3 Ways to Get the Industry Working for You

27 February, 2023

One of the most effective ways to achieve land development goals is to let them be known. Unfortunately, this is one of the most underrated and underused success strategies.

Here’s why: Many real estate developers became reserved about revealing their long- and short-term objectives as a result of working in an historically (and notoriously) guarded industry.

Although there can be a competitive advantage to keeping certain plays concealed, the need for secrecy is actually rare. More often, it creates an obstacle, not an edge.

Owners and developers unable to break free from this mindset are turning their backs on new leads and opportunities that could grow their business, simply because others don’t know their plans. After all, if no one knows what you want to accomplish, how can they help?

Connecting with your network and openly sharing your vision, what you see on the horizon, and what you want to achieve, will not only lead to mutual opportunities but also creative solutions to common challenges through greater collaboration.

Whether you’re a team of one or part of a larger real estate conglomerate, allowing the market to work for you is a strong play in an aggressive business that’s constantly competing for resources, people, and land.

In other words, when a large group of industry professionals are bringing you qualified leads, you have more time to act on these opportunities, drive growth, and increase your return on investment.

So how do you get the market working for you? Start talking.

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1. Tell Your Story

When Sears Holdings spun off Seritage Growth Properties to repurpose its non-essential space, they spotlighted the properties Sears and Kmart had vacated and where they now needed new tenants. In telling their story, they made their ambitions public and the industry went to work for them, bringing ideas on how to redevelop or fill the vacancies with higher-paying tenants.

While this example involves real estate investment trusts (REITs) (who are held to a certain level of public reporting), it still illustrates how empowering the market to work for you results in a higher number of qualified leads and opportunities.

Take the opportunity to promote your organization’s goals, current market focus, and specific needs.

— Dan Duggan, Associate, Director of Business Development

If public disclosure and industry PR aren’t required or available to you, there are other ways to get the word out.

At a minimum, review your digital footprint and make sure those researching you can glean more than who your leadership team is, what’s in your portfolio, and your contact information. Take the opportunities your website, social feeds, and personal profile pages provide to promote your organization’s goals, current market focus, and specific needs. If you’re seeking development opportunities, consider listing the characteristics of your ideal sites.

The payoff? The right people with the right opportunities reaching out to you.

2. Leverage Your Consultants

Start with your existing project partners: brokers, architects, site civil engineers, land-use attorneys, etc. This is your built-in network, the people who are the most ready and willing to work for you. Whether it’s through a conversation or part of a larger organized event, take every opportunity you have to connect your consultants with your story.

A growing number of owners and developers recognize the high return on investment this approach delivers and host day-long partner conferences to capitalize on it. During sessions, company leaders and their in-house real estate teams can gather with their core consultants and share everything about their organization – from company vision to updated design standards.

This not only empowers their partners to better serve their projects, but also allows their external team to act as ambassadors of their market position.

If you’re relying on your consultants solely for their technical design expertise only, you’re missing out on the tremendous value they could offer to help you grow your business. Specifically, their expansive network of active players who are buying, selling, and developing property.

Your site civil engineer, for example, likely has ample knowledge of recycled properties.

— Dan Duggan, Associate, Director of Business Development

Talking about your business objectives will arm your partners with the information they need to connect you to the market in meaningful ways. Ways that result in opportunities such as deals, introductions, and strategic hires.

Your site civil engineer, for example, likely has ample knowledge of recycled properties and sites that never moved forward. If they’re also privy to the “what” and “where” of your short- and long-term development plans, they can better leverage their network to search for and identify opportunities in your target locations, supporting the efforts of your brokers or in-house acquisition teams.

At Bohler, we connect end users to property owners and let their real estate professionals make the deals. We also regularly introduce clients with assets to divest to those in the market to develop.

see related: Streamlining survey due diligence

While a targeted site may not meet a particular developer’s criteria during due diligence, that same site may check all the boxes for another use.

3. Expand Your Network

As critical as it is to share your own story, it’s equally important to listen for what others need. Networking in person or virtually is an effective way to learn what’s happening in the market and what others are seeking to accomplish.

In talking with industry players about their goals, you’ll have many opportunities to bring value to others – and that value will often come back to you down the road.

At industry events, challenge your go-to conference routine by stepping outside of your comfort zone and exposing yourself to new experiences that could spark opportunity:

  • Listen to the keynote speaker you might have otherwise skipped.
  • Engage in panel discussions where others are sharing their stories.
  • Spend time talking with people outside your core group – this type of connection can lead to opportunities you might not have predicted.

These events are great forums for learning more about leading industry businesses and offering recommendations and solutions.

Find opportunities to bring value to others, and that value will often come back to you down the road.

— Dan Duggan, Associate, Director of Business Development

To be most effective, switch off your “business development mode” and, instead, focus on learning what keeps your colleagues up at night, what is working for them, and what needs improvement. You may be surprised by how well this approach opens the conversation and stimulates the sharing of ideas.

see related: turning challenging sites to your advantage

Remember, however, that getting the most from networking and external partners begins with your willingness to share your own story. When people understand your development goals, they become capable of supporting your success tenfold – freeing you to focus on building your business, landing important contracts, developing new strategic partnerships, and scoping out next deals.

Connect with Bohler’s team and explore all the ways you can leverage our extended network. We can help get the industry working for you – all you have to do is tell us your story.

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About Dan Duggan
Bohler Associate Dan Duggan

With over 25 years of experience in construction management, operations, technical sales, and marketing, Dan serves as Associate and Divisional Director of Strategic Planning for Bohler’s New Jersey and Pennsylvania regions. Dan is responsible for the development and execution of strategic planning efforts and industry trend evaluation with a focus on client development.

Prior to joining Bohler, Dan’s land development industry experience included real estate portfolio management and execution of several national multi-site expansion programs.

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