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Marketing 101 for Commercial Real Estate Agents

How does marketing become effective for commercial real estate agents? What happens to my website and real estate web design when I don’t have a number of listings to show for? And what strategies generate results in the commercial real estate industry?

I had a great conversation with Alicia Shepherd, founder & owner of Nucleus, a coaching program that is specifically designed to help commercial real estate agents with their marketing to ultimately help them move the needily and find success in their commercial real estate career.

Here are some of the key points discussed:

The Misconception 

One of the most common problems for commercial real estate agents is the feeling of marketing being cannibalized by the residential industry. Most commercial real estate agents find that marketing works a lot better for residential agents than for them.

But the reality is, this is far from the truth. At the end of the day, the brand of a commercial agent is just vitally as important as the brand of a residential real estate agent. And in order to break this down, we have to understand the differences in the experience of a commercial and residential real estate agent.

How different is the experience of commercial real estate agents from residential real estate agents?

Essentially, when you’re getting licensed, what’s often being said is that a residential agent will typically get more transactions but at a lower price point per year whereas a commercial agent is going to do fewer transactions with a higher price point per year.

This often misleads most to assume that commercial real estate agents get paid more by doing less. However, the reality is that although commercial real estate agents deal with fewer transactions, there is a considerable lot more legwork that goes into each transaction.

The Problem

The reason why most commercial real estate agents refuse to engage in intricate marketing strategies is that they are trying to avoid understanding and learn the basics of it even though there is a lot of opportunities that they can exploit in the commercial market.

Why is marketing vital for a commercial real estate agent?

Alicia shares that as a commercial agent, she may not have 30, 40, or 50 deals a year that she can leverage to put her brand out into the marketplace. In addition to that, she does not always have a new listing or a new sale that can give her something new to talk about. These situations can ultimately lead to a different amount of exposure that she can get from her pipeline from that of a residential real estate agent.

This is because the reality is, in commercial real estate, a 7-figure earning commercial agent might only have around 8 to 20 details in a market such as Los Angeles.

Because of this imbalance of market visibility through their pipeline, not only is it an option but it is vital for commercial real estate agents to be intentional with the marketing that they’re going to put behind themselves to support how they are growing their books.

The Messaging

One of the key components in marketing is messaging. This is especially true for commercial real estate marketing. Unfortunately, this is something that often gets lost in the chaos of it all.

According to Alicia, when she is looking at the marketing around commercial real estate, the pieces that truly hit her and make her want to engage more are the marketing pieces that understand what it is that is keeping their client up at night. It’s all about the ability to integrate your client’s pain points into your story instead of just saying that you have a new listing.

It is not about you. It’s about understanding a full narrative of what the current reality of that real estate is and what the opportunity it creates for someone’s financial legacy. You have to become a storyteller and think of ways to convey the data and numbers that are authentic in such a way that it helps people realize where they have a chance to thrive through that property.

The Strategies

There are a number of marketing strategies that commercial real estate agents can use to their advantage. However, it would be best if commercial agents refrain from looking at the strategies that are being used by residential real estate.

Here are two different marketing strategies for commercial real estate that are highly effective:

The Specialist

The first strategy that Alicia suggests is the specialist. This agent is someone who is really deep-diving into a product or a territorial location. This is also referred to as real estate farming.

This means that you are just going to eat, breathe, and sleep this community until you are the agent of choice in your product type. It’s all about persistency and consistency.

In this strategy, you are going to build your brand through consistent marketing. This can be in the form of monthly emails or a bi-weekly email campaign. You can also upload the contacts and ownership of the properties that you serve in that neighborhood on Facebook and see how you can get direct ad messaging right onto their page.

What we’ve learned to be true is that you can take those lists, direct, upload them into Facebook. Facebook will then go hunt down their pages for you and put those ads on sophisticated and specific pages that you’re looking for.

Ultimately, this will give you direct access to the people in your database that own the exact real estate you’d want to be in service to. This is something that you can utilize daily for your target audience and not have them be bombarded by your competitors there because most of your competitors are stuck in the mindset that that is not for them.

The Generalist

A generalist is the kind of agent who goes where the client takes them. The greatest asset that a generalist has in his arsenal is his ability to tell great stories.

Try to convey to your clients where you have been exceptional in the past because this industry is about creating opportunities for your clients. Therefore, if you are working with buyers, tell the story of how you were able to create a great investment opportunity for your former buyers. Try to describe the financial legacy that you are helping your clients create.

One of your main objectives is to separate yourself from the rest of your competitors. You can do this by telling your potential clients what exactly helped you keep a pulse on the market in a way that their own or through another agent who may have not shown up as much as you did to help their investment experience.

A great avenue for this strategy is social media. Phone calls are still great however, marketing gives you the ability to get online and to be more of a sharpshooter with that. And if you’re going to be a generalist, you have to have a really robust social media game plan through strategic social media sites.

Final Thoughts

The concept of marketing applies to both commercial and residential real estate agents. However, there are differences with how you approach this given the nature of the business and sector. Whether you choose to become a specialist or a generalist, the idea is to choose one and to stick to it. A marketing strategy will only be effective if you stick to it and commit to it over a long period of time.

If you’re looking to set yourself up for success in the real estate industry, then I suggest you schedule a strategy session with us to see which strategy best fits you and your goals. However, if you’re still looking to learn more about real estate marketing before diving into any strategy then join our free Facebook Group today.


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