Ideas for Establishing a Commercial Real Estate Client Focus Group

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In commercial real estate agency you can learn a lot from your marketplace through the establishment of a client focus group.  You can interact with that focus group specifically to learn their priorities and perceptions when it comes to sales, leasing, and property management activity.

Every town and city will have special and unique factors that apply to property occupation, investment, and development.  The demographics of the community and the growth of the region will create priorities and pressures within the market place.  Those issues can be identified through the focus group concept; you can also bridge new relationships and contact opportunities through the group creation and interaction.

Focus Group Establishment Rules

When establishing a new real estate brokerage the client focus group strategy works very well; the same can be said for the actions of an individual agent or broker (start the process yourself if your brokerage is slow to act).

So what do you do to get this going?  You simply invite selected clients and prospects to an informal meeting where you can discuss the marketplace or property type, and seek their feedback; the attraction to the client will also need to exist, so perhaps you can provide an industry or property market update, or give away prize such as a dinner for two people at a local venue.

There will be a degree of research required to determine the right people to approach and involve in the focus group.  If you don’t get the research right, the people will not give you the right information.  The right people will most likely be the established property players in the market today.  If you don’t know who they are, then research will be needed.

So how does this work?  Many experienced property investors and business leaders are curious when it comes to local property information and market updates.  This curiosity helps you establish the client focus group.

Here are some rules to help you implement this business process in your property marketplace:

  1. The focus group should have a specific target profile (investors, tenants, or business owners), or target property theme (industrial, office, or retail).  You can create separate groups for property investors, business leaders, and local professional groups such as accountants and solicitors.  From these three segments you will find plenty of ideas and business opportunity.
  2. When you bring people together in this way the priority for you is firstly the exchange of information and secondly the establishment of new relationships.  You can also learn more about the requirements of group segments when it comes to developing property, property usage, rental, pricing, methods of sale, leasing strategies, sales and acquisition opportunities, together with industry concerns.  From all of this information you can bundle together a specific marketing package to investors, tenants, business owners, and developers.
  3. The extraction of information is the priority in a focus group.  Seek to understand the marketplace and get the people in the focus group involved.
  4. Only expose your top agents in the focus group process as you will get some very deep and probing questions from invited people; the quality of responses made is really important.  Your real estate team will need to have the ability to interpret comments and probe the feedback they are getting.

So the overall strategy here is one of community interaction and the comprehensive understanding of market segments.  As simple as this focus group strategy may seem, it is a worthwhile process to implement on an annual basis.  In that way your real estate brokerage offering can be matched to the changes in the community at a business level; you can also add the requirements of the investment community to package your property services.

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