Commercial Best Practices at Associations


Share your best practices for serving and engaging the commercial member at your association. Help us create a resource that all associations may use to serve and elevate their commercial membership by completing the form below: 

Browse through the archive list below to see the best practices associations across the country have created to better serve their commercial practitioners. 

 

Communications/Marketing

Small Associations (fewer than 500 members)

Commercial Alliance of REALTORS®

The Commercial Alliance of REALTORS® is promoting the use of a commercial expert and the use of the public website property search  through a radio advertising campaign.  Airing during morning drive-time on an iHeart radio grouping of stations, this campaign has increased visits to www.carwm.com by 76% year over year.  Also highly visited is the member directory, where listeners are going to find the right commercial practitioner to suit their needs.  Members enjoy hearing the ads that promote their expertise, adherence to the Code of Ethics, and encourage the public to view available properties.  While there is a cost involved to contract with the broadcast group, this is proving to be a valuable member benefit. 

Large Associations (2,000 - 6,999 members)

Arcadia Association of REALTORS® 

At every event we do throughout the year, we collect business cards from attendees. With these, we add to a running email contact list. Since members of other Associations and real estate entities join us at these events, our list is useful to help market our upcoming future events and gain a larger attendance.

New Haven Middlesex Association of REALTORS®

We created a monthly e-newsletter for members of our Commercial Investment Division. One of the main features of the newsletter is that it announces the location for that month’s CID breakfast networking meeting, which is held at an available commercial listing location. Meetings are open to paid CID members, who are only notified through our email distribution list. Because the newsletter (and follow up emails) is the only notification we use for the meeting announcement location, the newsletter averages an open rate of over 60%. 

The newsletter also includes a New Listings/Wants & Needs section. Members have access to a shared google doc to enter any new listings and client wants/needs. That info is copied into the newsletter and shared with the CID membership.
Once we have their attention with the meeting location, we leverage that attention to promote association events, commercial news and new CID member announcements. We include a section of NAR Commercial updates and news along with links to several NAR Commercial Resources such as Commercial Connections, The Source blog, NAR Commercial Podcast, realtor.org/commercial and the Commercial REALTOR® LinkedIn group. 

Here is a link to our June newsletter 

Mega Associations (7,000+ members)

REALTORS® Association of the Palm Beaches 

Our Commercial Division sends out a weekly e-newsletter to our members. The e-newsletter utilizes color graphics along with text to update our commercial members about upcoming events, classes, calls to action, and industry news. Links are incorporated to lead members directly to class flyers, on-line registrations, and articles on industry news items including articles from NAR and our State Association. The e-newsletter also includes a column for members to place their 'HAVES' and 'WANTS' as well as member deal announcements. The e-newsletter consistently has open rates above the national average. 

Submit your best practices using the form above to help populate this list. 

Education /Professionalism 

Small Associations (fewer than 500 members)

Commercial Association of REALTORS® New Mexico

For the first time ever, the Commercial Association of REALTORS® New Mexico is doing a major event entitled, "Intersections: Connecting Inspiration, Ingenuity & Commercial Real Estate."  This event includes the following associations:  CARNM, CCIM, NAIOP, ULI, SIOR, CREW, IREM and BOMA.  We are bringing in four national speakers and following it up with a cocktail reception to celebrate commercial real estate.  

We are asking sponsors and members to join us for the commercial real estate event of the year!

Medium Associations (500 - 1,999 members)

Commercial Association of REALTORS® Wisconsin

What is Next Gen?
CARW Next Generation is an initiative focused on helping member firms recruit and retain commercial real estate professionals through giving access to up and coming real estate professionals to information and experts. The 9-month program will provide participants with high-level information and practical examples from commercial real estate projects, and enhance their commercial real estate networks. This experience will improve individuals and the industry – for now and in the future.
How do I participate?
CARW Next Generation involves two components: the first consists of programming that is exclusive to CARW Members selected through an application process.  The selection committee will choose 10-15 applicants to move through the program.  The second component of the program involves social events and happy hours – 2-3 annually, open to all members of the commercial real estate community.
This program gives those with less than five years of experience access and exposure to various disciplines while fostering strong relationships within the real estate community.
Who is eligible?
CARW Next Generation is only open to CARW members with under 5 years of commercial real estate experience.
How do I apply?
CARW Next Generation candidates are determined through an application process. 10-15 individuals will be selected. The application requires a firm leader’s endorsement, a $200 program fee, and a 9-month commitment to the program.

Commercial Association of REALTORS® Wisconsin

CARW/ICSC Retail Conference - this full day conference features two keynotes including a national industry expert on retail and a Wisconsin - based retailer.  Then there are two sets of roundtable discussions with retailers, economic development and financing leaders, and more.  These are broken into two sessions, each with 2, 20-minute sessions.  Then there is a panel of retailers / developers/brokers, deal-making session, retailer runway and happy hour.  More than 400 attend from across the country.  It's a ton of fun and activates a large group of our members, even those not in retail.  

Large Associations (2,000 - 6,999 members)

Arcadia Association of REALTORS® 

We hold a Commercial Education & Networking Session on the 1st Thursday of every month. We bring in a different speaker every month who speaks on key topics within the industry. Some topics are updates and others are purely educational. Every topic is extremely relevant to helping members succeed in the Commercial world of real estate. Also built into this monthly session is a time for attendees to pitch their commercial listings, wants, and needs and also network with each other. 

Bay East Association of REALTORS® 

We communicated with our commercial members and our resicommercial members and marketed the benefits of adding commercial to their profile during the last six months. We also provided a referral class to teach Bay East residential members how to identify a commercial opportunity, make a commercial referral and get paid for the referrals. (This class is really geared towards the residential REALTOR® not the commercial agent).

Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS®

This year as a member benefit we offered 3 FREE continuing education courses for our Commercial Investment Division (CID) members (over $150 value).   They could take all 3 classes or a combo depending on their needs for license renewal.  We offered the NAR Ethics course, our State's required Core Course, and 2 two hour commercial specific electives taught by Rob Nahagian.  Seeing as how CID dues are just $150 annually and include many other benefits in addition to the education, we had several people join CID who may not have otherwise. It was a great reward for members and a way to entice new members to join.  The classes were paid for by CID member dues revenue and a small grant from SC REALTOR® Education Foundation.

Pensacola Association of REALTORS®, Inc.

We hold a Commercial Forum on the first Thursday of each month. We bring in a local speaker to lead a conversation with our members about what's currently happening in our city and how it relates to the real estate industry. We have had an array of speakers visit the Association for our forum, from successful business leaders to the president of the University of West Florida. We have an excellent turnout for these events, and we have recently began to stream LIVE on Facebook for added viewers. Our members find these forums extremely helpful and beneficial to their business, as well as a great networking opportunity!

Nebraska REALTORS® Association

In 2016 we offered Commercial Day.  We had a Commercial CE class in the morning, Commercial luncheon with our lobbyists speaking, Commercial CE class in the afternoon, followed by a networking event.  We had a great turn out.  This year we are offering Commercial Day again with 2 Commercial CE classes in the morning, Commercial luncheon with RPR speaking and 2 Commercial classes in the afternoon.  We use the Commercial Innovation Grant through NAR to help with expenses!

New Haven Middlesex Association of REALTORS®

The NHMR Commercial Conference is a half-day event of presentations and networking designed to educate our Commercial Investment Division (CID) members on industry trends and issues, strengthen relationships between CID members as well as with potential business partners. 

We have held this event successfully for 3 years and have been able to offer it for free for CID members thanks to the NAR Commercial Innovation Grant and additional sponsorships. We hold the event in the fall. Non CID-members can attend for a fee which includes CID membership for the rest of the year to encourage renewal the following year. 

The conference has covered a diverse array of topics and speakers relevant to commercial real estate. Past topics have included:

  • State & regional economic overviews
  • Resources, programs and grants available from the CT Dept. of Economic & Community Development, Energize CT and the CT Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Brownfields
  • Grants & tax credits available for redevelopment of historic properties, mill & factory sites
  • Legal updates/real world examples from a very popular and highly regarded real estate attorney
  • Transit-Oriented Development
  • Green Commercial Buildings 

We also promote the event to residential members who are interested in exploring commercial opportunities. The conference was also cross-promoted to a neighboring commercial broker network in Fairfield County. 

We distributed NAR Commercial REALTOR® pins, Commercial Connections magazine, NAR Commercial Resources flyer and an RPR Commercial flyer to all attendees. 

Having a local economist giving an economic forecast was a draw in getting local press coverage at the event. 

Making it half-day afternoon event followed by a cocktail hour seems to work well into member’s schedules vs attempting to hold an all-day event. This year, the conference will take place on the normally scheduled monthly CID meeting date. Instead of the usual CID breakfast networking meeting, we will incorporate the networking portion (new listing/wants & needs announcements) into the meeting agenda, prior to the speakers. 

If we are able to get detailed outlines of the presentation in advance, we will apply for the program to be approved for CE credit.

REALTORS® Commercial Alliance of Southeastern North Carolina of Cape Fear REALTORS®

Every year we partner with North Carolina CCIM to bring in a national speaker. Last year Joe Larkin did a morning seminar on "The Basics of Real Estate Investment" and an afternoon one on "Developing a Negotiation Strategy." It was so successful, Joe is coming to Wilmington again this year on August 11th. His topics are "Big Changes in the Accounting World and their Impact on Commercial Real Estate" and "Commercial Real Estate Negotiations, Strategies, Tactics, and Tricks". We have a Networking Social following the sessions at a local restaurant.

North Shore - Barrington Association of REALTORS® 

The association is creating a commercial track for continuing education with a focus on commercial.

Mega Associations (7,000+ members)

Maryland Association of REALTORS® 

We hold a yearly Commercial Symposium. Historically, it had been a half day program, but was expanded to a full day program this year with approximately 160 commercial REALTOR® attendees--about a 40% increase in participants year over year. Sponsors were more actively solicited this year to cover the increased costs of having a full day affair. The location at Baltimore's Visionary Art Museum provided a funky backdrop for the meeting. Attendees reported that they were pleased to get inexpensive education and the sponsors reported that they were happy to get some exclusive one on one time.

Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® 

As it is important for us to provide relevant education to both our Commercial practitioners as well as members bridging the gap from Residential to Commercial/Investment real estate, we have created a Commercial Real Estate Series. The series is comprised of two introductory sessions (one on Leasing, the other an overview of Commercial Real Estate) with the balance of classes on Purchase/Lease agreements, Tax & Legal issues, Lending, 1031 Exchanges, Due Diligence and Property Management. The series is structured to include the overview class several times throughout the year for new members and affords attendees the ability to prepay registration for discounts and/or earn a certificate of completion with promotion in various media formats. Each class is taught by a professional in that field. 

Submit your best practices using the form above to help populate this list. 

Legislative/Advocacy 

Medium Associations (500 - 1,999 members)

Charlotte Region Commercial Board of REALTORS®

What is the value of lobbying and advocacy?  Why be aware of public policy, legislation and RPAC?  In an effort to help our members better understand the value advocacy brings to their membership and the industry, we are taking it on the road. The CRCBR Legislative Road Show explains why, how and what the organization monitors and advocates for at a local, state and federal level.  We are vsiting CRE firm sales meetings to share pertinent issues and to make a connection between our efforts and how they practice real estate in our area. The PowerPoint presentation is 6 slides and is delivered by the Legislative Committee Chair and Executive Vice President (though could be delivered by other volunteers and staff).  The goal is to reach as many members with the general information and to encourage RPAC contributions.  

Large  Associations (2,000 - 6,999 members)

The Inland Gateway Association of REALTORS®

We offer a once a month commercial forum with speakers from the city and counties, also a two day workshop on investing and flipping.

Mega Associations (7,000+ members)

Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® 

In an effort to manage local, state and federal legislative issues our Commercial & Investment Division consistently collaborates with our Governmental Affairs committee and Legislative Advocate to ensure information is shared to our membership through a variety of means. Commercial Networking meetings feature speakers and GA committee invites monthly guests to address upcoming legislative issues/ordinances. State and National meeting information is communicated back to both entities and circulated via social media, website, print and member publications. Red alerts help both inform and create action at the member level to ensure property rights are protected. 

Submit your best practices using the form above to help populate this list. 

NC REALTORS®

The NC REALTORS® (NCR), in conjunction with the REALTORS Commercial Alliance (RCA) and state-based commercial real estate organizations like CCIM, are building a coalition to advocate for economic development in North Carolina. The purpose of this coalition is to encourage local and state policies friendly to economic development. NCR’s commercial brokers have formed an Economic Development Committee and meet regularly to discuss strategies to support the NC Economic Development Partnership, a public-private partnership dedicated to bringing new jobs and industry to North Carolina.

North Carolina’s commercial brokers are also active at the federal legislative front. The RCA of North Carolina took action to protect the 1031 like-kind exchange during NAR’s Legislative Meetings in May. Representatives from the RCA, as well as members of CCIM’s North Carolina chapter, submitted letters to each of North Carolina’s elected representatives stating their industry’s support for the 1031 exchange and encouraging those representatives to protect this crucial feature of the tax code during Congressional tax reform.

The NC REALTORS® are also working to develop a global focus for its constituent services. NCR is looking carefully at the process by which North Carolina commercial brokers can participate in MIPIM, the international conference held in France every year and dedicated to generating international commercial real estate business.

Technology/Data 

Medium Associations (500 - 1,999 members)

Minnesota Commercial Association of Real Estate / REALTORS®

At MNCAR we operate the MNCAR Exchange with our partners at Xceligent. On a quarterly basis we meet with our industry leaders in 5 categories; Office, Industrial, Retail, Investment and Research. In all the number of volunteers totals about 60. These important individuals review the data within the MNCAR Exchange to ensure accuracy and validity. A quarterly market report is then published and made available to members. All reports are available to the general public once a new report is published. Along with the market reports in each sector there is a Notable Transaction Report published, this report monitors the significant closings in office, retail and industrial lease / sales.  The best practice is the involvement of the members carefully analyzing the data to ensure usefulness for providing clients with accurate knowledge to provide them the best possible representation.

Large Associations (2,000 - 6,999 members)

Pensacola Association of REALTORS®, Inc.

In 2011, the Gulf Coast Commercial Multiple Listing Service was created to better serve agents practicing commercial real estate in the area. Over the past five years, it has developed into a well-known, quality system that serves the public and commercial real estate agents all along the Gulf Coast.
There are now six participating Associations along the panhandle, including the Pensacola Association of REALTORS®, the Emerald Coast Association of REALTORS®, the Baldwin County Association of REALTORS®, the Mobile Area Association of REALTORS®, the Bay County Association of REALTORS® and the Navarre Area Board of REALTORS®. The system currently has over 980 users, over 300 companies and over 2,500 active listings.
The Gulf Coast CMLS enables a local community of brokers, developers, appraisers and investors to share information and work together more efficiently!

Mega Associations (7,000+ members)

RCA Miami 

We have a tool called Member to Member Emails where members can promote their haves and needs to the other commercial members. They can embed and attached fliers as well as links. The promotions are sent instantaneously and members have done deals through the system. 

Submit your best practices using the form above to help populate this list. 

Community/Member Involvement and Networking 

Small Associations (fewer than 500 members)

GRRA-RCA of Greensboro 

Each year the REALTORS® Commercial Alliance of Greensboro gives away the Economic Development Award to someone that has made a significant impact on the city of Greensboro. This person does not have to be a member of the organization to win. The person should have a role that fosters economic development, is active within the community, a leader in the real estate industry and has a history of advocating for Greensboro. This award is given at a networking event that combines other commercial real estate organizations, as well as bringing in local and state politicians. The event has been held in different locations each year. This award/event is publicized in the local media, as well as being advertised to the commercial real estate industry. It allows for new relationships to be built from across the state, while at the same time is bringing recognition to a deserving citizen of the city. By joining together with other organizations, the RCA is engaging with potential new members as well as allowing their members to connect with other people in the industry that may not have met prior to the event. 

Commercial Alliance of REALTORS®

The Commercial Alliance of REALTORS® selects a charitable recipient each year to provide assistance to the community.  In 2016, Baxter Community Center was selected, due to their need of playground equipment for their pre-school/toddler educational programs.  Members of the Commercial Alliance of REALTORS® donated over $26,000 for Baxter, who purchased the needed equipment.  In April, CARWM pitched in during the community day, to begin the process of creating footings, assembling, and positioning the equipment.  On May 15, 2017, a ribbon-cutting was held (ribbons cut by the preschoolers!), to celebrate this addition to the Center.  Baxter serves nearly 15,000 in the Grand Rapids community through a variety of services.  Their new pre-school/toddler playground helps them meet certain requirements for accreditation, allowing them to continue to grow their great programs.

Medium Associations (500 - 1,999 members)

Heartland REALTOR® Organization

Heartland has embraced the local community of commercial brokers both members and non-members of the association.   After their own meetings lost attendance and eventually stopped, these brokers now have a professional location for their monthly meeting.   In January 2016 Heartland began providing the space, coffee and light snacks as well as coordinating with the monthly presenter to ensure a smooth running meeting.  This is not heartland's meeting but rather Heartland helps facilitate their needs.   

Winston Salem Regional Association of REALTORS®

We have sponsorship opportunities available for our breakfast meetings and socials. The sponsor is "featured" at one event and then they are invited to attend the next ten meetings or socials at no additional charge. In addition to offsetting costs for these events, it allows professionals in fields related to commercial real estate to network with our members on an ongoing basis. Our members benefit by having a contact if they ever have questions about titles, legal issues, insurance, environmental concerns, etc. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement and positively received by all.

Commercial Association of REALTORS® Wisconsin

Annual Roundtable Event - features four 20-minute sessions with more than 30 topics from economic development to high-level projects happening in the region.  Generally the session exposes a great deal of new information to the members and the community and draws more than 250 annually to the event. 

Large Associations (2,000 - 6,999 members) 

Memphis Area Association of REALTORS® 

The MAAR Commercial Council Golf Tournament has raised $250,000 for Make a Wish of the Mid-South over the last seven years. The 2017 tournament set a record by raising $58,000 for Make a Wish. The tournament has also raised $176,000 for MAAR over the last seven years.

Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS®

Commercial staff remains actively involved with our CCIM/SIOR/BOMA & IREM chapters in the area, specifically serving as the Chapter Administrator to CCIM & SIOR.  This has been a terrific benefit not only to the association by being able to stay involved and keep up with what's going on with Commercial REALTORS, but it's advantageous to the chapters as we are able to target e-mails to new association members letting them know of the area organizations. In commercial newsletters, included is a calendar of events that details ALL of the area organization's events so it appears as though as we are giving our commercial agents a wide range of activities & events, even though they are hosted by the organizations.

New Haven Middlesex Association of REALTORS®

NHMR CID holds regular CID breakfast networking meetings on the third Wednesday of the month. Meetings are from 8:00 – 9:00 and held at an available commercial listing location with the client covering the cost of “coffee and”, bagels, breakfast sandwiches, etc. The “host” agent will showcase the property highlights and members can tour the space.  Members then take turns announcing new listings, closed deals, clients wants/needs, successes and challenges. On occasion the host may also hold business card drawings for items such as wine baskets, gift cards or an i-Watch. 
Only REALTORS® are allowed to join CID, so the meetings facilitate true Realtor-to-REALTOR® networking. The meeting location is only announced to CID members. The consistent third Wednesday of the month day and time easily enables members to fit the meeting into their schedules far in advance. We do allow one industry-related, non-REALTOR® sponsor to sponsor the breakfast if desired for $500. The sponsor receives an introduction and a 5-minute presentation. 
We have found that when soliciting members for a location, it is best that they keep in mind the following logistics to ensure the site is conducive to a successful meeting:

  • Is there sufficient parking? Do members need to be reimbursed if there is a fee?
  • Is heat/AC on if building is vacant? 
  • Acoustics – will everyone be able to hear?
  • Is there ample seating/chairs available? 
  • Directional signage to the meeting space

This monthly meeting has had continued success for over 50 years and has served as the foundation of a very strong commercial REALTOR® network.

North Shore - Barrington Association of REALTORS®

Coffee and Commercial meets once a month for a free wheeling discussion of commercial business.

Mega Associations (7,000+ members)

Chicago Association of REALTORS®

C.A.R.'s CommercialForum created a strategic member benefit with Roosevelt University's Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate to encourage C.A.R. members to pursue an MSRE degree.  C.A.R. members are exclusively eligible to apply for one of ten scholarships to assist them in graduating in as few as 5 continuous quarters.  Scholarships are in the amount of $1500 over 3 quarters and $1000 toward graduation. No GMAT is required - only all previous school transcripts, completed application, a statement of personal and professional goals, and of course, acceptance to Roosevelt University. 
As a result, we have seen engagement with existing MSRE students who are already C.A.R. members, those who joined C.A.R. to be eligible, and C.A.R. members who are now applying for MSRE studies.

Submit your best practices using the form above to help populate this list. 

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