Technology has completely reshaped huge swaths of our society. And when comes to commerce, consumers have come to expect that the businesses who serve them keep pace with new technology.
Thus as a business owner, your operation must evolve to meet these demands or risk extinction.
You can certainly take a Luddite attitude of: “This is how WE do things!” and refuse to budge. But you’re in serious jeopardy of being crushed by your competitors, not mention doing a disservice to your customers. And when fail to satisfy your customers, you lose them.
Because at a certain point, adopting new technology ceases to be about providing “convenience” and “improving efficiencies,” and simply becomes adhering to the “new norm.”
That’s why we’ve invested HEAVILY in leveraging technology in both our brokerage and property management services.
And not because we necessarily aim to be on the “cutting-edge” of the “latest technological developments.” We’re not pretending to be a some Silicon Valley tech start-up over here!?
But rather, our goal is to provide our clients with the best service possible. And taking advantage of the technological tools at our disposal helps us achieve this goal.
How does this look in practice within our business?
On the Leasing + Brokerage Side…
We’ve actually been making use of technology as a marketing tool for several decades. Our website, cbm1.com, was among the first for a brokerage of our type in the marketplace. And it continues to rank near the top of organic Google searches for industry-critical keywords, in large part because of how long our domain name has existed.
LoopNet + CoStar
What’s the industry’s Gold Standard for commercial real estate Multiple Listing Services (MLS)?
In a word, LoopNet. And we’ve been a subscriber nearly as long as the platform has been in existence.
And with good reason! Because next to property signage (our least tech-savvy tool ;—), LoopNet is our largest driver of completed lease transactions.
We’ve haven’t always been CoStar customers. But they have always been the FIRST name in CRE data.
And since their acquisition of LoopNet, we’ve joined the fold. Truth be told, the technologically advanced tools that CoStar has provided us have significantly improved our ability to lease and sell properties.
As advanced and valuable as LoopNet + CoStar may be, they’re not the ONLY game in town. And in our tireless effort to gain MAXIMIZE for our listings, we make use of every avenue at our disposal.
One such avenue is the growing CRE MLS platform, CREXi. With increasing broker participation and more new listings posted to the site every day, CREXi is looking to rival LoopNet’s prominence and reach.
And more than just a passive site, CREXi aims to become a distribution channel as well. Soon, subscribers will receive regular email updates highlighting new listings that meet their preferred criteria.
Though primarily a player in the industrial space, AIR has is steadily cultivating a retail presence. And much like our participation with CREXi, we’re looking to take advantage of every opportunity possible to expose our listings to the marketplace.
While by no means a “new technology,” email’s prevalence, not to mention importance as a marketing tool, CANNOT be overstated!
And toward that end, we’ve amassed a 10,000+ subscriber email list. A line of communication that enables us to promote our listings directly to thousands of highly active retail tenants + top producing tenant rep brokers.
As robust as our email list happens to be, it’s largely targeted to regional players.
But what about when we have a listing, whether for lease or sale, that potentially appeals to investors across the country?
PropertySend is a mass email service that enables us to directly promote our listings to major tenants and well-capitalized buyers NATIONWIDE.
Based on their highly desirable location, certain sites are ideal for A+ credit tenants. But how do you reach those tenants, especially if they’re a major corporation with layers and layers bureaucracy separating you from the actual decision-makers?
Retail LeasTrac – a national database of credit tenant contact info – enables us to leap-frog the gatekeepers and connect DIRECTLY with the powers that be.
Our leasing team frequently makes use of this exceptional tool to present exceptional sites to highly prominent national retailers.
An acronym for Customer Relations Management, CRM is an incredibly powerful tenant tracking and deal management tool.
Our leasing agents note + catalog every prospective tenant, creating a detailed profile – noting use-type, preferred unit size, target area, budget and much more – for each contact. All of which is automatically integrated into a database shared companywide.
This vast, pervasive information store is fully indexed and instantly searchable. And with this sea of actionable data at their fingertips, our agents are empowered to do significantly more deals in far less time than ever before.
You’re only as good as your network. And thanks to our highly visible social media presence, our leasing + management teams have greatly extended their reach.
By connecting with prospects, fellow brokers, vendors, and other industry cohorts via our active social channels, our associates have cultivated pivotal relationships that have made deals happen time and again.
And on the Property Management Side…
The backbone of our property management operation?
A property management software platform specifically designed to service retail properties, Skyline enables us to monitor property financials at a granular level.
Monies for collections and payables perpetually follow in-and-out of our property trust accounts. Our accounting department keeps a firm hand on these funds, recording and tracking every payable and receivable (to the penny!) for each property we manage.
And thanks to Skyline, nary a cent under our prevue is unaccounted for!
While Skyline enables us to closely and carefully monitor collections and payables, it doesn’t liberate us from chasing after tenants for outstanding rent + CAMs.
“The check is in the mail” is a phrase that makes every landlord (and property management firm) CRINGE.
So, to cut the mailman (and the accompanying uncertainty) out of the equation, we use ClickPay. An automated, online bill-pay service, ClickPay enables tenants to pay rent + CAMs from anywhere through an internet browser.
Whether via their personal online bill-pay service, ACH (direct bank-to-bank transfer), or even credit cards tenants can make payments instantly. And the payments are automatically noted in Skyline, perfectly synchronizing all record of incoming collections.
No more checks. No more mailman. And no more excuses ;—)
Of course, gathering collections in a timely fashion is critical to ensuring your property is profitable. But effectively managing payables is an equally important aspect of maintaining a financially sound property.
Acknowledging this fact, it’s no surprise paying scores of utilities and vendor bills for each property we manage is a sizable chore. And the consequence of failing to do so can be significant. A single missed payment can spell service disruptions, late fees, and even account cancellations.
To stay on top of this herculean task, we use AvidXchange. Similar to ClickPay, AvidXchange processes and automates utility and vendor payments entirely online.
Service providers submit invoices electronically directly to AvidXchange. In turn, AvidXchange codes and uploads bills to their online portal for our property managers approve. Once approved, payment is authorized and transferred electronically to vendors via their payment method of choice.
Bing, bang, BOOM! The entire payables process is completed online with the few clicks of a mouse.
Site Audit Pro
Pictures are a property manager’s best friend!
From documenting necessary repairs and hazards to confirming completed maintenance to detailing tenant violations, homeless encroachment, service vendor failures (and successes!) – a picture tells 1,000 words.
But snapping a gallery of pix on your smartphone, sorting + downloading them all to your computer, and them formatting them for inclusion in a property’s monthly narrative report is a huge time suck.
Site Audit Pro, however, makes the photo documentation process a BREEZE! A convenient smartphone app, Site Audit Pro enables managers to take photos, and organized and caption the images using the app’s built-in report template. From there, the manager forwards the completed report to their computer for inclusion with monthly property narrative reports.
Site Audit Pro is another time-saving tech tool that’s proven a real game-changer for our management team!
Interested in Putting CBM’s Tech Savvy Leasing + Management Team to Work on Your Retail Shopping Center?
For further information about leasing + management services, visit our website services page at: cbm1.com/services