In commercial real estate brokerage, your reputation will make or break your career. That is because the cycle of property activity is so long and listing success will be largely formed on the back of ‘trust’.
It doesn’t take long for a poor reputation to spread in the industry. Some agents and brokers that under-perform with their client’s property requirements are soon to suffer the implications of those actions.
So it is a fact that the clients that we serve like to know that they are working with an agent or broker of integrity and skill; someone that has the right knowledge to make the property pain for the client disappear as quickly as possible at the best level of outcome. So what would that be? Try some of these:
Quick sale or lease
Nil incentives in leasing
Best buyer profile
For this reason, every exclusive property listing should be worked to a plan and a process that gets the message to the right target segment of buyers or tenants as the case may be.
Notice that I did say ‘exclusive listing’? Any open listings are a process of luck and should only be serviced when you see opportunity. It is the controlled stock in this market that really matters and ‘exclusive listings’ will give you that.
So let’s go back to the point that ‘reputations matter’. What can you do to strengthen your reputation? Try these:
Write a blog about property activity locally on a regular basis. Talk about your property speciality in many different ways and make that blog of interest and of use to the readers on-line. It is remarkable how often useful information is seen online by property investors and sellers or tenants as the case may be.
From your blog you can link the posts into your social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Don’t spread yourself too thin on the ground by using too many platforms. You only need 2 or 3 to make the process work.
Write articles for your on-line newsletter and add those articles to the listing detail that you send out. The articles will help show the market that you are skilled and knowledgeable in many different ways.
Make these things a regular process that you can stick to. Over time your relevance and reputation as a good agent or broker will build.
In commercial real estate brokerage today there are many opportunities to tap into. In any period of 12 months, there will be changes to the sales and leasing aspects of the market that can open up into new listings and new clients.
Brokerage prospecting models should always focus on quality listings and quality clients. The word ‘quality’ is quite important here in that you will always get better inbound enquiry rates from quality listings.
It directly follows that a sales or leasing transaction successfully completed will give you the opportunity for repeat and referral business. It is also the case that those clients that have had business with you previously will give you leads and opportunities to tap into if you ask the right questions at the right time.
Consider the following rules that can apply to a referral lead generation system:
If you consider the last period of two years as a point of reference, identify the clients and prospects that you have successfully served during that time. Open up the contact process with these people again and seek a personal opportunity for a meeting and market related conversation.
You cannot ask for referral business over the telephone. Arrange a meeting in suitable circumstances where you can provide the client with a market update. As part of that process, ask questions about their current property interest and involvement, together with the appropriate referral questions.
Within your brokerage, you are likely to have a number of clients that are serviced in an ongoing way. That may be through project leasing or property management services. Keep in regular contact with these people as they may seek to adjust their investment portfolio. They will also know other property investors that may be leads or referral opportunities for you.
As part of your existing prospecting program, you should know plenty of local business owners and proprietors. Some of those people will own local investment property, or may seek to do so. Understand the intentions of these successful business owners as they consolidate their financial nest egg.
Track and measure all of the recent sales and leasing activity through your region. That information will be quite valuable when it comes to establishing new meetings with clients and prospects. It is not hard to get a meeting when someone respects your skills and relevance as an industry specialist.
As part of your weekly brokerage sales meeting, insert into the agenda the topic of referrals and leads. That will focus the agents and brokers on to the issue as part of a regular reporting process.
In commercial real estate agency and brokerage, the process of ongoing contact and prospecting will help you with market share in a significant way. You simply need to ‘turn the key’ on client contact and grow it at each and every opportunity.
To make this process work for you, ensure that you have the following tools in place and ready to use:
A defined geographical area defined on a map where you can focus your prospecting activities on a regular basis.
A database that is simple to use and easy to access. It is preferable that the database will be accessible from both the office, and when you are out in the sales or territory region.
A landline telephone system that you can use each day in privacy and without the distractions of a noisy and busy office.
A computer that you can have at your fingertips as part of making direct cold calls and prospecting research.
Travel through the main streets in your territory and visit the other listings that are currently on the market so that you can understand marketing strategies, prices, and rentals.
Create a system of calls to occur at the same time every day. Normally you can achieve 50 outbound calls in a period of 2 hours.
Build a simple prospecting dialogue that you can use in the early stages of cold calling and client connection. Over time this will become redundant as your dialogue will improve naturally.
So the process of ‘turning the key’ on client contact is to take the necessary prospecting action each and every day. In doing so, remember that the cycle of commercial real estate is relatively long. Most of the people that you talk to today will not have an immediate interest or need. They will however have some property challenges down the track and for this reason your database needs to allow ongoing regular contact each period of 90 days.
In connecting with new people as part of the prospecting model, remember the relationships between sales, leasing, and property management. Ask questions across each discipline to see if any pressures apply or any future needs could occur.
Here are some interesting numbers to help you understand how all of this works:
In a period of 2 hours, you can make approximately 40 to 50 calls. Those calls will need to be researched the night before. The Internet and the business telephone book will help you significantly at the early stages of your career with this process.
Eventually you will find some good clients and prospects to maintain contact with. You will need some selective criteria to understand exactly who you will be putting into your database and for what reason.
In making approximately 40 to 50 outbound calls, you will connect with about 15 people. The others that you cannot connect with today can be pushed to the next day or later in the week for another ongoing contact. You will need a system to maintain the flow of interaction and return call process. Organisation is the key to help you here.
When you connect with approximately 15 people per day, your target should be to create two new meetings. Those meetings should be established on the basis that the person will have a current or future need when it comes to commercial property.
From each meeting and from each positive outbound call, maintain a process of repeat contact at least once every 90 days. When you know the person is ready to act in some respect, you can shorten the cycle to bi monthly or monthly.
Many agents and brokers struggle with the rejection process that inevitably comes with prospecting and cold calling. That does not need to be the case given that you are a commercial real estate professional and that your services are highly valuable to the right people. The prospecting process should therefore be undertaken on the basis of identifying the people you can help now or in the future.