Over the past week I have had lengthy talks with two owner/operators of well respected websites that list commercial real estate properties. No, Loopnet was not one of them, but they are both well recognized within the industry. I won’t name names. Both have lots of visitors and get lots of requests. Did you know that only about 50% of the web inquiries that come through commercial real estate listing sites get responses? A big part of that is a lack of follow through from the broker who receives the lead. Not a big surprise to any of us in the business. Unfortunately, if it not a big deal, many brokers don’t bother.
The other part of the problem is on the commercial real estate listing sites’ shortcomings. If the original broker does not pick up the lead, they have no backup. The visitor never hears back. In addition, the two listing sites I spoke with just “throw-away” smaller requests, under 1,500 square feet without any contact with the visitor. If it is not a big deal, their customers, the listing brokers, are not interested. So why bother? Once again, the visitor never hears back. I do understand that listing websites are in the business to make money. In both cases, as in Costar/Loopnet’s case as well, they are subscription based and supported by the brokerage community. Unfortunately, this lack of good customer service hurts our industry. I am not sure what can be done, but as a professional I know it hurts our image. I remember a survey I saw when I first got into the business that placed commercial real estate agents just below used car salesmen with regards to respecting them. It did not sit well.
It is also the basis of how I organized OfficeFinder; to avoid this pitfall. One thing I can promise is that 99% of those making a requests for assistance do hear back from us. Even if we can’t help, we will let them know and will direct them to other resources that might be able to help.
OfficeFinder’s network of top local brokers are specifically trained as to the importance of a fast response. On average, we have worked together of over 10 years and I have a high level of confidence in them. We also add in an incentive. If they do not pick up a request on the same day it is received, we send it to another qualified local broker. We do our best not to leave anyone hanging. I wish we had a 100% record, but there are always conditions beyond our control that prevent us from achieving that extra 1%. We do try our hardest to provide great customer service.
Let us know if we can help you find office space. You will hear back from us! I promise.