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Let’s Get Digital: CRE Social Networking Expert Beth Azor To Speak At Bisnow's Elevate Retreat

Azor Advisory Services founder and owner Beth Azor

On Aug. 16-18, a select group of up-and-coming commercial real estate professionals will convene at Bisnow’s inaugural Elevate retreat. The event, which will take place at the 1 Hotel Nashville, will give attendees unparalleled access to networking and the opportunity to gain insight and advice from industry experts who have paved a lucrative path for themselves in CRE. 

One such expert is Beth Azor, a 37-year industry veteran who is the founder and owner of South Florida-based CRE advisory and investment firm Azor Advisory Services. She educates CRE professionals through trainings and workshops on topics that include using social media to connect with prospects, the process of following up and strategies for negotiating deals. Azor has over 55,000 followers on various social media platforms.

Azor will be running a workshop at Elevate on how CRE professionals can leverage social media to build their network, learn more about the industry and kick-start deal-making.

Bisnow sat down with Azor to discuss social media strategies for facilitating new business, the benefits of both canvassing and prospecting and her advice for how to succeed in CRE.

Bisnow: How important is social media marketing for commercial real estate professionals looking to build a successful business?

Azor: Social media is extremely important because in today's world — where our customers and clients can easily access information online — businesses need to be building their brand and communicating to their prospects that they have the knowledge and the expertise to help them with whatever they're looking to achieve in CRE. One of the best ways to deliver this expertise is by using social media to produce content, which goes alongside prospecting and attending events, such as a Bisnow event. Of all of these tools, social media is the one that can be leveraged to the greatest extent.

Bisnow: The commercial real estate industry has a reputation for being slow to adopt technology, though that has been changing. What advice do you have for commercial real estate professionals who are new to social media marketing and looking to get started?

Azor: The key is to figure out who your audience is and then investigate which platform they’re on. For example, if I’m looking for an asset manager for a life insurance company or pension fund so that I can talk to them about how I can handle their investment sale listing or their management and leasing listing, I would go to LinkedIn because that’s where they are. On the other hand, if I’m leasing a turnkey second-generation restaurant space in Fort Lauderdale, I would post a tour of the space on Instagram because that’s where the restaurant tours can be found.

People who are just dipping their toe in can start by picking a platform, such as LinkedIn or Twitter, and just start commenting on other people’s posts. By commenting on other people’s posts, not only will you start to build an audience and community, but there’s a lot of new information about the industry you can learn.

Bisnow: What is the difference between canvassing and prospecting? What are the benefits of using both methods?

Azor: Canvassing is physically going into someone’s place of business and talking to either the managing director or owner and dropping off a flyer asking about their expansion plans or if they’re happy with their space, size, rent or location, and communicating that you have a prospective listing you’d like to talk to them about. The benefit of physically seeing the space is that you also see the operation. If I walk into a restaurant during the day, for instance, and I see that it is empty, then I may not be interested in that property. Gaining firsthand knowledge of a property by seeing it physically could either help you with creating a proposal to that prospect or decide you don’t want to pursue it.

Prospecting on social media involves reaching out to someone through social media channels. The benefit of prospecting via social media is that you can leverage your time. By physically canvassing, I can prospect, let’s say, 10 businesses in an hour in shopping centers. However, on social media, I can message 30 businesses within 30 minutes. Additionally, when using social media, 90% of the time, you get right through to the owner of the business because they’re likely managing their own social media pages. Prospecting digitally helps to save time since you can do it from the comfort of your own home. 

Bisnow: What drew you to Elevate? What do you hope attendees will gain from your workshop?

Azor: I’m excited about meeting bright and eager attendees who want to improve themselves, increase their knowledge and education, and get to the next level of their career. I hope people will come out of my event with some new ideas and ways to think about their business. I’ve walked the walk and have the results to prove it. I hope they will listen to my suggestions and try them out.

Bisnow: What are the two key pieces of advice you have for young professionals looking to grow their commercial real estate career?

Azor: One piece of advice I have, especially when you’re younger, is to work harder than anyone else. I worked harder than all of my peers and as a result, I got promoted faster and I got better listings. If you spend a few Saturdays a month in the office where the boss is, you are investing your time and you’re earning currency that you get to spend later. You would earn the ability to work less later when you have already built up the pipeline and delivered results.

My second piece of advice is to get a mentor that has successfully done what you want to do. A mentor is not just someone in the office who you’ve built a relationship with, but they are someone who is doing the work that is aligned with the goals you want to reach in the future because they can help with your path to achieve them.

This story was produced by Studio B, Bisnow’s in-house content and design studio. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.