TenantBase is proud to be partnering once again this year with Buildout and The Broker List on the 2021 DNA of #CRE report. The report provides fascinating insights into the habits, tools and technology used by commercial brokers. This year's report will provide insight into how both brokers and their clients reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in an unprecedented number of employees working remotely and the challenges that created for retail and restaurant operators. Of particular interest to TenantBase will be understanding how brokers generated new business when cold calling became much more challenging as people were not in their offices. If you recall from the 2020 report, cold calling/prospecting was the second most used technique accounting for almost 70% of new clients.
As the chart below shows, brokers spend a significant amount of their time cold calling to generate new business. Did brokers accelerate the use of technology to win new business? (And we’re not just talking about Zoom calls, as we know everyone attended way too many.)
The two questions we are curious about are:
How did brokers generate new business?
How did brokers show properties to tenants with social distancing and shelter in place orders?
At TenantBase, our brokers and partners primarily utilized online leads from the TenantBase platform and their past client relationships. In fact, more than 40% of our completed transactions in 2020 were initiated and closed after March when the impact of COVID-19 restrictions took effect. While the restrictions had dire consequences for many sectors and companies, there were essential businesses needed to lease and occupy space quickly. Last year, Industrial and Flex deals accounted for more than half of our completed transactions. Entering 2020, TenantBase, like many of the brokers in this study, believed Office deals would lead the way. Fortunately Industrial was able to make up for the decreased demand by office and retail tenants.
The second challenge after finding new tenants was determining how to tour properties. TenantBase brokers showed properties in a variety of ways. In some cases, it was the more traditional process of going to the property with the tenant, but arriving early to wipe down doorknobs and providing masks, before it became standard practice. Brokers also used their mobile phones to record video walkthroughs or use FaceTime for a real time showing of the space, especially for out-of-town clients that were unable to travel.
2020 made it clear to TenantBase that the need to source new business online would continue to grow exponentially. To accelerate our company growth, TenantBase began partnering with local firms to increase our geographic coverage and now have more than 15 partners that use our platform to enhance their business development processes. Click here to learn more about becoming a partner.