Friday, January 6, 2017

Six Commercial Real Estate Lessons Learned in 2016

I’m sure many of you reading this post have broken all of your 2017 New Year’s resolutions. That's what a week back to the grind will do for you. What appears to be a good lifestyle change in the fog of December 31st quickly becomes fodder for the refuse once the reality of life kicks in. So, I won't bore you with my resolutions but instead provide you with some commercial real estate lessons I learned last year. 

Lesson one. Commercial real estate is woefully behind our residential counterparts when it comes to technology. Our industry is dominated by old, grey haired men. We haven't embraced technology. Quite the contrary, we shun it. Have you ever attempted to conduct an on line search for a commercial property? Forget about it! The options are limited, clunky, and costly. Plus, to truly gain any knowledge about the offering, you must contact a broker. You'll be lucky to get a returned call. The reason? Our data is differently shared. We aren't bound by boards of Realtors, like our residential brethren. Thus, you need a key to the walled garden -  a commercial broker - to see inside. 

Lesson two. The key to a sustainable source of transactions is your network. Chances are, your network is comprised of three sets of professionals – those upstream from your deals, downstream from your deals, and others unrelated to your business. Build your network with those whom you can trust and refer to them generously Team with your network in creative ways – introduce a contractor to a building owner, give a talk at a trade group, or author an article for an industry publication. In the process, you add tremendous value to your clients and help your network build their business. 

Lesson three. Champion content marketing. Approximately nine of ten searches for commercial properties begin on line. If you refer to Lesson one above, searchers become frustrated as they realize commercial queries aren't as fruitful as residential. Therefore, a digital presence is critical. Rich, helpful, and timely videos, blog posts, and “how to” articles, are the best way to build an on line presence. If folks can’t find you on the web, you're invisible!

Lesson four. As business people, we only have our time and our knowledge to share. If you are generous with both, your life is more meaningful. 

Lesson five. Find a way to focus on your strengths. Every business day contains tasks that expose a weakness – whether it's a lack of technological skill, an aversion to details, or a reluctance to prospect.  Chances are, someone is close by whose strengths are your weakness. A collaboration – blending differing skill sets to affect a positive result – is frequently the answer. 

Lesson six. Don't be afraid to go “old school” – such as: Drop by in person vs calling, avoid an email and mail a handwritten note, or attend a tour of your listing.