Friday, November 15, 2013

Five #CRE news aggregators you MUST follow (and I do!)

I provide Location Advice to owners and occupants of manufacturing and warehouse buildings in Southern California...AKA I sell and lease commercial real estate for a living and have since 1984. I am also an avid blogger of all things CRE as frequenters of this blog will attest.

I am a content creator. I write blogs. I record YouTube videos. I author cartoons. I appreciate EVERYONE that spends time reading, listening, and commenting on the content I create!

I LOVE news aggregators (especially the ones that publish my stuff)...and some who don't. If you are not a content creator BUT still want to stay abreast of commercial real estate news and follow the content of many thought leaders in the industry, I would suggest subscribing to one or more of the following commercial real estate news aggregators.

...but before I go there...What is a news aggregator anyway? Wikipedia defines it this way: "In computing, a news aggregator, also termed a feed aggregator, feed reader, news reader, RSS reader or simply aggregator, is client software or a web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and video blogs (vlogs) in one location for easy viewing."

Many words that mean "a single source of web content". Here are five of the best in the biz (IMHO)

The News Funnel
The company line: Founded in 2011, The News Funnel adds a new twist to aggregated content for business professionals in the Real Estate industry. TNF gather trade news and information from trusted industry sources and then let users craft that information into a custom feed that is unique to their geographic market, industry segment and areas of interest.
My take: Great combination of original content, guest blogging, interviews, and aggregation. I am honored when my stuff makes the TNF top ten list! I also love the customization feature that allows me to see industry info in SoCal.

The company line: CREReport is an information resource for CRE professionals. They developed the report to promote news, trends, and events impacting the commercial real estate landscape. The project combines research, original writing, and mobile-friendly publishing to provide the reader with a uniquely collaborative and informative reading experience.
My take: Todd Stewart does a great job tracking the Atlanta market BUT also sprinkles in original blog posts from thought leaders as well.

GPE Connect
The company line: GPE Connect is Arizona's best commercial real estate newsletter. Every weekday at 8 AM, they deliver the news, topics and trends that impact the Arizona market.
My take: Great recap of the Arizona market. Even though I don't typically do business in Arizona, since they are neighbors to the east, I love to follow what's happening.

The company line: The first FREE online list of CRE (Commercial Real Estate) professionals. This is the first opt-in, self-service, no charge site for the CRE professional. With everybody searching the Internet for absolutely everything, it makes sense to have an opt-in list for the world to find “YOU”! So many CRE professionals get lost on the web and inside large corporate directories. It can be frustrating to find YOU and keep up with who is where. This website is a down and dirty way to make it easy to find YOU and your geography and specialization. Simple. If you are a Listing Administrator, you must also add yourself to theBrokerList.
My take: A phenomenal combination of broker profiles, industry info (haves and wants), and original blog posts. Linda Day Harrison will absolutely enhance your brokerage sign up!

The company line: Costar is the nation's premier multiple listing service for office, retail, and industrial as well as an industry source for analytics.
My take: Good info, well structured. Could use more original blog content from industry thought leaders.

So there you go. Now get smart, y'all!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Get more #CRE referrals...five GREAT sources

I provide Location Advice to owners and occupants of industrial buildings in Southern California...AKA, I sell and lease commercial real estate for a living and have since 1984.

I have to confess, there is NOTHING better than a qualified referral! You walk in to the meeting, present your engagement agreement and get the business...many times without having to compete!

Today's post discusses five GREAT sources and ways to generate more qualified referrals for your commercial real estate services.

...A brief review,

First, if you don't have a specialty...either in geography, CRE product type, building or employee size range, industry type, or occupant or owner, you might want to read this great post by Bo Barron which will enable you to define your specialty by answering three simple questions. By the way, Bo coaches commercial real estate practitioners, speaks on all things commercial real estate, he is a bit of an think?

Second, the reason a specialty is soo important is because your specialty defines your target which forms the basis of your message which should be easy to understand by EVERYONE who asks...not just fellow brokers. The message should be simple, easy, and delivered in 25 words or fewer.

What do you do? I provide location advice to owners and occupants of industrial buildings in Southern California...I keep companies in California by helping them save on real estate....OK that is 26...close enough!

Finally, who do want to be referred to? If you cannot define that, referrals will be scarce!

Alright, we have our specialty, our message and the "who"...on to the five great sources.

Fellow Brokers: If you examine your referral sources over the years, you will discover the greatest source for #CRE referrals is from other commercial real estate brokers...OK, we get that. Here is a spin that you may not have considered. What do the office guys in your office do when they encounter an industrial deal or vice versa? What if the lease you just accomplished for an owner becomes a leased investment sale? If you make sure that your fellow company brokers, your "tribe" of cooperating brokers, etc. are clear on your expertise...and they "like" you...chances are you will get referred.

An aside...The like factor...I don't care how good you are (or you think you are), if you are an asshole, nobody will refer you!

Strategic Network Partners: Your target (owners and occupants of industrial buildings) is a target for other professionals that don't compete with you, yet supplement your efforts. Commercial bankers, commercial insurance agents, business attorneys, wealth advisors and CPAs all have clients that need location advice. Easy enough? Here's a suggestion. Ask the most recent deal you accomplished (an owner or an occupant) who handles their insurance or provides their tax advice. See if they will introduce you to the professional. If so, schedule a meeting, a call, a Skype conference, or face time conversation to discuss what you accomplished for your (their) client, how you might assist others AND how you might refer other of your clients to them...HUGE!

Existing Clients: In addition to the above idea, ask your clients (immediately after you complete a transaction) to introduce you to three people...real estate need or not. They will naturally gravitate to professionals in a similar industry.

Friends and Family: Nothing is more embarrassing...and costly..than to discover a friend made a real estate deal without you. When Coy Davidson and I met recently, he relayed a story to me about a friend of his who bought an office building and later confessed..."I didn't know you did that". I say shame on you! PLEASE make sure your friends and family know what you do, how you do it AND how to reach you...which leads  us to the ever powerful SOCIAL!

Social Media: Blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ all provide different formats for "subtle" advertising about what, where, and how you do what you do. A resi broker friend of ours recently saw a Facebook post about a deal I accomplished and mentioned to my wife..."oh, so that is what Allen does"...and she sells real estate! Please don't race out and flood the airwaves with commercials OR your latest listing OR a deal you just did...most won't care...BUT an occasional reminder, link, video, etc. is a great way to stay top of mind.

Friday, November 1, 2013

#CRE communication...with someone under 35...AKA, how to get your call returned!

I provide Location Advice to owners and occupants of industrial buildings in Southern
California...AKA...I sell and lease commercial real estate for a living and have since 1984.

I read a post today from Carol Stephen (one of my favorite blogs) called Baby Boomers and Social Media which had a link to another post entitled the 20 Differences Between Baby Boomers and Gen Y. If you haven't read these posts or are unfamiliar with Carol, please spend a minute and check both out...well worth it! The posts stirred some creative juices AND revealed some differences between generations that inspired this post.

...And being a proud father of three young adults born between 1983 and 1988 who are married to two more (all of whom I love more than life itself), I somewhat qualify to give advice on effective communication with millenials.

If you are a boomer (as I am), born between 1945 and 1957 your business conversation hierarchy...most important to least important is:
  • Face-to-face
  • Call to the office or home
  • A reluctant call to the cell...only in an emergency
  • Write (letter)
  • Email
  • Other...text, social media outlet, etc. 
If you were born prior to 2000 and after 1982, chances are (I guarantee it) you have a different business conversation hierarchy...most to least.
  • Text
  • Tweet
  • FB message (if over 30)
  • Instagram (if under 30)
  • (are you kidding me?), email, face-to-face, what is a home phone anyway
  • Write?...hmmm, not if more than 140 characters
Ok, I have now highlighted the differences, how do you effectively communicate with someone under 35?

Here are some suggestions:

Make it all about them If you have ever dealt with someone under 35, you know that the minute they want something, it cannot happen fast enough. In the return situation...not so much. Tailor your message ever so slightly to make them the focus. Example: My wife and I rented a beach house for a week next year with the hopes of having a nice family gathering. We needed to get "buy in" on a week that would work for all of us. We knew that if we called, texted or "othered", we would be lucky to get a timely response from one out of, we text messaged all five and said "we are discussing an early distribution of our estate. Please call". Within five minutes we heard from all five! Now we didn't lie...the travel and rental (that we are paying for) were an early distribution.

Employ the DEFCON system I love the movie War Games. A computer game generated global nuclear war (not was only a game but NORAD didn't know that!) DEFCON was used in the movie. DEFCON (1-5) stands for defense condition and reflects the current status of military awareness (1 least to 5 most) in preparation for an attack. DEFCON for communication to someone under 35 is 1st level (email) 2nd level (call) 3rd level (text) 4th level (all three at once) 5th level (a personal visit).

Send them a letter...THIS will freak them out!

Reward them for responding

Mirror their timing In this crazy digital age, your contacts can now be any of the 24 hours in the day. Watch when people under 35 respond to you and mirror that timing.

Don't take the lack of gratitude personally Boomers grew up believing that to not respond was rude...because our Ps and Grand Ps were from the "greatest generation" where gratitude was a part of life...because folks died for our freedom (voluntarily)...and we were grateful! If you don't get a thanks for a job well done or for a gift you sent or for busting your ass to make something happen (see all about them)...try not to take it personally...they certainly don't...or they would say thanks.