Business has changed quite a bit since the golden age of real estate. No longer can you put a small ad in the phone book and expect hundreds of calls. Now-a-days a marketing plan requires you to think, plan, and act before it works. Here are some secrets to help your commercial real estate marketing plan work.
Treat yourself and your listings separately. You need two marketing plans. One marketing plan for you and another for your listings. Your listings should go through a process where they are consistently getting a sign, brochure, and being placed on LoopNet, Property Line and CoStar. Additional marketing activities can begin if a listing isn’t turning over or is a premier listing. You need your own marketing plan consisting of a website, special report, email newsletter, and mailers. All brokerages require their agents to bring in their own leads, so you need to be responsible for a consistent in-flow of leads.
Understand the role of a brokerage and agent. Understanding roles in our positions is key. Your broker has two responsibilities: (1) bring in new, productive agents and (2) help your current listings turn-over as fast as possible. Brokers only offer marketing materials that can solve these two dilemmas. That’s why your sign, listing brochure, and company website is provided; these materials are required for hiring of agents and turning over listings. Developing a plan to bring in prospects and turn them into hot leads is your job.
Remove broker versus agent mentality. I find that “me against management” happens more often in larger firms than smaller ones. This happens for a few reasons: (1) perceived favoritism, (2) management requesting more money from agents with no suggestions on how to increase business, and (3) lack of clear goals.
Perceived favoritism is the most common reason agents turn against their brokers and management. If one team consistently gets 10 signs on an unprofitable property while another team gets 1 sign on a premier property; this can cause divisions among agents and their management. Providing a clear marketing budget per listing (such as 2.5% of total potential commission) and sticking to it is the best way to stop the madness.
Management requesting more money with no solutions or suggestions. Screaming at agents to cold call isn’t going to motivate them to make more money. If you read this blog, you’ll know I’m not a huge fan of cold calling anyway. An agent needs a plan with clear goals and measurements. Have them read the 8 Essential Marketing Tips for Commercial Real Estate Agents it’s full of new ideas and tips to marketing themselves as agents. It’s also easy and fairly inexpensive, making it difficult to rebel against.
Lack of clear goals. This is a big issue among all brokerage firms. If a broker believes he/she is surrounded by laziness, it’s likely this broker hasn’t provided clear goals. There’s no shame in telling your agents, “Please make $X dollars a year. Otherwise you’re not profitable to me.” It’s humiliating for an agent to get fired from a commission only job, giving them goals for job security is important.
If you’re an agent, try to stay away from the broker versus agent mentality. Your time and energy should be spent on making money, not being angry with management.
Cure empty desk syndrome. The golden age of real estate caused everyone to rush into getting their real estate license. Those desks were easily filled with eager, new agents ready to make their millions. Now that the golden age is over those fortune seekers moved onto the next trendy job. This economic shift left many commercial real estate firms with empty desks that are nearly impossible to fill. The answer is not to squeeze more money out of your remaining agents. If you are unable to move into a smaller office space, fill those desks with outsiders. Web designers, graphic designers, consultants, and other service based small businesses would love to have a desk and mailing address in a real office space! For many of them, renting a full office isn’t feasible. But the appeal of having a shared conference room and professional address is a big seller. Renting cubicles can bring in $100-$175 while an office with locking door can bring in around $275-$450. The extra bits of cash can really help your bottom line.
Stay positive. It’s cliché, but true. You speak your own destiny. Complaining and being negative will likely only bring in more misery since only miserable people want to be around you. Miserable people aren’t usually wealthy, so the hell with them! You want to attract wealthy clientele with cash to spend on your commission fees. Staying positive and pleasant will bring you closer to the people you want to be with.