Supporting Commercial Real Estate Leads & Deals with Sound UX Strategy4 min read
An Essential UX Strategy that Supports Leads & Deals
Retail REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and commercial real estate developers have one essential business need: to connect prospective tenants with real-world spaces. They have units that need to be filled, which lose money when they sit empty. Business owners need premises for their operations, which lose money every month their doors aren’t open. The math is simple. Everyone stands to incur huge costs, setbacks, and lost opportunities when these connections aren’t made.
Connect the right people to the right data.
Any critical commercial real estate tool, website or app, must serve the express purpose of fostering relationships and, later, nurturing them. This means REITs need a digital strategy deeply rooted in understanding users, meeting their needs, and speaking their language. Facilitating connections is what drives profit and growth. Anything else will cause a drag on the bottom line—limiting lead generation, curtailing deals, and damaging reputations.
As a digital product owner in this industry, your focus should be on making connections that count. This includes external leasing agents, brokers, small business owners, and any other roles involved in getting the leasing process moving. Each of these users care deeply about finding the right space, via the right information at the right time. Your job is to pay particular attention to what they want, why they want it, and what gets in their way.
Provide compelling, actionable data.
Commercial property searches yield unbelievable amounts of complex, copious data. And the users who rely on this data to inform their decision-making have specific needs. They need to sort and filter to narrow search options. They need to know, at a glance, whether a space fits their business requirements. They must immediately grasp key demographic data points. They need to visualize themselves in the space, through effective floor plans, nimble story-telling, and high-quality photography or video.
Oh, and they need all this at lightning-fast speeds, in the office and in the field, on small and large devices alike, all without thinking much. Your strategy, in turn, must valorize and prioritize fast load times, frictionless interactions, and nothing short of brilliantly simple organization.
Don’t make users wade through anything.
Sometimes, in our rush to give users helpful information about properties or spaces, we forget they are humans who have built-in problems with processing data. Forget flashy designs and fancy animations. Avoid pop-ups like the plague. Make a post-haste retreat from canned stock images, icons, or templates. Be careful with anything that can impact speed (which is almost everything when you’re working with this much data). Present only the most thoughtful, streamlined information in formats that your users can understand and immediately act on. Speaking of which…
Make it supremely easy to take the next step.
When a prospective tenant takes the first step to reach out, you are at a critical junction in the relationship-building process. They can turn into a contact, lead, or future opportunity. Or they can never hit your radar at all, if they can’t get in touch with the right person immediately, on the first try. It’s not enough to throw up a contact form and hope for the best. You need seamlessly integrated forms that are manageable, contextual and global contact links, and prominent downloadable information that keep users in the flow and not overwhelmed. This requires significant forethought and planning.
Don’t let anything, anything, get in the way.
Your users demand speedy and convenient access to detailed property data, and it only takes one wrong move to lose what could have been an important lead. Poor search stops progress before it ever starts. Massive images or poorly implemented SEO scripts bring your site to a page-closing crawl. Fancy plug-ins break and are often completely inaccessible to people with disabilities. Hard-to-find contact methods are pure poison. Complicated forms with bad error messaging are time-consuming and frustrating. No one enjoys talking with a chatbot, and dense text will never, ever be read by anyone. Every detail matters.
Turning Leads into Leases
As a product owner in commercial real estate firms, you probably lie awake at night worrying about lead generation and nurturing. You probably receive a great deal of advice on this front. An agency might say you need a redesign or a new advertising campaign. An SEO firm might say you need keyword saturation. Internal stakeholders might demand more and more content.
But, at the end of the day, the defining metric is how many leads become signed leases. The best way to facilitate this is by aligning your product with your users’ real-world needs. You need an effective user experience strategy that supports the top tasks involved in turning leads into deals, namely: doing research, comparing spaces, and easily connecting with leasing agents. In short, this is the one non-negotiable thing all effort should drive toward.