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Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

Don’t Get “Tied Down” by What You Wear in Commercial Real Estate

August 17th, 2013

There have been about a zillion books and articles written about how to dress in business. The variations of what it means to “Dress for Success” have evolved as the years have passed, trends have come and gone and fashion styles have varied. In commercial real estate brokerage, there seems to be a fairly wide range of what is deemed “appropriate attire” given the diverse types of clients, property types and geographic areas we operate in. There are obvious situations that will require the suit and tie or lady’s power suit routine. Maybe meeting with a major law firm in a major market where you represent a large banking institution would be a good example. The opposite is also true. Meeting with the owner/operator of a concrete manufacturing plant at his construction trailer in the Midwest would certainly indicate an expectation of less formal attire.

Some of the larger brokerage firms require their agents to don formal business attire no matter what the circumstances, a policy that can have either good or not so good consequences. I was associated with such a firm and the policy was strictly enforced so the agents did not have a choice.

With the obvious exception of cases that would violate your brokerage firm’s policy, always choose business attire that is appropriate to the people and companies that you interact with on a daily basis. It just takes a bit of logical thought and planning. When in doubt, always dress a bit more professionally than you think you might need to. Consider the type of prospect, client, business, etc. you are meeting with and what type of attire is appropriate in their business. To a certain extent, be a chameleon. How you dress is one of the first things many prospects judge you on as they determine if you are worthy of earning their business. Think about the impression you want to make. Think about the venue and forum you will be meeting in and what other people might be in attendance or observing. Regardless of whether you find yourself wearing a suit and tie or khaki’s and a polo shirt, make sure your attire is clean, pressed and fits you properly. I know this sounds like common sense, but if you are reading this and have been in the business for a while, I’ll bet that you’ve run across agents in professional situations where you’ve looked at how they were dressed and thought “what the heck were you thinking?” Don’t be that agent. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on (more…)

5 Tips for Using Video to Market and Brand in Commercial Real Estate

February 10th, 2013

I recently attended a seminar on the topic of internet marketing and I witnessed something that shocked me. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon and the seminar was wrapping up. The speaker asked the audience of about 250 attendees to raise their hands if they planned to go home after the seminar and turn on the television. By his count, 17 hands went up. He then asked how many people planned to spend their time after the seminar online. I was near the back of the room and suffice it to say, I lost site of the speaker because of the forest of raised hands in front of me.

While it’s probably obvious, online activities have replaced a very large chunk of the time we used to spend watching the tube. Sure we surf for information across all formats, text, audio and video, but video is becoming the most popular form of content on the web. YouTube is now the third most visited site on the internet behind Google and Facebook according to Alexa Traffic Rankings. More than 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day and when you consider that most videos are under 5 minutes in length, that’s a heck of a lot of videos. There are other video platforms as well, such as Vimeo, digg and others popping up to increase the volume of video content even more. (more…)

The Relationship Between Trust and Success

September 18th, 2012

Last week, luxury Swiss watchmaker Tag Heurer became the latest corporate sponsor to announce that they were ending their relationship with golfer Tiger Woods after 10 years. They join other major corporations such as AT&T, Gillette, Gatorade and Accenture. Since Tiger’s infamous Thanksgiving “car accident” which spiraled his career and personal life into a public circus, it is estimated that he has lost between $40 and $50 Million in endorsement deals. There is even talk of him struggling to meet his financial obligations at this point.

What I found very interesting was the statement released by Tag Heurer when they announced the end of the relationship with Tiger. The Company’s Chief Executive, Jean-Christopher Babin was quoted as saying “We are confident that Tiger will eventually regain full trust with the public, and that his huge talent and mental strength will help him overcome his difficulties.”

It occurred to me that all of the scandal, embarrassment, negative press, sensationalism, etc. are byproducts of the real reason these companies are no longer doing business with Tiger Woods…TRUST. The reason corporate America pays enormous endorsement fees to athletes and celebrities is because they feel that the person endorsing their product or service has the trust and admiration of the public. (more…)

3 Things Commercial Real Estate Pros Can Do For A Better 2012

December 27th, 2011

As we bid farewell (or in many cases good riddance!) to 2011, now is the time to map out a success strategy for 2012. Commercial Real Estate agents and brokers are always looking for new ways to increase efficiency and gain a competitive edge. There’s plenty of information and training out there on time management, best practices, etc. but let’s take a look at a few things you can reflect on which could have an exponentially positive impact on your earning power in 2012:

1. Take Ownership of Your Market. How well do you really know the market you are focused on? Better yet, ARE you focused on a specific market area? Take some time before the year starts to make sure you really know everything about your commercial real estate market, including everything that is happening in it. Is every property and owner accurately recorded in your database? What is the vacancy rate? What has been leased and sold in the past 12 months? Are there any market dynamics that will effect value and marketability, such as new roads, major employers coming into or leaving the area, new developments, etc.? Your knowledge of your market is your stock in trade when you speak to prospects.

2. Develop a System for Business Development. Successful commercial real estate brokers and agents know that business development is a never ending endeavor. Hopefully, 2012 will prove to be a more fruitful environment for generating new business, (more…)

The Joys of Client Communication

September 2nd, 2011

It’s a scenario we’ve all experienced. We’ve secured an appointment with a potential seller. He’s had the property listed with one of your competitors and the listing has expired. The first thing he wants to tell you is that “the last guy called him everyday until he listed the property and then he didn’t hear from him again until just before the listing expired when he asked him to lower the price and renew”. It’s probably one of the simplest yet effective things you can do to build trust and confidence in the client broker relationship. Communicate. Especially in the age of cell phones, email, text and social media where everyone has access to instantaneous communication portals. How you communicate with your client is probably the single most important factor in developing the relationship that will have longevity. The converse is also true. Lack of communication will most certainly create a simmering feeling of animosity within your client which will erode the relationship beyond the point of repair.

Of course sometimes we avoid contacting the client because we either believe we have nothing to tell him or the information you have to deliver is negative or unpleasant. The nature of the communication is secondary to the NEED for the communication to take place. After all, isn’t communication what every relationship is about? Without it, the relationship is sure to breakdown.

Every commercial real estate broker should develop a structured schedule for client communication. This is something that you should broadcast to your clients when you establish the relationship. Believe me, it will make a positive impression on every client if you discuss exactly how intend to communicate with the client, what information you intend to provide and on what schedule. I highly recommend that when you are entering into the listing agreement with the client, you engage in a conversation that goes something like this:

“Mr. Client, I know the importance of communicating with you on a regular basis to keep you informed on the progress we are making in marketing your property. Typically, I provide a marketing letter to my client’s on a weekly basis which outlines the prior weeks activity, feedback from the market and a schedule of the following week’s marketing actions. With so many methods of communication available, I like to ask my client’s what their preferred method of receiving this information is so that I provide you with the best possible service in a manner that is most comfortable for you. Do you prefer receiving a fax, email or letter each week? I’d also like to schedule a regular call or face to face meeting where we can discuss the details of our efforts and strategize future marketing. What is your preference in terms of the frequency of these conversations and do you prefer to do this by phone or in person? What is the telephone number you prefer that I call when needing to reach you?”

Once you have noted the client’s preferences and what you have promised in terms of the information to be delivered and the method of communicating that information, you MUST perform precisely on those promises. Even if your weekly or bi-weekly communication is to tell the client that every potential buyer or tenant and their broker representatives are telling you that you are over priced, it is an opportunity for you to deliver the message to you client that you are proactively engaged in the process of marketing their property. It also manages the expectations of the client by engaging them in the ongoing process of positioning the property in the market and hearing market feedback from real buyers and tenants.

As commercial real estate brokers and agents, our consistency in communicating with our clients is a major component in building client relationships, branding ourselves as solid professionals and securing future business.

If LeBron James Had To Cold Call For a Living

May 9th, 2011

If you’ve ever watched NBA Mega-Superstar LeBron James play basketball you’ve undoubtedly seen him perform a living highlight reel of seemingly impossible feats on the court. You’ve also seen him perform in entertaining commercials and of course his now infamous “Decision” program where he announced his move to Miami. Some people love him, some people can’t stand him (hello Clevelanders!) but he has to be given respect for his talent as well has his ability to maximize his brand. He’s a guy who demands personal achievement at the highest level with a focus on being the best. A famous quote from LeBron goes like this: (more…)