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Archive for the ‘Business Development’ Category

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…)

How Exclusive Representation Provides Maximum Value For Clients

January 20th, 2013

Every commercial real estate brokerage professional who has ever interacted with a prospective client has heard it. “Everything sounds great….Just bring me a buyer (or tenant) and I’ll be happy to pay you a commission, but I won’t sign an exclusive representation agreement”. The client feels that entering into an exclusive contractual arrangement with you limits his ability to get other brokers to work on the sale or lease of his property. The client sees the request for an exclusive agreement as something that benefits you, the brokerage professional and in turn creates a disadvantage to her. Something about that word…..Exclusive….seems to imply that everyone else is excluded from working on the deal. The reality is that just the opposite is true. A good commercial real estate brokerage professional understands that exclusively representing our clients is the only way to maximize the CLIENTS’ benefits and achieve what they are asking you to help them achieve. This may seem counterintuitive to the client, so let’s look at where the real value of exclusive representation is for him or her: (more…)

Commercial Real Estate Agents Who Succeed Their Way To Failure

November 10th, 2012

Commercial real estate professionals know that new business development is the life blood of a long career in the brokerage business. When brokers start out in the business, virtually 100% of their time is devoted to new business development. Naturally. When starting out, every day consists of learning the market and making contact with the principals who either control the assets or actively seek to enter the market you have claimed as your own (hopefully). (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…)

5 Questions to Ask Every Prospect

June 3rd, 2012

There is a powerful axiom in the sales world that goes something like this: “If you are telling, you are not selling”. Sure you want to unleash your value proposition on the prospect and dazzle him with your capabilities, track record and all the reasons he would be a fool not to list with you. But what the client really wants to hear is how you are going to SOLVE HIS PROBLEM! That’s what we do…..we solve problems for our clients. So in order to present a solution to the prospects’ problem, we first need to be sure we understand very clearly what that problem is what the prospects’ expectations are of us.
The process leading up to earning a new assignment has many facets, but effectively questioning the prospect about their current situation, problems or needs and expected outcomes is a major key to winning the business. Commercial real estate agents and brokers can dramatically increase their success ratio through some basic training on how to ask strategic questions that will draw out the prospects’ motivations, problems and needs. You can word them in such a way as to make them feel natural to you, but here are 5 important questions every commercial real estate agent should be asking the prospect when working on a potential new assignment:

1. What was your original investment strategy when you acquired this asset? Asking this question forces the prospect to review why they purchased the asset and what their vision was for the future benefits they would derive from owning it. This will allow you to potentially contrast that vision with the prospect’s current situation. If the investment hasn’t performed up to their expectations or has deteriorated in some way, this question will help accentuate the prospects’ current motivations for disposing of the asset or his need to accelerate the leasing process.

2. If you could change anything at all about how this investment is performing or any other aspect of your current situation with this investment what would that be? In other words, tell me what’s wrong with this investment for you. This question will help the prospect clarify the shortcomings of the investment or his current situation. Perhaps the management of the property is weighing on the prospect and interfering with his personal life. He may tell you that if he (more…)

3 Key Components of a Great Database

May 24th, 2012

Ever heard the expression “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that counts”? Well in commercial real estate brokerage what you know does matter but it’s kind of useless if you don’t have a properly populated database of contacts upon which you can espouse that knowledge. Building and maintaining a solid database is arguably the fuel that drives the engine of your brokerage machine. I’m often amazed at the lengths that some agents will go to when trying to build their list of contacts. Some trudge it out looking up each property record, scouring the internet for phone numbers and scrubbing their information for accuracy. Some hire brokerage assistants or interns to do the work for them. Whatever the process, let’s examine what is really important in building your database:

1. We need client contact information. That means not just the ownership or buying entity, but the name, address, phone number and email address for a real human. Remember, a successful commercial real estate business is about person to person relationships.

2. We need lender contacts. Especially in the environment we have experienced over the past few years, it is extremely important to know who key decision makers are within the commercial real estate lending community. Opportunities about for commercial real estate agents who establish solid working relationships with key lenders.

3. We need co-brokerage contacts. When marketing our listings, the efficiencies of leveraging contacts within the commercial real estate brokerage community must be an important component. The buyer for your new listing may be in the database of a good commercial real estate agent in another area or another state. Having a database with agent contacts will strengthen the punch of any property marketing campaign.

Obviously to build and manage the above described key contact information could be a time consuming undertaking. Fortunately, in the internet age there are streamlining options that take some of the frustration out of the process. Yes, search features on some property appraiser websites are getting better. Social media and search engines improve your likelihood of finding your way to a key contact. But in these scenarios you or your staff are still the ones compiling the information and time is money.
Some technology types are figuring out ways to automate this process for commercial real estate agents by curating the data and keeping it up to date. I’ve been a subscriber to one such service for a couple of years. www.CREfirms.com is a subscription service that offers a complete database of key contacts in all of the three areas discussed above. The information is sortable and is delivered in a simple Excel format so it is easy to import it to whatever CRM system you use. CREfirms is a really affordable option to spending enormous amounts of time doing this research and it’s way less expensive than an assistant. From firsthand experience, I can highly recommend them. You can receive a 30 day free trial by going to www.CREfirms.com.
However you go about the process, never ignore the power of feeding your key contact database. Take what you know in commercial real estate and impress who you know by having those people in a well populated database.

6 Traits Commercial Real Estate Brokers Should Learn From Tim Tebow

January 11th, 2012

No matter what you think of “Tebow Mania”, you have to admit it’s been interesting to watch. Love him or hate him, the guy is a proven winner which is what most of us certainly try to be when it comes to our commercial real estate brokerage practices. I’ll admit, I’ve been on the Tebow bandwagon and I’ve developed a few parallels that I think can be applied to what we do to be “winners’ in commercial real estate. I’ve identified 6 traits that Tim Tebow exemplifies and that you will also find in almost every successful broker:

 

  1. ATTITUDE: Tebow has always had the attitude of a winner. He knows what it takes to prepare and he goes about his business with a positive mindset, even though he is under tremendous scrutiny and pressure. It’s been hard to have a positive attitude in the commercial real estate business over the past couple of years, but the attitude you project day in and day out reflects how you approach your business. I believe you either project a winning attitude or a losing attitude.
  2. ENTHUSIASM: Tim Tebow loves the game and it shows. He has been displaying a childlike enthusiasm on the field and off since he was at Florida. That enthusiasm is contagious and makes everyone from his teammates to his fans want to be a part of it. Dale Carnegie said “Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence is the quality that most frequently makes for success”. Be enthusiastic about everything you do. When you make a cold call, meet a client for the first time or make a marketing presentation exude enthusiasm that tells the person on the other end that you LOVE what you are doing. More importantly, enthusiasm is the reinforcement of belief.
  3. COACHABILITY: Throughout his football career, Tebow’s coaches have raved about him. Why? Because their job is to coach and he is a coachable kid. Even when he was experiencing championship success at the University of Florida, he remained disciplined and open to the coaching he was receiving. (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…)

Defrosting The Cold Call

September 20th, 2011

I’ve heard of the 3 biggest lies in the world, but one has been forgotten….” I love cold calling!” Sure, there’s always the commercial broker at a party or in the office who proclaims his love for making cold calls and all of the justifications. He’s lying. Nobody likes making cold calls for one simple reason…. Nobody likes BEING cold called. There are a number of ancillary reasons, rejection, time consuming, low payoff, etc., but when we really think about it….. it just isn’t any fun. Maybe because of the “cold” part. In the context of calling someone you don’t know and who doesn’t know you, a “cold” call implies that you are simply going to spew your commercial real estate agent 30 second elevator speech to whoever correlates to the name on your list and the voice on the phone. Isn’t that what every cold call you’ve received sounds like?

What we need to hear the person on the other end of the phone say (right after “hello”), is “WHY AM I LISTENING TO YOU”. You have very little time to deliver the answer to that question. “I’m a great commercial real estate agent and you should work with me” isn’t going to cut it.

In order to turn the cold call into a warm call and thus enjoy some positive results, you have to put a little work into what makes up each call. Think “quality” as much as “quantity”.  As commercial real estate professionals, I assume we are not calling out of the phone book. Effective business development starts with building a data base and populating it with as much information as possible about the target prospects in your market. This must include the obvious, owners name and contact information, but also should include a complete property record, photo of the property that YOU take, loan info if available, market data such as rental rates, market concessions, and your notes from visiting the property. When you are physically visiting the property you plan to enter into your database, envision yourself touring it with the owner. Note anything and everything you can make a comment about…….. new landscaping, broken sidewalk, remodeled lobby, vacancy on the directory. These notes must be in your database record along with all of the previously mentioned information.

Now your call goes something like this…. (more…)

Commercial Real Estate Brokers Ask: “Should I Prospect Owners Or Bank Owned Property?”

August 20th, 2011

The numbers are mind boggling. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of commercial real estate loans maturing in the next 4 years. About a half a TRILLION dollars to be exact according to the Bloomberg Real Estate Briefing Report. So with all of this debt coming due and no apparent way to refinance it, commercial real estate brokers should be honing in on all that REO that the lenders and special servicers are going to have to get rid of right? Not so fast.

Unlike the RTC days of the early 1990’s, lenders these days are not following the traditional playbook of “don’t pay and we repossess the collateral”. The S& L crisis that spawned the RTC was about $160 billion, a drop in the bucket compared with what we are facing today. Lenders have introduced a few new catch phrases into the market to keep the gravity of the situation a bit lighter…..” pretend, amend and extend” and my particular favorite, “a rolling loan gathers no loss”. So if the lenders are reluctant to foreclose or accept deeds in lieu, where is the opportunity for us commercial real estate brokers and agents? (more…)