Friday, March 28, 2014

The NCAA tourney has nothing on #CRE

Photo attribution
I was on a call this morning with an avid Arizona Wildcat fan. Some of you who know me well probably believe that the person was our oldest son, Blake, who faithfully attended the U of A. But actually, the person was Barbi Reuter who exclaimed "I am exhausted from the game last night!"

For those of you not scoring at home, Arizona squeaked by a motivated San Diego State Aztec team in the final seconds. March is college basketball tournament time!

As a disclaimer, 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. This qualifies me as some sort of an expert...I believe!

Our call this morning (to plan our upcoming LinkedIn event) also with Yuhannes Watts, Matt Smith, and Linda Day Harrison directed my thoughts toward the NCAA tournament and the commercial real estate brokerage business.

I have concluded that the NCAA tournament has nothing on us #CRE brokers!

Everyday is sudden death: You lose, you go home...a cold hard reality in both the brokerage business and the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately second place in the brokerage business doesn't pay very well.

You can do EVERYTHING correctly and still lose: Take the San Diego State Aztecs. They played a brilliant game, fundamentally sound against the top seed in the west...and still lost. I think back to a presentation that I made last year on an assignment in which I was well qualified...building size, location, deal structure, etc. I didn't get the deal...but I did everything correctly. What I took away from the loss was more valuable than the assignment...You can do EVERYTHING correctly and still with it! I now face the reality that this will happen to me at least once each year.The earlier in the year it happens, the's over for this year!

There ARE David and Goliath stories: Anyone have Mercer winning against Duke? Liar...Someone much smarter than I once opined that "80% of life is showing up". I am not for a moment minimizing the Mercer win...AMAZING. What I am saying is that is a good idea to prepare, show up, and can't always predict the outcome...that is why we play the game.

Those guys make it look easy: The average college basketball player is 6'5" and weighs 215 pounds. They are large, fast, graceful dudes who make traversing a  94 foot basketball court in split seconds and then vaulting five and a half feet off the ground appear human....did I mention all while bouncing a ball. If you observe, from afar, top producers in the commercial real estate biz, closing deals looks easy. What you don't see in both the basketball and brokerage example is the hours upon hours of "sweat" and "loss" that lead to the consistent closings (wins).

The Final Four is just the beginning: This just gets you a chance to grab the gold ring...nothing more. Similar to being selected to compete for a commercial real estate've been invited to the dance with no guarantee you'll dance with Cinderella. You may only get close enough to hear the band!

So enjoy the madness this March...and maybe even enjoy a bit of college basketball!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Five reasons NOT to outsource #CRE social media

Allen C. Buchanan, Linda Day Harrison,
Howard Kline, and Chris Barbieri
Should you outsource your social media activity?

This assumes of course that you conduct ANY social media activity as a CRE practitioner...but if you are reading this post, there is hope!

As a disclaimer, 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 also blogged, tweeted, Facebooked, Linked In, and YouTubed to my heart's content (no pun intended) for the past five years in an effort to engage, connect, and build relationships through social media. This qualifies me as some sort of an expert...I believe! 

Before I delve into the subject of outsourcing, a bit of background...

The foursome pictured at the left is a Tweetup (an in person meeting that resulted from an initial engagement on Twitter) that I attended at the prompting of Linda Day Harrison of theBrokerList. Linda, with her assistant Dana, was on a weekday junket to SoCal and wanted to make the "in person" acquaintance of a few of her SoCal stalwarts...of which I claim allegiance! If you don't know the three other than me...check 'em out! 

Linda Day Harrison: Linda Day Harrison founded in an effort to create efficiency and streamlined operations for the commercial real estate industry, property and facility management, leasing and brokerage.

Howard Kline:  Howard is the host of CRE radio. A nationally syndicated talk radio program geared toward all things commercial real estate...AND a practicing real estate attorney in Southern California.

Chris Barbieri: In 2006, Chris, a practicing CRE broker,  became frustrated with the CRM tools in the market for commercial real estate agents, and started developing a CRM for his personal use. Six years later; four fully functional prototypes; three additional offices; thousands of hours of design tweaks and refinement; and one great recession later, Building Blocks CRE was launched in 2012.

The Tweetup conversation was a group of old friends catching up (even though I had never met Linda or Chris in person)...until the subject of assistants and outsourcing arose. Fortunately, we ALL agreed on the approach...DON'T outsource your social media efforts...outsource other tasks so that you may INCREASE your social media engagement. 

But why? I have catalogued several reasons below to justify my (our position) which I hope will help you understand why outsourcing social media is a BAD idea.

Would you send an assistant to meet with a new client? I certainly hope not. The client wants you. Why should an online relationship vary?

Does your assistant understand the biz as well as you do? Once again, I hope not. As a result, the depth of discussion and engagement can never approach yours. My company recently engaged a professional social media company to author a few blogs...what a disaster! They asked us what to write about, what was important about the subject and why it would appeal to our clients. What we received was a milquetoast pile of crap that no one could understand and had zero appeal.

Are your emotions, reactions, and perspective the same as your assistants? I seriously doubt it. Therefore, the way in which you engage and thus remain authentic to your social media relationships, is unique to you. Recently, I read on Facebook that one of my high school classmate's father had died. I knew the man really well and was able to express condolences in MY way.

Would your assistant substitute at a speaking engagement where you're the keynote? I am guessing that would be your last speaking invitation. The audience wants YOU!

Would you allow our assistant to answer your email...without your authorship? With your reputation, an livelihood at stake, you wouldn't relinquish your control.

Instead, consider directing your assistant (assuming that you have one...if you don't, more in another post) to accomplish the things that will allow you to face more clients, potential clients, and strategic referral partners through in person and social media interaction.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Build your #CRE biz with CONTENT!

We all have read, seen, and heard lately that "content marketing" is the new SEO.

As a disclaimer, 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 blogged, v-blogged, and media-ed socially since 2009...with a fair amount of success...thus this post.

Just what is content marketing anyway?

Before I jump into that fray, let me give you a simple way to think about content and where you may dwell on the content spectrum.

If you have ever watched a TV show, read a newspaper, listened to music on an IPod, or looked at an image on Pinterest, you have consumed content.

Walking up the sidewalk of content, if you have told a buddy about the terrific episodes of House of Cards, mailed an article you found in the Orange County Register, or...wait for it...emailed a link to a great tune that reminds you of your daughter's wedding, you have curated content.

Now for the coup de grace...content creation. If you write for a newspaper, produce a TV show, blog, make YouTube videos of a trade tip, publish silly commercial real estate cartoons, author e-books, host an Internet radio program...congratulations! You are a content creator.

Now before you puff out your chest and start believing that you are the content creation shit...just remember...ALL content creators need content consumers and content curators to "hear and spread the word". What would the Dave Ramsey radio program be without listeners or the Location Advice blog be without people to advise?...a lone scream in the wilderness, that's what!

Should you choose to embark on a content creation journey and start a content marketing campaign, here are a few "rules of the road" for your consideration:

Honestly consider why: The why of creating content can be very illuminating. Are you a multi year veteran with something to share? Do you engage in a unique specialty that is hyper local? Are you in the PR biz with a dramatically changing landscape of pimping products?

Figure out who cares: AKA, what is the audience that you want to reach?...small business owners, brokers, wedding planners, etc?

Examine what they care about: AKA, do a lot of "listening" in social media channels to "dial in" on content that appeals to the audience you are trying to reach.

Identify how often they care: If you are publishing market data for industrial buildings, what is a realistic time frame between your last publication?

Start small: For some this could be simply finding an online article once a week and emailing this to a number of clients. For others this could be creating a blog or a video series. You determine the "small".

Stay consistent: If you do nothing else...PLEASE be consistent! If you commit to a weekly post...then do it. If your consumers get used to a weekly video clip and you miss, they will wonder why and maybe stop tuning in. To borrow an old consumer goods metaphor, you don't want to be out of stock when the customers come to your store...they will buy elsewhere.

Check relevance...constantly: Is your message still relevant? a good way to gauge is to see if your readership, viewership are growing. If not, maybe the content is irrelevant...sorry!

Have fun! Content creation can and should be fun! Let your personality shine through and your authenticity become apparent.

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