial property today, create a plan relative to the client, the area, and the property. Drive that plan in a way that encourages enquiry. It is the enquiry that you want and that will help you with conversions.
The services we provide as the local commercial or retail real estate agency are quite specific and special. The local property market will change throughout the year, as will the supply and demand for premises. On that basis, we are the experts to help the clients that we serve.
Sales and leasing strategies for commercial and retail property will change throughout the year. Each and every prospect should be entered into a database so that we can build on all future opportunity when the right property comes along. Your diligence here will help your commission conversions and future listing opportunity.
Local property market information will come in many forms including prices, rentals, future developments, and the supply and demand for new space to occupy. The clients that we serve cannot hope to cover those issues themselves. That is where we step in as the experts and property strategists.
Top agents know how to package the negotiation for the best outcomes and results for the client. These agents know what the market is doing, and how to package the right transaction for the clients that they serve.
Here are some tips to help you design your services for your local commercial and retail property clients.
- Local market information will vary throughout the year; you will see changing results in both sales and leasing activity. This local market activity will be setting the necessary benchmarks and the market rentals or prices as the case may be.
- Local business sentiment, together with changes in the business community will have impact when it comes to property occupancy, sales, leasing, and rental returns. It is our job to accumulate the necessary market knowledge and strategy to help the clients that we serve. Optimising property occupancy and rental returns will help the eventual sales equation and resultant price.
- Rental strategy is quite specific to the location, the property type, and the intentions of the landlord. In most cases, the rental should be set with the landlord prior to commencing any marketing effort relating to the particular property. Standards and differences will apply when it comes to gross rental, net rental, incentives, rent reviews, and lease options. We are the experts to help with these factors.
- Monitor the lease terms and conditions that apply to existing properties in the local area. Business sentiment will have impact on existing negotiations and marketing strategies that you apply to each and every listing. The supply and demand for local property will have immediate impact on the starting rental for any leases. The same for pressures apply when it comes to the sale price. On this basis, you need to know the differences between asking prices or rents, verses the facts and outcomes in finalised and completed transactions.
- Outgoings and operating costs will need to be recovered when it comes to lease occupancy. The decisions you make here will have impact on the landlord and the rental structure of the lease document. Local market standards, and the particular elements of the property may influence you when it comes to gross or net rental. Importantly, the operating costs for the property should be recovered as part of the lease structure, so make the right decisions when it comes to rental type and outgoings recovery.
- Tenant mix strategy will shift and change throughout the year. Tenancy mix decisions become important when you are working with a property containing multiple occupants in close proximity. The duration of leases, and the proximity of those leases to other tenants need to be considered as part of each lease negotiation.
- The permitted use for each lease and tenant occupancy should be well considered and controlled. Is quite important to ensure that the permitted use described in each lease that you negotiate is very specific and tight. Too much latitude here will allow the tenant to change the focus of the business and the offering to their customers. This also has impact on any future lease assignment or subletting situation. The permitted use will also have relevance to the tenancy mix strategy and any tenant retention plans that you implement.
- Vacancy and lease management should occur throughout the year. Staying well ahead of any lease events and critical dates is quite important. Prepare the landlord for any negotiations well in advance. Have due regard for the local market conditions and the benchmarks established by other similar properties nearby.
It is easy to see why the services we provide as commercial real estate agents are regarded as specialised and unique. That is why we charge a significant fee for service. The clients that we serve can benefit significantly from the factors of our negotiation and finalised transactions.