Comm’l Classroom: Pandemic marketing – Back to basics

This column is offered to train agents new to trade and investment brokerage and serves as a baseline review for existing practitioners.

Because of the COVID-19 virus, there are many ways that commercial real estate agents can get businesses and themselves into trouble. Businesses may try to downsize some of their space by moving or subletting if they are in a lease. Some may be facing closure and looking for a replacement tenant for themselves in order to get the landlord to relieve them of their rental obligations. How do we find out? We talk to them – the old-fashioned face-to-face way. Visit businesses in town, use social distancing, and wear masks. See if you can help them.

Note: New York State still has a “cold calling” ban, but this only applies to phone calls.

This personal “cold calling” is a business building activity that we should have been doing before the pandemic hit. Basic Marketing 101 tells us to spend some time each day looking for future business. One technique is to go systematically from door to door and introduce yourself to all tenants and builders in the city. If you visit at least two companies per day, that’s 10 per week, 40 per month and new perspectives. Meeting with current tenants and owners can now be timely to help them and it will help you develop your presence in the community as a “commercial contact”.

After you’ve made initial contact, you’ll want to keep in touch. When you meet a business owner who is a tenant, determine when the lease expired. To catalog this valuable information, you can purchase all kinds of software programs or simply use the word and calendar programs found on most computers.

You have determined that the lease will expire in two years. Enter this information into your calendar program and keep track of it six months before the lease expires. However, you also want to keep in touch regularly. You should therefore enter an appointment for a follow-up visit in 3-4 months. These subsequent visits develop your relationship with the prospect. Ask for a bank transfer every time you visit. “Is there anyone else you know that I might be able to help?”

If after their lease expires they decide to stay at their location, consider them a source of referrals or potential buyers (more on that in a moment) until they have to move.

Just because someone signs a five- or ten-year contract doesn’t mean they’ll stay there all the time. Business is booming and they need more space. or things are slow and now they take up less space. We can help them find new space and possibly sublet (and get paid for!) The space they’re in. Repeat visits – when they need to take a step – keep you up to date and receive the call.

Every time you catalog a building, you create a simple “Word document” about the prospect you just met. Include what information you’ve collected, name, address, owner or renter, type of business, how much space they take up, when they expect to move, and the lease expiration date. Include any personal information they have given you about their family, etc. They learn that they are going on vacation next month. Keep this chronological record of activity for each call or visit. Before speaking to them again, consult your log. You might want to start your conversation with a question like “How was your vacation? This type of personalization develops relationships.

During your first visit, you learned that 2,500 s / f sales areas are being rented. Organize files on your computer by size: for example, retail tenants leasing 1,000-2,000 b / w, 2,000-3,000 b / w, and so on. If you have a retail building for sale in a slightly larger area, e.g. B. 4,000 b / f. If you email the opportunity to all of your retail tenants who rent less space than this, they might be ready to buy! Do the same for office and industrial tenants.

Don’t forget about the builders – when you meet the builder, they may or may not have their business in this building. Either way, you are an investor. Your investor files can be cataloged by size, price category, or both. Get these new investment listings on these buyers.

If you take the extra time to really catalog everything you learn, it will lead to future business.

Edward Smith. Jr. CREI, ITI, CIC, GREEN, MICP, CNE, e-PRO, and CIREC program developer is an instructor, writer, broker, speaker, and consultant for commercial and investment real estate.