Its the end of the financial year. A turning point in the market where some businesses and clients consider property occupancy, leasing, sales, and acquisitions. Its a good time of year for brokers and agents to get back into the growth phase of what we do. From now until December 2015 we have clients to call, listings to convert and commissions to raise.
In this podcast I am focusing on Sales related topics to help Brokers and Agents with market share and database growth.
The topics are:
How to systemise the commercial real estate business and why that is a good idea.
What you need to know about simple contact management systems.
How to improve your prospecting efforts for the year ahead.
A 3 stage formula of action for Brokers and Agents this year.
In commercial real estate leasing, there are plenty of lead generation opportunities to be had when it comes to tenant placement and leasing activity. In any town or city at any time, there are usually plenty of tenants looking to move for a number of different reasons.
Your job is to locate those tenants at the earliest possible time before they consider moving and changing premises. The relationships that you strike with tenants locally will help you grow leasing activity and opportunity.
There are two sides to the levels of new business that you create as a property leasing specialist. Firstly you should be working with landlords helping them with vacancy problems and tenant mix strategies. That in itself is quite specialised process. Secondly you should be working with local businesses and tenants to help them relocate at the right time as part of their business activities and growth strategies.
What’s it all about?
So the message here is that you should be focusing on lead generation with both landlords and tenants. Separate strategies are required. You should be connecting with these two groups in a regular and ongoing way. That is why your database and your prospecting activities are fundamentally important to lead generation in commercial property leasing. Tenants and landlords should be segmented within your database, and relationships should be growing with each qualified lead or prospect.
Specialist leasing services for a location and property type are always in demand. Consider your answers to these questions:
What is your specialist service?
What values and opportunities do you bring to the landlords and tenants that you serve?
How can you improve your professional service offering to both landlords and tenants?
Why are you the leasing expert for the area and the location?
How can you market vacant premises more directly and effectively?
An important factor to remember?
It is an interesting fact that your database and the people within it are perhaps the most important factors of leverage that you can apply to the lease negotiation process. If you are growing your database daily and regularly, the landlords and the tenants within your list will allow you to quote any property, vacant premises, or a new leasing opportunity quickly and directly.
If you are struggling in the property market now with leasing activity, take a serious look at your database and start to improve it and grow it through regular contact with new people.
CONTACT SYSTEMS: Keep in contact with all local businesses. You will find that businesses are moving and changing premises for many different reasons. Make sure that they remember you at the right time when it comes to changing location.
QUALITY CONTACTS: Network the tenants in high quality buildings. The tenants in high quality buildings are generally those businesses that can afford better quality occupancy and longer term leases. The commission you achieve from such a high quality property leasing transaction will generally be higher per unit of space under lease. Many corporate tenants today require the services of a tenant advocate to help them find new premises and other properties. You can offer comprehensive and specialised tenant advocacy services.
LOOK FOR CHANGE: Look for tenants moving premises or those that are under some form of business pressure. When you canvass through an area or a location, look for the signs of change. You will see some businesses that are under pressure to relocate. Levels of stock, lack of parking space, lack of storage, and growth of business activities are all signs of a tenant or a local business needing help.
SERVICE OFFERING: Establish some comprehensive tenant placement services. As mentioned before, tenant advocacy can be part of the services that you offer. In other words you will be locating a tenant into a new property. In that case the tenant will be paying your commission and they will be your client for the purposes of the transaction. The larger corporate tenants are generally quite comfortable in seeking out and using the services of a specialised tenant advocate. They are also prepared to pay the necessary fees for service.
FRANCHISE BUSINESSES: Establish contact with local franchise businesses. Many franchise business models focus on factors of location first and foremost. They generally need to locate a new franchise business into a zone or precinct after they have undertaken the necessary market research and study. Make direct contact with local franchise businesses to understand the preferred business locations and lease circumstances that they prefer. They may also share with you the terms and conditions of the typical franchise agreement at they use. The franchise agreement will need to be integrated into the lease terms and conditions that you may negotiate.
So there are some things that you can do here when it comes to lead generation in commercial real estate leasing. Understand the differences between landlord activity and tenant activity. You can offer specialised services in each case.
In commercial real estate brokerage you only have a brief opportunity to grab the attention of a client and help them see why your property presentation is better than anything else that your competition may be recommending. You have to plan a perfect property presentation.
Let’s take for example a presentation relating to the sale of a prime investment property. You know that the property will sell and that there will be a lot of interest in and through the marketing campaign. Your main focus in marketing the property should then be a combination of the following:
Getting volumes of enquiry so you can build a real competition for buyers to make offers on the property
Convert plenty of inspections so that the momentum of the campaign grows to a critical point of finality as an auction, or close date for offers through a tender situation
Pull in all the potential people in the target market
Simple points of focus like these will help you build the perfect property presentation. When you get the ‘formula’ right, the client cannot fail to listen and carefully consider your ideas in a relevant way.
How Can You Pitch Your Ideas?
So what can you do here to shape and promote your presentation ideas? In the case of an investment property for sale the following strategies really work:
Restate the client’s situation – Tell the client what you understand to be their position and their targets. This first stage of the presentation will ensure that the client can see that you understand their timing, and the property challenge.
Explain how you see the property – When you explain the property in detail (including the improvements), you show the client that you really comprehend all the aspects of the sale situation that really matter.
Pick the advantages and strengths of the asset – Give the clear strengths as feature points that you can build on in any inspection. Tell the client how you will move people through the property and why that will be done.
Show time frames and stages – When you take the entire sales process into account you can split up the marketing and inspection process into critical stages. From that you can create a timeline. A timeline is a great ‘visual approach’ to getting the client to understand your property ideas and recommendations.
Answer the difficult questions – The client will have certain problems and issues that they think could impact the sale or the price. You can identify those issues in the earlier stages of the client contact, and then address those concerns in your property listing pitch.
In essence, these simple ideas are very effective in helping you gain the attention of the client to the potential of you marketing their property.
When you are involved in the management and the leasing of any commercial or retail property, you will understand the importance of security when it comes to tenancy occupancy, and property performance. There are many challenges involving security today when you consider different tenancy types, property locations, and asset design.
Understand the Property Security Challenges
Here are some of the important issues to action and merge into your security checklist:
Property surrounds – review the property in its location looking at the boundaries, the adjoining properties, and factors of threat from the precinct. Nearby properties can pose a significant threat directly or indirectly when it comes to asset performance.
Building design – the property itself will have certain strengths and weaknesses that apply in the security sense. Understand the property from both a visitor and a tenant perspective. How can people move to the property and through the property conveniently and safely? How can tenants move to the property and occupy their leased space efficiently and securely?
Look for existing threats – when you study the tenancy mix you will see certain threats evolving from the tenants in occupation and or the business types. Those threats will need consideration and consultation with a view to minimising risk.
Existing Security Systems – review the property and its existing capabilities or limitations when it comes to security. Look at the locks and the master key systems, electronic security, tenancy security, windows, doors, lighting, car parking, and guards or patrols. Also review the access points and the flow points for people through the property at different times of day. Some buildings today operate at all hours with both tenants and customers. Can your building handle the challenge safely and correctly?
Communication systems – many tenants today transact sensitive and confidential information constantly as part of their standard business operations. The communication systems within the building will need secure access and secure controls. Those systems will involve data access, data storage, telephone systems, radio transmissions, and associated cabling.
Individual tenants – some tenants create special levels of threat and risk within the property and with other tenants. Responses, procedures and strategies will be required when it comes to specific threats such as bombs, explosion, staff movement, customer access, safety, emergency evacuation, and materials containment. Consider each tenant individually for the challenges that they present to the building, the investment, the community, the other tenants, and people generally. Consult with the necessary local authorities if you have tenants of concern.
In commercial real estate brokerage I frequently get asked about how new agents can find the right people and clients to serve in their town or city. The question is so common that I just wonder why those salespeople do not know the obvious or take so long to understand it. The industry is similar to many others; diligent focus and work is required at a personal level to find new business, and when that happens, results occur.
The new business is always out there to attract and convert across sales, leasing, and property management. Yes, I know it takes time, but the diligence and actions of ‘top agents’ always shines through when it comes to finding the best clients, properties, and commissions.
It is my firm belief that you cannot be a top agent without some personal plan of prospecting action that you implement every day and refine over time. Regular actions create habits, and habits in our business change listing conversions and commissions.
When it comes to promoting a commercial property for sale or lease, try to put some suspense and anticipation into the property campaign. Get away from ‘generically’ marketing, and be very specific in your promotional efforts.
Know the Property
Look at the property for what it is and the strengths that the property provides over time for the buyers or tenants. Understand the target market for each exclusive listing so that you can really tap into creative marketing processes that pull in the right segments of people.
Ultimately you want a reasonable level of property enquiry with every exclusive listing; from that you will create inspections and lots of them. How can you do that? In simple terms you look at your property and build the marketing campaign or plan using relevant promotional leverage. You then implement that promotional plan.
Your Promotional Plan
Here are some ideas to help with promoting your next high quality listing:
Give your property a name or identity – If there is some history about the property or the location, you can use that information as a point of leverage and branding in your advertising copy. People relate to a story. The history of the property is likely to have a few stories that you can use in your headlines, feature points, and editorials.
Set the time for the campaign – Start the property promotion at the right time of year or month. Seasonal holidays and business cycles all put pressures into property promotion. You want the right people to see the advertised property so start the campaign at the right time of month and on the right days of the week. The campaign can be ‘rolled out’ in a staged way using ‘early release’ information, and then primary promotion coverage.
Use the right media channels – When you really understand your target market you can choose the best media channels to tap into your segments of buyers or tenants as the case may be.
Personal involvement – Put yourself into the staging of the property promotion. Tell the client what you will do personally to get the message about the property to the right people. Most top agents win more property listings because of the promise and strategy they offer in personal involvement. In exchange for that personal involvement you should insist on exclusivity with your listings for a reasonable period of time.
In retail property and shopping centre performance today, the tenant mix and the income created from the tenants in occupancy needs to be shaped and improved over time. That is where ‘tenanting mix orchestration’ is a useful skill to learn and to feed into the property investment strategy.
The suggestion here is that the tenant mix can be shaped and improved. That is certainly the case in retail property performance. That is your job. The landlord will benefit greatly over time by a well-considered and controlled tenant mix.
Every lease and every tenant in occupancy should be looked at in balance with the surrounding tenants, the shopper clusters, and the customer profiles. The terms and conditions of each individual lease should be negotiated to standards that match the investment targets of the landlord.
Anchor tenants – You have to start your assessment around the stability and business activities of the anchor tenants. Look at the lease conditions that apply to each and every anchor tenant in the property. How long are they in occupancy? What are the terms and conditions that apply to their occupancy? How can they integrate their business activities into the success of the overall property?
Customer profile – You can’t move your property to another location. On that basis your customer demographic will be specific to certain incomes, employment, and family profiles. Understand your customer base and how those customers like to shop locally. You may need to undertake a marketing study through the local area to get the most recent and up to date information about customer activity and or future needs. When you understand the customer, you can set the strategies in place for the ideal tenant mix and property profile. You may also be pulling in the customers from outside of the area through tourism and transient people.
Property design – Every property will have factors are designed to understand and integrate into the tenancy plan. Entrance points, common areas, congregation points, and transport drop off points all influence foot traffic and potential retail sales. The tenancy mix should be designed for customer interaction and sales improvement. That base strategy requires you to put the right tenants in the right locations. You will have a mixture of small and large tenancies to consider. You will also have tenancy locations requiring special consideration such as food retailing, fashion retailing, entertainment, and services. You can get plenty of ideas by looking at other comparable properties locally or regionally.
From these three simple concepts, you can set in motion a comprehensive tenancy mix plan and retail sales strategy. Understand the property, the tenants, and the customers. Balance at equation so that the landlord can optimise rental returns and minimise vacancies. That is what tenancy mix orchestration is all about.
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