The ability to conduct relevant, accurate and timely commercial real estate research can be the differentiating factor between a flourishing firm and one scrambling to pick up new business. The imperative need to be in the know carries additional weight when considering the cyclical nature of the commercial real estate industry. With the abundance of resources available, your clients have become accustomed to holding advisors to a higher standard of backing up direction and council given to them with dynamic commercial real estate research.
It has been said that knowledge is power. So, as advisors, we should indulge that need within our client base by providing great research to ensure the best possible decisions are being made. Performing research studies will establish your company as a market leader and show that you're in touch with all of the latest industry trends. It will also help to grow your business, because you’ll have established yourself as a subject matter expert. In short, people will keep returning to you to learn more about the industry, the market and new opportunities. Now, your research has become more than a resource to prove capability but also as a lead generation tool to pick up new clients and promote company branding.
The types of research that you make available to your audience should be based on their needs. If you have a specialization such as investment sales, landlord leasing or tenant rep, chances are your database or commercial real estate CRM is targeted to that audience, so look for opportunities to share information that will be important to them and hit on relevant subject matter that can serve as a value add for their next big commercial real estate decision.
If you’re short on ideas for research that will resonate with your target market, consider highlighting trends and forecasts for rent, vacancy, and inventory for office space, retail, warehouse or apartment buildings. You can develop some of these trends by relying on commercially available data sources, or collect some of your own property-level data by speaking with landlords, building owners and property managers. Be sure to verify your information and become a reliable, trusted source for historical trends and forecasts and accurate market analysis. Doing so will assure your credibility and make people eager for more.
The goal of collecting commercial real estate research is two-fold. First, is to make sure that your organization has an understanding of the industry. There's potentially nothing more embarrassing than a client approaching you about an emerging trend, or a specific property and you're not aware. Good, on-going research practices will ensure that you are the subject matter expert for your markets.
Second, research can be a vital part of your inbound marketing and lead generation efforts. Providing your customers and prospects with rich, data-based content as part of a real estate email marketing campaign or a link within your social media efforts, makes your message very attractive.
Don't hesitate to make your own commentary on the commercial real estate research that you provide. Beyond the raw facts, readers want to hear your opinion and will find that particularly engaging - think about why some people are drawn to talk radio. At first, this may be difficult to do, but adding your commentary will surely show that you're an expert and a thought leader, particularly if you're in contrast to accepted understanding of the market.
Finally, don't forget that you worked hard to gather, organize and curate your commercial real estate research, don't just give it away freely. If there's a link within your real estate newsletters to a market study, create a form and ask people to leave their name and email in exchange for access. If you're providing good information, they'll be more than happy to pay that price. With their email address collected and added to your commercial real estate CRM, target these prospects with an automated email marketing campaign to stay in constant contact. Now that they’re on your list, you have the start of an on-going, research-driven relationship.