In the past commercial real estate professionals focused on face-to-face sales and negotiation skills. Today the same time, energy and effort is put into internet marketing, drawing clients to a commercial real estate internet portal. Online sales and rentals are bringing commercial real estate back from the brink of extinction, and reliable industry analysts predict robust long-term growth in online commercial real estate traffic and transactions. Most authorities say commercial realtors have barely begun to tap the power and profit-making potential of the world-wide web.
Successful agents use their websites' data analysis features to track unique visitors and turn them into preferred customers. Many innovative commercial real estate web-workers build online links to lenders, escrow companies, and real estate attorneys, so that their sites become full-service hubs for buyers and sellers of hot properties. The most forward-thinking commercial brokerages have developed smart-phone apps, providing would-be clients with one-touch access to their listings and services.
As has been the case in residential real estate, so in commercial estate: Online auction sites have helped banks and other institutional clients sell-off non-performing notes and defaulted REO properties all around the country. In October, 2011, powerhouse Auction.com set the current record for single-auction sales, ringing-up $453 million for its sellers. After that one event, Auction.com reported it sold 187 assets on behalf of its 10 institutional clients participating, and the mega-site garnered a purchase price to reserve rate of 111 percent.
LinkedIn, the premier business and professional network, has more than proven itself as a source of new leads - especially because its members are generally prospering despite trying economic times. Just as importantly, Linked-In members include literally thousands of new internet entrepreneurs and so-called "momtrepreneurs", outgrowing their family-room and garage offices, ready to claim prime commercial spaces. Recent history also has shown that Linked-In gives commercial realtors valuable links to doctors, dentists, and attorneys who can cut their overhead by up to 80% when they buy their defaulted strip malls instead of renting their spaces in retail ghost-towns.
Naturally, the old stand-bys continue connecting buyers and sellers of commercial properties. Most independents and big brokerages encourage their loyal clients and patrons to "like" them on Facebook, and the industry's leading revenue-generators use Twitter to link colleagues and clients with their daily blog posts, keeping themselves constantly in consumers' eyes and minds.
In the past, only the biggest commercial realtors had worldwide reach, leaving regional and local brokers to work their territories as best they could. In the last few years, the best-qualified buyers have come from Europe and Asia, so that the little guys have competed at a severe disadvantage - if they could compete at all. The internet, of course, has levelled the playing field, giving highly motivated, visionary and innovative one-person operations opportunities for representing big sellers in great big global markets.
Whereas the internet once threatened to drive traditional real estate agents into extinction, the web is now every agent's most powerful tool, unquestionably driving the industry's recovery.