The New Way of “Selling”

Many things have changed over the last few years; the economy, the commercial marketplace and the way we do business.

Our consumers are getting younger (or maybe I’m just getting older) and we now must consider the generation of the person we are dealing with, to determine the best way to communicate. Our choice of phone, e-mail or text message for reaching that client may determine if our message will be received, or if that client will want to work with us! Yes, learning all these communication skills is essential today.

One listing presentation for all was OK many years ago. Today you need a 30 slide or flip-page, in depth presentation for our senior and baby boomer clients, and a quick 1-4 page or “placemat” presentation for our Generation X and Y customers. In addition, you need a generational set of presentations for sale, lease, and tenant representation or buyer broker opportunities. All basically prepared and ready to go at any time.

The content of presentations have changed, it cannot just be about how successful you have been or your companies accomplishments. To capture business today your presentations need three components: a value statement, marketing plan and a demonstration of your market knowledge.

Let’s start with the last item first. What can you tell the consumer that they cannot find out on their own? Do you know every property available in your area? What is the competition asking PSF? With lease what does that include? Any additional pass though charges? Are you tracking every sale and lease, creating your own comps? Are you up to date on GREEN concepts and local legislation and tax incentives? You must demonstrate that you are the local market expert.

Today’s consumers have access to many of the same web sites we do. They can search and find listings themselves on local MLS, Loopnet, Propertyline, Commrex and CommercialSource. Even CoStar now has a public access area Showcase.

The good news is when they find a property of interest they need to contact the listing broker. Our number one challenge today is not getting the exclusive listing but negotiating what our fee will be. This brings us to the new consumer questions. What value do you bring to the transaction? What are you doing to earn your commission? We must have a value statement that justifies our fee. What’s in your value statement?

We offer our clients: Market Knowledge, Financial Analysis, Evaluation Skills, Existing Customer Base, Marketing Abilities, Web Sites, Internet Marketing, Customer Qualifying, Property Showings, Letters of Intent, Request for Proposals, Offer Evaluations, Negotiating Experience, Transaction Management, After Sale/Lease Services, like Property Management. We really do bring a lot of value to the transaction.

Really consider all you do in a transaction, and be prepared to tout it!

The next thing the potential client wants to know is your marketing plan. Just putting the listing on a few web sites is expected! Not only show the names of the many sites you use but show a sample of what their listing will look like on those sites (print out your current listings). Demonstrate what else you are going to do; especially what they cannot do themselves; like sharing their listing by networking with other brokers. Show an in-depth, multi-faceted marketing plan.

Today we don’t just sell our services, we demonstrate the value we bring to the transaction, educate the consumer and assist them throughout  the real estate transaction.

Ed Smith serves as Regional Director of Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT Long island Metro and Mid-Atlantic Region, is a Real Estate Broker, Commercial Continuing Education Instructor, Corporate Trainer, Speaker and Author; he may be contacted at or