This post is dedicated to the commercial real estate unsung heroes – the Marketing Specialists. I was once one of you! Here are 7 tips I wish someone would have told me when I started working in commercial real estate marketing.
1) Your #1 concern is turning around listings ASAP. Yes, that means your main objective is to become a “flyer factory” and live in online databases like LoopNet, Property Line, and CoStar. Don’t leave for the day until all your new listings are up in the online databases – the flyers can wait until tomorrow but the databases cannot. Although your agent(s) may waver on what they want your focus to be, stick to new listings. Remember, your paycheck comes from closed listings so turning-over new listings is your priority.
2) Brochure / Flyer information. Touchy subject for many agents! The purpose of a flyer is to sell or lease the property, not bring fame to individual agents or companies. You may have to rein in some insane requests for multiple areas of contact info (once is plenty!) and bizarre color combos that don’t fit the corporate branding. The only headline on the brochure should be basic property info, “30,000 Acres of Retail Zoned C-2 Land for Sale, Southeast Valley.” Don’t let the agents put their name or company on the headline!
3) Property photos. If you have a marketing manager above you, you’ve probably been screamed at regarding poor brochure quality – this is most likely due to poor property photos. Unless you have the time to take photos yourself, this is the agent’s job. Try to stress the difference between real camera photos and photos from a crappy “pay-by-month” cell phone. If you’re having continuing issues, explain to the agents that images are important and you’re getting in trouble for their inability to carry a camera. Usually when an agent realizes that his or her actions are affecting you directly, they’re happy to start carrying a camera.
4) Online directories. A listing’s presentation on online directories (LoopNet, Property Line, an CoStar) is the most crucial element to getting the listing turned over – and getting your paychecks cashed. Don’t half-ass the online directories! Each listing should have multiple photos (resized for fast browser loading), floorplan or site map, aerial map with highlighted parcel(s), detailed descriptions, and detailed bullet points. Retail and office spaces should have each available suite detailed, square feet, and pricing info. If your agent doesn’t want to release pricing info, explain that it makes people think the property is over-priced and will not translate to more leads. After-all, listing turn-over affects you too.
5) Checklists are your BFFs. Again, your #1 job is to keep the online directories updated. Whenever you have an update to a listing, you’ll need to follow a checklist of revisions to ensure all aspects of the listing are up-to-date. (1) Update the online directories, (2) update the flyer and send to agent for approval, (3) once flyer is approved upload the PDF on the directories (delete the old flyer), (4) send the agent a link to the listing for each online directory to see updates have been completed. Keeping the agent in-the-loop about revisions to his/her listing is key to receiving good performance reviews.
6) Destroy perceived favoritism. Most successful sales agents have alpha personalities. Alphas have a way of getting people to want to join their leadership. You cannot participate in this follow-along mentality. Marketing specialists have to remain neutral to all agents and teams, not doing so will cause perceived favoritism. Perceived favoritism is the #1 cause of broker versus agent mentality; this problem should not originate from the marketing specialist. If you’re having issues with perceived favoritism, speak with your marketing manager or broker. You need a chart of, “Revenue from Listing x 2.5% = Listing’s Marketing Budget”. If an agent wants more money, they need to pitch it to your broker or marketing manager…not you. Negotiations should be made without the marketing specialist present to avoid favoritism issues.
7) Stand up for yourself. Sales agents are encouraged to take charge and try to control everyone around them. You are not an exception. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Believe it or not, agents actually like being put in their place. It’s not a common for agents to meet someone that resists the alpha-type charm; this ability distinguishes you from the sheep. It may be a long road, but they’ll eventually respect your authority on the subject of marketing. If you’re conflict-avoidant this may not be the career for you!