Why am I writing this in 2018?! Everyone should have a website by now! Nope. A minority of commercial real estate agents have their own website. A shockingly low percentage of brokerages have a website. For anyone that’s worked in commercial real estate, you know this industry is a “late adapter” to technology. This can be used to you advantage.
80% of Investors and Tenants. According to LoopNet’s “Commercial Real Estate Consumer Online Behavior Study” (source) 80% of commercial real estate investors and tenants agreed that they rely on the Internet for their CRE information needs. Over half of them began their search for properties online using a search engine (like Google). This means, if you’re not showing up on Internet searches, you’re likely missing out on over 50% of the deals.
What does this mean? The corner office guy – we’ll call him Bob – seems to have all the contacts from a stead-fast and loyal clientele. What Bob doesn’t know is 80% of his clients are searching the internet before they make that phone call to his office. 80% of his clients are “up for grabs” on the Internet before they enlist his help.
Become a Client Resource. Detail the services you offer, along with processes and procedures. You may think this is boring, but a graphical representation of your process can be a great way to distinguish you from Bob. Your process will look something like (1) put your listing on LoopNet, (2) place your listing on CREXi, (3) pull demographics, (4) create a brochure, (5) place brochure online, (6) add listing to personal website, (7) email blast current clients, (8) email blast on out-side resources.
Showing an infographic or simple icons with short descriptions is a great way to convey your services in an easy-to-understand, organized way.
Brand Yourself. Do you have a favorite kind of property or client? Maybe tenant rep is preferred, or you want to sell multi-family properties. Whoever your preferred client, use your website to distinguish yourself as the “expert” in that field.
This does not mean you have to turn down that industrial warehouse for lease. Instead, consider advertising yourself as a specialist to gather “preferred clients” without turning away the usual suspects.
Staying Current. If Bob’s website has been the same static photos and content for the last 10-years, you can appear busier by staying current. Your website can be set to feed posts from your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. accounts to show activity. Also, a blog or video series can keep you top-of-mind and relevant.
Brokerage Switching is Easier. What happens if you leave your brokerage? If you’ve already created a heavy internet presence, you can simply change the logo, color scheme, and continue the strategy! Before your own website, changing brokerages could be devastating. Your former brokerage could be strong-arming clients to switch to a new agent. They could lie and say you’re out of the game or moved out-of-state. With an internet search they’ll be able to find you easily.
Educate your Clients. Branding yourself and educating potential clients has become one-in-the-same. To prove you’re the guru, empty every thought you have into the Internet. (For instance, this is my 193rd blog post!) The more original, helpful content you give to your potential clients, the higher your street cred.
Don’t wait until the market slows down and your deals are stalling. Get a website now while business good and cash is flowing. The more lead funnels you have – website, social media, networking, etc. – the less you’re going to feel the next bear market.
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