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Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Top 5 Books For New Commercial Real Estate Agents

September 29th, 2014

 

If you’re on our website, you are probably either just getting started in commercial real estate or you haven’t been at it for very long. This career that you have chosen can be extremely rewarding and provide a pretty great lifestyle, but make no mistake, it is by no means easy. Commercial heroreal estate brokerage requires competitiveness, skill, professionalism and organization. You will become better with each transaction and frankly with each mistake you make (assuming you learn from your mistakes). However, there are some tried and true business books out there that can help you improve your skills and guide you to avoid some of those pitfalls which can help you to accelerate your success in commercial real estate.

This week I am going to list my top 5 book recommendations which I think every commercial real estate agent should read if they are relatively new to the business. There are many more and I recommend you search through the ever growing list in the Smart CRE Broker Book Club, but these 5 can have a profound impact your career. *Note, to purchase any of these books either click on the link below or visit the Smart CRE Broker Book Club here.

1. Spin Selling, by Neil Rackham – The reason Spin Selling is such an important book for commercial real estate agents is that it drills down on the importance of asking the right questions in the discovery process. The progression of these questions naturally bring the prospects’ needs and desires to the surface so that you are able to provide solutions. Spin is an acronym for those types of questions, “Situation” questions, “Problem” questions, “Implication” questions and “Need Payoff” questions. Mr. Rackham and his company have done extraordinary research related to large sales methods. Also check out the accompanying Spin Selling  Workbook.

2. Winning Through Intimidation, by Robert J. Ringer – This is an oldie but goodie or as I prefer to call it… a classic. This was the book I read that convinced me that I wanted to be a commercial real estate professional. The title is a bit misleading because the book does not teach you to be “intimidating”. It simply tells you how to deal with various types of individuals that you may encounter in the business and also has some great lessons on branding.

3. How To Master the Art of Selling, by Tom Hopkins – There are more books on how to sell than you can count, but Tom Hopkins may be the preeminent authority on selling when it comes to real estate. Granted, he built his brokerage career in the residential world, but the strategies and tactics he outlines in How to Master the Art of Selling are universal. This is an excellent book for anyone in sale and a necessity if you are in commercial real estate.

4. Think Like a Champion, by Donald Trump – Say what you will about The Donald, but the guy has built an incredible brand primarily through investment in commercial real estate. He may not be the most popular fellow with the people he does business with but he offers some terrific advice for maintaining a winning mindset in Think Like a Champion.

5. Fearless Cold Calling for Commercial Real Estate Agents, by Dan A. Colachicco (you didn’t think I’d leave my own book off of this list now did you?) – If you are in commercial real estate, the most effective way to develop new business is the good old fashioned cold call. This seems to be the toughest skill for new agents to embrace so I wrote a “quick read” guide to help you overcome some of the obstacles many agents face when trying to build their client base.

Digital Marketing For Commercial Real Estate Brokerage (Part 2)

September 15th, 2014

This is the second in a three part series discussing Digital Marketing For Commercial Real Estate Brokerage. In Part 1 we discussed how to effectively establish an online presence through the building of a dynamic website. We also discussed the power of strategic email marketing to keep yourself in front of clients and prospects. This week we are going to get even more pro-active and talk about branding yourself as a “trusted authority” within the commercial real estate brokerage industry.

Newspaper Icon with News Title on Blue Arrow.Imagine two scenarios where you are exposed to the same information. First, you see an ad in the newspaper or in a magazine. The ad is from a commercial real estate brokerage firm and the headline of the ad is “ABC Commercial Brokers Grand Opening….Full Service Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Seeking New Listings” or something to that effect. It may get your attention and the message is clear.

Alternatively, you see a post when you do a Google Search for commercial real estate in your city. The post is from Yahoo News or Newswire or some other “news” source on the web. The headline reads FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: “ABC Commercial Sees Growth Potential For Anytown, Enters Market With New Office”. What follows is an informational article with quotes from the broker discussing all of the positives related to the commercial real estate market in your city and how this growth has led them to offer their acclaimed commercial real estate brokerage services to new clients (more…)

Digital Marketing for Commercial Real Estate Brokerage (Part 1)

September 8th, 2014

My client was a global executive suite company and we were negotiating on a 10 year lease for a 22,000 square foot space in Atlanta. “We can’t sign the lease until we know when our Yellow Pages Ad will come out. Our opening needs to coincide with when the Yellow Pages books are delivered.”  We had missed the deadline by 5 weeks so our expansion into the Atlanta market had to wait until next year. That’s how important the physical Yellow Pages Ad was for my client in 1992. Why? Because in 1992 the Yellow Pages Book was the “go to” source for finding products, services, restaurants and any other type of local business you were looking for. That was then….this is now.

Marketing concept. Red hot key on computer keyboard with loud spDelivery methods for marketing messages are dominated by digital communications. You may be reading this blog on your laptop, desktop, tablet or smart phone but you are most likely not reading it off of a sheet of paper. So it goes with modern marketing and branding. Commercial real estate brokerage is just beginning to catch on to the idea. We take for granted that a search for information about a company, an individual and yes, a property is but a few clicks or taps of a digital keyboard away. If the connection is too slow (meaning it takes more than about 5 seconds to show up on our device) we grit our teeth in frustration.

As technology continues to evolve at a dizzying pace, we as commercial real estate brokerage professionals will need to harness the tools available to us so that the marketing and branding messages we put out to the world remain relevant and dynamic. This will provide commercial real estate agents and brokers a competitive edge almost as important as their skill set.

This will be the first of 3 posts where we will layout the most basic fundamentals and (more…)

Don’t Be Short Sighted When Evaluating Commercial Brokerage Relationships

August 11th, 2014

I was speaking with a coaching students today who was struggling with a decision about whether or not to bring a current listing with her to her new firm. The listing was a leasing assignment for the last remaining space within a 36,000 square foot office building. That space consisted of 2,700 square feet. All lease renewals for the remaining occupied space were not included in the assignment. My student explained to me that the building owner was a large REIT and they required extensive reporting on the progress of the iStock_000001958451XSmallmarketing for the space which my student was required to do on a weekly basis. She explained how time consuming the reporting was and that the client had expressed some dissatisfaction with the signage and marketing materials that were produced by her marketing department. As you’ve probably guessed, she was struggling with whether or not it was “worth it” to take on all of this time consuming work for such a small assignment (which of course carried with it a relatively small fee).

How do you see this situation and what would you do? The real question to ask is “what is the desired payoff for all of the time and effort required of this assignment”? Many commercial real estate agents would calculate the potential commission and immediately come to the conclusion that the fee simply does not justify the time investment required by the client. Focusing strictly on the paycheck that correlates with successfully closing the transaction is very short sighted. Keep in mind who the client is. The client is a large REIT who is a significant player in the market. If you have never (more…)

Focus On Exclusive Listings & Control Your Destiny

July 14th, 2014

The phone rings. “Hi, I’ve got some money I need to invest into a good commercial real estate deal. I’m ready to buy right awaysays the very authoritative prospect on the other end of the phone. If you are relatively new to the business, this certainly sounds like an exciting call right? Maybe….maybe not. You begin to qualify the prospect by asking some questions about their specific needs.

“I’ve got a few hundred grand to put down, and I have a great relationship with my bank so financing won’t be a problem. I want a 20 – 30 unit apartment building within a 30 minute driving distance from my home. It has to be low maintenance and have a high occupancy. I don’t like problems and I want a nice cash flow right from the beginning. It should be located in a good neighborhood near public transportation and nice amenities like shopping and restaurants. Ya got anything like that kid?”

Pretty specific and the prospect certainly sounds real. Based on the info you’re now armed with, you set out spending your valuable time researching and tracking down qualified properties. You scour Loopnet and CoStar. You drive the market. You call other brokers who have similar listings. Maybe you make a few cold calls to owners of properties that fit the bill. Hours, days maybe a week or two of work and you’re ready to show the prospect 3 solid prospects that fit what he described perfectly. You call to set an appointment for showings.

“Oh yeah, hi kid. Hey listen, my brother in laws cousins girlfriend turned me on to a great deal on a distressed shopping center in Ohio that I could buy for cheap. Plus it’s only 50%  leased so there is plenty of upside. The market is a bit dicey but it’s turning around so I’m just in time for the upswing. And the seller will hold the financing so I don’t have to try to qualify for a bank loan. But thanks for looking….I’ll call you again if I ever want to buy something else.”  Time and effort, down the drain.

While this may be an extreme example, it happens all the time. Combing the market looking for (more…)

Delivering “Shock & Awe” To Win More Business

March 17th, 2014

The field is crowded. How many listing emails do you get each day? How many deal flyers and postcards clutter your mailbox every day? What percentage of what you see stands out to you?

Our prospects and clients experience the same thing. As commercial real estate agents and brokers, I believe we have become far too predictable in our approach to business development. Everything from the features and benefits we talk about to the new business proposals we present to our prospects and the marketing packages we deliver to our buyers, very few truly stand out from the crowd. Competing in the commercial real estate brokerage industry is difficult enough. Do you have a strategy for differentiating yourself from the competition?

Occasionally I am told by a potential user of our Proposal Generator software something along the lines of “I don’t want to create a report that is more than 3 or 4 pages” or “The package is too thick”. I always find this perplexing when considering the end goal of every agent’s presentation. Needless to say, our business contains it’s fair share of complexities and the proposal is our opportunity to showcase our value proposition to the prospective client by delivering a package that is complete, well thought out and professionally presented. More importantly, the proposal we present is our first chance to truly differentiate ourselves from our competitors. Why wouldn’t you want to do that every single time you interact with your prospects?

The expression “Shock and Awe” originated as a description of what would be expected during the second military confrontation with Iraq. The vision speaks for itself. In terms of commercial real estate, “shock and awe” can happen if we truly differentiate ourselves by exceeding our prospects’ expectations in an extreme way. This is not that hard to accomplish, especially if the prospect bases those expectations on the same old song and dance they have seen and heard from most of the other agents out there. This tends to set the bar fairly low. Advantage you.

Shock and awe happens when you begin by truly listening to the prospect’s needs and wants. Conducting an in depth and serious discovery process where you ask several levels of questions that will allow you to clearly understand the prospect’s situation, problems and needs demonstrates to the prospect that you sincerely care about helping them. Gathering a complete (more…)

Proactive vs. Reactive Marketing for Commercial Real Estate

January 27th, 2014

The world of marketing has changed dramatically over the past 10 years or so. The advent of the internet, social media and mobile technology has allowed marketers to take a much more targeted approach to reaching their prospective clientele. While traditional media outlets continue to survive and in some cases thrive, marketing strategies for most industries have adjusted to more efficient methods with great success. Commercial real estate is an industry that is primed to benefit from making such an adjustment.

What is your typical marketing plan for new listings? Do you order the property sign? Do you start designing print advertisements for local newspapers, magazines, Loopnet and CoStar? Do you use the multiple listing service? Post to your company’s website? Obviously these are logical and somewhat necessary steps to be utilized in marketing your new listing. However, the nature of these marketing methods is that they are reactive outlets designed to take more of a shotgun approach for exposing your listing to potential buyers or tenants. The pertinent information is showcased through these outlets in the hopes that a qualified prospect will find it and be compelled to call you and learn more. This typically leaves the commercial real estate agent sitting at their desk in anxious anticipation of getting that call and springing to action.

Now let’s contrast these reactive marketing methods with a strategy for proactively reaching out to qualified buyers and tenants. Proactive marketing is more of a laser approach to reaching prospects for your new listing. Marketing proactively begins with prospects that are literally at your fingertips. Specifically, your own data base. Assuming you have structured your business to specialize in a property type and geographic area, the first place to expose your new listing is to the most probable prospects within your own data base. Who owns a similar property? Which prospects have defined a criteria that generally matches the aspects of your new listing? The most effective way to present your new listing to these prospects is to simply pick up the telephone and call them. Even if these prospects aren’t interested in your new listing, calling them gives you a quality (more…)

“HALF OF U.S. HOOKERS ARE SPACE ALIENS”

September 28th, 2013

Did that get your attention? Make you want to read this post? Probably. That is just one of the many outrageous headlines found on the cover of the tabloid Weekly World News. You’re probably asking what the heck this has to do with commercial real estate brokerage. Well in this post I want to talk about marketing, mainly email marketing. Email has become such a prevalent form of communication these days, especially in business, that most people are forced to filter through the bombardment of emails we get on a daily basis. Still, email can be a very effective tool for commercial real estate agents who want to market their listings, services or client needs. So the question becomes, how do you set yourself apart and rise above the noise?

When most people receive an email, the first thing they look at is the sender. Then, and almost immediately, they look at the subject line. If the sender isn’t immediately recognizable and the subject line sounds “spammy” or is irrelevant, that email is most likely either ignored or cast off to the trash bin without being read. All of this happens in a second or two.

Commercial real estate agents should put a great deal of thought into what goes into the subject line of every marketing email sent. I’m certainly not suggesting that you become the Weekly World News of commercial real estate brokerage with false or outrageous subject lines. I am suggesting that you really think about a “headline” for that space that will set you apart from all of the other stuff we see day in and day out…..and usually ignore. Think about how (more…)

Who The Heck Is William Dawes?

July 4th, 2013

On this Independence Day 2013, I thought I’d offer up a little history lesson and how we as commercial real estate brokerage professionals might learn from it.

Have you ever heard of William Dawes? William Dawes was a tanner in Boston  and around midnight on April 18th, 1775, he rode from Boston through the towns west of the city to Lexington spreading the news that the British were coming and planned an attack the next day. He was to alert the local militia leaders telling them to gather their men and prepare to meet the British troops by sunrise. He rode through the night hitting the towns of Roxbury, Brookline, Watertown and Waltham, Massachusetts and finally meeting his counterparts in Lexington.

William Dawes

Undoubtedly you’ve heard the story of Paul Revere’s famous ride, right? On the same night, at the same time, Paul Revere left Boston taking the northern route to spread the same message to the militia leaders in Charleston, Medford, North Cambridge and Arlington, meeting up with Dawes in Lexington in the early morning hours of April 19th.

The revolutionary war started on the morning of April 19th 1775 with the British army sweeping across the surrounding areas from Boston Harbor. When they reached the towns that were forewarned by Paul Revere they were met by the full militia with fierce resistance and defeated. The British troops who reached the towns that were supposed to have been forewarned by William Dawes were met with very little resistance, very few militia men and virtually marched through (more…)

Ten Clichés To Stop Using On Clients

March 2nd, 2013

By Nellie Day, Featured Contributor

There are certain lines that we rely on when making a point, particularly if it happens to be a selling point. While clichés will never disappear entirely from our vocabulary, commercial real estate agents seem to fall privy to these word traps quite often, particularly after the Great Recession. In the interest of your client’s sanity, here are 10 overused (and often misunderstood) business clichés you may want to lay off of.

1. Delay and Pray

Also known as “extend and pretend,” this cliché refers to the strategy some lenders have adopted in a down market whereby they hold commercial loans at pre-cash values instead of taking a loss on the books. This is done in the hopes that the market will soon turn around.

2. Main Street, not Wall Street

This phrase gained popularity during the Great Recession. Though there are many interpretations, it ultimately pits Middle America and everything associated with it against the “corporate greed” that many blame for the Great Recession. Agents often use this cliché when discussing the pros of a local real estate market. Others use it to emphasize the services in place that can help smaller or independent investors achieve their financial goals. Whatever the context, this phrase is as tired as “The Great Recession.” (more…)