As published in Scotsman Guide's Commercial Edition, May 2008.
Real estate professionals looking for love in the Chicago area would not be wise to start at the Daily Herald.
On April 2, the publisher for Paddock Publications' suburban newspaper announced in a memo that he and the company's other corporate officers would take a pay cut and forgo any raises for the year. As for the rest of the staff, if they were let go or left, they would not be replaced. The company can't afford it.
The first "factor affecting Paddock's financial performance," according to the memo?
The housing market.
Like we haven't heard that before -- from commercial lenders, from borrowers, from developers, from boards of directors, from government regulators and of course from newspapers, which now see their headlines wrap back around with a pink slip in hand.
It's a tough market. And even tougher to market in.
Although some brokers can in fact sustain themselves on one or two commercial deals each year, those needing a steady customer flow cringe at housing news and similar sentiments that drive potential borrowers away from any major financial decisions. Marketing commercial loans thus isn't so much a matter of attracting clients these days. It's a matter of building their confidence.
In May's Scotsman Guide, numerous authors offer tips on how to do so. Here's where they suggest starting:
Online: There's a reason they call it the Web. Entangling the right customers the right way, as DigiIntelligence's Karla Guleserian writes in our Lead Article, takes know-how.
Referrals: Your most effective tool in building confidence, as Financial Compound's Michael Schwartz writes, is you -- your background, past experience and expertise.
Your borrowers' heads: What makes these folks tick? What motivates them? These questions seem elementary and nearly implied in any transaction. But paying attention to them can pay off, as Park Hill Lending's John Arno describes here.