The entrepreneurs behind a soon-to-launch professional networking site for commercial real estate professionals say the best thing to do in a slow market is differentiate yourself from the competition. How can you do that? Here’s a 10-step guide from Brett Rogers and Bob Woods, CEO and COO respectively, of eCREsystems in Ashburn, VA.

  1. Offer Value-Added Services: Sure, you offer a multitude of services. But how many of those services are exactly the same or very similar to the services offered by your competitors? To stand out, offer value-added services, such as a free Web portal for a building you’re leasing or e-mail blasts to listing agents.
  2. Develop a Web Presence: A well-produced Web site promotes both the commercial real estate firm and the agent or broker.
  3. Learn from the success of residential real estate pros: Many outshine commercial agents and brokers in terms of marketing and promotion. Look at what they do to get the word out about themselves and their offerings.
  4. Find Your Niche: Would you rather be the broker/agent responsible for all commercial real estate in your metropolitan area or known as the leading tenant rep in medium to large office leasing in a particular town, suburb, county or even a section of a county? By specializing, you’re also focusing on a particular segment of your market.
  5. Keep Generating Leads: we all know that building a business is all about generating leads. But some stop lead-generation activity after gaining a few clients. You have to keep generating leads all the time to be successful.
  6. Network: It’s important to cultivate relationships, online and in the real world. The people you meet may be your future customers.
  7. Become an Expert: Write articles or blogs. The key is to provide genuinely helpful information in a way that displays your expertise. If you can’t write, hire someone to do it for you.
  8. Promote Yourself: Create a press kit with biographical and professional information and send it to the appropriate reporter and/or editor at every local publication, radio station and TV station you can think of. Then follow up with a short phone call to introduce yourself. This is a low-cost, high-impact way to get your name out there.
  9. Train (Your Brain): Business-related training can help you with your deals and your daily routine. Turn commute time into productive time by listening to sales and/or business trainers.
  10. Be Selective: Focus on just three of the 10 tips, and then master them. Once you do, tackle three more. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to master all of the suggestions at once.

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