I was car shopping recently. It’s an activity that I don’t particularly enjoy. For me, cars are a utility. Something that I need to own in order to live a modern, suburban lifestyle. It is a means of getting me from point A to point B; which most often imparts transporting children from home to school, school to practice field, to friends homes and so on. So, it struck it me when I left the dealership and sat in my soon-to-be-traded-in Volkswagen, thumbing through the new car marketing package, just how captivated I was by the glossy feel of the paper, the smell of freshly printed ink, the beautiful photographs and mostly by the general completeness of the materials I’d been handed. Everything I needed to make an informed decision, or at least make an intelligent comparison against competitive brands was right there.
In his book Value Added, Successful Strategies For Listing And Selling Investment Real Estate, author Brad Umansky says, “A great marketing package does not have to be a book, but rather it should include information that will help you sell your deal”. My experience sitting outside the car dealership exemplified this. I wasn’t handed stacks of paper with emissions ratings, nor was I given excruciating details on the manufacturing processes, I was provided with just the information that I required to move toward a purchase decision. Granted, presentation was important and the Mazda marketing team had done a super job of that, but that aside, I was holding the information I needed. The same should be true in approaching your commercial real estate marketing package.
Winning a new listing, your instincts are probably to get it communicated to the marketplace as quickly as possible. Maybe you’ll do some direct mail, postcards or an email marketing blast to get the word out. But as buyers and investors start to make inquiries, you’re going to need a marketing package to communicate the full details of your offering and give your targeted audience the tools they need to begin making a decision.
A thorough, high-quality commercial real estate marketing package says a lot about you as a company. This is the time where you want to consider making an investment in a professionally designed package. If you don’t have the resources in-house to do this, a commercial real estate marketing agency with a track record of successfully helping their clients with real estate graphic design and commercial real estate websites. A high quality marketing package will increase your chances of actually selling your listing. It will also make your company stand apart from the competition by differentiating your brand and clearly presenting your offering. In the end though, remember that it’s function and not form that matters most, so be sure to check for these elements in developing your package.
Overview – This is the first section a prospective party will see, so be sure that it includes a great photo and some high level deal points such as cap rate, price, and the property address. Remember the property, not your brokerage, should take center stage here, so make sure it is clearly featured.
Highlights – Be sure to have a section that quickly conveys the most salient points of the offering at a high level. More specific information can be addressed deeper in the offering package or during face-to-face meeting. If the prospective client reads nothing else, this should give them enough information to have a good sense for the potential deal.
Real Estate Maps & Photos – A map should be big and clear and convey some market intelligence. Just including an aerial from Google Earth is not enough. Maps are an excellent opportunity to show the value your add. Use overlays to distinguish key demos in areas surrounding the property or illustrate traffic flow patterns to give a sense for potential drive by business for the location. Be sure to use clear labels. A few professionally taken photos will build interest, but hopefully stimulate a desire for a site visit as well.
Financials – If your offering is for an income-producing property, you should include a rent roll that briefly profiles each tenant, painting a picture of current and future opportunity. The financials section should also include a proforma that projects income and cash flow. A brief accompanying narrative telling how you came to your numbers will instill the prospect with confidence in your approach. Keep the presentation of this information clean and simple, this is ultimately a marketing piece not an IRS filing.
Market data – Tell a little more about the area surrounding your offering. As always, it’s location that matters. If an area is developing, show that trend and tell that story. Also include employment trends, demographics, an economic base analysis, major employers in the area, population growth figures, as well as some data on local rent and vacancy trends.
A little about you – We’ve come back to this idea a lot, but commercial real estate is all about personal relationship building. Take an opportunity to briefly tell about your firm. Try to avoid the boiler-plate stuff and let the prospect know your company and its people a little more personally. As business people, that probably flies in the face of how we’ve been programmed, but if selling is all about connecting, then a little discomfort could pay dividends.
These are just the essentials for a great commercial real estate marketing package. It would not be unusual to vary these elements and include others depending on your offering, your firm and the current market. With a little experimentation, you’ll likely find a seventh essential that’s important for your marketing package.