Like it or not, the database process in commercial real estate brokerage has to exist at a personal broker level, and it has to be up to date. Old and redundant information in any database will bring with it problems and time wasting conversations.
Every broker should be very focused on their data growth, content entry and accuracy. The process can’t and shouldn’t be delegated.
So It’s Logical!
So this sounds very logical and yet why is it such a problem? Some brokers struggle with the processes of list management. These are the most common issues in commercial real estate database creation and growth today:
Choice of the wrong record keeping process – Many agents and brokers still keep information on basic spreadsheets. They do so in an effort to contain costs and or for the purposes of simplicity. The fact of the matter is that a spreadsheet with a lot of contacts will leave itself wide open to data loss and or errors.
Doing the work of data entry – It takes time to load data into a software program. Many brokers either do not have the time or do not want to enter data; they try to delegate the process. Unfortunately the person delegated the work of list management has little involvement or commitment to the end result. The message here is that the work has to be done personally by the broker, and the best time to do so is after hours at the end of the day. Keep a standard form process underway so you can write things down during the day that could be required as a new entry in your lists.
Set targets for growth – Determine where your client and customer numbers are now. Set some simple growth targets of perhaps 5 new people per day. Over time you will lose some current contacts as they will have moved on, so a growth strategy is important.
Making categories work for you – Categories will be required to help you find the right people to talk to. Split your list up into zones, budgets, property requirements, VIP’s, owners, tenants, and business owners. Your selected software for recording the data should allow you to cross reference categories to find people and situations.
Regularly making contact – When a person is captured into your list, they should be entered for one reason only, and that is because they have a property interest now or in the future. From that point onwards regular meaningful contact is required with clients. Talking to them or connecting with them at least once every 90 days will help with list momentum and new business conversion.
If you are looking for new business in commercial real estate today, the answer is in your list. Refine your database activities and drive relevant contacts and conversations through it. Over time the listings will emerge as will the commissions.
When it comes to the marketing of commercial real estate listings today, it pays to have some very specific goals and targets. This then helps you spend the marketing money effectively and specifically as part of the property promotion.
Here below are some listing tips from our eCourse.
The goal setting process also helps you see when the achieved results from the promotion are not as you would expect. You can then make adjustments during the campaign and potentially lift the specific listing results when it comes to inbound enquiry.
What are Your Targets in Listing?
Here are some realistic targets that should be considered as goals to be monitored and created as part of every exclusive listing promotion:
Target market reach – make sure that your campaign is matched to the target market and the media channels that they use or connect through. If your property is in any way special, you will need to undertake a specific target market assessment prior to the commencement of the campaign. As prime examples in this case, medical properties, specialized warehouses, specialized manufacturing, and redevelopment opportunities are all properties that require your promotional efforts reaching into a particular target market. Design your campaign accordingly. Track and measure the results that you get from your campaign so that adjustments can be made midterm to the promotion.
Understand the timing and spread of the campaign – you will only have a short opportunity at the time of campaign commencement to create plenty of churn and activity. The first few weeks of any property promotion will be the best weeks to attract fresh new enquiry and undertake the property inspections. Every exclusive listing marketing process should be heavily biased to the first three or four weeks of activity. During that time you can report to your client on enquiry and inspection feedback. The feedback will help you condition the client to the prevailing market conditions.
The enquiry rate – from the start of the promotional campaign monitor the volume and type of enquiries that you are attracting across the different media outlets and channels. Soon you will see where most of your marketing spend is more effective. That information is valuable when it comes to optimising property enquiry across your brokerage and for your specific listings and or clients. The information will also help you pitch for listings and convert exclusive campaigns including reasonable levels of vendor paid marketing. It is hard for a client to refute or debate the validity of actual enquiry facts from the market and from other property listings.
Inspection results – every property inspection will give you an opportunity to interact with qualified property purchasers or tenants. The comments made by those people will be a good indication of relevancy and value when it comes to any property listed and promoted. Collate and tabulate those inspection comments in a report to your client on a weekly basis.
The time on market – throughout every year there will be fluctuations and changes to the property market. That will have an impact on listing promotion, negotiation, and closure. The time on market can be impacted by a number of different things including pricing, promotion, competing properties, client conditioning, property features, and marketing spend. If you like, time on market is actually an equation to be carefully structured as part of the listing process. Shorten the time on market expectations for your listings by packaging each property in the best way for the best result. Help the client see the strategies required to move through the process in a timely way. Don’t let a listing become stale and obsolete in the property market today.
Considering all of these simple promotional facts, remember that the client you are servicing wants the best result at the best price, and in the best time frame. They don’t want their property or their property challenge to be an experiment in marketing; they don’t want to waste time or money (neither do you).
Provide specific help to your client so that they can be well conditioned for the prevailing market circumstances in your location. Help them make the right decisions.
When a commercial investment property is taken to the market for sale or lease, you will get some property owners that like to control the process and on that basis they can be very reluctant to give out the listing ‘exclusively’. They think that by spreading the listing across a number of local property agents, they will get the best coverage of enquiry.
Of course, that assumption is very wrong and quite counterproductive. Most open listings stay on the property market for a very long time. Exclusive listings sell faster due to the marketing efforts and dedication of the particular listing agent.
Here are some facts about ‘open listings’:
The client will not generally tell you the whole story about the property listing until you bring them an enquiry.
Many agents will be feeding the client at the same time with stories and ideas from the property market.
Negotiating with clients that have their properties ‘openly listed’ is a difficult process given that they will not generally trust everything you say.
Multiple agents confuse the client with conflicting market trends and evidence.
These listings will stay on the property market far longer and will by comparison have limited enquiry.
The marketing spend by clients will be limited and therefore enquiry will be ‘luck’ generated more than personally driven.
These clients think that their ‘friend’ in the other brokerage should have a chance to sell the property as well.
Inflated pricing will generally attract open listings. Why would you take on a property that is priced well above market?
So if you really want to market a listing of this type, what do you have to do? Try some of these ideas:
Pitch the listing at the right price. If the client will not adjust to the market conditions and price ranges, then walk away from the listing.
Condition your client to the types of targeted buyers as you see them. You can use the results of any inspections to do that.
Show the client the limitations on inbound enquiry for those properties without ‘exclusivity’. Given them the chance to take up ‘exclusivity’ with you.
Convert some vendor paid marketing funds. If the client is serious about wanting a sale, then they need to spend some money on marketing. Show them why that is the case.
Give plenty of feedback so the client knows that you are the better agent helping them.
You can convert ‘open’ listings if you really try. It is hard work and the pressures of other agents talking to the same client can be derailing to the results that you are promoting. Make your choice to work on the best listings and clients that show a reasonable chance of conversion.
As a leasing agent you are frequently looking to lease vacant premises in an office building and CBD location. Many enquiries and calls today will or should come to you from the marketing campaigns you create; the rates of enquiry for every high quality leasing opportunity should be tracked.
The important issues in capturing enquiry are in qualifying the enquiry, in understanding what tenants are looking for and when they require it. Successful leasing agents will have a large database of well qualified tenants and business owners that they can approach when the right property comes to market.
That being said, I have heard many leasing agents complain over the years about the problems of chasing after the specific leasing requirements of tenants only to find that the tenant has found something or will not move on an ideal property or location. The fact of the matter is that you should only go so far in helping tenants because they are not fully committed to you; they can waste a lot of your time asking about certain properties, and at the same time be talking with many other agents. Set the limits on just how much time you should spend on any tenant lease enquiry.
The message here is if you control the quality buildings to lease, the enquiries will very likely come to you in abundance. Good buildings for lease will drive better rates of property enquiry. That then makes it a lot easier for you to fill your database with the right tenants and business owners.
The tenant qualification process is quite special and direct. Here are some of the main facts and questions to explore in finding out what the tenant needs, and to identify how genuine they are in looking for a new property to occupy:
Decision Maker – Understand who you are talking to and their role in looking for a new property to lease. With business type tenants it is common to see some person in middle management tasked with the process of finding properties to ‘short list’. Ideally you want to be talking to the key person in the property decision process.
Essential location – Some businesses must be located in particular precincts and zones of a city. There will be reasons for those choices and points of focus. I like to ask about ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ locations so I can create a short list of properties in each case.
Rental budget – The rent for a property is not just a single amount of money; added to that figure will be the outgoings and sundry charges geared to occupancy. The type of lease will dictate how the rents and outgoings will be charged and paid.
Improvements – The office fitout will have desirable design factors to suit the way the tenant undertakes their business, interacts with staff, and serves customers. Car parking will also have a factor of priority in final property choice. How many car parks do they need?
Timing – Understand when they are looking to make the move. You can then integrate the issues of fitout construction, and the moving of the business.
Given all of these things I like to ask the tenant directly about what other properties they have already seen; it is likely that they have approached a few leasing agents already and on that basis I don’t want to waste my time in quoting things that will not suit or they have already seen. Protect your time and focus on key questions to get directly to the tenants leasing requirements.