CRE Tech: Top Digital Networking Tools

As commercial real estate (CRE) professionals, one of the ways we seek out the best opportunities for ourselves, and our clients, is by building up a professional network that supports prospecting and dealmaking.

Nowadays, the ways we can do that are more numerous than ever, and there are a plethora of CRE-focused networking platforms, communities, and tools available to CRE professionals. But with so many options on the table, it can be hard to keep track of all the ways to expand your CRE connections.

With that in mind, we had a look at some of the top tools CRE professionals can use to build out their network and maintain a competitive edge in 2023.

Dedicated Platforms

Among the more interesting options available are dedicated platforms with a focus on networking and connecting.

One example in this space is Crescendom, a CRE networking tool that styles itself as “An AI-enabled business development accelerator for commercial real estate professionals.” It’s an offering that blends artificial intelligence with virtual presence, allowing users to set up virtual “booths” to showcase their business and generate potential leads.

What’s interesting about this offering is that it takes a “smart networking” approach – connecting professionals on the basis of shared areas of interest and industry focus, job roles, and profile keywords. A process that allows CRE professionals to, as Crescendom puts it: “only connect with the people who add value to your business.”

Sites like ActiveRain offer up another option, with forum posts and a Q&A section where brokers can ask and answer questions – though it should be noted that the focus of many of these sites falls more on multifamily and residential real estate than on strictly commercial transactions.

Multiple Listing Services

A type of digital offering that’s likely far more familiar to those in the CRE world is multiple listing services, like the Commercial Investment Multiple Listing Service (CIMLS). These platforms act as repositories for property listings and help CRE professionals find, or advertise, specific assets.

What shouldn’t be overlooked, however, is their potential as a resource for connecting with peers, and the potential to form lasting business relationships in the process.

Worth noting is that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) provides a comprehensive list of MLS and other CRE tools that are well worth browsing for any CRE professional.

Social Media Presence

Beyond dedicated CRE platforms, some of the best networking opportunities available to CRE professionals still come from mainstream social media.

Tools like LinkedIn remain a staple for the CRE industry, and savvy brokers can leverage a combination of more traditional offerings, like Facebook, and newer platforms, like TikTok, to build their social media presence and connect with prospects and peers alike. 

What’s worth remembering in using these options is that even snippets of content can be used to demonstrate expertise and to position oneself as a thought leader.

Online events

Another option worth exploring is to attend, or even host, online CRE events. Events offer an excellent opportunity to hear from, and speak to, others in the industry.

Again, this is an arena where CRE professionals can really make a name for themselves as thought leaders. By sharing your expertise and interests with a much wider audience, you also position yourself to be the person they contact when a question, or a potential deal, crops up.

Networking Options

The main point to bear in mind with the options discussed above is that these are just tools in the toolbox. Digital platforms offer up another way to connect, and which ones work for you will depend strongly on your context and personal preferences.

What these tools can’t do, is replace the one-on-one, personal connections that come from attending in-person conferences or joining a professional association, like SIOR or CCIM.

Used well, however, and in conjunction with other networking options, digital tools can boost business. And at a time when the CRE waters seem increasingly choppy, that’s an advantage that shouldn’t be ignored.