Marketing Plan in 30 Days: Day 1
Commercial real estate agents are often concerned by the idea of taking on a specialty. Thinking by segmenting the market, they are allowing deals to slip away. The truth is, specializing doesn’t mean you HAVE to pass on potential deals. You can specialize in downtown industrial warehouses and take on the occasional retail tenant. The idea is to advertise to the people you WANT to work with. It’s not a requirement to turn down additional work.
1. Expertise builds value. Choosing an area of specialty can provide your business with more value. If you are headed on an arctic expedition would you want a “tour guide” or an “arctic expert” to guide you? The concept for commercial real estate is the same. People will gladly pay higher commissions to an industry or local expert.
2. Better clients, better deals. Consider the deals that you legitimately enjoy doing. What was the last deal that brought you joy? Medical office space? Finding an industrial distribution center? Whatever it is, select your specialty based on what you ENJOY doing. At first, you can take those smaller non-specialty deals to make ends meet. Over time, you’ll be able to send non-specialty deals to a colleague and collect referrals, leaving time to focus on your preferred area or industry.
3. Specialties can be safety nets. During booming times, it can sound crazy to specialize. The deals are coming in fast, listings are turning over quickly, and all you have to do is open your arms and catch the falling cash. Downturns are where specialties suddenly become important. When it’s no longer easy to turnaround properties and deals dry up is when clients start seeking higher priced specialists. Specialists know the tricks, the industry leads, and have a contact list of people that may be interested in their property. Specialists are the agents that get all the deals in downturns. I sat and watched our North Las Vegas industrial specialist rake in deals during the 2008 bust while our “sales and leasing specialists” paced and wondered where the deals had gone.
4. Less work. A bit of a narcissistic reason to specialize, but it’s true! When you’re a specialist, you don’t have to research a broad collection of topics. If only need to know what’s happening in the downtown office market, you don’t need to scour multiple news sources to get the most recent information. It’s likely you need a market watch on the industry and signup for a “what’s happening in downtown?” community newsletter. Driving your territory is quite easier too, since it’s not the whole of a city. Check out signage and judge your market share.
5. Can generalization be my specialty? Technically, yes, it’s possible. Wherein lies the rub is advertising your business. Shotgun advertising techniques to blast everyone in the market is expensive. If you’re down-right set on being a generalist, I suggest setting a goal of a few big clients with large portfolios, instead of one-hundred small clients. Knowing the ins-and-outs of your few, loyal clients will be your specialty. Being a generalist is taxing – you must be ready to learn and research new information at every new turn. Keeping to a few, select clients will keep you sane. Focus on advertising to whales with large portfolios – that will be your target market.