By Kyle Malnati, CEO and Employing Broker, Calibrate Real Estate
Growth, progress, and disruption are exponential in today’s commercial real estate industry, leaving many successful agents wondering how their business might change in the Information Age. New technology is developed so quickly it can be hard to know which Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is the best for us and if social media platforms can be powerful business tools.
A lot of this change is good. Contracts are written faster, can be signed electronically, and are actually legible (remember trying to read a faxed version?) – all without even sitting with our client. The business world moves at a rapid pace and real estate is no different.
According to NAR’s 2017 Commercial Member Profile the median age of NAR’s commercial members is 60, 73% are male, and 68% have a bachelors’ degree or higher. Many of our members can recall using word processors to write letters and carrying change to make phone calls from a pay phone. Because I am a Millennial with 14 years of brokerage experience, I am often asked to share successful marketing strategies from a more “youthful perspective” with my older, less tech-savvy counterparts.
My first piece of advice is to dispel the myth that real estate is no longer a relationship business. Even though the internet, email, and social media allow you to communicate, they do not connect you with your clients. Talking ‘kneecap-to-kneecap’ in a conference room and hammering out details over the telephone are still the most effective ways to negotiate a deal. The foundation of your business is people serving people so it’s vital to view technology as a tool and not as the center of your business. As long as you focus on taking care of people, you will continue to have a successful career.
Let’s talk about using tech tools to amplify your real estate business. My first tip is to pick one method to market yourself: email marketing.
Strategies and messages that were effective many years ago can still work today, but you should deliver them differently. Email marketing is efficient, inexpensive, and measurable. Gone are the days of spending thousands of dollars on a mailing campaign and wondering who received it. You should still produce postcards and newsletters, but do so digitally.
Proof of this concept was tested by my company recently. We created a survey for our own clients and found that email marketing was still their preferred way of gathering information over Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
My second tip is to avoid chasing after change, which should be a relief to you. If you look at recent innovations and figure out what hasn’t changed, you’ll realize one consistent central theme: your client wants to be assured that you are the expert who can help them. Make sure you are addressing client need in any marketing and communication plans.