Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Marketing Presentations - Finding the Balance

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Marketing Presentations - Finding the Balance

Article excerpt

With record vacancies in the office and retail sectors, one would think this would be a good time for real estate managers. It would seem logical that anxious owners would pay dearly for someone capable of generating cash flow from all that empty space.

Unfortunately, the trend lines for vacancies and real estate management fees seem to be heading in opposite directions.

"There are more people in the fee management business then ever before," says Terri Norvell, director of marketing for San Mateo, Calif.-based Prometheus Company. "With all this competition, you really have to stay in tune with the specialized aspects of property management."

If the pressure is on to find work, the pressure is even greater to meet high owner expectations. Owners are continually looking for the right real estate broker, leasing agent, and building manager, who can quickly put tenants in previously unleased slots. And the presumption is that there is always someone out there who can do the job better.

But how do you convince building owners that your company should be given the chance to take over where someone else has failed? There is really no other way than through a professional marketing presentation.

While there is no absolutely right or wrong way to do a marketing presentation, the correct handling of certain key points in the presentation process may mean the difference between winning or losing a contract.

Selecting the presentation team

How many people does it take to present a winning bid? It is hard to generalize. As Robert Cole, CPM |R~, president of the Fort Lauderdale-based Stiles Property Management Co., says, "We have come in many times with truck loads of people, and other times I have made the presentation myself."

If possible, try to gain a sense of how many participants owners will bring in, so you don't outnumber the client. Generally, the more informal the meeting, the less people that have to be there. At the same time, ask a client whether they have any particular areas of concern so you can be prepared with a specialist in that discipline.

Metropolitan Structures Leasing Company, based in Chicago, has seven different people in the organization able to lead a client presentation.

The team usually consists of a senior executive, to show the seriousness of Met Structure's interest, and hands-on people who will be working on the project day to day.

The Norman Companies recently made a successful presentation with all the potential managers present. "The focus of the presentation was primarily on the building manager, leasing agent, and engineer. They were the ones that made the majority of the presentation," says Jim Norman, president.

George Lippe, chief executive officer of the Midwest region for Trammel Crow, recalls a recent presentation at which his company brought in nine people to a meeting. "We had to get a larger conference room because of all the people there," he says.

Again, deciding on the number of people for the team really depends on the feel for what the building (or portfolio) owner is looking for.

The message

The key to any meeting is deciphering the client's requirements, trying to understand what the property owner wants from its service provider, and responding in a way that indicates your company can meet those needs.

Schuster says, "The most important element of the meeting is to listen to what clients have to say. They will lead the discussion to their specific problems."

Schuster admits this is not always easy. Recently, she had a team of people meeting with a potential client and began the discussions on the wrong path, trying to stress Met Structure's own agenda. When the client started talking about five-year projections and exit strategies, the team quickly switched tactics, tailoring discussions to the client's specific requirements.

It is also important the service provider leave an impression with the potential client that it is an experienced company with a long list of successful projects, able to easily adapt to any situation or difficulty that lies ahead. …

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