By Anand Patel
The invention of the DVR was a beautiful thing. According to ACNielson, the marketing research firm, by 2011 more than 40 percent of U.S. households had DVRs giving families the ability to breeze right over TV commercials and get right back into their favorite shows. Who wants to watch annoying commercials for products and services you have no interest in, right?
Just like fast forwarding television commercials we have no interest in watching, many residential agents pass up on perfect commercial real estate referral opportunities simply because they have no contact (or interest) with the commercial world. Instead of tapping an additional income source, they are skipping right over the commercial.
If you work exclusively as a residential sales agent, what do you do when your buyer, who just moved, to town asks you about commercial real estate because they want to open up a new business? Do you tell them you have no clue and wish them luck in their search? Or, do you have a basic understanding of the commercial market in your area and a great commercial REALTOR® you can refer them to?
In many markets, commercial real estate is picking up. Here in Tampa, Fla., we are seeing new businesses enter our market as they are in expansion mode. I have talked to several new entrepreneurs who are also looking to call Tampa home, as they are finding this to be prime time to make the move both personally and professionally. This scenario is playing out in many markets around the country.
This is a ripe opportunity for real estate professionals who only work in residential real estate to make referral income by partnering with a strong commercial agent. Here are some ideas:
- Attend introductory commercial real estate educational classes held at your local REALTOR® association. If they don’t offer any classes, now is a good time to encourage them to do so. Better yet, this may be an opportunity for your YPN group to offer a commercial 101 class, filling a void in your association’s current educational offerings.
- Attend networking events of your local CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) chapter or commercial REALTOR® association. This is a good opportunity to introduce yourself to commercial practitioners and find someone you are comfortable referring business to. More than likely, they don’t work residential real estate and may even refer residential leads back to you. These events will also provide the opportunity to network with commercial attorneys and lenders, who are also great contacts to have.
- Offer to be a resource to commercial agents. Update them periodically on the residential market; provide some of your tech-savvy marketing tips that they could also apply to their commercial marketing; offer to guest blog on their site and allow them to do the same on yours.
Whatever you do, don’t attempt to “wing it” and try to help your customer with their commercial needs if you have no experience in doing so. Commercial real estate is a totally different ball game. If you’re interested in exploring a transition into commercial real estate, look for a commercial agent (or your broker) who would be willing to mentor you. Their guidance will be invaluable as you start out.
Just as you have title companies, home inspectors, and lenders that you are comfortable referring business to, now is a good time to find a commercial REALTOR® who you can do the same thing with.
So…are you still going to skip over the commercial?
Anand Patel is broker and president of Pangea Realty Group based in Tampa, Fla. You can connect with Anand on Twitter: @anand_tampa; Facebook: www.facebook.com/prgtampa; LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/anandpatel1; or on the Web at www.anandsblog.com.