In commercial real estate brokerage, we have an array of communication tools and technologies that are just begging to be used. Those tools and systems can save you time and effort, whilst greatly improving your client interactions; that then means the potential of growing your real estate business. The trick here is to understand just how to use all the tools available, and use them well. (NB – you can get plenty of brokerage ideas here in Commercial Snapshot – its free)
As brokers and agents, the time spent in the office during the day is largely wasted unless it is on the telephone talking to clients and or making cold calls. The rest of the day can be spent out and about in the market talking to people, holding inspections, and closing on property transactions.
Do more with your time by utilizing the full gambit of communication tools we have online to interact with your clients and customers.
Technology in Commercial Brokerage Today
So, the array of technology and communication tools can help make your real estate brokerage business more effective and efficient. Here are some ideas to help you see what tool variations may be useful and helpful in your brokerage business:
- Google based email and business tools – it is well known that the Gmail service provided by Google is superior in many ways, and their extended ‘paid’ business email account services are both comprehensive and useful. That then has advantages in commercial real estate. Increasingly today, many agents and brokers are reverting to the ‘cloud’ based business tools provided by Google because it is just so effective and professional for customer interaction 24/7. Any connected device (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.) can tap into the brokerage Google business account remotely and access all files and communication tools. Imagine the power of drawing down a brochure or a case study from the cloud on a tablet when you are pitching to a client for a listing or negotiating on a sale or lease transaction.
- Cloud storage – get away from keeping your ‘core’ business files on a server in your office. Perhaps you can back up your files that way ‘locally’ on a regular basis, but keep the ‘day to day’ files that you use in the ‘cloud’ for immediate access when you want them. Cloud-based files can also be sent as links to customers: that then makes it easy to send or give access to large files.
- Emails anywhere and anytime – we must be available to take emails today, just about anywhere, and in a timely way. Make sure that your telephone, tablet, and laptop are all integrated into your business email service and accessible when you want them. There is no point travelling back to the office handle your emails and or answer them. Handle all your emails and messages remotely.
- Skype numbers – these extra ‘Skype’ numbers are useful if you need the perception of using another ‘location based’ phone number in another city. You can utilize the functionality of renting a phone number with a unique location prefix on Skype that will then bounce through to your mobile telephone when it is called. In other words, your Skype telephone number can be prefixed for a city (i.e. New York) and utilized on all your business cards, website, and all your communications. If the number is called, the call will then bounce through to the mobile telephone you are carrying with you. This extra telephone number in this Skype service is low cost.
- Autoresponders – these email responders are not just to acknowledge ‘holidays’ or send out ‘respond later’ messages. You can use autoresponders for sending out regular email newsletters or a stream of pdf case studies to selected people in your database. In other words, the autoresponder can take care of your regular marketing to your database of people in your client list.
- Blog strategies – online marketing for both you and your business should incorporate a blog strategy. It is just so powerful in attracting the search engines and client base that you seek. In saying that, the blogs must be useful and interesting. In posting a message think about the core message and the information that people would like to read.
- Article marketing – write articles about your city and or property speciality. Post those articles on websites, article sites, and blogs. Information is always valuable if you post on topics that are interesting and locally focused. Your article can also feature case studies from recent completed transactions.
- Podcasts and YouTube – you can take any useful article you have created about property in your location, and turn it into an audio file and or a video file. From that process, you can then post the useful information online to the many different podcast and video portals. The posted item can also then be linked back to your real estate business portal, email, or listings. The whole concept is very professional and great for building a broker ‘profile’ online.
- Web sites – the message here is that you will likely have your brokerage website already operational, but you can also have (create) a personal site that allows you to publish property information and listing detail when you want. Go beyond the basic brokerage website, and utilize your own online marketing messages about your location and properties. In posting information, be useful and helpful; be ‘specialized’. Talk about the changes to property and infrastructure in your location, and provide useful information about property types. The search engines love to cover off on useful information that can help the searching public.
- Social media channels – everyone today uses social media in some way personally. You can also establish the social channels for your business and push local information out online that helps others with property facts and details in a location. In undertaking this process, frequency is important, so you should be posting information at least 3 times per week.
- Cloud-based databases – the best place to have your database is in the ‘cloud’ where you can get to it and use it at any time. During the day when you are ‘out and about’ in your territory, you can check client records and or make calls. Every spare moment can then be spent in contacting new or existing people.