Email marketing, CRM tools, transaction managers are assets to the busy advisor
Technological tools are indispensable to commercial real estate advisors serious about excelling in their field. That’s true in both the marketing and management of the transaction. Advisors who fail to make full use of the available programs and websites are limiting themselves.
Take email marketing, for example. I use this tool all the time to get in front of prospects. But I do so strategically. Rather than spamming my list with a flurry of self-serving marketing pieces, I strive to provide something of value, something the recipients want to open.
For me, that takes the form of a monthly economic update, along with special articles from the field. I send messages about practical issues, such as the state of the supply chain, cold storage and ports off Los Angeles. Sometimes I write these myself; sometimes, I use a ghostwriter. I’ll also include property listings of specific interest to my recipients.
These emails go to principals in the business world, property owners and other potential clients. My open rate is high: up to 20 percent with no one opting out. The secret is to keep up a quality list of recipients and to provide them with useful information free of politics. It keeps my name fresh in the prospect’s mind and establishes credibility.
As a result of this work, I get leads. And more than that: I get appreciation. That may not always bring me business today, but it plants the seeds for future relationships.
Online tools like Constant Contact or MailChimp are invaluable for these campaigns. Of course, your email marketing is only as good as the database that underlies it. It’s imperative that an advisor spend a set amount of time each month scrubbing the lists, making sure everything is current.
Besides email, I also keep my name in front of my relevant public by posting on LinkedIn, where I have nearly 20,000 followers and over 500 connections. A lot of residential agents use Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest and other social media platforms. But I’ve found that LinkedIn puts me in front of the right people for marketing commercial real estate.
A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is another essential piece of technology. Mine is a great time-saver. With one click, it populates each property asset with all the necessary information – I don’t have to enter it manually. It communicates with the database and Constant Contact to ensure that my lists are up to date.
A CRM will keep track of your contacts, your relationships and client interactions. Without it, staying on top of the business is a less-efficient and more labor-intensive process.
Having a transaction dashboard is also immensely helpful. It facilitates the workflow: the exchange of documents, electronic signatures, closing deadlines and other aspects of the transaction. Best of all, it’s a place where I can manage all these things without clogging my email. I don’t have to sift through reams of unrelated messages for these items and risk overlooking something.
Then, of course, there are the open listing platforms, such as CoStar, LoopNet, CREXI, RealNex and others in the CRE space. I prefer the members-only CCIM and SIOR Connect network. It’s easy to segment the searches in my proprietary database according to region and sector (e.g., industrial, life science, flex warehouse, retail). This enables me to build target lists. Because my clients and prospects are often too busy to visit open listing platforms, I’m able to target them based on profile and deliver property listings or opportunities directly to their inboxes.
Electronic maps are another piece of the puzzle. With them, I can easily show a prospective buyer all the businesses and amenities in a given area. That’s especially helpful when a client is out of state and unfamiliar with the geography.
These tech tools do more than just make life easier for the CRE professional. They make it possible to provide higher levels of service to a more targeted clientele.
And that benefits everyone.
By Sid Bhatt, CCIM, SIOR