In commercial real estate agency, your time is highly valuable. The best agents manage their time efficiently to the tasks that are most important. It is a known fact that a controlled salesperson achieves more in income and listings. They stick to a system and they get the right things done.
It is a fact that things will happen every day that you cannot plan for. Clients, prospects, and fellow staff members will direct issues at you that need to be responded to. To remain efficient through this pressure, it is wise to control at least 1/3 rd. of your day. In that 1/3 rd. of the day you can do the right things that you know will help you build market share and your commissions.
Here are some tips to develop a time management system in your commercial real estate processes.
You must control your time. That has to be the rule. Your diary is something that is ‘sacred territory’ and only you put things into your diary. In this way you can choose what you do and how you do it.
I go back to the point that part of the day is to be fully under your control. In this time frame you should do the things that really matter to your business and your goals for the year. Prospecting is usually the thing that applies and should be actioned in this window of time.
Map out your activities for the week ahead. Sure, changes will occur, but put the big and important issues into your diary and keep them there for action.
When you arise each morning, spend 5 minutes reviewing what has to be done and checking the priorities of things.
Build some break time into your schedule so you can think and plan. You will also need some administrative time later in the day to capture the events of the day.
Move the unimportant things out of your day to times that are less critical.
Learn to delegate the things that can be done by others.
Control the things that relate to business generation, clients, marketing, and negotiation. All of these things will impact your business and cannot be overlooked or passed to others.
Create habits when it comes to the most important things in the business day. Do them to a schedule at the same time. Habits help you move ahead and get traction on the things that matter.
Don’t let other people have access to your diary where they can add appointments to your day. Only you should set appointments as you are the one that understands your focus.
If you want to be a top agent in commercial real estate, protect your time and do the right things as part of your working day. Take control.
In commercial real estate agency today you really do need to set come clear goals and plans to keep you on track with the things that you want in listings, market share, and commissions. An agent without this focus will struggle with momentum.
So you need a ‘success plan’ to take you forward. What does a plan of this type look like and when do you create one? It is created once a year and it is monitored monthly.
As part of this process you can then see what is working, changing, and lacking. Adjusting your plan is important to keep you heading to the targets that you need.
Key Performance Indicators
Commercial real estate agency is a personal thing. It is something that is driven from the actions and skills of a salesperson. It doesn’t really matter who you work for, but it does matter what you do as an individual in your job. Every day the key and important things should be done.
Now I know that many agencies will impose on the salesperson a series of key performance indicators for the year. Each week and each month those KPI’s will be tracked by the agency leader or principal. Unfortunately the KPI’s set by the agency are for the convenience of the agency only, and most individual agents will not take ownership or commit to the numbers.
So how do you get around this problem? You work in reverse. You ask the agent or salesperson to set the Key Performance numbers that are real and relevant to where they think that can and should go in performance for the year ahead. I call it ‘Success Planning’.
The individual agent sets the numbers as part of the ‘plan’ and gives them to the team leader. Those numbers can then be merged into the bigger picture. Perhaps they will need shaping, but the numbers are ‘owned’ by the salesperson.
What numbers should you have in one of these plans? Here are some things to help you.
Size of database
Client list growth
Time on market
Sales in $ terms per quarter
Leasing in $ terms per quarter
Property management leads for the quarter
Calls outbound per week
Meetings per week
Presentations per week
When a salesperson commits to a list of key performance indicators like this, they can see what they have to do and how it occurs. The fact of taking action is much easier because the salesperson can see what has to be done. In this commercial real estate market, that is a good thing.
In commercial real estate advertising and marketing, you need to carefully consider the channels of media that you use for your agency and for your listings.
On that basis you should also be tracking the advertising responses that you achieve in all the different channels of media. Some will be more relevant than others for the listings that you take on and your region.
This then says that your promotional activity will have a specific focus of encouraging interaction with the buyers and the tenants that are in the market. You will also be encouraging interaction with the sellers and the landlords that are looking for property assistance. Tracking and measuring becomes a very specific process to help you see what is working from a promotional viewpoint. How and why are people contacting you? That is a really important question and key fact to monitor.
So your advertising and marketing efforts will encourage results and feedback from the right people looking for property assistance. They will come to you through various systems and processes that should and will all be tracked.
Here is a list of the things that should be utilized in most agencies and tracked for promotional feedback:
Out of every campaign for a quality property, you will get people looking for more information to be sent out. Each exclusive listing should be tracked for this. A follow-up telephone call should occur in each case after the information packet or email has been sent and received.
Understand the number of inspections that have occurred within property types and with particular listings. You will soon see the properties and the regions that are more popular than others.
Keep a tally of inbound telephone calls that apply to the agency and also to each listing. The same can be said for particular salespeople as some will be more successful than others when it comes to creating enquiry.
With some larger and more exclusive properties you will be sending out information memorandums to qualified prospects. These requests should be tracked and then followed through.
Each day you will receive requests via e-mail for property information. Keep a tally of email requests for all of your campaigns and exclusive listings.
Your newsletter should be sent on a regular basis to qualified prospects. Track the growth of your newsletter subscription list on a weekly and monthly basis. Keep in personal contact with the people on your list.
Put an offer on your website for a free report relating to the local property market. That free report will or should encourage subscribers to join your newsletter. Track the activity and the requests for this free report. Ensure that the report is of relevance and attraction to the local area and property market.
Track the number of website hits that you are getting each week. You will find that certain days of the week will be better for website marketing and property listing. Understand the differences between new visitors and repeat visitors to your website. Look at the bounce rate that applies to people coming in and moving around the pages of the site.
Track the numbers of people involved in your social media activity. You should have a social media platform for the agency and also for the individual salespeople in your team. It is questionable whether you will actually make a sale or lease as a direct result of social media usage. Social media is more effective as a community involvement tool. It helps people remember you for the future when they are ready to lease, buy or sell commercial and retail property.
You may add to this list based on your property type and your location. You can however see the importance of tracking numbers so that you can see and determine the things that are working for you. When something works well as promotional tool, it should be repeated or utilized on a regular basis.
In commercial real estate agency, it pays to role play and personally practice your listing presentations. Now it is known that many agents dislike ‘role play’ immensely, but it is still a fact that those that regularly practice are better agents and can convert the listings at a greater rate than their competitors.
When your income and your listings are at the centre of such an important process, wouldn’t you think that the matter is non-negotiable? With role-playing you can improve your client contact, sales pitch, and presentation skills.
Here are some facts that can be put into your sales pitch and listing presentation practice process.
Understand the client as to property priorities and pressures. They will have some key things that must be satisfied for a listing and subsequent sale or lease to occur.
Knowing the property prior to the presentation is essential. The property will have factors of location, improvements, presentation, income, and expenditure to be considered. Take plenty of photographs around the property to use as a simple photographic presentation on your laptop computer or tablet. Photographs can help a lot when it comes to connecting correctly with clients as you talk to them about the property.
Market facts and information should be checked and up to date. The client will have some perception of the prevailing market conditions. Invariably most clients really don’t have any understanding of the real facts that have the impact on their property.
Competing properties will be of concern, considering that there are so many properties unsold or vacant currently. Provide the client with clear information relative to the other properties located nearby and that remain on the market.
Show the client what is happening when it comes to inquiry, marketing, and inspections. Give the client some strategies that avoid the problems identified with the other listings.
A successful property presentation is really all about providing the right information in a confident way; showing the client how to move through the property challenges that they currently have. You can use a Gantt graphing process to show them the clear stages of property marketing, inspections, and negotiation.
It should be said that some properties are quite unique when it comes to the listing presentation. That is certainly the case when it comes to larger office and retail properties.
The complexity of the property will require an in depth evaluation prior to any sales pitch. Top agents tender specialise when it comes to property type and location. This helps the conversions when it comes to the listing presentation.
Start practising your sales pitch and listing presentation. Role play the process as part of your weekly team meetings. Every salesperson in the team can learn from the experiences of others.
Tenant retention is a critical part of retail property leasing today. Every good retail property should have a tenant retention plan in place to preserve and protect the income from the rental in the property.
Every commercial and retail property leasing specialist should have a specific approach when it comes to tenant retention and lease negotiation. It is a specialist process and it does command a good fee. Focus on the quality properties and clients when it comes to providing the service.
Here are some ideas to help you build a tenant retention strategy into your commercial and retail property agent’s services.
Review the current property market so you can understand the market rentals that apply to current lease negotiations with new tenants. That market rental will have some relevance on the lease negotiations with sitting tenants.
Identify the types of incentives that are available to influence new tenants to relocate. Those incentives are likely to be of interest to some of your tenants as they consider staying in your property or relocating to another. The landlord of your property will need to be prepared to provide incentives to sitting tenants.
Split the tenants in your property into the categories of good tenants and redundant tenants. At the time of lease expiry, it is the good tenants that should be encouraged to remain within the property on new favorable lease terms and conditions. The redundant tenants or those that are of little benefit to the property overall should be vacated given the circumstances of lease termination that apply. There is no point in keeping bad tenants in a property as it will have impact on the other tenants in the mix and the income profile.
Consider the requirements of renovation and refurbishment that need to occur in the common area and within certain tenancies. These factors will need to be merged into your lease negotiation, tenancy placement, and relocation plan. In many respects, a tenant should be responsible for their internal renovation requirements as part of ongoing occupancy. They may however try to push the issue to the landlord as part of a new lease negotiation.
Develop lease standards that should apply to most lease transactions. Those terms can be recommended to the landlord and approved for future use as part of renegotiating any lease or bringing a new tenant into the property. The lease terms should include market rental, the type of rental, incentives, rent reviews, and option terms. Making clear decisions with regards to these matters will help you when it comes to finding new tenants and understanding how they can integrate into the tenant mix and lease profile.
Look at the balance in the property between anchor tenants and specialty tenants. Carefully assess the tenancy mix profile with regard to each, and the stability of the anchor tenant as it applies to the local customer demographic. Stay close to your anchor tenant or tenants to ensure that they integrate well into the function of the property. Get your specialty tenants involved in the seasonal sales activity of the anchor tenant.
As a general rule, all rent reviews and option negotiations should occur early. This then says that you should monitor the critical dates in all current tenancy lease documentation for that very purpose. Stay well ahead of the critical dates that are coming up. Be prepared for the negotiations and brief the landlord accordingly.
So these are some other things to get you started with a tenant retention plan. You can graph the tenant movement and tenant profile in your property. When you make the right lease decisions in a timely way, the income for the property is protected, and the vacancy profile is minimized. That then produces a great tenancy mix.
When it comes to moving a tenant into a commercial or retail property, you can develop a checklist to keep you on task and cover the critical issues relative to the property and the parties involved.
In leasing and managing a property, there are many things that happen every day to distract you. The checklist process will cover issues well and help prevent errors. Moving a single tenant into a property is not all that hard, although the issues become much more complex with multiple tenant movements, just like that which you get when you are looking after a large project or shopping centre.
So here are some tips that can help you structure your tenant movement processes and controls.
As a general rule nothing happens until the lease is signed by all parties, rent is paid, deposit is paid, guarantees are in and validated, and any other lease requirement completed. Hold on to the keys until these things have been done.
Meet the tenant on site to inspect the premises together. As part of that process take plenty of photographs around and in the premises to record the state of the tenancy at time of handover.
Give the tenant a set of ‘fit out guidelines’ that control the building activity that is likely to happen in the premises. Those guidelines should also contain the plan approval requirements and the specification of materials and finishes to be used in the premises.
Give the tenant a set of ‘building rules’ that tell them exactly how things happen in the property. This strategy is wise when you have a building with a number of tenants. They all should occupy to the same set of rules. That will include access, common areas, security, property use, and risk management.
Note the condition of the premises in a ‘condition report’ that the tenant should sign at the end of the inspection. Give them a copy and you keep a copy on file. The report will be important at the end of lease term when the make good is under consideration.
Tenant fit out works should not commence until all the required plans and approvals have been obtained. This then says that you should get the plans and drawings from the tenant to submit to the landlord. If the landlord approves those plans, they can then be submitted by the tenant to the local building approvals authority. Fit out work should not commence until the approvals are in place.
Put the tenant details into the directory signboard system for the property.
Whilst the tenant is completing their fit out they should not disrupt other tenants nearby.
When the fit out has been completed, inspect the premises to ensure that the works undertaken comply with the approved plans and drawings.
Get a full set of tenant plans after the works have been completed.
You can add to this list based on the property, the landlord, and the tenant. Create your checklists to help you with all of this tenant movement.
In commercial real estate today, the top agents in the market have quite specific strategies when it comes to presenting and pitching their services. In many respects they will have had some years to prepare their strategy and develop their approach across many property situations. The proposal that most top agents present is usually of a comprehensive nature that addresses all the needs of the client and the property directly and effectively.
Preparation is the key to a top sales pitch and proposal strategy. Bringing all the facts together into a brief period of time and connection with the client is what it is really all about. I go back to the fact that preparation is the key. You need to know the market, the competition, the property, and the client. Your solutions provided in the proposal should be uniquely considered so they are better than anything that your competitors could provide.
Here are some ideas to help you build a successful property proposal to present to your client:
As part of an initial preparation to do the proposal, meet with the client on site so that you can walk through the building together and discuss the factors that relate to both the property and the surrounding market today. At the same time you can question the client about the history of the property, the reasons for their actions today, and the expectations of the sale or the lease as the case may be.
The client will have certain knowledge and experience as it relates to the property type locally. They may have little or no knowledge of the local area when it comes to competing properties. Understand all of these facts before you proceed further.
If the property is of a complex nature, involve other specialists from your agency to help package the proposal and the recommendations correctly. It may be that a complete investigation is required of the leases, tenancy mix, income base, and outgoings. All of these things can have significant impact on the marketing and inspection process that you will need to undertake.
Check out the surrounding area with regard to successful transactions. Look for the direct comparisons to the listing in question. Structure your marketing, pricing, and inspections strategy based on the experiences and results from other properties in the local area.
Every property listing will have particular strengths and weaknesses. The strengths will always help you determine the target market and should also feature in the marketing campaign. The weaknesses may be a hindrance to the overall marketing effort and particularly inspections as they occur. Some weaknesses may need to be addressed prior to the commencement of the marketing campaign. Structure your recommendations to the client accordingly. Some clients think that the property promotional process is quite the case of ‘test and measure’. Given that the property market is today quite slow to react and selective, all of your efforts need to encourage results. On that basis the marketing process is not an experiment. The client needs to understand that fact. You have only one chance to create the best results and it is the first four weeks of the campaign that is the most important.
Your proposal strategies in commercial real estate will evolve into a process that you are comfortable with and know that can be reasonably successful. Learn from the other agents in your location and refine your processes for the best results.