Monthly Archives: June 2020

Pens, Still an Effective Promotional Marketing Product

Everywhere we go, we see pens with a logo on it, and even I have been guilty of thinking, oh, just another pen, why don’t they get something more exciting? The truth is that pens are still an extremely effective marketing product. People take pens keep it in their purse, car, or it ends up in their office or home where a family member or co-worker ends up walking off with it, they use it a while and it goes on to the next person. For some reason people don’t respect pens as “someone’s property” so they don’t think twice about walking off with a pen, in fact, most don’t even realize they are doing it. As silly as this is, it makes for great marketing, because people are distributing your logo all over the place, you couldn’t get that much exposure yourself with any other product if you tried!

At our company each sales person has their favorite items to show clients, one refuses to show pens because she believes they are boring and we have so many more cool products to present. Another we call the pen queen because she sells thousands upon thousands of pens every year. Knowing some of the statistics about how people use pens may change your mind about presenting pens to your clients. After all, just about everyone uses pens every day and most clients can fit some pen into their budget somewhere, even if they have to use an office supply budget.

PPAI (Promotional Products Association International) did a survey on the use of pens and found that 73% of people always carry a writing instrument with them. 83% use ballpoint pens on a daily basis and will keep and use it if given to them as a complimentary gift. What more can you ask for from a promotional product? If you can get 83% retention of your item, you know that most people aren’t just going to stash your item or give it away. Pens are both a functional product that everyone uses as well as an effective promotional product, so making sure to present some pens to every client is essential!

Some interesting facts to think about when presenting pens or other writing instruments: Of the people surveyed about the types of writing instruments they use on a daily basis 83% use ballpoint pens as mentioned above, but 36% also use pencils, 31% use highlighters, 30% use gel pens and 25% use markers with 20% using mechanical pencils and 20% using roller balls. So, if someone does want something a little different, there are other options in the writing instrument category. Of course as everyone in the industry knows, there are probably millions of options that we can present to our clients.

Statistics from PPB a PPAI publication July 2012

How to Do a Sales Pitch in Commercial Real Estate

In commercial real estate, you will undertake a variety of presentations, in a variety of circumstances. Most of them are business-like in nature, focusing on the needs of the tenant, the property buyer, or the property seller.

Get to the core issues

Each of these groups has unique property requirements and points of focus. It is their needs which must be identified and clearly addressed in the sales pitch or presentation. Many successful commercial real estate agents will have a preliminary meeting with the client or customer so that they can identify key issues and concerns. This allows the commercial agent to return to the client or customer in a few days with a well structured proposal that addresses the needs of the customer or client.

It’s all about THEM, not YOU!

When you design an investment or commercial property proposal for presentation, the document should be 90% regards the property and the client. Frequently you see this rule disregarded or broken with the proposal document being largely regards the agency and the personnel.

Rarely is the property transaction a simple matter of the property rental, the property price, or the physical elements of the property. In most situations, it is the combination of these things which must satisfy a fundamental equation of need that the customer or client has. In getting them to this fundamental need, you will identify an element of pain that the customer or client is experiencing. This is what you focus on.

They are Experienced

It is interesting to note that many clients and customers in commercial real estate are reasonably comfortable in circumstances of business negotiation. This means they may not tell you the total big picture or all the elements of a transaction until they are ready. Conversation and connection in the presentation process should be biased towards the client or customer using well selected questions which allow the agent to interpret the body language coming from the client’s response.

When you believe you have identified the element of clients pain related to the property transaction, you start to magnify the problem in terms of today’s market, then offering stable and logical solutions that your real estate agency business can provide to the client or customer. Invariably, the commercial real estate transaction in today’s market centres on financial matters such as:

  • High vacancy factors
  • Other property choices and chances are available
  • Underperforming leases
  • Unstable cash flow
  • Unstable tenancy mix
  • Tenanted conflict
  • Escalating building operating costs
  • A shift in demographics which exposes the property to a unstable future
  • Mortgage payment pressures
  • Age of the asset
  • Needs for refurbishment or extension
  • Competition properties attracting tenants away from the subject property

This type of information and interpretation requires your intimate knowledge of the local region. This is by both property type and by location. This is the higher value that you bring to the customer or client. Being able to distinctly define local market awareness is a major advantage in any commercial real estate presentation or sales pitch. You must be seen as the best knowledgeable solution to the problem.

From Experience

After many years working exclusively in the commercial real estate industry, I found that my unique skill was in market knowledge and the display of that in any formal presentation to the client. Being able to talk about market trends and financial performance in a solid and sound way will help the client understand that they need your services. Coupling that with your extensive and relevant database of enquiry clearly shows the client that they need you.

A fantastic commercial real estate presentation is a function and balance of lots of things. Things like:

  1. A well established pre-planning process is a strategic advantage for every commercial real estate presentation. Strategy is everything in commercial real estate. Every property presentation requires planning.
  2. Making sure you are asking the right questions of the client or prospect. Plan your questions relative to the subject property so that you help the client think about opportunity and changes that are possible.
  3. Using your market knowledge and giving good answers. Have a variety of market facts and trends available to call on. Feed them into your presentation; facts are always useful. They can also be used as a channel to direct the discussion when the client is forcing you to justify your approach or your experience. Confidence and control must be the basic rule of your property presentation. When the client takes control of the presentation you have lost.
  4. Using your experience in the marketplace so that you are telling relevant stories of success in similar properties. Stories of other properties will always interest of the client.
  5. Making sure your personal presentation is optimised for the connection in the presentation. It can be that you are using a combination of the proposal document, the marketing document, and computer slide presentation, samples of your database, photographs of the subject property projected on to slides, and photographs of comparable properties projected on to slides.
  6. Choosing the placement of people at the table or strategically positioning them in the room is always important. Much has been written about where you should sit relative to the client. The basic rule is adjacent to the client rather than across an area of barrier such as a table. Being within arm’s reach allows you to pass documentation to the client at the appropriate time. Documentation should not be provided to the client until you are ready for them to review it; otherwise it is a distraction of their attention.
  7. Make sure that your proposal is simple and yet well directed with a clearly defined outcomes of sale or lease. Many proposal documents in commercial real estate are much too wordy so the main messages are lost and not clearly defined. The best proposals are less wordy and more illustrative. The best balance of a commercial real estate proposal is a mixture of 25% words, 25% pictures, 25% graphs, and 25% white space. This becomes a document which is clearly read and understood.
  8. Combine good illustrations and photographs of the subject property into the proposal or presentation so that any lengthy descriptions or paragraphs are broken up. This will keep interest of the client in your documentation.
  9. Make sure that your marketing package is value for money, and yet reaching the target market that the property serves or needs to attract. All too often, we see examples of generic marketing by the commercial real estate agent to the broader and less specific marketplace. Showing the client that you clearly know and will attract best the target market will always help your conversion to a potential listing. Be very specific about the target market and how you will reach it.
  10. Ensure that your commission costs are fair and reasonable for the location. In most circumstances, discounting your commission should not be an option as it will make you poor and remove or detract from your enthusiasm for the sale or lease. ‘Cheap’ means ‘cheap and without focus’ and the client needs to know this. The property deserves better. You are not cheap because you are the best and you do a great job. A fair commission is always paid for a positive property outcome.
  11. Always provide testimonials that are relevant to the property transaction. When you combine relevant history and details of happy customers into your presentation you will make the client feel more comfortable.
  12. Always display clear and sound market knowledge that impresses the client relative to their property. This will include extensive awareness of comparable properties that compete with the subject property. You should be able to talk solidly about property prices, comparable rents, rental growth, returns on investment, changes to the future demographics of the area, and properties in the immediate precinct of relevance. In many cases, it pays to walk around the local area just prior to any property presentation so that you bring immediate and clear pictures of the precinct to the discussion. Many times this has been of significant advantage in my presentation processes. Talking about neighbouring properties localises the client and their thought processes.
  13. Come up with a variety of ways to serve the client. Innovation and relevance will always impress. In today’s market, this is relatively easy considering the marketing opportunities and tools provided by the internet & technology. Be proactive in your property promotion processes so that the listing for sale or lease stands uniquely different in its marketing campaign from the others in the area. This does not have to be expensive to the client or to your office, given that the internet and electronic technology is historically cost effective. In today’s market, the traditional methods of publicising the property in the property pages of the local paper, is becoming much less important in the marketing campaign. Most commercial property buyers and tenants research the market from the Internet first and foremost.
  14. Almost every property agency will say that they have excellent communication and connection skills to support the property promotion process. From experience, this is largely incorrect and typically the average commercial salesperson or leasing person will exercise ordinary communication channels with the client. Put yourself in the shoes of the client. They expect and deserve frequent updates on the promotion of the property even when nothing is happening or when the adverts are producing little response. When a property campaign is not producing the results, it is important that you act or adjust with alternative recommendations and strategic changes to the promotional campaign for the client to consider. Rarely would you get to the property campaign correct in the first week. It is in this time that you must consider fine tuning the promotion process so that the target market is being reached in a timely and effective way. This means that every property enquiry generated from your promotions must be tabulated so that you understand what channels of marketing work most effectively with the property in question.
  15. When addressing the client or the client group in a formal property presentation, the answers and information you give must be delivered well and provide relevant solid property knowledge, in a practiced and professional delivery. Any sales or presentation tools relative to the property must be relevant and you should know how to use them with exceptional skill. Fumbling and faking information is not tolerated by the client.

So there you have it. These are some of the key skills to use in a commercial real estate presentation. Whilst many real estate agents think that they are the best alternative in the market to promote sell and rent commercial property, the reality is they do not get the message across when it matters most in front of the client.

To be the best commercial real estate agent in your area, you must show that you are just so, and you do this in the first 10 minutes of the time that your presentation takes. The client will have formed an opinion by then.

Be prepared to walk away from any demands for discounting that the client or customer demands. In this market they need a great commercial real estate agent providing a great job; discounting is not an option. Show pride in your services and walk away when the client demands discount in marketing or lower commissions.

Virtual Vs Actual Home Staging

More often than not, a home is a person’s single largest financial investment. As such, it is critical to find the best marketing strategies when selling a home. Staging is an important part of a real estate marketing plan, and should be considered in order to sell the home faster and for the most money. Realtors may suggest a staging consultation is needed for an occupied home, or recommend full staging services complete with rental furniture and accessories for all or key rooms in a vacant home. A virtual staging consultation saves time and money by discussing staging advice over the phone after analyzing real photos of a property by email. The use of virtual staging software may be a lower cost marketing tool for vacant homes, but may not be as effective as actual home staging. There are many differences between these types of staging strategies.

Virtual staging is the process of making computer renderings of an interior design concept from a digital photograph of a room to help potential buyers visualize a space. These renderings are often used by builders and investors in the marketing of new construction homes or rehab properties. The illustrations may be used to show flooring, cabinetry, finishes and other material options, especially during the pre-construction or development phase. The virtual photos may also indicate what a future home remodeling project could look like, and is useful to show decorating ideas to clients. However, actual staging for a vacant home, or model home staging for a new community, has proven to be most effective.

Professional home staging uses property styling techniques that appeal to the target buyer demographic to make a home look its best and stand out from the competition. With staging, furniture and accessories are brought in and artfully placed to highlight aspects of the home. Unlike virtual, actual staging helps to create an emotional connection with buyers and a welcoming feel that they will find attractive in the home.

Most people first browse real estate listings online when shopping for a home. The virtually staged pictures may spark initial interest online, but often appears misleading and ineffective when an empty home is viewed in person. The home may also require more updates than what is shown in the photo diminishing the home’s perceived value. Potential buyers visiting the home may still question the size of the space as well as furniture layout since there is no point of reference without actual furniture. Staging is effective when it romances the buyer in person. They need to fall in love with a home and develop an “at home” feel in order to decide that this is the home for them.

For Sale By Owner Check List

Many believe that in order to obtain the best price in the home, they need to sell yourself. Why pay thousands of dollars to work as an intermediary, you can do for you? Although nearly 25 percent of homes sold last year, sales of the owner, said at least half of a professional next time.

This does not mean you can not complete a successful sale without a professional, but a homeowner needs to understand the risks and be as organized and informed about the sales process than any agent. Here are some key points to consider before you decide to fly solo

Property Value

Realistic pricing of your home is essential to the successful sale of your property. If it is a price too low, you can potentially lose money. If the price is too high, you can also lose money because of the cumulative cost of the house remains on the market longer. Two years ago when I sold my house there was a final sale by owner in the same neighborhood. The property was much more expensive than it was worth it and last I heard the place was still for sale.

Determining the value of your home requires a thorough knowledge of your market. You can start to make comparative studies of similar properties for sale or recently sold in your area. It’s probably a good idea to hire an expert to give you an accurate value of the market.

Marketing

A good broker will promote your home on your own website, the MLS website, in print and by word of mouth. You have to compete with this strategy to effectively promote your property. Your home needs to stand out among all other listings and agents is to sell, the higher the cost of marketing.

A good place to start is with one of the many online “sale by owner sites that offer a type of reasonable advertising packages. You can also promote a cash incentive from the sale initiated by a realtor, or you may experience a few scattered houses open.

Commitment

One of the major contributors to a house to stay on the market longer than necessary, the owner’s lack of commitment to see the house regularly, and that includes the organization and promotion of open days. A certain period of time should be devoted each day to sell your home.

Dealing with customers

One thing real estate agents are very effective filter serious buyers window-shop or low ball. You will learn to deal with these people and not fall for an offer that you will regret later.

Provide useful information to the prospective buyer is prepared to your credibility. A real estate agent is still waiting in the wings to answer questions about financing options, the cost of home repairs in connection with acquisitions, recommendations for home inspectors, lawyers, etc.

Meet the Experts

Familiarize yourself with the inspectors, attorneys and representatives involved in the title of your sale. You do not want a delay in the process, choosing the wrong people to be treated.

Legal information

Closures have come down because of inaccurate or incomplete paperwork. Have the necessary legal documents ready and know the process inside. Financial incentives or inclusions should be documented, signed and dated, verbal agreements do not count.

Technology and Tools to Boost Up Your Real Estate Dealings

The real estate world has seen a dip in the dealings be it leasing, buying or selling, especially in the recent times. In today’s tough economic times, making a new customer is challenging and so is retaining an existing one. Real estate agents have to be at their marketing best at all times and for it they need to be tech friendly.

You might be the best at what you do, but until you communicate it in the right way with the right tools, your efforts might be getting wasted. Technology and communication need to go hand in hand and failure in this issue can see you lag behind compared to your competitors. More importantly, there needs to be a balance between the two and to bring that balance in your profession you need to be working on both the aspects simultaneously. Everything from client communication, connecting with new customer database, sales pitch, after sales service and other such interactions need to be done effectively with the help of technology.

Being in the real estate business, you might have noticed that the presentation or bidding of a real estate agent lacking in the technological aspect affects the whole deal. So instead of avoiding technology why not adapt it to fare better as it will assist you in ways you couldn’t have thought possible. All you need to do is incorporate a few of the technological tools in your everyday dealings making it swifter for you and effective for the customer.

Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Smartphone

If you are still using your old mobile phone it is time you switch to a smartphone with a data plan that lets you incorporate database tools. It will prove to be really helpful when you need to contact your prospective clients no matter if you are in the office or out on the go. You can do it all from your smartphone be it sending or receiving emails, browsing property websites, downloading real estate related news apps, communicate instantly no matter where you are.

  • SMS marketing

SMS marketing is an highly effective way to keep in touch with your regular clients and even getting acquainted with new ones. Make it a part of your client communication strategy where you can send notifications, inform them about new properties on the market, send reminders for installments, invite them for property related events, send them links, details and other market related information.

  • Email communication

Emails have become an essential feature when it comes to client communication. It is a quick and convenient way to reach out to property agents, builders, customers especially when it comes to commercial property clients. Make sure to use the best data software for both your computer and smartphone so you can send and receive e-mail even when on the go.

  • Software

Many software packages are especially designed for the real estate industry and are available at affordable prices to assist the real estate professionals. You can integrate it in your system for database entry, facilitate management of broker, staff, leads, quotes, customer account, auditing and other processes. The softwares are designed to meet the ever-growing demands of the real estate industry and can be used by all, developers, builders, contractors, infrastructure developers.

  • Website

Your personal website can boost your clientele and your work reputation as it will be easy for clients to know all about your work increasing the trust and dependability factor. They will have a gateway where they can access your property listings and inspection information related to all the properties that you have on offer.

  • Presentation software

While presenting a property to many clients or a team you could make use of presentation software with the help of which you can add site photographs, 3D images, manage content, basically create an awesome visual experience for the client giving your property bid a boost.

All these and more can be a part of your everyday dealings when it comes to presenting, negotiating, selling or closing a deal. Like every other field, real estate too is embracing technology and it’s time you too go for it.

Real Estate Investing Basics – Choose Your Neighbor Marketing

A very effective, yet often overlooked method of marketing both your rentals and your houses for sale is door to door flyers in the neighborhood of your property. Residents who live near your property are likely to know someone – a friend, colleague or family member in the market for housing that they can pass your flyer on to. You may also attract the direct attention of a neighbor who is ready to buy or move up/down in their housing.

If you are local and don’t mind running around the neighborhood yourself, this method will only cost you a few hours plus the cost of printing. If you’re not available for the distribution, or just have better things to do, paying someone to distribute flyers is very cheap and incredibly cost effective if it results in a sale or a qualified tenant placement. Just remember to do a quick drive through of the neighborhood to ensure the flyers have been distributed if you’re paying someone to do it.

As for the content of the flyer, it’s worth it to take some quality photographs of the interior and exterior of the home. If your main selling point is the quality of the property, be sure to feature these in full color along with some of the basic specs of the home. If you are advertising a rent to own that’s a really great deal, make sure your analysis of the numbers is prominent and easily understood. Also, be sure to emphasize that this property is in their neighborhood and that this is an opportunity for them to choose their new neighbor. Lastly, don’t forget to include full contact information: your telephone number, fax number, email address and 24 hour recorded information line if you have one.

A more expensive variation of this method is to use direct mail to target your property’s neighborhood. Again, you’ll want to tailor your marketing message to let them know that this is their chance to mold the neighborhood by helping to select the new neighbors. To maximize your exposure, try using both flyer and direct mail distribution methods, timed several weeks apart to make sure that as many neighbors as possible get your message that you have a great property for sale or rent in their neighborhood.