Business Centers and Brokers: Three Ways to Work Together More Effectively

Tenant retention
Tenant retention

Commercial real estate professional and co-founder of Turnkey Office Space, Jonathan Bachrach currently serves as a Managing Director of Turnkey Office Space, Inc. Having worked at the company since its inception, Jon has helped to build the company from the ground up, training industry professionals and assisting both large and small companies in achieving their commercial real estate goals. Jon is available for expert opinions and insight into the ever-changing workspace industry from multiple perspectives – sales, trends, and analytics.

The business center industry has, for many years, been on the forefront of innovation when it comes to introducing new office designs and concepts that lead to improved collaboration.

The newest business centers and co-working space build-outs, in many respects, reflect the desire of modern tech and growth companies to work in open-plan, free-flowing environments that are as innovative as the ideas these companies are bringing to market.

This constant clamoring for newer, more modern spaces, however, has caused many to lose sight of another dependable and growing trend within the industry: the need for plain old, traditional-looking office suites for companies within more mature industries.

As commercial real estate rents continue to rise in major cities, and as real estate developers in cities like New York opt to build residential buildings over commercial ones, due to more favorable ROIs, the need for small and medium sized office space in existing and newly built-out executive suites should continue to grow. With some business centers having floor plans consisting of over 80 offices at a single location, and more and more locations springing up seemingly overnight, the ability of the industry to withstand and absorb increased demand for small office space throughout the country should be all but certain.

Even when the demand is there, however, high occupancy rates do not always come easy. Business centers need to be marketed properly. Referral services, such as web-brokerages and other affiliate-types, can help business center owners and operators spread industry awareness by providing them with a steady flow of qualified prospects, who might have otherwise dismissed executive office suites as “temporary space” that isn’t right for their business.

The Brokerage and Business Center industries generally compliment each other well. Just as is the case with other types of vendor relationships, however, there are a number of ways in which business center owners and brokers can work together more effectively:

  • 1) Awareness of Vacancy Rates – By maintaining awareness of a business center’s current stock of available offices, brokers can better qualify leads before arranging tours. This can both save time and increase conversion rates, and requires little more than weekly or even monthly email updates from center mangers listing their current offices available for rent, pricing and promotions. This can be especially useful in larger cities, where the amount of competition is high.
  • 2)  Sending Email Literature – One strategy that we brokers like is when business centers send introduction emails to prospective clients at the outset of receiving their details. These emails typically highlight the benefits of the center along with various options that might work for the prospect.They are effective for a number of reasons. First, people can sometimes be hesitant to answer their phones right away, or to set up an appointment to view when first contacted. An introductory email can break the ice and open up a line of communication in a more natural and ‘easygoing’ manner. This also makes the prospect aware of the center manager in advance of that initial call, which can help to reduce that all-too familiar “I’m busy, call back later” reflex than many people fall back on. The prospective client will also be more likely to remember a business center that proactively reached out to them should they put their search on hold until a later date.

> Big points if we brokers are CC’d on these emails too. We love that, and it encourages us to work with these centers more!

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  • 3) Communication is Key – In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” This holds true with business relationships as much as with any other type of relationship. Open communication between industry brokers and office suite providers is key to not only encouraging the exchange of ideas but also to maintaining lead flow.Familiarity helps to build trust and confidence, and simply feeling comfortable with a particular center manager or owner can make a difference when it comes to a broker referring leads to that location. Furthermore, effective communication gives industry brokers the ability to understand the unique strengths/characteristics of individual locations so that they can better tailor options for clients and set up more worthwhile tours.

As all three points above suggest, effective communication in one form or another is key to maintaining healthy relationships between industry brokers, business centers and prospective clients. As the need for all types of office suites continues to pick up throughout the country, a commitment towards improving industry communication using some of the strategies above, as well as others, can go a long way towards improving the industry as a whole.

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