Commercial real estate requires a different set of skills and a different mindset from residential real estate for both investors and commercial real estate brokers. It’s important to evaluate your current strengths and weaknesses, as well as what core principles you want to build your business on. When you’re cultivating relationships with commercial real estate investors, trust is one of the most important principles to focus on. Keep reading to learn more about why trust should be your core focus and five key strategies for building trust with your current and future commercial real estate investors.
Why Is Trust Important
Investors in commercial real estate funds are focused on real estate transactions that yield results, either in the form of consistent rental income throughout the years or quick opportunities to substantially improve a property and put it back on the market for greater returns. When you’re representing them on deals or even searching for funds that fit their needs, your clients need to be able to trust that you have their best interests at heart and can effectively manage your duties.
Some of the core impacts of focusing on building trust above all else are that:
- You will retain their business longer, leading to a more profitable relationship and even a referral network of like-minded investors.
- A solid foundation of trust allows for faster movements in the market. If your clients trust you with less back-and-forth and having to double-check your work, deals are completed faster, leading to more profits for you both.
- The work is more fun. When you have a relationship based on trust, you’ll both be more comfortable making suggestions, striking deals and negotiating, and selling properties when the time comes. This is far better than strained or uncomfortable client relationships, even when the same deals go through.
Putting in the work upfront leads to better client retention, more profits, and work that is more enjoyable. Start building a better foundation of trust with commercial real estate investors through these five approaches.
1. Discuss the Negatives, Not Just the Positives
Honesty isn’t just a professional obligation and a vital component of your professional code of ethics as a certified commercial real estate broker. It’s a tool for establishing trust. While real estate agents can find good points of virtually any property, especially if it’s one your client is already interested in, don’t just do the bare minimum of due diligence. Look at the property’s gray areas, potential limitations in the property’s potential, and factors that can lead to low ROI or too much of a cash sink.
Putting in that effort, especially if it convinces your commercial buyer to walk away from a property, can seem counter-intuitive, especially if you go beyond what you’re required to do. However, exercising good judgment and showing a client you’re more interested in the long-term relationship is the better strategy. Your clients will learn that you can evaluate the property from their perspective, that you won’t just talk up prospective properties for a quick contract, and that listening to your input can help strengthen their investment holdings.
2. Invest in Good, Long-Term Marketing
Commercial real estate investment is a long game, and you need marketing strategies that match it. Instead of focusing just on business cards and online ad campaigns, invest in high-quality marketing that can help you find new leads and grow your client base over time. Strategies include:
- A blog or newsletter: Generating long-form content about your local area, commercial real estate investment approaches, and real estate, in general, establishes you as a knowledgeable professional. Even better, these resources last longer than paid campaigns. A business blog provides organic growth for your business because people searching online will always be able to access your growing library of content.
- A video series: YouTubing is a powerful but under-utilized tool for commercial real estate investors. Use the platform to dive into your local area and provide insight to out-of-state commercial investors. Let viewers know more about your brand and way of doing business so you stand out from the competition. Just like a business blog, a YouTube channel will continue to build momentum long after you hit ‘publish.’
- Email marketing: Email inboxes remain one of the best ways to stay in touch with leads and clients. Whether you’re sending updates about new listings, sending email newsletters with fresh content before you publish it online, or you send personal notes about birthdays and holidays, staying in touch can keep you top-of-mind without being interruptive or “spammy.”
3. Offer Prompt and Reliable Customer Service
Sometimes, trust is based on the little things. Can a client trust you to pick up the phone when they need to move fast? Can they rely on you to actually get back to them once you have an update – without them having to follow up? Commercial real estate investors are busy, and time spent flagging you down can become a business liability they don’t want to handle. A great way to build trust and separate yourself from the competition is by promising – and delivering – the level of speedy communication, task completion, and updates they need through strong customer service.
4. Stay on Top of Current Developments
If you have out-of-state or non-local clients, you need to be their eyes and ears in this market. Carve out time in your day to look into commercial development projects, changing trends in commercial real estate, your office, and other fluctuations. Not only can this proactive research help your clients maneuver toward new deals, but it helps them rest assured that they don’t need to spend as much time on it themselves.
5. Continue to Develop Your Expertise
Just like developing your awareness of local markets and projects is essential, continue developing your skills as a realtor. New certifications, expertise with new technologies, and continued signs of growth make you more trustworthy. Commercial investors can rest assured that you’re a long-term good bet in the field. They can trust that you know what you’re doing, not just that you’ll try.
Focus on Building Long-Term Relationships, Not Quick Sales
By pivoting to prioritize trust at the heart of your commercial real estate investor relationships, your overall business will benefit. The same core practices that make you trustworthy also make your business more scalable, your insights more solid, and your negotiating skills sharper. Find more resources about how to reach out to commercial real estate investors and develop a growing client base. If you’re interested in getting involved in commercial real estate investing, contact EXtrance today to learn how our platform can help you.