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Best Practices for Commercial Real Estate Experts: How to Save Time Researching and Organizing Your Data (While Getting the Most Out of It)

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dennis-kummer-52gEprMkp7M-unsplashAre you an expert in managing your data with the latest and greatest tools? Or, are you a beginner who relies on Google for your data? Researching, updating, and organizing your data is crucial to being a successful broker. Without the most up-to-date data, you could lose lucrative deals. And, you might not even know you’re missing out.

Whether you’ve been in commercial real estate for four decades or four months, you could be a beginner when it comes to managing your data. Beginners have data. Experts have insights from their data, allowing them to put their data to work to get more deals.

Wondering how to know if you’re a beginner or expert? Or, how to become an expert if you’re not there yet? Read on to learn more about the four levels of data management–and how to move up the scale.

Beginner: Using Google Search and Foot Canvassing

Data management beginners rely on little technology and rarely have insights into their data. This puts beginners at a disadvantage when it comes to finding and closing deals.

If you’re a beginner, you likely use Google to find most of your data. Whether it’s finding properties, transaction data, or information about current tenants, your main tool is a simple Google search. To gather more information as a beginner, you turn to foot canvassing: looking at properties in person. Because you have to travel between properties, this takes much longer than other methods.

As a beginner with researching, you aren’t getting the most up-to-date information. And, you’re only getting a narrow segment of data when you rely on a single source. This means that you don’t have the whole picture, and are lagging behind competitors who have much more information.

Gathering data in person takes up much more time than collecting it virtually. This time you spend getting your data is less time you can spend on deals. With beginner methods, you have less information and time for deals—meaning you won’t earn as much as possible. 

Novice: Using CoStar and Google Search

Novices have more information and slightly more insight, but still have a disorganized process that doesn’t maximize results.

If you’re a novice, you still rely on Google searches. But, you also use CoStar to find more data. While CoStar is a more reliable, centralized source of commercial real estate data than Google, you’re still responsible for keeping your own records up to date. And, as a novice, your process for updating your data is likely disorganized. You don’t check CoStar on a regular, repeatable basis, even if they are providing real-time, accurate information. So, sometimes your records may reflect that updated data. Other times, what you have and are sharing with clients could be weeks (or months) old.

Clients expect data that’s updated in real-time. For example, if you’re a tenant rep meeting with a potential client and they ask you to show them available properties of a certain square footage, it’d be pretty embarrassing if you waste their time touring a space that’s actually way too small to accommodate their company.  If your data isn’t current, your clients will go to competitors who can access the most accurate data anytime and anywhere. 

Being a novice also means that you manually gain insights from your data, which is likely stored in an Excel spreadsheet. Not only is sifting through rows and rows of data by hand time-consuming. It also limits how much you get out of your data. Without a more advanced technology to make sense of what pieces of your data you need to take action on to be successful, you’re missing out on insights that will set you apart from other brokers.

Advanced: Using Multiple Data Sources Plus a CRM

If you’re using advanced methods to research and organize your data, the thing that really sets you apart from your less experienced counterparts is a CRM. While you may still use CoStar and a variety of other commercial property data sources, you have a centralized location where you store and organize that data.

While graduating from Excel to CRM is a huge step, you’re still lagging behind experts. You have a set cadence to update your information to make sure you have the most current data. But, you still have to do this research manually – which takes up valuable time. Plus, you then have to waste time inputting that data into your CRM.

So, while you’re spending time researching and inputting your data, experts are conducting deals with clients you don’t have time to take on.

Expert: Using One Piece of Technology

Experts make use of cutting-edge technology that saves time while producing more insights.

Not only do you have one tech tool (like a CRM) that aggregates all of your data for you. On top of that, the technology also has built-in, continually refreshed commercial property data, so you always have access to the most current information, all in one place.

In the previous example we mentioned above, an expert buyer rep can rest assured knowing they can pull the most up to date list of all available properties of a certain square footage right from their CRM, and not waste their client’s time (or their own).

Operating as a commercial real estate expert means having tech tools that automatically provide predictive insights, putting your data to work for you. This allows you to spend more time winning deals and impressing clients, and less time doing manual data research, entry, and organization. In other words, experts spend more time on revenue-generating activities so they can close more deals faster.

Wrapping It Up

Expert brokers close the most high-value deals—and make the most money. One key part of being an expert broker is having the right method for researching and organizing crucial data.

Beginners rely on a single, non-specialized information source and don’t use much technology. In contrast, experts use technology to aggregate multiple CRE databases. Plus, experts use tech to get top-level, predictive insights from their data. Their technology organizes their data in a way that tells them when to act and what to do next, which focuses their efforts on revenue-generating activities.

If you want to be a top broker, you need to become an expert at researching, updating, and organizing your data. And you can’t do those things without technology. Request a demo of Apto to see how we help you organize, analyze, and act on your data.