Everyone’s heard about a business plan, but commercial real estate brokers don’t realize that a marketing plan is just as vital. Unlike a business plan, commercial real estate marketing plans focus on gaining and retaining customers. A good marketing plan will spell out all the tools and tactics you’ll need to achieve your sales goal.
Step 1 – Situation Analysis. Define yourself and your services offered. What can you offer that your competitors don’t?
Preparing a SWOT analysist is a great way to start the process, especially if you’re having trouble figuring out what your unique service will be. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just list a few bullet points under each item.
Now you have a good idea of what your competition lacks. Capitalize on their weaknesses.
For example, if you’re a single agent brokerage up against a full-service CRE firm, your competitors probably lack customization or personal attention to properties. Consider limiting yourself to taking on 4-5 landlords and work diligently to fill vacancies on a few properties at a time. Encourage new landlords to join your “waitlist” to be notified when you’ll be available to take on a new project.
If you’re an agent in a sea of competition, establish a clear “product marketing” strategy. For example, when someone signs with you, you’ll follow a pre-determined marketing plan to ensure full market saturation: (1) post the listing on # of online databases, (2) send an email blast with # email services, hitting over 200,000 potential buyers/lessees, (3) advertise the listing on your monthly e-newsletter, (4) advertise the listing on your personal website, (5) advertise the listing as “Premium” on Loopnet for # weeks, (6) email your listing to # news outlets. Get creative! Most agents put up a sign and leave, so a full marketing plan would be a great unique selling proposition.
Step 2 – Define your Target Client. This is where agents get a little nervous. “I have a mortgage, I don’t want to turn anyone away!” I get you. The thing is, defining a target client, isn’t the same as turning away deals. Instead, you’re defining who you WANT to work with.
Just because you decide to focus on retail leases in downtown, it doesn’t mean you HAVE to turn away the guy that’s selling his industrial building. Instead, you’re spending your advertising time and dollars in gaining your ideal clients.
You likely chose to be an independent agent, so you could choose who you work with. Don’t lose sight of that goal!
Step 3 – List your marketing goals. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Mine is simple. 20% Growth in revenue each year. That’s it!! See, this one is easy.
Step 4 – Develop the tactics to achieve your goal(s). How will you achieve your goal? Here’s where we do some math.
If you have a sales goal, then think back to your average revenue per deal.
$100,000 – Average Deal in CRE (Your average deal may differ)
3% to Agent, 3% to Brokerage, which means your average closed deal is about $3,000. If you made $40,000 last year and want to make 20% more this year, then you’ll need to close about 16 deals this year.
Now you have a starting point! How will you get those 16 deals?
Some ideas include:
- Relationship build with your current clients to gain additional deals.
- Purchasing a list from Reonomy and do some cold emails.
- Send out email blasts to investors about market conditions in your area and how you can help find a profitable location / property.
- Start a blog that your target audience would want to read, “15 Pitfalls to Avoid When Revitalizing Apartment Buildings”
- Setup and automated cold call system including Direct to Voicemail and/or Mass Text.
- Create a website to capture online searches or gain expert credibility.
- Social media presence.
- SEO strategies.
- Google Adwords.
Step 5 – Set your Budget. Now you have a bunch of ideas on how to achieve that dream, time to calculate how much you can spend each month. Any budget can be established, even as low as $100 a month.
Lower Budgets – Focus on relationship building, as this will cost you maybe a lunch or coffee. Cold emailing software can be $40 a month. You’ll also be shocked at how cheap Automated Cold Calls can be. Social media and starting a blog don’t cost a thing but time!
Medium Budgets – Do everything from lower budgets + GET A WEBSITE. Seriously, if you have money rolling in, this is what you should be doing now. We don’t know how long this amazing market will last, so get a website running before things turn. The fair-weather competition will disappear during a bear-market, leaving only the strong. During the coming bear market, you’ll have less competition as agents leave the industry. The more internet presence you have, the more potential clients will turn to you for their listings.
Large Budgets – It’s time for you to start thinking about social media, SEO and Google Adwords. They can be a huge asset and direct a lot of traffic to your website. Focus your website on converting those visitors into clients. Everything should be pointing to a call-to-action. 5 Steps to a Killer Lead Generating Website.