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.
Every commercial real estate broker should be putting out a newsletter by email once a week or once per fortnight. This strategy will help you stay in touch with your clients and prospects whilst also telling them of the changes in the market and the listings that are available.
To make this work you need an autoresponder, and some good marketing material to feed into the newsletter on a regular basis. Make it interesting in every way possible.
Here is an MP3 audio file for agents and brokers considering starting this process.
In commercial real estate brokerage, the hiring of new salespeople will be a critical issue to support the flow of new listings and commissions into the business. In any 12 month period, you will lose some of your sales and your administrative staff for uncontrollable reasons. This then says that you must have a pipeline of recruitment underway.
Hiring experienced salespeople will have distinct advantages for you in the brokerage. To allow the targeted process to occur, make sure that you understand and have identified the key players in the market. Your competitors will have brokers and agents in employ that can be targeted.
Here are some of the advantages to employing experienced agents or salespeople with an industry profile and track record:
The agents and brokers that are active in the market today will have an established personal profile that can easily transfer to another brokerage. A top agent will usually have a database of contacts and prospects that will move with them.
They will have established significant trust with a number of key clients in the local area. Referral and repeat business should be achieved from that connection.
They will have significant market knowledge, profile, and confidence when it counts. They will have the correct strategies and solutions to use as part of the presentation and pitch for new business. Most top agents should convert at least 65 per cent of the listings that they pitch for.
A good agent will bring with them the advantages of greater success from working with challenging listings and difficult clients. They will know how to handle those clients and those listings that need to be repackaged, restructured, differently marketed, or personally branded.
The experienced salesperson that specializes in a property type will be very useful. That is even more so the case when your brokerage doesn’t specialize in that property type currently. The extra skills that are brought to the business will allow you to diversify and grow market share.
If you pick up a new broker for your commercial brokerage business, it is a wise move to allow them to work the territory and the property type that they have built their market share around. This may cause some difficulty with other employees that you have now in the same territory or patch.
So the logic here says that you can and should target experienced brokers and agents. Choose the right people based on professional character, results, and market share. Integrate them into your existing team so that the skill base and the database will be improved.
In today’s commercial property market, the Internet provides some real marketing solutions for commercial brokers and agents as they promote listed properties and build their personal profile.
It is interesting to note that many agents at a personal level fail to fully utilise all the available tools on the Internet; they will commonly promote their listed properties efficiently and effectively, but they regularly overlook the requirements of personal marketing and promotion.
To build your personal profile online, it is necessary to do specific things consistently and regularly. Placing a blog or an online article once a week to a website will not be enough activity to give you a meaningful ‘online presence’. Doing something on a daily basis or at a minimum every 3 days will significantly improve your online presence.
The search engines look for consistency and relevance. So the consistency aspect can be handled by regular activity undertaken in a meaningful way. Relevance on the other hand has a lot to do with writing about your location and property speciality. The articles and the blogs that you create should be quite specific and rich with content.
Here are some ideas to help you with establishing your online presence as a specialized commercial real estate broker.
Visit the major search engines to do a ‘keyword search’ based on your location and property type. Many of the search engines offer a ‘keyword search tool’ to help you get that information. From that searching process, you can identify the words that are commonly used and searched on the Internet when it comes to your location. Make a shortlist of 25 words that can be merged into your profile and online activity.
Your consistency in the marketing process will then be to use those words regularly in an ongoing way. In an article of 300 or 400 words, your keywords could be featured three or four times in a meaningful way. In that way you will be optimising your article or your property to the search engine profiles. As a special note, do not overly saturate the article or the advertisement with the identified and targeted keywords. When that occurs, the search engines will penalise your article because of your intended keyword manipulation and will fail to rank you.
Establish a blog online where you can write about the property marketplace and your property speciality. Do not promote your property listings in the blog. Property listings should be featured on a website somewhere and handled separately. So the idea behind a blog is for you to talk about property market trends, activities, and issues in your town or city, and your property speciality.
In an article of 400 to 500 words, you can say many things that are useful to the prospects and clients that you serve. As a general rule, you should be writing a blog at least two or three times per week. Again, I go back to the point that consistency and regularity in the process will be really important. Let the search engines see that you are an expert in your field, and that you are prepared to share your information on a regular basis. They will then rank your articles more favourably in their search results.
Also write some articles relevant to your property marketplace and speciality. Those articles can be placed on ‘article submission sites’. To understand how those sites work and which ones will rank better for you, do a search on the search engines for ‘article submission sites’. Choose one of the sites and services that are ‘highly ranked’. Understand the rules that apply to the process of writing and submitting articles with that site, and set up an account to get the process underway. The articles that you create should be informational and relevant to your property location and property type. The articles can link back to your website or your blog. Do not promote your listings in the articles as you will not be allowed to do so. The article writing process is one of authority and speciality.
From your regular online activity, link your articles and blogs through to Twitter and LinkedIn. The same linking activity can be used for Facebook. As you build your list of prospects and contacts in each of those social media channels, your blogs and your articles will be of interest to the property based community that you are connecting with. In that way you will be seen as a specialist of relevance to the people that you serve.
So there are a number of things for you to do here in building your online presence as a top commercial real estate agent or broker. Promote yourself at every opportunity in specific ways. Use the social media channels effectively and efficiently. Regularity is the key to making the process personally successful.
To improve your sales pitch in commercial real estate brokerage today, you should have a significant presentation strategy factor to help you connect with your clients and prospects. In simple terms, you need to believe in yourself, your information, and your capabilities. Confidence is the key to a top presentation outcome.
The confidence that you can show your clients and prospects as part of every presentation will help you with your conversion factors and listing opportunities. The clients and the prospects that we serve like to work with the best property agents with the right skills; in this way they know that they can achieve the results that they require efficiently and effectively. It stands to reason that your presentation needs to reflect those personal factors clearly and directly.
The top agents of the industry have plenty of confidence, commitment, and knowledge. In this way they can attract the clients into the highly successful listing pipeline and marketing process that they have developed over the years.
Here are some tips below to help you improve your sales pitch and presentation for the property market today. You can add to the list based on your town or city, and property speciality.
Gather relevant information from the market that can be used in any sale or lease discussion. That information will include time on market, pricing strategy, best methods of sale, and best methods of lease, marketing alternatives, and negotiation strategies.
To help you convert or attract the clients to your ideas, have stories from the marketplace that can be shared during the presentation. The stories should be of a successful nature and can be supported by necessary photographs, statistical information, and local property market trends. Don’t breach confidentiality as part of your ‘stories’ or sharing of information.
Inspect the subject property comprehensively before you create your proposal and recommendations. Take plenty of photographs in and around the property to use on a laptop as part of your client connection process. Those photographs should be in a ‘rolling photo presentation’ as you talk to the client about the listing alternatives and marketing recommendations. The client’s property will be of great interest, far more than some other ‘PowerPoint’ marketing package that you have created.
Review the competing properties through the region so that you can understand the strengths and weaknesses that they present to your listing. You will also see some trends from those other competing properties that can be acted upon or avoided.
It is very difficult for a client to ignore an agent or broker that has a significant database of ‘up to date’ prospects. Use your database as leverage in the property presentation, by talking about it. Shortlist a group of people from the database to show the property to when the listing has been accepted by the client. Tell the client about the ‘short list’ and show them some detail of it without breaching confidentiality.
Determine the target market that should be the centre of your marketing campaign. Establish your marketing campaign with due regard for generating inspections. Get away from any generic approach to marketing and promotion. Given that you are asking for exclusive listing authority, put yourself into the marketing recommendations so that the client knows you will be personally involved in promoting the property.
It should be said that ‘practice makes perfect’ when it comes to attracting new business and listings in our industry. Certainly the rule applies to your property presentation and listing proposal. Be prepared to show the client how you can improve their situation quickly and effectively. Show them the confidence that they want to see.
In commercial real estate and brokerage, the exclusive listings that you convert and create will help you build market share. Open listings are generally a waste of time and any results that you get from the open listing process will be a process of luck more than anything else.
In some markets and with some agents, it is common to hear that the open listing process is the only way to build listing stock. The problem is quite common when it comes to industrial property and with the newer brokerages or agents. Those agents are quite generic in quality of service and marketing activity. They have no point of difference to help their listing process and marketing plan.
Your conversions to exclusive listings will elevate when you are working as a property specialist, and are regarded as the local expert to solve the client’s property problem. It is very difficult for a client or a prospect to walk away from or ignore the services of a top agent.
Generic agents take on open listings just to get the stock; specialized agents take on exclusive listings only. If you want to improve your market share, you will need to practice your processes when it comes to pitching for an exclusive listing. You will need more exclusive listings.
To improve your conversions for exclusive listings, here are some ideas:
To convert more of these listings, you do need to feed your contact pipeline with a systematic prospecting process. Every day connect with new people that you have not spoken to before. Over time, repeating the connection process with the same people will allow you to convert more meetings and make more presentations. On average, it takes about three or four telephone calls to get a meeting with some property owners and property investors. Establish your call contact system, and implement it every day so that your pipeline of opportunity is growing.
There are two reasons why you will get an exclusive listing. The first will be that you are regarded as an expert in the local area, and the second will be that you are regarded as a marketing specialist. It directly follows that you will need to build your brand and prospect model accordingly. Every pitch and proposal that you make should be structured with those two issues in mind.
A good quality property will always create more enquiries from your marketing efforts. Top agents will usually focus on the best properties and the best clients. Those top agents walk away from poor quality listings, open listings, and unrealistic clients. Protect your time and your agency procedures as part of that process. Don’t take on a listing that you regard as unnecessarily difficult and unrealistically priced.
As mentioned earlier, the exclusive listing process will help take you to the top of your market with a commanding market share. Practice your pitch and your proposals accordingly. Role-play your presentations in each sales meeting so that both you and the team can provide special services and solutions for the clients that you serve.