The field of commercial real estate is very different from that of domestic real estate. In the domestic and residential market, brokers and agents deal with actual people. This means they put a focus on friendliness, customer service, and so on. With commercial real estate, brokers and agents deal with businesses, and it is all too easy to lose the human side in that. In fact, it has been reported that customer service in commercial real estate is at an all time low. Good brokers and agents should be aware of this and do all they can to become better service providers.
The Importance of Being a Good Service Provider
While commercial real estate does indeed deal with businesses, it is important to remember that behind those businesses are people. Additionally, commercial real estate is a service, and a service requires customer service. Furthermore, commercial real estate is a business in itself, and businesses need to make money, which they do by providing excellent customer service.
To over-deliver in service to a customer is by far the most valuable thing to a business. Because there are only two ways to improve the operations of a business: increase sales or decrease costs.
So what are the key things that a commercial agent or broker should offer in order to become more popular, and thereby drive their own business?
1. Stability and Experience
First of all, you have to demonstrate to other people that you are experienced and that you have been in business a long time. This proves to them that you are experienced and that you know what you are talking about. If you work for a company and you are new, you may want to consider working with someone who has seniority over you. Demonstrating experience, be that personal or professional, is a very important way to build trust in your relationship with your customer.
The ideas for the best businesses tend to come from personal experience. There are many great ideas that have arisen by other means… but when you are generating ideas for a business, first-hand experience is essential.
Working with someone who is more senior than you means that you will have to share revenue with that person as well. However, this will only be true until you have built up your own experience. Additionally, it demonstrates to others that you are serious about becoming the best you can be.
You have to be able to empathize with the business needs of your clients. You must find out what their issues are, and how those can be resolved by working with you. Make sure that you understand every aspect of their business, their particular needs, where they are most likely to find clients, and so on. There are many issues related to commercial real estate for businesses, including employment issues, legal issues, space issues, surpluses, cash flow shortages, and so on. Showing your potential client that you have experience in what they are going through right now demonstrates to them that you truly understand their needs.
Any problem that exists can be solved by creativity. If you can, have a portfolio available of problems that you have solved creatively. For instance, you may have used social media in order to source more commercial properties and to market them. You could even, in so doing, demonstrate how your clients can benefit from social media outside of finding a commercial property. Twitter has been shown to be a particularly strong tool for commercial real estate.
In the last year, Twitter has introduced several new marketing tools, including the ability to showcase specific content from your site, embed multiple images in a tweet, and even capture email addresses directly from an ad you run on twitter. Use these tools to share new ideas, events, and property updates with your customers and prospects and to continue growing your network in 2016.
Whenever you get to know a new professional in your network, or you refer someone to a property, you should add them to a list, sub-divided by category. Some important categories include chartered public accountants, attorneys, sign companies, commercial insurance brokers, IT people, and so on. These are all people that your clients will have a need for once they lease or purchase a commercial real estate building. In fact, as they are working with you, they are also building a team of professionals around them to ensure that they get the best possible deals. So if you can pinpoint them to those professionals, they will further increase their faith in you.
5. Say Thanks and Give Back
A final thing of importance is to make sure you show gratitude to your clients. While simply saying “thank you” is always appreciated, there is one other important way to do it, which is to send business their way. Having worked so closely with them for so long, you should have a great understanding of who their ideal clients are. You may already have these in your own network that may require the service of your new client. Perhaps you know people personally and think that they will really enjoy the business. Either way, referring people to your clients is a great way to show appreciation and to give back.
If you implement these five pointers in your commercial real estate business, you should see your business improve. These are the five key elements that set apart a great commercial real estate professional from someone who is just good. Being great in your business, you understand that while you are trying to help organizations build their business, there are actual people behind it and people want to be treated as such. The commercial real estate industry is cut throat and being able to stand out from the rest by something as simple as improving your customer service is actually too good to pass up on. In fact, none of the five above steps will cost you anything, but the possible returns are fantastic and can really influence your own bottom line.