Choosing a commercial real estate brokerage can be a daunting task. But according to our founders, the four qualities they find most vital to success for clients are technology, research capabilities, customer service, and community relationships.
Seeking a firm that not only understands but consistently implements new marketing technologies is vital in a competitive marketplace. Digital marketing is specifically an area of expertise that requires a continual investment of staff and resources by a commercial real estate brokerage. The digital marketing landscape changes often with industry shifts in the interplay of listings websites, social media tools, and opportunities and ever-evolving algorithms affecting how results are determined in major search engines.
“Fifteen years ago, we got probably 80% of our business from signs we’d put out,” said Dean Saunders, broker and founding partner of SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler Realty (SVNSRD). “Today, we get 80% of our business from the Internet. I think the lesson for us is we always have to be looking outward because change today happens so rapidly.”
Another quality to look for in a commercial real estate brokerage is research capability. But, this skill is about more than accessing data.
“These days, we know everyone has data,” said Saunders. “It’s how you understand the applicability of the data that matters.”
One way to ensure that your commercial real estate brokerage is adept at interpreting data is to seek out brokers specialized credentials. One of the major credentials to look for is the Certified Commercial Investment Member or CCIM designation. Others include SIOR, SRS, CPM, CRE, CLS, CDP, CRX, FRICS. These credentials serve to verify the knowledge and education of commercial brokers. Depending upon the type of industry or property type you are looking to buy or sell, it is good to investigate any specialized designations that you would want your commercial broker to have.
The process of buying or selling commercial real estate can be extensive and it can take many months to successfully close a deal. It’s important to work with a brokerage firm that communicates with clients regularly about marketing efforts, industry changes and market conditions throughout the term of the listing agreement.
“We’re in a service industry at the end of the day,” said Saunders.”As such, you need to meet your clients’ needs and goals to be successful.”
Finally, this industry is built upon relationships and a successful brokerage has deep connections in the community marketplace to draw from for its clients. Establishing those relationships takes time but is also strengthened when brokers and agents at the firm come from a variety of backgrounds and industries.
“Real estate is little more than space for people,” says Gary Ralston, a broker and managing partner of SVNSRD. “If you don’t know people, then you can’t get much out of real estate. We’re pretty obsessive when it comes to understanding people.”