The bread and butter of the London market has been through a process of transformation. The growth of the flexible office space market has taken advantage of consumer trends in online search to fill millions of square feet with startups, SMEs and corporate occupiers. At the same time, traditional lease spaces which would have flown off the shelves in 2014 are hanging around like a bad smell.
There are a number of factors at play here, not least the preponderance of the serviced brokers and coworking operators to reach ever larger enquiries which never see the light of day in the traditional lease market.
We are often asked by our clients how they can react to these changes, and, better still, lead the charge to ensure that they beat their competitors as well as the serviced brokers & operators to these online enquiries.
From our conversations with clients, we’ve set out three tips to build a foundation to compete in the digital marketplace.
1. Rethink your marketing approach
In the flexible space market, the PDF is dead. Why? Because the target market searches online, not by post. Commercial property search is fragmented. You only have to do a few searches on Google to see where you targets will end up leaving their details, and very few agents’ property marketing pages rank well.
For this reason, you need to send your properties to multiple online channels and track what works. For example, working alongside Colliers Central London team, we are feeding three separate portals and tracking the results within Realla. In addition, we are able to tell them the relative value of their social channels for property marketing.
This is about more than vanity: once you know what works, you can decide where to invest your budget in the future. This is digital marketing 101.
2. Watch your language
On digital channels you’re much better off pretending that you’re explaining the space to a mate of yours who works as an undertaker or a travel agent, rather than another surveyor. After all, what are the odds that the tenant ends up being a commercial property business?
Jargon is unhelpful, distracting and unattractive to Google, which will favours simple language and will direct searchers who are looking for specific terms. People simply don’t understand (or search for!) “economical floor plate” or “LG7 compliant lighting”.
3. Reassess your processes
Go to market > receive and process enquiries > report to clients > process deals
The flexible workspace companies you are competing against do not waste time on these processes. They centralise data and automate as much as possible, which allows them to focus on what matters.
Most agency teams waste hours every day creating dodgy PDFs, calling old, irrelevant agent club requirements, messing around with Word format client reports or bastardising old heads of terms. Our research shows that even associates and junior directors spend over half their day on low value tasks such as these.
Without question, they should be spending their time on high value work: closing deals, calling focused on new business or entertaining existing clients.
In the flexible workspace market, your competition is spending this extra time on high value, focused enquiry generation and deal processing. This is because they have broken down each part of the process, optimised it using technology, and built their business around their idea of best practice.
With the new digital tools at hand, it is essential to reassess how you can help your team’s processes to be slicker than those of your competitors.
Look out for more tips in our upcoming blog posts.