Tips for commercial property owners and landlords.
Say it with us: “My commercial property is not special. It’s a commodity.” Say it again. And again. Until it becomes your mantra.
Overcoming the notion that your property is the greatest thing since sliced bread is an important first step in preparing to list it. Very often—and we’ve seen this time and again—commercial property owners equate the money, blood, sweat and tears invested in a property with its marketability and potential for a quick, smooth sale.
This is totally normal and understandable. We all want the things we invest in to be special and remarkable.
However, the most important step on the road to a quick sale or lease contract is to start seeing your property objectively. Not emotionally. Your property is, in fact, a commodity. A commodity that needs to be professionally positioned and marketed to sell in a competitive marketplace.
Step two should be engaging an experienced commercial real estate broker early to help you understand how to position your asset for success. By engaging a broker from the start, you can avoid mistakes that could have a prolonged impact on the sales or leasing processes.
Taking these two steps will help you achieve these important objectives:
1. Establish the right niche and buyer/tenant audience.
In order to tell the right property story, you’ll need to know who you want sitting around the campfire. An experienced commercial real estate professional with local insights can look at your property objectively and identify the target audiences that will be most attracted to your property. Your broker will help you uncover your niche, and position your property to stand out among an often crowded field.
An experienced commercial real estate broker will find your niche and audience by:
- Doing their due diligence. Your broker will use a combination of data analysis, market research, networking and local know-how to uncover what sets your property apart from others in the primary market. A thorough due diligence process can determine which property characteristics are true differentiators (based on data and research), or, conversely, which aspects you’ll want to avoid or downplay in your positioning approach. An experienced broker will also use their local knowledge of municipal or regional developments to help position your property strategically. Remember, this is what commercial real estate brokers do. Every day. All year. Don’t go it alone.
- Building buyer/tenant profiles. Your experienced commercial real estate professional will use the due diligence process to develop buyer or tenant profiles. To market effectively you need to identify your top audiences, documenting who they are, what they need and how you might reach them. Your broker can help build a positioning and marketing strategy that will communicate the value of your property in a way that engages these specific, research-based profiles.
2. Embrace the brave new world of commercial real estate marketing.
Now more than ever, buyers and tenants have choices. To successfully market to your niche audience, you and your chosen broker need to be prepared to integrate to differentiate. What does that mean, exactly? The right broker will know, but to find that experienced commercial real estate professional, you’ll need to ask the right questions:
- How intimately do they know your market? Your selected partner needs to have deep knowledge of your local market to position your property correctly. If they don’t know the market, they can’t possibly advise you on how your property fits within it.
- Do they employ an integrated positioning and marketing approach? Hitting your niche target audience with consistent messaging across multiple “touch points” (signage, advertising, word-of-mouth, networking events, social media and compelling content distribution) creates the greatest opportunity for generating qualified leads for your property. Choose the broker that has an integrated marketing and positioning approach, as this will provide you with the greatest bang for your buck.
- How do they leverage social media outlets and technology? Successful brokers and brokerage firms balance traditional word-of-mouth marketing by drawing leads in with terrific web-based marketing content (state-of-the-art websites, blogs, webinars, LinkedIn and Facebook posts, Tweets) rather than by bombarding them with direct mail or print advertising. Ask about this during your interview. If a commercial real estate brokerage does not have a strong online presence and a very clear strategy for the use of cutting-edge technology, it’s probably not the best broker to position your property for sale or lease. Remember, while many brokers and brokerages use social media, without a well thought out strategic approach, they just do it for show.
Now, add one thing to your list of final interview agenda items before signing on with the commercial real estate professional of your dreams. Before you sign that listing agreement, ask yourself the following:
“Is this commercial real estate broker special, or a commodity?”
Make sure you’ve found the broker who knows how to tell the right story about your property to the people who want to hear it most. And then go get that property sold or occupied on a long-term lease.
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