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“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 Read the rest of this entry »

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 Read the rest of this entry »

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 Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Your “BIG WHY”?

May 5th, 2013

You may have heard this one before, but it is a powerful demonstration of my point. You’re standing at an open window on the 75th floor of a skyscraper. There is a narrow plank stretching about 100 feet across to the 75th floor window of an adjoining skyscraper. There is a man on the other side and he is holding a huge bag of cash. You don’t know how much but you know it’s a lot. If you can make it across, the cash is yours. You’re told that only 10% of the people who have tried to make it across were successful and 90% plummeted to their death. Are you going to try it? How much money needs to be in that bag for you to risk it?

Same scenario but this time the man isn’t holding a bag of cash. This time he’s dangling your child (or mom, or someone you love very deeply) and threatening to let go. You are the only person who can stop him IF you can rise to the challenge and make it across in time. Are you going to try it now?

The point is clear. When we think about it, there are plenty of things that transcend money in our lives. Our family, our health…… but the distinct, pre-defined measure of success in business is virtually always money. That’s fine, but if you do a little soul searching, it’s not really the money that creates a passionate drive that get’s you motivated every day. There are lots of ways to make money, and lots of ways to make large amounts of money. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s In It For THEM

April 30th, 2013

My good friend and colleague Larry Pino wrote a blog post last year where he related a wonderful story that also serves as a great lesson

Lawrence J. Pino

for commercial real estate brokerage professionals. With his permission, I have posted it here and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. There is a big difference between talking to your prospects about features and talking to them about how your services will benefit them, solve their problem, improve their situation, etc. Learn how to get on the client’s agenda so you can talk about “what’s in it for them”. One last observation……it takes practice! Notice that Isabella role played her new found sales techniques over and over until she was confident in her approach! Great lesson from a 7 year old. Enjoy:

We had quite a bit of drama in the household a few evenings ago.

Isabella, newly installed into the 2nd grade, expected some family and neighborhood lay-downs when she started pitching magazine subscriptions for the annual contest.

Apparently, depending on how many subscriptions you sell, and how much money you collect in a two-week period of time, you get to be invited to the Dippy Dot reward party where extra spiffs are handed out to the 2nd graders who did particularly well. Read the rest of this entry »

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.” Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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: Read the rest of this entry »

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). Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »