city buildings at sunset

Things I Have Learned About Database Systems in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

When you work in commercial real estate, you really do need a good quality database that you can rely on to find the right people and properties as part of a matching process.  Whilst it seems so logical, most agents struggle with the discipline of a database.  They have issue with things like:

  • Finding the time to make the calls
  • Capturing all of the information from meetings and calls
  • Keeping up the call momentum
  • Integrating the client list with emails and brochure dispatch systems, etc.

So the list can go on.   The database is the prime way to find real estate opportunities and do something with them.   Today there are plenty of options with software brands, data collation methods, and pipeline tracking, for some positive results to be achieved by any broker or agent in commercial real estate.  Everything comes down to personal application and effort.

You don’t have to pay a lot of money to have such a program helping you grow your real estate business.  One key decision in all of this is whether you should go ‘cloud based’ in your data storage.  Common consensus says you should, given that most people like to access their client and prospect information from a variety of devices when they are away from the office.

In this audio, John Highman talks about the client list processes and how you can work the data that you gather from your clients today.

hong kong harbour at sunset

How to Know Exactly Where You Stand in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

As you work through your career as a broker or an agent, take the time to understand where you are positioned professionally and competitively in your town or region taking into account the levels of broker and agent competition.  (NB – you can get our free commercial real estate broker course right here)


When you fully appreciate your market position, you can take steps to improve your conversions, commissions, and results.  You can do different and special things with marketing, negotiating, prospecting, and client services.


In the property market today, it is best if you take the time and make the effort to stand out as an industry professional.


Top agents of the market understand exactly where they are professionally in today’s market terms; by professionally I mean listings, market share, commissions, and client service. They also understand exactly what they are going to do to improve their market position over time.


Here are some ideas to help you establish some performance indicators and professional targets for commercial real estate clients, as a broker or an agent. You can very likely add to the list based on your property specialty and location:


  1. Signboards – do a signboard count on a monthly basis so that you can understand and relate to the numbers of signs that you have in the market by comparison to the other agents and competitors around you. Local area presence and signboard activity will always help you attract more inquiries and activities from your exclusive listings. Your signboards are a marketing process to refine and optimize.
  2. Listings by type – compare the numbers of listings that you have in your territory by way of open versus exclusivity. Your exclusive listings are the only ones that really matter when it comes to market share. At least 75% of your property presentations should convert to exclusivity. Open listings are generally a waste of time although the strategy can be a last resort if necessary with a difficult client or a unique property.
  3. Database – review your database on a monthly basis so that you can understand the levels of improvement and the growth of activity with meetings, calls, conversions, and inquiries. You cannot easily delegate the data base process to others within your business. Ultimately the database supports your commercial real estate activities into the future and that client list will be a critical component of your growth of market share. If you are struggling with commissions, listings, or clients, then it is very likely that your database is lacking in some respect. Take the time to understand that client list now and your prospecting activities to grow the database.
  4. Internet – on a weekly basis, review the new listings coming onto the market across all the Internet portals. Compare your online listing numbers to those of your competitors. Understand the positioning and the ranking of your listings within your targeted suburbs and locations. To boost your business, you will really need to take the time to bolster your online profile and the exclusive listings that you have placed on the portals. There are various strategies that you can use online such as search engine optimization, social media, and article marketing. They are all very effective when it comes to establishing and growing a personal marketing profile for any broker or agent.
  5. Commissions – look at your commissions and conversions as they exist today in both sales and leasing activity. Break the commissions down to a transaction level so that you can see the size and the types of property that you are working on per transaction. This simple strategy will allow you to assess preferred listing types and listing sizes. Focus on the listings that the market requires and where the enquiry may be centred at the moment.


A successful career in commercial real estate brokerage will usually be centred on predictable trends and activities.

When a broker or an agent understands where things are changing in the property market, they can direct all of their efforts into the appropriate business activities and predictable listing challenges. That is how the industry works.



City buildings at sunriise

How to Understand the Importance of Winning in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

In commercial real estate brokerage there are many different ways to attract listings and clients. Importantly, or leave your strategies should be honed and developed over time so that you are winning more business in a positive and relevant way. (NB – you can get our commercial real estate brokerage course for free right here)

There are always plenty of competitors chasing the same clients in the same properties in a location, and particularly within your territory. For that very reason, you do need to have some definite and deliberate winning based strategies to help you grow your market share over time.

Market Indicators

Understand the variables of your real estate business, and particularly so for the location. Look at what can and will happen over the foreseeable future with the following categories of new business and property activity:

– client property requirements
– economic indicators
– property performance
– tenant enquiry
– buyer enquiry

The supply and the demand for property within your location will always change, and you need to adjust to that over time. Look at the indicators and adjust your prospecting and marketing efforts accordingly.

In this audio program, John Highman talks about the important skills of attitude and activity as part of winning new business in commercial property today. Learn the special skills to develop a winning attitude as a broker or an agent.

high rise buildings

Why Attention to Detail is So Important in Commercial Property Management Today

In commercial property management today, there are many pressures and activities to consider on a daily basis across the tenancy mix, existing landlord requirements and targets, the property, and the investment requirements of the various stakeholders.  (NB – you can get our commercial property management tips right here)


Given those critical facts, property managers are typically very busy on a daily basis, and as a consequence they can easily be distracted into the events of the moment.  An ‘out of control’ property manager is a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ both for the client and the brokerage.  That is why attention to detail is so important in the role and for  each individual property manager.


Control all the Facts


Attention to detail in all of the property management disciplines is hard to maintain but will help control the issues and the events.


So what can you do here? When it comes to ‘attention to detail’, some things are more important than others for property managers and landlords. 


What Should You Monitor?


So what are the property performance issues that should be optimized and controlled in this detailed way? Try some of these for starters:


  1. Lease documentation – the leases that you have now in the property will support and direct the rental cash flow in different ways. Those leases have to be tracked so that all the elements of occupancy are correct and actioned.  Most of those leases will be different in some respects, so do a full and comprehensive lease review by reading the documents ‘end to end’. Take notes of critical issues as you do that.
  2. Tenant negotiations – understand the existing and upcoming tenant lease negotiations. Gather your required information well in advance so that you can start the negotiations in a timely and relevant way.
  3. Tenant placement – don’t just put a tenant into a vacant shop. Make sure that it is the right retail tenant that offers the right merchandise for the location.  Match the tenant into the tenant mix.
  4. Rental cash flow – understand the rental types that match the landlords lease strategies and the current market conditions. Be ready to negotiate those rents as market conditions allow.
  5. Arrears management – watch your arrears in a regular way. Don’t let them get out of control.  Develop arrears strategies for any tenants that are worth keeping in the property for the longer term.
  6. Maintenance management – establish a property maintenance plan and budget for the property so that most of the associated costs are kept within the cash flow capabilities of the property.
  7. Budget performance – this involves both income and expenditure. Set the budget with due regard to incomes, leases, tenants, and local area supply and demand.
  8. Vacancy factors – you will have vacancies to contend with, so allow for that fact in your property budget. Local area supply and demand will impact your leasing and vacancy alternatives.  Watch the trends in the local area.
  9. Property investment targets – the client will have targets and those targets should be at the center of your lease negotiations, tenant choices, market rental considerations, and expenditure planning.
  10. Critical dates – watch the dates in your leases, and the relationships that those leases have to each other in a ‘timing perspective’. You don’t want too much volatility in lease dates and expiry dates in the one property.
city buildings at sunrise

The Many Direct Benefits of Cold Calling in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

When you really understand the commercial real estate market and the brokerage activities in your location, you will fully appreciate that you should be talking to lots of local people in a regular and ongoing way.   The database that you create from the people that you know and talk to regularly will be your pipeline of new business in so many different ways.  (NB – You can get our free commercial real estate course right here)

Whilst some listings will come to you because of the brokerage that you work for, most of the high quality listings will be a direct result of your personal effort and ongoing contact with property owners, investors, and business leaders. 

In those 3 categories of people you will find commissions, listings, and a good degree of property pain.  So how do you get this important business activity underway?  You make lots of cold calls in a regular and ongoing way.

Cold Calling Benefits

The principle and main benefits of cold calling can be best described in this way:

  1. Building you personal profile
  2. Finding new people that need property help locally
  3. Tracking property changes locally
  4. Finding new listings
  5. Keeping up to date with market trends

All of these things fit quite specifically into the business of commercial real estate brokerage.  If you are looking to improve your career in commercial real estate, then look to the strategies and skills in cold calling.  Learn how to make more professional business calls every day in a relevant and logical way across property and business segments in your town or city.

In this audio program, John Highman talks about the real benefits of cold calling and why you could consider it as an important part of your real estate model.

Learn the real and relevant skills behind making more prospecting calls in a positive way each and every working day.



sales 3

How to Set Clear and Correct Priorities in Commercial Property Sales

When you work in commercial property sales you will soon know the pressures of the day, the listings that you work with, your clients, and the prevailing property market.  There are lots of things that can distract or divert you into many different activities.  That diversion can lead to a loss of listing opportunity and ultimately commissions.

(NB – You can get our free commercial real estate tips and ideas right here)

In investment sales your main focus should always be on:

  • Prospecting for new business
  • Database management
  • Clients currently served
  • Listings on your books now
  • Marketing activities
  • Taking inquiries
  • Inspections of listings
  • Negotiations of property offers
  • Documentation of listings, sales, and contracts
  • Commissions
  • Followup of transactions

You could add other items to this list given your location and client base.  The fact of the matter is that you will always be busy in commercial real estate brokerage.  There are plenty of things to do.  Systems and factors of focus will help you get through the working day and the week.  Always track your progress in what you are doing, so you can see where improvements are required.

In this audio program, John Highman talks about setting the right priorities in your real estate business and how that will help you with sales and listing results.

high rise buildings

How to Undertake Routine Inspections in Commercial Property Management

The idea of inspecting every property in your commercial real estate portfolio can be a bid daunting given that there are plenty of things to look at and investigate as part of the inspection.  The greater the number of properties that you have to manage, the bigger the process of review and documentation.  (NB – you can get our free commercial real estate course for brokers right here)

When you have lots of tenants in occupancy, the whole equation of inspection becomes more complex given that many tenants are in occupation and they all run different businesses.  So the inspection process has to be comprehensive and records need to be kept.  The property manager or the center manager has to implement the property inspection process regularly and in a detailed way.

In this audio program, John Highman talks about the routine inspection process that is all important in the commercial and retail properties under management.