Posted on

The Things I Have Learned About Clients in Commercial Real Estate

city buildings on river

Over many years, I have worked for and with many commercial real estate customers.  In saying that, the variation of customer focus and interaction was sometimes large, unexpected, and challenging.  (NB – you can get plenty of commercial real estate tips here in our Snapshot program)

Not all clients and prospects are ‘equal,’ and should be respected for the individuals that they are and the property ‘challenges’ that they face.  The fees that you set for working with some of these ‘high end’ clients on a complex project or property challenge should be well considered based on your predictable time and effort.

Understand them first and foremost

The message to remember with some if not all clients and prospects is in the need to get to know them comprehensively first and foremost; that is in their thinking, targets, challenges, and investment goals.  You can only provide ‘help’ when you understand the ‘big picture.’

Look for the patterns and strategies that you can provide help with.  Only offer the client your fullest services and commitment when you fully understand what they are doing, what they are facing, and what they are looking for in solutions.

High value clients

Some clients are better than others from a ‘value’ perspective to you.  Have you set your ‘value’ criteria?  Try some of these for starters:

  • Repeat business over time
  • Property portfolio by size, location, and type
  • Services variation (sales, leasing, and asset management)
  • Commissions by amount and frequency
  • Referral opportunity from friends and acquaintances

In looking at the list, it is easy to see how some clients will be higher ‘ranking’ than others.  Categorize the people that you know now, and can connect with.  Communicate with ‘locals’ for the ‘right reasons.’  Focus your prospecting and communication efforts into the best individuals in a location.

So, where can you start with all this?

Look at your database of clients and prospects, and then split that list into VIP’s and ‘others’.  Most of your prospecting and new business efforts should focus into the VIP’s in your client or contact list.  When you know the value that these people can bring you, then you can know what to do in communication and connection.

Here are some facts about clients in commercial real estate brokerage today:

  1. They are always out there looking for properties to act on. If you have a good selection of high-quality exclusive listings, you will find other ‘high quality’ investors approaching you about listing information and inspections.  The ‘quality’ rule is easy to follow and understand.
  2. They require market evidence. Keep abreast of local property trends and changes so that you can use them in an informational and relevant way.  You should capture the facts of the larger deals in sales and leasing so you can use those points in your client conversations, presentations, and listing pitches.  Market evidence is hard to refute or dispute.
  3. They like to work with ‘specialists.’ Most clients like to work with the established and active property experts for a location.  Real estate is not an ‘experiment’; put yourself into a ‘specialization’ category and help your clients and prospects understand that fact.
  4. They know what they are doing when it comes to local property.  So, take your time in helping them, and show them respect as you move through their asset challenges and known issues. Seek to understand them first before you pitch your ideas and strategies.
  5. They will generally listen to logic. When you work from a basis of local market evidence, the clients and prospects will listen.  Have some visual and informational tools to use in the customer conversation or meeting process.
  6. They like to have a ‘win’ with a listing, negotiation, or inspection. Some negotiations can be lengthy and complicated.  Let your clients feel as though they are in control as you move them ahead, and that they are at the ‘winning’ end of the equation.  A small ‘win’ will usually be a valuable tool to closing off on a negotiation or transaction.  In saying all of this, remember who your client is in the transaction, and help them move on the right opportunity.

Property clients are at the center of everything we do in commercial real estate brokerage.  Market yourself, your knowledge, relevance, and skills into your customer list.  That is how things work in commercial property today.

Posted on

A Few Powerful Secrets in Commercial Real Estate Leasing

city buildings on harbour

In commercial real estate brokerage leasing, you need plenty of tenants to fill the vacancies that you will work with and will identify. At least half of your database should be filled with business based tenants and their leasing requirements.

 

Given that your brokerage zone will be a section or a segment of the city, in a logical and direct way connect with all the tenants in the zone. Understand what the tenants are thinking and doing when it comes to property occupancy and change.

leasing system for brokers
Commercial Real Estate Leasing System

 

The Relevance of Leasing Database and Location

 

As a special note, the size and the relevance of your leasing database as it applies to the location and the property types will be a major point of leverage in winning new business.

 

When it comes to attracting landlords and property owners to your services, you will need some form of differential.

 

To achieve that ‘difference’, consider the following questions:

 

  1. How big is your database currently and how relevant is it to the location? The businesses on the list should be locally based and or regionally connected. Split that database list into major corporations and smaller businesses.
  2. Where are the good quality buildings in your town or city? Review the tenancy mix in each case. Understand exactly who is occupying the major properties locally and for what reason. When you know the top tenants, the better buildings, and the top corporations for the area, you can hone your prospecting efforts accordingly. You can drill down into the businesses that have the capability to grow and relocate as company profits allow. You will also understand the buildings that are best suited for some companies and corporations from a branding profile and operational perspective.
  3. Have you been keeping your database list and its contents up-to-date? The data in the database will be important in several different ways. At the top of that assessment will be the accuracy and timeliness of the information you have gathered. Spend time each day connecting with the people on the list to see how business pressures and changes are impacting their occupancy decisions.
  4. Have you been connecting with new people in a regular and ongoing way? You will always need fresh contacts and connections to grow your real estate business and the leasing opportunities available. You will need high-quality clients and particularly the local companies and corporations to work with from a leasing perspective.
  5. What are people thinking about property now?  Understand exactly what they are thinking from a business and occupancy perspective. Look for the triggers and the pressures that influence those tenants and those companies to move. Through the regular and ongoing contact, you can be there to assist them at the right time and in the right way.

 

 

So, there are some good things that you can look into and improve as part of providing professional leasing services to the local businesses and corporations.

 

Talk to plenty of people on a regular daily basis and refresh your database list with new information and upcoming property requirements.

 

The relationships that you build and encourage over time with carefully selected local companies and business leaders will help you strengthen and consolidate your leasing profile and professional leasing services.

 

Posted on

How to Engage with More VIP Clients in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

city buildings on edge of harbour

In commercial real estate brokerage it is important that you segment your client list into groups and opportunities. As part of that, you should identify the VIP clients that you know and those that exist in your local area. They should be the primary targets of your prospecting model in an ongoing way. (NB – you can get our free commercial real estate training right here)

In this audio program, John Highman talks about the strategies behind VIP database management and the professional skills of commercial real estate sales and leasing today.

Learn how to improve your real estate business and grow the opportunities with the right clients in the right way.

You can access the audio program right here:

Posted on

Things I Have Learned About Database Systems in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

city buildings at sunset

When you work in commercial real estate, you really do need a good quality database that you can rely on to find the right people and properties as part of a matching process.  Whilst it seems so logical, most agents struggle with the discipline of a database.  They have issue with things like:

  • Finding the time to make the calls
  • Capturing all of the information from meetings and calls
  • Keeping up the call momentum
  • Integrating the client list with emails and brochure dispatch systems, etc.

So the list can go on.   The database is the prime way to find real estate opportunities and do something with them.   Today there are plenty of options with software brands, data collation methods, and pipeline tracking, for some positive results to be achieved by any broker or agent in commercial real estate.  Everything comes down to personal application and effort.

You don’t have to pay a lot of money to have such a program helping you grow your real estate business.  One key decision in all of this is whether you should go ‘cloud based’ in your data storage.  Common consensus says you should, given that most people like to access their client and prospect information from a variety of devices when they are away from the office.

In this audio, John Highman talks about the client list processes and how you can work the data that you gather from your clients today.

Posted on

How to Know Exactly Where You Stand in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

hong kong harbour at sunset

As you work through your career as a broker or an agent, take the time to understand where you are positioned professionally and competitively in your town or region taking into account the levels of broker and agent competition.  (NB – you can get our free commercial real estate broker course right here)

 

When you fully appreciate your market position, you can take steps to improve your conversions, commissions, and results.  You can do different and special things with marketing, negotiating, prospecting, and client services.

 

In the property market today, it is best if you take the time and make the effort to stand out as an industry professional.

 

Top agents of the market understand exactly where they are professionally in today’s market terms; by professionally I mean listings, market share, commissions, and client service. They also understand exactly what they are going to do to improve their market position over time.

 

Here are some ideas to help you establish some performance indicators and professional targets for commercial real estate clients, as a broker or an agent. You can very likely add to the list based on your property specialty and location:

 

  1. Signboards – do a signboard count on a monthly basis so that you can understand and relate to the numbers of signs that you have in the market by comparison to the other agents and competitors around you. Local area presence and signboard activity will always help you attract more inquiries and activities from your exclusive listings. Your signboards are a marketing process to refine and optimize.
  2. Listings by type – compare the numbers of listings that you have in your territory by way of open versus exclusivity. Your exclusive listings are the only ones that really matter when it comes to market share. At least 75% of your property presentations should convert to exclusivity. Open listings are generally a waste of time although the strategy can be a last resort if necessary with a difficult client or a unique property.
  3. Database – review your database on a monthly basis so that you can understand the levels of improvement and the growth of activity with meetings, calls, conversions, and inquiries. You cannot easily delegate the data base process to others within your business. Ultimately the database supports your commercial real estate activities into the future and that client list will be a critical component of your growth of market share. If you are struggling with commissions, listings, or clients, then it is very likely that your database is lacking in some respect. Take the time to understand that client list now and your prospecting activities to grow the database.
  4. Internet – on a weekly basis, review the new listings coming onto the market across all the Internet portals. Compare your online listing numbers to those of your competitors. Understand the positioning and the ranking of your listings within your targeted suburbs and locations. To boost your business, you will really need to take the time to bolster your online profile and the exclusive listings that you have placed on the portals. There are various strategies that you can use online such as search engine optimization, social media, and article marketing. They are all very effective when it comes to establishing and growing a personal marketing profile for any broker or agent.
  5. Commissions – look at your commissions and conversions as they exist today in both sales and leasing activity. Break the commissions down to a transaction level so that you can see the size and the types of property that you are working on per transaction. This simple strategy will allow you to assess preferred listing types and listing sizes. Focus on the listings that the market requires and where the enquiry may be centred at the moment.

 

A successful career in commercial real estate brokerage will usually be centred on predictable trends and activities.

When a broker or an agent understands where things are changing in the property market, they can direct all of their efforts into the appropriate business activities and predictable listing challenges. That is how the industry works.