This is a question that my friends like Duke Long, Barbi Rueter and Coy Davidson ask all the time. Is there a change coming in the World of CRE? What do I mean by that statement? In my opinion, it means is technology going to start to change an industry that lags when it comes to adopting technology. Who will win? The old school way of doing brokerage or the new school of disruptive technology… I believe the answer lies in the middle. I believe that both the old school way of doing brokerage and a form of technology will start to change the way CRE is done, but I honestly don’t feel like it’s going to be some new technology that disrupts the status quo all together. It will be a combo and here’s why…
- Demographics – When we launched Ten Eight last Monday, we used the following video to help promote Ten Eight – Video Link. Now, we downloaded one video to YouTube and one to Vimeo. I’m going to focus on the YouTube video for now. Out of 350 views we had in the first week, 49% of those views were in the range of 45 – 54 men and women. These are successful brokers that have successful friends that make decisions when it comes to their office space requirements. Do you think that their friends are going to choose Technology of Friendship? Now, why were most of the views from this age group? Because they are on top of their game and always looking to improve, and if there is a technology out there that can help them. Then I believe they will move towards it.
- Relationships - Commercial Real Estate is a relationship business. Period. I’ve learned this fact about CRE the hard way. I’ve been on countless pitches where I’ve been told “Patrick we really like your process, and the technology behind it. In fact, we’ll acknowledge the fact that your process would more then likely save us more time and money then the other guys. But, if we went with you and your technology, it wouldn’t be like you winning out over someone else. It would be us firing John Doe broker who I see at the club all the time.” However, that John Doe is looking to up his game because the more his clients continue to meet with me, it becomes increasingly important of John to make sure he is pushing better technology as well.
- Wrong Focus – A lot of the new technologies that we see coming online for commercial real estate revolve around search right now. A better way to search for office space. Now, I personally really feel that we need more competitors in this market, and really cheer for them to be successful. But, I don’t think the ones that do make it are going to truly change the way a 5,000 Square Foot user and up finds office space. They’re going to go to their broker to do it.
So, again the focus needs to be on the old school broker and how to make his life better vs. the disruption of the industry.
We have officially launched today, and here is our Promo Video to go along with the launch: Ten Eight Video. Thank you to our development team and beta testers for helping us get to this point. As I’ve mentioned before, Ten Eight’s ultimate goal is to provide great tools for brokers, period. We’ve started with a tool to make the touring process better for both brokers and their clients, and now there is a way to turn subjective feelings about a building into objective data to make better real estate decisions…. So, hopefully this is the start to many more features to Ten Eight, and if you’d like a free 30 day trial please go to our website to sign up.
It has been about a month since our beta launch at Ten Eight, and we’ve encountered a lot of great feedback, along with many questions. One of those questions is “where did the idea of Ten Eight come from?” The answer… It came because of several frustrations that, the founders as brokers, and our clients were having with the touring process of commercial real estate. I.E. – When you go and tour 3 – 10 buildings in a day with your client. There were several frustrations that were coming out of these tours, and I’ve highlighted them below.
- The Tour Booklet - As a broker, how much time and money do you send of producing tour booklets for your clients? You know the ones with the flyers, floor plans, maps, etc. Now, think about how many times your clients leave it in the car, give it back to you right after the tour, or just throw it away when you’re done with a tour…. Frustrating right? Part of the game of touring? Doesn’t have to be….
- Evaluating a Building - Ask yourself, “Does your client really know what to look for in a building?” Think about it…. How often does a person tour office space? Once every 3 – 10 years. So, if they don’t know what to look for in a building, then how are they evaluating one building against that next? Feel, right? It is feel and feel alone…. Also, how many times have you asked your client their opinion about a building and you get the “Hmm I like it, or Hmm I didn’t really like it” but they can’t tell you why they liked it or didn’t… Again, initial decisions about CRE are based on feel and feel alone, and most other decisions about business is based on some sort of measurements.
- Remembering the Buildings After a Tour - How many times have you been on the conference call with your client post tour, and they can’t recall one building from the next. You have to come up with silly names for suites like the “Barney Suite” because it has purple carpet. You end up eliminating 70% of the buildings from the tour based on what? Because a client can’t remember half of them or a feeling with no data behind the ones they could remember…
All of these frustrations helped us come up with the idea of Ten Eight to solve them.
A good friend of Ten Eight has been helping us with our presentation skills over the last couple of weeks, and he introduced a new phrase to us. ”A Tweetable So What Statement” If you can’t give your “so what” statement in Twitter Format then it is too long. It sounds easy, but it was harder for us then we thought. Ten Eight’s is below. It took a day to craft it.
So, Ten Eight. So What? Why do I care? Why would I want to use it? Here comes the tweetable so what: ”Ten Eight turns subjective feelings about a building into objective data that helps make better real estate decision.” BOOM! 23 characters to spare. Retweet it, and the entire statement will still show up.
So, what is your tweetable so what statement about your service or product? And is tweetable even a word? Hmmmmm….
On Wednesday (4/4/12) I was fortunate enough to be one of six keynote speakers at CREemerge in Chicago. What is CREemerge? It was the first conference of its kind put on by ICSC and Duke Long, that was dedicated to emerging technologies in the commercial real estate market. Ten Eight was fortunate enough to make the list of top emerging technologies in our industry, so I was lucky enough to have 45 minutes to talk about our product. However, this blog post is not about Ten Eight, it’s an overview of the things I learned about other emerging technologies in the CRE world. Thank you to Duke and ICSC for putting this on, looking forward to the next one, and without further ado… Here are my highlights from the conference:
- ROFO – They are shifting their focus to the social aspect of commercial real estate with the introduction of Broker Profiles. Here is my new profile that I created the minute I got back. What I like about it, is the feature to highlight my recent deals closed and the fact that they are shown on a map giving prospects an idea of where I do business. I’ve listed all nine office leases that I’ve closed in 2012.
- 42 Floors – In their opinion, great web design doesn’t exist with today’s CRE websites. This includes both company (brokerage firms) and service provider (think Costar). They’re here to change that not only for the Tenants, but also for the Brokers. Their CEO kept talking about Internet Treasures, and their goal is to make 42 Floors a true Internet Treasure.
- Ten Eight – Obviously my company, so I’ll be brief. Finally, a CRE mobile app that gives both brokers and their clients the ability to rate buildings while on tour. Therefore, turning subjective feelings about a building into objective data to make better real estate decisions.
- BrokersSavant – Their CEO did a great job talking about Artificial Intelligence in the world today and how it relatives to CRE. Great example: Target was marketing maternity clothes to a father’s underage daughter, and therefore knew that she was pregnant before he did. Their CEO wants to bring AI to retail listings and site selection.
- creGrow – 3D modeling to listings and developments. Very cool! Also, if you need a new website for your brokerage firm, they’re the place you need to turn…
- REIwise – Every piece of technology that you’ll ever need in the deal cycle is at your finger tips with REIwise’s tools. It is a one stop shop to automate the deal cycle for CRE professionals. Their VP of sales also did a great job of sharing other tools in the market place.
All in all it was a great conference, and I look forward to the next one.