Many industries are being forced to adapt to the “new normal” of the COVID-19 world. And this includes Commercial Real Estate.
In a business typically dominated by face-to-face showings, negotiations, and document signings – brokers, landlords, and tenants are big forced to make some MAJOR adjustments.
Thankfully, the technology the CRE biz needs to function is here!
And the CBM brokerage, leasing, and property management team is leveraging these tools to our advantage.
Here are some examples of how our team is using tech tools to do business…
Video tours – AKA “Virtual Tours” – are truly nothing new, especially when it comes to real estate. The CRE corner of the realty biz, however, has been slow to adopt this pragmatic tech tool.
In part, it stems from the age-old salesperson’s tradecraft. And that craft dictates a bird hand (making a face-to-face connection with a qualified prospect) is worth two in the bush (just lobbing a bunch of marketing collateral at prospective tenants and hoping something sticks).
But with COVID-19, it’s a whole new ballgame! One in which in-person contact puts brokers and tenants in peril of contract a life-threatening viral infection.
So, while many tenants will drive by a site to get an exterior view, they’re less enthusiastic about meeting a broker for an interior tour.
Fortunately, virtual tours have come to the rescue! And with smartphone technology, it’s incredibly easy to capture high-quality video of site interiors.
Case in point, CBM’s retail specialist have begun shooting virtual tours as part of their typical marketing package. And we’ve even developed our own best practices site video tour guide. This ensures agents are capturing and sharing high-quality site videos.
Video Conferencing (Zoom, Skype, WebEx + More)
Typically, picking up the phone is an easy way to get in touch. And if you need to communicate with a larger group all at once… No worries, just set up a conference call. Thus, telephonic contact remains Commercial Real Estate’s preferred method for direct communication.
But sometimes, a phone call just doesn’t cut it. In some instances, the players involved in a deal want to get a look at one another. Hoping, in part, a face-to-face interaction will give them a better sense of who they’re dealing with.
But best practices in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, however, dictate no large gatherings. And that includes business meetings
Fortunately, technology has a solution – video conferencing. And once again, it’s with a tool that is by no means new. But a tool that has been significantly perfected.
Video conferencing is easier than ever before. Thanks to tools like WebEx, Skype, the imminently popular Zoom, and Google Meet Video (their recently released video conferencing app) anyone with a laptop or even just a smartphone can easily host or join a video conference.
Case in point, CBM holds several weekly Zoom meetings.
Our leasing agents connect in a weekly Zoom session to share new listings, offer one another advice, and discuss trending topics in retail real estate.
We also hold a weekly property management Zooming meeting to discuss relevant issues, cover important regulatory questions, and keep current on internal business.
One-off Zoom meetings to cover specific, pressing issues are also commonplace every week.
Of course, signing documents is an important part of the real estate game. Whether we’re talking about listing agreements, lease agreements, purchase contracts, or other related documentation – it seems something ALWAYS needs to be signed.
Often, paperwork can be emailed (as attachments), or original documents can be mailed back and forth to gather signatures.
But in certain cases, documentation is required to be executed with “wet signatures.” That leaves email out of the question. And, sadly, since the coronavirus pandemic has descended, the US Mail has ground to sub-snail pace.
Tools like DocuSign, however, circumvent the inability to obtain wet signatures via and relieve dependence on snail mail.
DocuSigned documents are “as good as wet signatures” in the eye of the courts. Mainly because DocuSigned paperwork can’t be edited, altered, or otherwise forged – which is the primary concern involved with emailing PDFs back and forth.
It’s also incredibly easy to use tool that saves tons of time. At CBM, the vast majority of our listing agreements, leases, and purchase contracts, along with a host of other documentation are all processed via DocuSign. And it’s totally streamlined our approach, easily increased our efficiency by ten-fold.
Improving Efficiency Improves Our Customer Service
The point of embracing these technological tools is not necessarily that CBM is aiming to become a “cutting-edge” operator. (Though, projecting that persona is a pretty cool fringe benefit ;—)
The true intent, however, is to better serve our clients. Because the more quickly and efficiently we can handle repetitive, time-consuming, but less-than-urgent tasks, the more time we have to address larger, more pressing issues.
And this ability provides a huge benefit to clients!
Need Help Leasing + Managing Your Shopping Center?
If you’d like to put CBM’s efficiencies to work for your shopping center, get in touch with CBM President, Rick Rivera: 310.231.5201 | firstname.lastname@example.org