Meeting Client Needs—Yesterday Versus Today
Submitted by D. Saperstone
Twenty-five years ago, when I first entered the commercial real estate business, if I wanted to find a suitable parcel of land or potential office location for a client, I drove around pre selected neighborhoods looking for “for sale” or “for lease” signs, stopping often to take notes. Landlords and property sellers relied on the same, time honored marketing strategy—put a sign in the window or near the road announcing a property was either “for sale” or “for lease” and wait for the phone to ring. Informational flyers were produced, stuffed into envelops, stamped and mailed to industry contacts. And, last but not least, telephone calls were made as a follow up to the flyer and again at regular intervals to remind industry colleagues that your listing/property was still available. My, how the business has changed!
Yes, site signing and informational print material are still used but they are no longer the cornerstones of a successful marketing plan. The introduction of and reliance upon the computer launched a sea change in how the commercial real estate industry now operates. Sophisticated web pages and e-mail have expanded the marketing reach for both buyers and sellers. Property information is now available virtually worldwide with a click of a mouse. It is now possible to limit and define a client’s search criteria on line and quickly generate a list of applicable properties. In addition, the industry now has several on line internet based real estate service providers who have assembled significant research data specific to most markets. It is now possible to gather extensive site or market specific data for a client in less time than it once took to drive to the first property on the long list of potential sites.
Computerization and the internet have made those of us in the commercial real estate industry better providers of service to our clients. However, the pitfall of the internet age is the reliance on electronic communication at the expense of the personal, face to face contact that is so vital to a successful client relationship. A client’s trust is earned, over time, through personal contact. At THE CABOT GROUP, we use every available marketing tool to produce the best result for our clients. When the use of technology became available, we embraced it—and used it to further forge the relationships that the industry was built upon. Over the forty years of our existence, THE CABOT GROUP has never forgotten the value of trust, integrity and hard work in service of our clients—– all qualities that can never be replaced by technology.