In commercial real estate it’s all about keeping your fingers on the pulse of the market. You want to know when a new development is being built, who is moving employees in, who is losing employers, what analyst are predicting for an area, etc. And while there are many CRE news sites out there catering to almost every need, the problem lies with recalling those articles when you need them.
We’ve found that even though a lot of CRE professionals are spending time reading all this news, most of it gets forgotten. It’s just not humanly possible, with the exception of those who possess hyperthymesia, to overcome the stressors of everyday life in order to recall the news article they read at 9:08 am two weeks ago.
“I’m subscribed to and check 10-12 sources regularly and spend 8-10 hours per week reading news. There is obviously so much great information out there, but so much noise as well. Luckily I have an amazing team to help and keep an internal ‘data bank’ of noteworthy articles. ” – Ignacio Taboada, Capital Markets Operations Analyst at CBRE
Collecting and remembering the commercial real estate news important to your deals shouldn’t be hard. Here are five tricks to help you remember and use more of the CRE news you read:
Cut Down on Your Email Clutter
Raise your hand if you receive a newsletter or email from 4 or more of these news sources: Business Journals, The News Funnel, Bisnow, Curbed, REBusiness Online, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CBRE Blueprint, Collier Knowledge Leader, Forbes, Commercial Property Executive, The Real Deal, Crain’s, Google Alerts, or any local news source.
Even on good days, chances are you only discover a handful of really useful articles in the 50+ articles you are receiving. Take note over the next few weeks of the emails you are consistently finding useful news in. Unsubscribe from the emails which only provide a helpful article a few times a year, it’s not worth the time and as we all know time is money.
This should help you focus in on the publications truly providing valuable insights, clear up your inbox, and leave you with less memory clutter.
Find a Way to Organize
Unfortunately news sites don’t come with a way to bookmark articles and until that changes you’ll have to make due with an alternative method of organization. Some people save articles in their browser bookmarks, others email the articles to themselves, some use outlook folders, and there are even some who save the webpage off in a folder on their computer. Occasionally we hear about a tech savvy professional using OneNote or Evernote.
Whichever way you decide works best for you, make sure you add an extra layer of organization. Categorize by neighborhood, market, building, date, address, or anything else giving you the best chance of quickly navigating your system. This step will make it much easier to revisit the info when you are conveying the story to your clients.
Make It Mobile
Commercial real estate has always relied heavily on communication. For the past century the phone and face-to-face meetings have long been the preferred methods. And while meetings have essentially stayed the same, the phone has evolved into an essential part of a CRE professional’s everyday life.
Now CRE professionals can’t risk a minute without their cell phones and depend on their ability to look up information even when they are out of the office. If you don’t ensure the research that has already been completed can be reached on mobile, you are leaving room to forget important details and doubling your work.
There are a few solutions you can utilize depending on your method of organization. You could use Dropbox to hold the folders and files of articles you save, Google docs also works in a similar manner. Both are available on mobile and can be regularly synced across devices, but both also come with storage limits. If you are using outlook folders, sync them to your mobile email, but we recommend testing this process first as syncing doesn’t always happen smoothly.
Keeping your research on the go should ease the pressure to remember all the details of a CRE news article and gives you the advantage of reviewing the particulars before a meeting.
Share It Immediately
This may seem weird, but a good way to remember an article is to let someone else remember it. Let us explain, if you share an article immediately with someone, say an owner or client, there is a good chance they will email you back or bring it up in your next meeting.
Even if they don’t bring it up in your next discussion, you will have a reference point for that article. While not the ideal way to manage your news sources, it could at the very least help you track what you shared and with whom.
Of course this will not always be applicable to your strategy, especially if you are gathering details for a pitch. You definitely aren’t going to send 8 emails of articles to a new client. Instead try sending it to a few members of your team to circulate the information. The more people who know the more likely someone will remember.
Review daily or weekly
In the few steps above we have talked about ways to help you review your research. Reviewing on the fly is necessary, but we also suggest taking a few minutes out of every week to go over your research on all the deals you are currently working on.
Compare articles from week to week to guarantee you aren’t missing any crucial updates. A huge development could have been cancelled or maybe one has been proposed which could be leveraged to close a deal. Employment in the area could change like Paypal’s recent withdrawal of 400 jobs from Charlotte, NC or there could be a big sale effecting prices.
The point is to again help solidify the knowledge in your mind and to create a market intelligence timeline for each location you are working on.
Bonus: Make a Map
You are probably familiar with Google Maps, but have you heard of a little known feature called My Maps? My Maps lets you create personalized maps in which you can place a pin for every address you want to keep tabs on.
You can also store notes within the pins. Of course, it was only meant to store a few notes so don’t bank on it being an organizational tool since it will only be able to handle a few links before it becomes messy. Think of it more as a tool to help you visualize trends happening with deals in your market.
While it is labor intensive, a map view is something you can pull up when you are painting a picture for a client to show them the news trends happening around the area.
Relevant CRE news will always play a part in building your pipeline. The best way to make sure you are using all the research you have spent time on is to be organized. As you can see it’s easier said than done, but taking these steps will ultimately improve the way you do deals. Of course if you don’t have the time to do all of these steps, you could always try out the free version of our app.