Success in commercial real estate means achieving and surpassing investment, sales, and leasing goals and ultimately producing results that positively affect your bottom line. One strategy that’s proven to help in the attainment of this success is to position yourself, and your brand as being influential and authoritative. Being held in this high regard, as an expert, is to be a ‘thought leader.’
Taking steps to be a thought leader in the commercial real estate industry begins with creating a status for yourself among your peers and clients as a knowledgeable leader, that’s viewed as committed to your industry. There are many ways to go about achieving status as an expert, but mostly it’s about growing your and your team’s presence through education, research and investment in your industry and community.
3 Critical Steps to Thought Leadership
As you build yourself and your team as thought leaders you will find three key themes to build on:
1. Associate with the right people
Building a following among those groups you want to serve and work with is a process that takes commitment, but one that will pay dividends in the long run. This relationship building will help with lead generation and drive conversion through the power of attraction, rather than promotion.
By associating with leaders in your industry, you tap into their reputation and influence while expanding your audience by association. Long term, you’ll find that these influencers will become your new peer group within the commercial real estate industry. In turn, they will tend to endorse you to their circle of influence as a trusted authority, creating strong brand awareness for your firm. By the way, in case you’re concerned that you’re doing a lot of leaning on others, know that by associating with industry leaders, you’re helping them to become further established as thought leaders.
2. Grow your audience
Growing an audience is a natural extension of associating with industry experts and thought leaders. Their audiences will become your audiences. However, you can also expand your audience in other ways. By working with a marketing firm dedicated to commercial real estate, you can easily develop a solid content strategy to support your goal of becoming a thought leader. Content like newsletters and website blogs or the use of email marketing will establish your expertise, particularly if you have a niche, and drive conversion. Each time a recipient of one of these pieces of content reads an article or clicks a link, you’ll have grown your audience.
One other way of growing your audience is by participating in speaking engagements. By being physically seen, you’ll amp-up your position as a thought leader. Audiences will want to interact with you, and you’ll become an expert in your community. Don’t forget to record your engagements and share on sites like YouTube and Instagram. This will give your target audience a different perspective of your firm and enable you to kill two birds with one stone. You can use these mediums to answer questions that your targeted audience may have or even show them how to solve problems – such as the finer points of reading a lease abstract. Marketed appropriately, these mediums are capable of building your image to meet your desired level of authority in the industry.
3. Network, network, network
Think about the possibilities of increasing your exposure with social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. These platforms have been proven to increase foot traffic for a small business on Main Street, and to be instrumental in influencing a national election, so why not use them for your commercial real estate business. Proper timing and placement of your links and posts within these sites can launch your brand to higher levels and elevate your position as a thought leader. The continually growing mobile Internet population means potential audiences are always connected making for prime opportunities to create relationship networks. Your engagement in these networks transforms your ideas and perspectives about the industry into a social interaction that grows your sphere of influence and also helps with search engine optimization (SEO).
As one last thought on networking, don’t forget to stay active in communities like LoopNet. Listing your properties there and in other relevant directories shows market presence and relevance, and again positions your business as a leader.
Work at your pace to develop thought leadership
There’s no reason you have to do all of these things at once. Work at your pace to achieve your goal of being a thought leader. Remember, building influence is more of a marathon than a sprint—the only way to become a thought leader is to have others acknowledge you as such. Spend the time to do it right and watch your circle of influence grow.