Presented By: Partner Insights
Data-Based Relationships: How Data Will Bring You Closer to Customers & Prospects
Extensive and reliable data has always been a company’s most valuable asset, and as the breadth of available data has grown, companies with the ability to acquire and aggregate data to best meet their needs have a clear advantage over their competitors.
So, at a time when making in-person connections has become exceedingly difficult, making strategic use of data to develop and enhance client relationships is a more valuable skill than ever before.
This was the topic of discussion for “Data-Based Relationships: How Data Will Bring You Closer To Customers & Prospects,” a webinar hosted on Wednesday, June 17, by the Commercial Observer Partner Insights team, and presented by the CRE data provider RealMassive.
Moderated by Partner Insights contributor Larry Getlen, the webinar featured insights from RealMassive CEO Mike Clark, Commercial Real Estate Appraiser and Market Analyst for The Powers Group Linda Powers, and Managing Member of Dearborn Capital Partners, Brien Wloch.
Powers made the first connection between clients and data by noting that keeping up with the newest information on the COVID crisis, then offering that insight to clients, helped her remain a valuable resource for those clients at a time when the industry was otherwise shut down.
“I’ve been calling clients just to check on them,” Powers said. “I ask, is there any information I can get you to plan ahead for when we start getting back to normal? Data is extremely valuable right now. Anything that you can [provide to] help people, they’ll remember you.”
Wloch noted that his mortgage banker clients are “sponges for information” who are “looking for some context and guidance about what’s going to happen and how we’re going to react to it.”
“We send out emails ranging from COVID-related solutions to links to take virtual walks through Nashville, just trying to be the person they’re looking to for information,” he said. “And like Linda said, we’re casting a wider net for opportunities to grow our database, and using Mike’s RealMassive to do that.”
While offering new data to clients has been a successful strategy, Clark pointed out that the industry slowdown didn’t squelch requests for specific data from the client side.
“We’ve had a lot of people reaching out for data to try to understand what’s happening in their sectors,” said Clark. “Everything’s local to most of our customers. It’s one thing to watch what’s going on nationally and look at all the statistics, but people really want to know about data in their local communities. Because at the end of the day, commercial real estate is very local. What happens in one city may be different than in another. So we’re getting overwhelming amounts of requests for data, and we’re trying to add more and more to our platform to meet those demands.”
Part of the importance of all this data comes in its ability to help show us the way forward.
“We’ve seen significant increases in the coronavirus. What is that going to lead to? How is that going to affect business? We don’t know, but you can study past trends on economic downturns and see, how long did it take us to come out of the cycle? What were the effects along the way? If you have sufficient data, you can have some educated thoughts on this,” said Powers.
Clark then talked about RealMassive, and how it helps democratize data.
“RealMassive started as a marketplace, basically an MLS-type service, and it’s a free, open platform for brokers,” he said. “Last year, we really started investing in our underlying technology to help democratize data–not just listing and marketplace data, but all of the data elements you can possibly think of on a piece of commercial real estate. So, we’ve been putting a lot of investment into trying to aggregate all these data sets, and we launched our flagship data-mining product in January of this year. Our goal now is to just keep adding more data sets so we have a lot of property information, and we’re adding more and more finance, mortgage and ownership information. We’re also working on adding lease comps and tenant information to the platform. We’re really taking a long view of this, and we really want to have a platform where people can do a search on a property and find out everything you can know about the building, and we don’t think that should cost you an arm and a leg and a second mortgage. At the end of the day, technology should drive efficiency and drive costs down, whatever industry that technology is servicing. We just think there’s a huge opportunity in the commercial real estate space for a true technology partner to bring those efficiencies to the industry, and that’s what we’re focused on.”
Powers added that plentiful data of this sort is essential for attracting and retaining customers.
“As Mike was talking about with RealMassive, if you’ve ever looked at their website, when you pull up a specific property, you get a tremendous amount of data,” she said. “Just looking at their comp sheets, you get ownership history, you get photos, you get a lot of information on the land and building area–you can look all that up. Something you can look at that’s all-inclusive is a time saver, and it’s very impressive to your clients that you can pull up information in just a split second that gives them a ton of information that they would normally have to look for themselves. To have all the transaction history is extremely important.”
“It’s absolutely critical that we have enough data to make intelligent, well-informed decisions, especially given the COVID situation,” added Wloch.
Clark believes that RealMassive provides that data, adding value by democratizing a historically fragmented data set for CRE professionals.
“We don’t charge brokers to list, search or advertise on that platform,” said Clark. “All of the leads that come in through that platform, we send straight to the broker. We don’t get involved, we don’t take lead fees. We think that’s an area where we should be talking about the democratization of data. On the listing side, if we can make a platform that is open and free to use, that’s going to be of tremendous value to our broker partners. Now, all of that data on that platform is super valuable to a lot of non-brokers. So combining that with a lot of non-listing data sets, whether that be the lending side, the capital market data, even local demographic and economic data, really helps clients paint a more rounded picture.”
Over time, Clark sees the democratization of data as destiny for the commercial real estate market.
For the full “Data-Based Relationships: How Data Will Bring You Closer To Customers & Prospects” webinar, click here.
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