by Dan Rafter
How committed is Jeffrey Bender to marketing and to Cassidy Turley? Just look at his motorcycle.
Bender, principal and senior vice president of industrial sales and leasing for the Cincinnati office of Cassidy Turley, rides a motorcycle branded with the Cassidy Turley logo on its gas tank. The bike also boasts the picture of a distribution center and a manufacturing building complete with smokestacks.
And whenever Bender rides his bike to industry events, it’s certain to draw interest.
“I displayed it an open house. And my company shipped it to our national conference a couple of years ago,” Bender said. “That was a neat thing. People saw it on the stage when they registered at the conference. It was a big item for discussion.”
“There’s no reason not to take advantage of every branding opportunity you have,” Bender said. “If someone sees it they might ask about Cassidy Turley. They might ask about what I do for a living.”
Marketing his services has never been a challenge for Bender. He’s succeeded in the commercial real estate industry now for 25 years. And since 1988, he’s completed more than 1,300 transactions totaling more than 119 million square feet. These transactions are valued at more than $4.4 billion.
Bender has closed some major industrial transactions during his quarter-century career. This includes his representation of Eastman Kodak in the disposition of its 5-million-square-foot campus in Rochester, N.Y.
Bender also represented the Nine West Group in the sale of its 900,000-square-foot corporate headquarters campus, a sale that fetched $16.8 million.
To help build his career, Bender relies on marketing both old-fashioned and new. He uses Twitter and Facebook to marketing himself. But he still relies on face-to-face marketing to build his business.
“Even in today’s world, you still need the face-to-face portion to close a transaction,” Bender said. “You can’t express your feelings with short Facebook posts. You can’t always convey the emotion that comes up during a complicated transaction. Sometimes, you can even convey the wrong emotion if you rely on social media and e-mail. You have to get out there and talk with people. There can be an overreliance on technology when transactions continue to be people-based.”
Bender doesn’t shy away from social media. But commercial real estate is a complicated business, one that doesn’t always lend itself to short Twitter and Facebook posts, he said.
The challenge? There are often too many moving parts in a commercial transaction.
“I try to explain it to people not in our industry that it’s different than when you’re dealing business to consumer. The world of commerce in the b2b world is a lot more complex,” Bender said. “It is very difficult to garner the information necessary to do a commercial real estate transaction in an online setting. And in the b2b world, the list of customers is more narrowly focused. They don’t tend to shop in a social-media type of setting.”