Tips, Tools and Tactics For Handling Commercial Property Owners in This Market

In this commercial real estate market you really know the property owner that you are dealing with, and their reason for talking with you on property matters.

As a base strategy, it pays to directly question the client on their needs but also and perhaps more importantly their knowledge of the current market. You want all the real facts and make sure you get no hidden agendas from the clients. So let’s see how we can achieve this clear and precise information from the client.

Direct Questioning

Question them more and you talk less! Direct questioning does set the foundations of confidence and knowledge for you in the conversation. It makes you stand apart from the competition as the property agent of relevance and knowledge. The property owner can see that they are talking to someone who really knows the current market and why things are happening.

Here are some key questions and concepts. We recommend that you use this as a checklist for the process. That will keep you on track.

  • What is the Owner’s Motivation in talking with you today and how did they reach you? They must have at least one specific reason. You need to know why they have chosen you as the potential agent to help them. You should also know how they found you in the first place. If it was through another property campaign or a referral then you have a base from which to create leverage.
  • In this commercial and retail property market, volatility and uncertainty can impact many properties. The time on market will be extensive in most circumstances unless the property is correctly matched to the target market and the price or rental is keenly structured. For this reason you want the best properties to list with you and not the average ones. What do the clients ultimately want to do in listing the property today and what is the time frame that they must satisfy?
  • Is there a financial hurdle or benchmark that must be satisfied for the transaction to be successful? If there is any financial pressure from the mortgagees and the banks, it is important to know full details of that. See if the client will involve you with the banks at the earliest stages so that any pressure from that direction can be controlled. If the bank is confident in you and your services, they will likely let you take choices in the property promotion road ahead.
  • Given the price or rental that you could achieve with the property in today’s market, is there a financial target or hurdle in the clients mind that must be matched? Is it realistic and what will be your strategy in the process? Work on the clients thinking from the earliest stages of the listing process. Attitudes of inflated prices and rents have to be toned down. The property market of this year is a lot different than two years ago. Do not waste your time on overpriced listings at unrealistically high levels.
  • Has the property been on the market for some time with other agencies? This fact will impact your strategic approach in continuing with the listing today. You will need to freshen up the marketing so previous promotional campaigns are not impacting your campaign today.
  • The previous history of the landlord’s interaction and service with the other tenants in the building must be identified and understood. Many potential purchasers or potential tenants for the property in today’s market will speak to the other existing tenants in the property as part of their due diligence process. Any bad history can derail your negotiations. The earlier you know about the problem the easier it is for you to strategize and address.
  • Given that there are so many changes impacting the market at the moment, does the owner of the property understand the market and how they must adjust to those pressures? This can include property renovation, adjustments of rentals, establishment of fresh lease documentation, repositioning of tenancies, a reassessment of the property financials, well directed marketing campaigns, and reductions in price or rental as required.
  • Is the property owner a ‘Corporate’ in structure and how does that effect or delay decisions that will be appearing in the sale or lease process? It is surprising how much delay can be experienced when working with boards of directors and the people in ‘head office’. Property documentation must be a high priority and fast tracked when the time comes. Understand who you must get the documentation to and how they will process the documentation.
  • Who are the Owner’s Solicitors and Accountants, and can they be directly reached for discussions on the financial matters of the property? It is interesting to note that solicitors in the property documentation process can slow things down extensively (their work load pressures are not your pressures). This is where you will likely need the assistance of the client to make the solicitor respond in a timely fashion to your requests. It is quite likely that the solicitor will not even take your calls as the property agent until the client so instructs them.
  • Given the property transaction today, is the client a repeat investor and will they want to re-enter the property markets soon on a different type of investment? This is an excellent time to purchase other commercial real estate. Prices are historically low and offer significant opportunity for those clients that can act today. Finance can be the problem that holds back the bigger deals.
  • Does the client own anything else in commercial real estate which needs to be balanced in property portfolio performance as you sell or lease the subject property? In many cases, it is the stability of the cash flow across the portfolio which needs to be considered for the client. Many wise portfolio property owners will select properties in different property types such as retail, office, and industrial, so that the economic trends of any distressed market segment or location will be offset by the other properties in the portfolio. It is of note that diverse property portfolios produce less volatility but also produce less extreme peaks when one property market is performing highly. The property owners today who are reasonably comfortable economically are those that have spread their investment portfolio across different property types in good locations.

So the key issue here is to completely understand client and their needs. The better you do this, the better the chances of an effective sale or lease in a timely fashion. Confidence and control are the foundations of your success as a commercial property agent in this volatile real estate market.

Health Care Marketing Series – Marketing Effectiveness and Efficiency – Warheads and Missiles

We have previously discussed the research needed to create a marketing strategy that identifies a target demographic. The purpose of this research is to allow us to compare our relative strengths and weaknesses verses our direct competitors strength and weaknesses within the marketplace. Once our relative position in the competitive marketplace has been researched, a strategy that pits our strength against our competitor’s weaknesses can be formulated. This process is called marketing strategy.

Part of the marketing strategy is to formulate headlines and ad copy based on our relative position in the marketplace. We want our marketing to highlight our relative strengths against the relative weakness of our direct competition. All of this positioning must be crafted within the context of the solution to a specific problem that exists in a coveted demographic within our marketplace. The ultimate goal is to create a perception within the collective minds of our demographic that we have the best answer to solve their specific problem. This well researched, well crafted message is our marketing warhead.

The more congruent our message is with the wants and desires of our coveted market demographic, the bigger bang we will receive from our marketing efforts. This “bang” is measured as our response rate. This process of marketing strategy sends us into battle (contention for potential patients) under advantageous conditions. The process we have just described is the definition of marketing strategy. The better the marketing strategy, more effective the headline and ad copy. Notice that we stated the better the strategy the more effective the headline and copy will be. We didn’t say the more effective the marketing campaign will be. This is because there is one more major consideration that helps to determine how effective or ineffective a marketing campaign will be. The other piece of the puzzle is your delivery systems.

If the strategy and the headlines and ad copy are the warhead of your marketing campaigns, the next step in successful marketing is the missile or delivery system.

The variables for marketing success are the quality of your research, the art and science of your strategy development, the alignment of your headline and ad copy with your marketing strategy and finally the efficiency and cost effectiveness of your delivery systems.

You can have a nuclear warhead when it comes to knowledgeable strategy, headline and ad copy, but will obtain mediocre results if you choose a weak delivery system. Conversely you may have the best most effective delivery system and obtain marginal marketing results if your strategy, headline and copy are weak.

Optimizing all three components and constantly testing and perfecting these aspects of your marketing campaign is the key to effective, efficient and profitable marketing that produces a handsome return on investment.

We have discussed the intricacies of developing marketing strategy in another paper. The marketing metrics required to evaluate the return on investment (which is another way to say the marketing efficiency) has been discussed in a previous paper. This paper will integrate marketing strategy and research with marketing metrics to create a framework with which to evaluate marketing delivery systems. This process is a real world method for first determining and then improving both marketing effectiveness and marketing efficiency.

Before we can evaluate our marketing effectiveness and efficiency we must first define marketing effectiveness and efficacy.

Marketing effectiveness is how well a campaign or the action steps within a campaign’s execution produce a favorable response. What is a favorable response and how do we know if we got one? Well despite what marketing aficionados might tell you, marketing execution can be measured. There are several tangible measurements that matter and they are new (or repeat) business depending on your strategy, revenue increase and profit

Your marketing strategy can be judged to be effective if 1. It produces new business, 2. It increases revenues and 3. It increases profit.

It has nothing to do with image, branding, awareness or intangible returns.

In the context of marketing a professional practice, new business would be “kept” new patient appointments. Revenue is the gross collections increase from previous months and profits means your return on investments, also expresses as increased revenue minus the cost of your marketing effort.

By themselves these measures can give you a good handle on the effectiveness or not of your marketing execution. The next step is to eliminate marketing action steps that are not effective and to optimize those marketing activities that are proven to be effective. Once marketing effectiveness and marketing efficiency are optimized you merely repeat the most effective and efficient action steps. Again and again.

This process is impossible without marketing metrics and return on investment measurement. In fact according to the Harvard Business School no marketing action plan is complete without steps to measure and evaluate the implementation of a campaign. (1)

(1) Harvard Business Essentials

Marketer’s Toolkit

Harvard Business School Press 2006

Let’s look at an example at how all this works. Let’s compare giveaway coffee mugs with a full color print on demand booklet. Online print on demand printers can produce a 6.5 x 9 inch full color saddle stitch booklet at a cost of $6.50 per unit. Let’s compare this against a custom imprinted coffee mug, available for an average cost for mugs of about $1.50

At first glance the mugs seem like a much better marketing investment.

But are they? Let’s say our coveted marketing demographic is women ages 35 to 55 and we have found through are research that this market segment has a health problem: menopause or perimenopause.

First let’s look at headline opportunities.

With the coffee mug you are severely limited by space. You’ll need to try to create a slick trendy and catchy headline. Something like:

“Got Hormones?”

There is not much room on a mug to do much else. What are our options with the print on demand booklet? With the booklet, space constraints are not an issue.

Here are several options:

- “A doctor’s guide to choosing the best treatment options for your perimenopausal symptoms”
- “Tired all the time, irritable, depressed, gaining weight? These are symptoms of perimenopause” “Learn about modern treatment options.”
- “What every women should know about perimenopause and how she can feel good again.”

Really with the space the booklet provides the headline can be extremely specific. You can use subtitles and even an excerpt from the content on the cover. So in terms of our warhead, which one do you think produces a bigger bang?

“Got Hormones?” or “Tired all the time, irritable, depressed, gaining weight? These are symptoms of pre menopause” “Learn about modern treatment options.”

With the coffee cup the story ends here. Because of space restrictions you can’t really get much more detailed. You might put your name on the mug, but you would be hard pressed to add much more information. The catchy headline “Got Hormones?” hopefully will start conversations about you and your services. The downside of this is obvious however. If you give your coffee cups to a patient or the owner of a trendy salon and if one of her customers sees the mug and asks the proprietor about hormone replacement, what are the odds that layperson can represent you and your services in a dramatic, appealing and informative way? Patients rarely remember to take their medications yet alone the reasons why they should and all available options you discussed with them.

In other words, the coffee cup doesn’t allow you to give enough information to sell your service to a prospect. It relies on third party information. The coffee cup hits a dead end rather quickly.

So in terms of a marketing warhead the coffee cup is more fizzle than bang. There is simply not enough space on the cup to allow you to create a headline that is in alignment with your target markets’ problem, yet alone enough space to educate her on how you have the solution to that problem. In other words, there is no way, using a coffee cup, to position you and your service in the mind of a prospective patient. Unless of course you sell coffee.

In terms of effectiveness, the coffee cup while seemingly relatively inexpensive is of dubious effectiveness. It doesn’t matter how cheep the mugs are, if they are not effective they are expensive.

Let’s go back to our full color booklet.

It’s full color so you can use appealing photos and graphics. There is plenty of room on the cover to place a well thought out headline that will stimulate your target to read the copy. Then there is the copy. With 15 pages you have plenty of time and space to sell yourself as the answer to your prospect’s problem.

You should always include a section that details your education and experience. This has been termed your unique selling proposition (USP) or your exceptional value statement (EVS). It is your chance to toot your own horn and you should toot it loudly. The purpose of the EVS is to position you in the prospect’s mind as the “go to” doctor. Your EVS must be powerful enough to motivate the prospective patient to drive by hundreds of other doctors on the way to your office. So spend some time on it and if you don’t feel comfortable talking about yourself, have someone read your CV and write your exceptional value statement for you.

Next let’s consider the body of your ad copy. This is where your research and marketing strategy comes into play. In your booklet you are going to list the basic approach of all your competitors. This may seem counter intuitive but remember you will be highlighting their weaknesses as you go. You are going to offer up alternatives to your own treatment approach, but frame them in a way that showcases their (your direct competitor’s) specific weaknesses. You slowly introduce your answer to the prospect’s problems. If your copy writer is talented, he or she should be able to bring the prospect along so by the end of your information booklet, the only logical conclusion for the reader is that you have the best answer to their problem. Never bash your competition, only frame your comparison highlighting the strengths of your approach compared with the relative weaknesses of your competition.

This shouldn’t be too difficult if you have developed marketing strategy as we discussed in previous papers.

Now within the booklet you should always include multiple ways for your readers to respond. Of course your office address and phone number, but also your web address and email. Perhaps an invitation to take an on line survey and of course your innovative Ask-the-Doctor program. How about a detachable postcard?

All of these methods of response should be interspersed throughout the text of your booklet. Not hidden at the very end.

The most important thing to remember is that your booklet should include valuable information. Don’t worry that you might be giving something away for free. If your information helps the patient they will consider you an expert. They will consult with you when they need help. They will already know that you can help them, because you already have.

Consumers are deluged with advertising offers. Research shows they are more likely to read marketing material if it contains valuable information that will likely benefit them. If your booklet is valuable it will have staying power. It may also be copied and passed around. It might be a good time to mention that you should waive the copyright and tell the reader to feel free to make copies and pass the booklet around.

So after reading this article do you still think that coffee mugs are an effective way to market? Are they efficient? They may cost less than a full color booklet, but do you think they are more cost effective?

Expanding Your Direct Marketing Strategies And The Four Merits That It Offers

Marketing is renowned for its huge variety of possibilities to showcase entertainment, educate people, and be used as resources to expand brand awareness. If your firm is looking to progress beyond its existing limitations and develop to create new prospects of success, the utilization of high quality marketing can indicate one of your best tools to rely upon. While each and every business often invests in some kind of marketing, it can take the expertise of a business marketing consultant to discover all the best resources your firm can rely upon. The following identifies the several benefits a business will figure out from the use of these consultants.

First Benefit: Evaluating Current Strategies

The first advantage to explore from using the resources of a business marketing consultant is seen with the evaluation that is carried out of your current strategies. Marketing strategy is a very significant factor when it relates to saving business money and limiting the expenditures allied with this resource. By tapping into solutions that will assist you in evaluating this strategy you can identify strengths and weaknesses so as to save money and enhance marketing results.

Second Benefit: Identifying New Opportunities

Once you have been in a position to correctly evaluate your marketing strategy as an outcome of the assistance of a business marketing consultant, the next move is to determine new prospects for you to invest in. By getting rid of wasteful spending, your marketing budget will increase so you can incorporate high-quality marketing solutions to help increase business potential for driving sales and company success.

Third Benefit: Beginning Email Direct Marketing

One of the most vital elements of marketing is finding solutions that will enable you to stay in constant contact with your customer base. While a large percentage of firms have the e-mails of individuals who purchase from their business, no communication is ever distributed to these people. By generating an email direct marketing program you can access the attention of previous investors in the hopes for generating repeat business.

Fourth Benefit: Developing Direct Marketing Strategies

Besides the opportunities that exist with creating reoccurring sales from previous customers, it is also vital to use solutions such as direct marketing strategies that can help in getting hold of the attention of new consumers. Accessing new customers will provide you some of the greatest possibilities for business growth as you attempt to enhance upon your businesses potential for success.

All of the advantages previously identified are available to any company that is seeking to embrace the services of a business marketing consultant so as to further improve beyond their current company limitations.