Usually, the challenges that face CRE brokers remain unchanged from year to year. While some of the challenges that made our list are probably not new to you if you’re an established broker, 2020 changed the landscape — for new and established brokers.
The following seven challenges facing CRE brokers reflect the unprecedented upheaval felt around the world — some of which have never been seen until now. Others are challenges that have always been present but uniquely challenging when coupled with the rest.
It’s tough to say at present just how impactful the pandemic has been on CRE and the real estate industry as a whole. Demand is an unknown — will there be more or less? For instance, office space demand may continue lagging if office personnel continue the work-from-home trend into the foreseeable future. Alternatively, places like airports and restaurants may commit to permanent density reductions and seek commercial space with increased square footage. The overall economy isn’t expected to recover for at least a few years, and given the nature of CRE, it may take longer to return to a semblance of normal.
How to overcome it: This is a wait-and-see challenge. The best way to handle it is to become flexible in your approach. Life might not return to the way it was pre-COVID-19 — you must adapt and roll with the changes.
2) Establishing Yourself If You’re a New CRE Broker
New CRE brokers often have a tough time establishing their careers right out of the gate. In fact, it’s pretty unheard of for a new broker to settle in and build a portfolio of clients in the first year. This is actually akin to many industries — the first year in business is almost always the hardest.
How to overcome it: New CRE brokers can get established and begin building a stable of clients quickly if they join a well-known, existing CRE brokerage. With that respected household name next to yours, potential clients are much likelier to trust your broker abilities. Most commercial clients want to work with the best of the best — brokers who have great track records and impeccable skills. By partnering with a known CRE brokerage, a new broker can get the boost they need for their first year in business.
3) Current Marketing Materials Aren’t Consistent
When you think of branding, you might think of your brokerage’s name, logo, website, other messaging, and color palette. But branding is a far-reaching element of your brokerage’s existence. Your “brand” is every single interaction anyone in your brokerage has with anyone outside your brokerage. It’s how clients, both current and prospective, feel when they enter your office, speak to brokers, or flip through materials. You have a 20% better chance of reaching clients and closing deals with consistent branding than without.
How to overcome it: Establish a cohesive brand identity across your entire brokerage, whether it’s brand-new or already established. How do you want clients to feel when they think of you? Partnering with a design consultant can help you coordinate all your marketing materials throughout the entire brokerage to ensure uniformity in everything from logos to colors to messaging. After you get your brand solidified, store all marketing assets in one location accessible by everyone in the firm.
4) It’s Tough Keeping Profits up
In 2020, more retail businesses went out of business than during the Great Depression. If there’s a lessening need for commercial real estate due to COVID-19, how can you address this within your brokerage?
How to overcome it: Success is staying ahead of trends — but now it has more to do with the ability to pivot as necessary, as many times as necessary. As 2021 continues to herald fewer restrictions, look at how you can market commercial properties in novel ways. The cost of keeping certain businesses open, such as office spaces, will increase due to a need for more space. Be on the lookout for profitable upsells.
5) Maintaining Relevance in an Online World
Over the past decade or so, brokers have moved a lot of their activities online to meet the demand of consumers who use online search to find area properties. In fact, more than 90% of consumers use online research prior to calling an agent.
How to overcome it: You need an online presence. Embracing tech is how you’ll maintain your relevance, especially these days when many people don’t want to meet in person. Embracing tech also helps you and your team manage your time and improve your back-office processes. This frees up your time to better focus on your clients and potential customers.
6) Embracing New Technologies
Real estate has seen some explosive developments in recent years. Artificial intelligence (AI) now processes data, offering agents and brokers much deeper insight into CRE trends and how they directly affect consumer behavior. For instance, the IoT, or Internet of Things, can help property managers reduce operation costs, increase efficiency, and even attract businesses and tenants. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) adds a degree of excitement to the entire real estate landscape — for both you and your clients.
How to overcome it: Offer VR tours of your current CRE properties. Or, for a special occasion, consider an AR scavenger hunt — the person who finds the most hidden “eggs” wins a prize, such as a percentage of your services, for instance.
7) Lack of Access to Properties That May Sell Soon
CRE brokers want to be first in line for that next big potential sale. But how can you know which properties might sell before they’re actually listed? And how can you find out ownership information without having to do a lot of footwork or spend a lot of money?
How to overcome it: ProspectNow.
ProspectNow is a vital tool for residential or commercial real estate business success. Our proprietary algorithm highlights properties that may soon be up for sale — both residential and commercial. Our system is trustworthy and easy to use, offering reliable data and ownership information, so you don’t have to try to find it on your own. And we offer all this for a fraction of what you’ll pay at other property sites.
In fact, ProspectNow has been helping real estate agents and brokers just like you since 2008. Ready to find more properties, close more deals, and make more money? Reach out to ProspectNow today.