Serviced Office Brokers are very much part of the Flexible Workspace Industry but do they add sufficient value for what they charge? Should Operators be diverting at least some of the fees that they spend on brokers into their own digital marketing and SEO campaigns?
In our view, it really depends. Most of the established office brokers provide an excellent service and can be of huge benefit to both start-up and established operations, particularly those that have a weak online presence or lack marketing staff. However, we are big believers that the brokers we use must add value beyond mere referrals and if you‘re broker isn’t doing this, then you might consider a change.
Ask yourself a couple of questions:
What is the quality of the leads that you are being sent and do they accurately match your space?
Professional brokers will take the time to understand your space, how your operation works, your office sizes, Your USP’s, your real time vacancies, and everything else from whether you provide free coffee to the speed of your broadband. They should also be checking in with you regularly for updates will have visited your space on at least one occasion.
Does your broker provide you with market intelligence?
For example regular reports on benchmarking, desk rate fluctuations, the profile of client that is looking for space, trends, local market conditions and so on. A good broker wil lbe an expert in your local and extended market.
Is your Broker competing with you?
In other words, do the leads they present comprise of leads that you would otherwise have obtained on your own? Direct competition can be seen on page one rankings on Google pursuant to local searches. There will be a natural overlap but unless it’s clear that the majority of the leads presented would never have come to you then you might consider delisting. Ideally your broker should be presenting leads from an extended geographical area and internationally. They need to be marketing your centre to a wide range of prospects.
How is your broker Managing your Brand Equity?
Remember, in listing your space with a broker means that you are giving your brand equity to that broker. Firstly, take a look at their website and decide if the standard, the look and the feel are all up to scratch. Agree with the broker in advance how your space will be portrayed, where in their listings your centre it appear and under what categories. Also and also be sure to approve the narrative.
Check the Terms & Conditions As well as agreeing a commission rate, you should also agree the small print. Issues include 1) what happens on renewals? 2) for how long a referral is considered to be the ownership of the broker? 3) what happens if a lead stops paying or leaves early? 4) How are organic (operator owned) leads managed against refferals 5) What happens when more than one broker refers a lead? 5) Who schedules and carries our tours? 6) When is the commission on a converted lead due and how is it payable? The list goes on....
The Future of Office Brokering
The Office Brokers will always have a place in the Industry although greater competition will start to exert pressure on margins as well as service. New entrants to the office broker market will need to focus more on customer service. As operators grow they will become more protective over their brand equity and cobranding will become more and more usual.
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