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Effective Marketing Rules in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

city buildings on river

Sometimes we have lots of properties to list and market.  That is when systems of promotion will help your focus and your outcomes.

 

A question always arises here.  How many exclusive listings are ‘too many’ for an individual broker or agent?   There is a physical limit as to how many listings a broker can act on with reasonable focus and action.

 

Exclusivity demands more time and more effort, and rightly so.  Open listings should only take a small amount of your time.   If you have the luxury of a ‘personal assistant’, then it is arguable that you can handle 50% more than your standard allocation of listings.

 

How Many Listings are Too Many?

 

So let’s go back to the question of just how many listings are ‘too many’.  The answer depends a bit on the size and complexity of a property.  It is easily the case that a very large investment property such as a shopping centre could very well take all of your time and effort for some months or at least weeks when the marketing, inspections, and negotiations are underway.

 

If you are working on ‘average’ properties of say a few tenants and small configuration, then it is likely that you can handle up to about 15 properties exclusively at any one point in time.  Remember, however, the requirement for quality in what you list.

 

Promotional Rules in Brokerage

 

Here are some marketing reminders to work with here when you list properties for sale or lease:

 

  1. Check out the listing first in all respects so you can understand all the strengths and weaknesses of the property. The preparation here will help you with your advertising copy, defining the target market, and the timing of the marketing campaign.
  2. When you know everything possible about the property, then you can look at the competing properties locally and within the targeted segment of buildings. A ‘competitive awareness’ will help you with positioning the marketing campaign in so many different ways.  How can your property ‘stand out’ as the better choice locally with buyers or tenants?  That question has to be answered with all listings and exclusive appointments.
  3. Set a defined target marketing campaign for tenants or buyers so that the marketing can be specified in message and timing. Certain times of the year will be better for marketing, so take steps to understand the promotional ‘seasons’, and how your properties will fit into that.
  4. Reach, and media choice will be the next factor to consider. Today we have so many effective and efficient marketing systems to use.  Traditional newspaper marketing has fallen back on the ‘promotional scale’.  Online and direct marketing has taken its place; that is certainly the case with exclusive listings.  Determine how you can get the message out to the local area of buyers or tenants.  Spread the promotional word efficiently.

 

Taking these points to finality, the marketing process is so critical in commercial real estate today.  Don’t take the generic approach, but be specific in all your exclusive real estate campaigns. 

 

Spend more time on spreading the word about the property and the opportunity that the property presents.  A comprehensively marketed property will help you greatly in your real estate brand and personal reputation as the ‘industry specialist’.

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The Golden Rules of Commercial Real Estate Listing Promotions

city buildings on river

I like to think that every property taken to the market for sale or lease is handled with a direct and deliberate strategy; that is my rule and process, and that is why I will not take on open listings.  As busy as we can be in commercial real estate brokerage, the promotional strategies that we adopt are unique.

 

Every listing deserves the ‘deliberate’ approach to marketing and engagement with potential buyers or tenants.  When you focus on the quality side of our business, you can achieve more results over time.

 

When you look at your average working week, where are the priorities?  There should be only three or four things that you do every day, and those things should take precedence in your business activities.  Sure, other things will have to be done, but the four main things will always take precedent.

 

 

Marketing Rules for Enquiry Attraction

 

So, the marketing process can be refined back to simple rules.  Here are some of those rules that I like to work to:

 

  1. Set a clear target market that applies to the listing.  Where can you tap into that target market?  How can you tune the marketing campaign to reach that group of targeted people?  When you know those answers you can drill down on the campaign timing and media channels to be used.  There are always different and better ways for us to do things.  The clients that we serve like to hear fresh ideas and strategies; that is how you win more listings over time.
  2. Use some different approaches to your promotional processes.  The owner of the property can likely share some stories with you about the property and the location that would be valuable in your editorials and articles about the listings.  A story makes a property more interesting.  Historic properties are also valuable to helping you build a local profile that is different and perhaps specialized.
  3. Build a matrix of marketing that can change and adjust every few weeks.  It takes about three weeks for the first level of marketing to be assessed; from that assessment, you can modify adverts, media choices, and photography.  Every website advert for each listing can be slightly different in layout or property facts.  That then builds the attraction factor for better property inquiry.
  4. Knowing the value of inbound inquiry, look at your listing groups so you can feed inquiry across the locations and the property types in positive ways.  One inquiry can be directed to several properties and inspections.  Do more with your inquiries.  Track your inquiries so you know what is working for you with inbound property inquiry.

 

Take every property to the market with deliberate promotional strategies.  Build some momentum with your listing activity and target marketing.

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Client Contact Management System for Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

businessman and client meeting,

In your role as a broker or agent, your client contact model will be indispensable to your business growth plans.  Client and prospect contact is necessary and crucial to your attraction of listings and eventually the commissions that you require.

The primary focus of your business day should be to talk to the people that you know now, and those that could be clients over time.  There are no shortcuts to that requirement.  Conversations create leads and the interest of other people in your real estate services.

 

Smart Contact and List Building Ideas

So, I call these the ‘smart contact ideas’ for brokers and agents.  These are ways of connecting with people regularly and not being ‘excessive’ and overdone in your commercial real estate prospecting or client communication.

Help people to understand the property market; that is a good way of approaching contact and prospecting activity.  These are the ‘smart contact ideas’ that you could merge into your business model:

  1. Examples and Case Studies from property activity in the local area – a successful transaction is a good story to share. Providing you are not breaching any client confidentiality, a sale or lease transaction is worth talking about and communicating to other interested local people.  You can also do an article or press release and publish it on your blog, website, and or in the local newspapers.  You can add to those alternatives, your social media channels.  Spread the word about property activity; show the people in the property market that you have plenty of coverage and activity now with good quality listings.
  2. Listings in the zone or precinct – break your local area and your listings down into groupings so you can look at the momentum with inspections, enquiries, and marketing choices. Local listings will be attractive and interesting to investors or other business leaders.  Share the information about the properties on the market now.
  3. Review of supply and demand for buildings and land – as the local economy changes, there will be requirements for land and developments. What is happening with land supply that could impact future construction and the availability of quality buildings?  Look for the land and consider the zoning issues that will strengthen or weaken property construction and supply.  Talk about the supply trends of local property.
  4. Changes to cap rates and yields – some towns or cities are ‘better performers’ when it comes the cap rates and yields on a commercial and or retail property. There will be ‘averages’ to look for when it comes to the sale and leasing of investment properties.  Most properties will have factors of attraction and some weaknesses when it comes to investment.  What are the indicators that apply now to purchase and ownership of local investment property?  What could a property owner expect from the purchase of a property and its retention for several years?

So, these are valuable things to talk to your clients and prospects about as you connect in regular ongoing ways.  Provide locally based sales and leasing information comprehensively; that is the foundation of client contact and professional services as a broker or agent.

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Career Tips and Advice for Commercial Property Managers

City buildings on the edge of a river. Commercial high-rise buildings and bridge.

The levels of knowledge and the professional skills required in commercial and retail property management are unique and deep.  They are quite different to the skills required in a leasing or sales situation.  A property manager is a differently skilled person, and they need to look at the big picture and remain focused on their properties and clients for months if not years.

 

That long-term focus allows the managed investment to improve over time through changes to the tenancy mix, the cash flow, and the property function.  The investment process is lengthy; the investment requirements of clients will be individually unique.  That is why and where professional service and property manager performance will underpin client attraction, retention, and engagement.

 

If commercial property management is a career for you, then there are some things to learn and disciplines to implement for the long term.  Expect to be very busy as you embark on your career and remain in it as a professional.

 

What do you need to know?

 

You will need to learn about the legalities of occupancy, investment performance, leasing, cash flow strategy, and property documentation.  Control systems will be at the centre of your property management career and portfolio control.

 

Every day there will be pressures on your portfolio and your properties with tenants, maintenance, landlord focus, reporting, and risk management.  As part of your career, you will be at the centre of many events, requests, and communications.

 

If your properties and workload pressures are excessive, you will lose control of the ‘property management process’; that then leads to unhappy clients and out of control tenants.  There is a balance between quality property management services and a sensible workload of tenants and landlords.

 

Typically, the landlord will be your client, and you will be the main controlling factor to property performance and investment outcomes.  That is why the skills of the property manager are so important.  The days of collecting rent and maintaining the property are well gone.  The strategic approach to property management is now well established and evolving in new and different ways with efficiencies in building technology and the requirements of local business.

 

What do you need to do?

 

Are you ready for the property management challenge?  If you have a large portfolio or a long list of tenants, the complexity of the daily workload just gets deeper and more challenging.  There will be plenty of work to control and direct.  Here are some rules to help you with that approach:

 

  1. Knowledge – get to know everything possible about your location, the leases, competing properties, business activity, rents, and investment priorities. Through a substantial level of knowledge, you will see how you can improve an investment situation for your clients.  That is where tenant mix changes and leasing strategies will help with property performance.  That then becomes an important part of your professional services.
  2. Complexity – there are many variations to tenancy mix control, lease negotiations, rental cash flow, and property performance. The decisions of today with a tenant or lease matter will impact the investment for the long term.  Understand your decisions and how you can improve the investment outcomes for your client.
  3. Clients – every client will have different pressures and priorities when it comes to property performance. Get to know those factors with your clients, understand their portfolio activity, and look at the life cycle of their investments.  Don’t just manage a property but understand the asset and the focus of the client.
  4. Controls – there will be different systems that you can use to help you in providing services to your clients. Software programs will cover the facts and variables of lease management, rent collections, maintenance, and facility management.
  5. Reporting – report about your managed properties in the ways that the landlords require. Information will help them make choices with rents, occupancy, and expenditure spending.
  6. Tenants – expect the tenants to be pressuring you on their issues and their occupancy. A retail property is a prime example of that pressure with many tenants positioning for better sales, lower rents, and a successful business.
  7. Property performance – every property should have a business plan and a budget to work to over time. The client or landlord will be setting investment priorities and cash flow controls.   If you manage properties for many clients, the issue gets deeper and more challenging.

 

Through all these pressures and strategies there will be opportunities for a professional property manager to excel in skills and career development.  Are you ready for the challenge?

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Sales Territory Planning in Commercial Real Estate

City buildings on Hong Kong harbour. Cranes in the foreground. Buildings in the distance

When you work in commercial real estate as a broker or an agent, undertake a regular assessment of your territory and designated listing area, so you know what is happening and where the opportunities are coming from.  You need to understand what is happening when it comes to time on market, listing activity, enquiry, and property opportunity.  Things change in commercial real estate brokerage, and that change is always a point of leverage for any agent or broker with both clients and listings.

 

In your area or territory, there will be investors to identify, clients to serve, tenants to track, enquiries to satisfy, and businesses to connect with.  A defined area or precinct will help you do that effectively and to do so under some form of a system.

 

Set your geographical boundaries so that you can build some specific momentum and logical accuracy in prospecting on a street by street basis with property owners, businesses, and tenants in occupation.

 

 

Precinct Assessments for Brokerage Coverage

 

Here are some ideas to help you assess your precinct accurately and efficiently:

 

  1. Identify the number of properties within the precinct by type and by location. Get to know the locations and the streets and make a list the property owners and local businesses.  The greater your depth of ownership and investor knowledge across the location, the easier it is to find opportunities in property sales and leasing.  The local businesses may also own the properties in which they are located.  Questions and connections will help you find the information you need for future ongoing property opportunity.
  2. Do a signboard count across the area and in all your targeted precincts. Differentiate between open listings and exclusive listings.  Split the signboard count into agent groupings and property types.  Identify the agents that have the market dominance and understand why that is the case.
  3. Do an advertisement count on the Internet of all relevant and current listings. Split those listings into locations, property types, and brokerages.  Throughout the year, those listing numbers will change seasonally, as will any property pressures that apply to the economy and the town or city.  In some respects, you need to be a good predictor of market circumstances and changes to find the best listings and clients that you need.  Work the opportunities and the changes that can provide you with listings.
  4. Given the three factors mentioned above, it is necessary to understand time on market by precinct and by region. Some properties will stay on the market longer than others.  Get to know why that is the case and develop some marketing strategies to position your properties and listings more favourably from a promotional perspective.

 

All these numbers will help you with your market awareness and future property opportunities.  In assessing these situations, you will find new people and business owners to connect with.

 

Systemize your real estate business in all respects so that you can grow your opportunities and grow market share.  Luck has nothing to do with commercial real estate brokerage today.  Deliberate effort and logical systemization will help you get to the market penetration that you need.

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How to Charge Top Commissions in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

city buildings on harbour

In the commercial real estate industry, you will get plenty of pressure from your clients and prospects to reduce your commission or service fee.  If you truly believe that your services are superior in your location and with your property types, then fee reduction is not an option.

Ask for the appropriate fee for services to be rendered.  Talk about the value that you provide to the client and their property challenge, and then wait for an answer.  Be prepared to walk away from a fee reduction request if it is unfair or too onerous.

Desperation is not a good look in commercial real estate nor should it be the basis of your commission or listing agreements.  If you truly believe that you are offering a top-quality service, then ask for the fair fee, and stick to your request.

One thing should be remembered here when thinking about listing fees and commissions.  The client needs your services to resolve their property challenge to get the best outcome achievable and to do so in a timely way.  If you sell your services through those two points of focus, the conversion of the listing at a fair commission is quite achievable.

 

Who Do You Work For?

You do not want to work for clients that are unrealistic, or not aligned to the property market situation today.  Local area investigations will show you and the client what the chances may be of getting property enquiry and inspections underway.

So, a focused listing approach and presentation process will help you achieve better outcomes with your clients and with your service commissions.  Try these ideas for starters:

  1. Show that you understand the facts. That then is those facts relating to the client and their property and its position in the location.  Inspect the property with the client to discuss presentational issues, strategies, improvements, and tactics.
  2. Define a clear target market. Every property will be suited to certain target markets.  The more direct that you are in defining that fact will then help with client engagement and decision making.
  3. Tell a few stories. Property stories always help with a client conversation and decisions required.  Choose the stories that are best suited to the property type and the challenges faced by the client in today’s terms. Show that client that you understand the solutions required.  Talk about how you will direct your efforts towards solutions.
  4. Choose the best method of sale (or lease). There are different ways to approach the marketing of any property.  Make your choices for the client and give them some alternatives to work with.  It is then easier for the client to decide what they are doing and why they should act in a way as part of moving on your recommendations.
  5. Give real strategy to your professional approach. Don’t be generic in your business approach to listing or selling a commercial property.  The ‘common’ approach to marketing and negotiation should only apply to ‘open listings’.
  6. Give timelines to the campaign and marketing process. There are many things to do in marketing a commercial, industrial, or retail property.  Show the clients the stages of your approach and how they are so relevant to moving things forward.  Put yourself in the equation of property marketing and negotiating.
  7. Seek exclusivity for work to be undertaken, as that is the only way you can devote the required time to the client and their property. Show the client why your exclusive listing processes are superior in resolving their challenge today.

 

If you follow these rules, it helps you convert listings and achieve better commissions.  Always document the sale or lease agreement comprehensively and legally, so you do not have to revisit the commission discussion again.  Simply put, get into the marketing of the property and resolving the client’s property targets and obstacles in a timely way.

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List Effective of Communication Strategies in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

commercial property agent meeting clients

The best agents in commercial real estate know how to communicate effectively and control their transactions from start to finish.  They do not lose control of the deal momentum.  They stay with their listings and negotiation positions to the very end.  Those focus points are quite important.

 

Things will change, and momentum will shift in any sale or lease, so expect that.  Understanding the momentum of the parties and their negotiation targets will help you effectively convert and control the transaction.  Set your rules to all the communication processes across listings, inspections, and negotiations.

 

 

Comprehensive Communication with Listing Control

 

Stay with the transaction and the involved people from the very beginning.

 

Here are some ideas to help with that transaction control:

 

  1. Know who your client is in the transaction, and don’t lose that awareness as the elements of the deal move and change. The client is the person that needs your help and will be the one that is paying the commission at the point of success.
  2. Make sure your appointment to act in the sale or property transaction is accurately compiled and legally correct. You don’t want any disagreements about commission at a later time.
  3. Get full property detail and title ownership correctly compiled for the transaction and the negotiations that may follow. Be prepared for questions and negotiation elements between the parties.
  4. Follow the client’s instructions to completion. Keep the client fully briefed as matters shift and change.  Information helps with negotiations.
  5. Take plenty of notes as the transaction evolves. Most property negotiations are complex, and the elements of offers, discussions, and agreements will vary.  Your notes are critical to transaction control.  Every meeting, telephone discussion, or direct instruction should be documented.
  6. If you need some ‘market awareness’ to help shape the thoughts of your client or the negotiating party, then gather plenty of comparable evidence from other local properties and transactions. That evidence should be statistical and visual, as well as verbal.  Verbal comments alone don’t count much when it comes to client or prospect conditioning.  Help your client or the other party to the transaction understand the elements of the local property market and recent prices or rents.
  7. Most parties to a property sale or lease want to get some ‘saving’ as a final element of ‘closure’ on a negotiation. What is the best alternative to no agreement for each of the parties?  They will be ‘holding out’ for their position and advantages, and somewhere in those facts will be a potential agreement.  Know the negotiation ‘variables’ for each party and then position the negotiation around them.
  8. Personal marketing for a top agent is a required process. It covers promotions and engagement across some different channels.  A top agent will be using all available marketing elements to build their business.  That will, for example, be websites, editorials, articles, social media, databases, telephone calls, and meetings.  That is how they can build a solid marketing profile as an industry expert.  The process of personal marketing never stops for a top agent.  Get involved in promoting yourself and your skills locally.  Engage with your target market.
  9. When the final transaction documentation takes shape, understand the facts and capture the elements of the deal. Know how all matters should be documented; do so with accuracy and timeliness.  All documentation should be served and prepared with full regard to local property laws and the instructions of the client.

 

With these things, you can control a property transaction most effectively from start to finish.

 

Communicate through your listing and property transactions with accuracy and timeliness.  That will help in creating ‘closure’.   Commissions are then easier to convert. That is how top agents do things.

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Creative Imagination Really Works in Commercial Real Estate

city buildings in Hong Kong

When you work as a broker or agent in a commercial real estate business, a good imagination will help you see the available property opportunities that are around you in the city or town.  Acting on those opportunities locally will be the next important stage of moving forward.  Commissions and clients await your identification and action.

 

Stay focused and organized as you look for property opportunities.  Use your imagination with a professional focus.  Filter your ideas into property types, people, precincts, and levels of reality. 

 

Track everything that you do and see, and do that in an excellent quality database program.  It is easier to act on things when you see the ‘steps and stages’.  Break down the complexity of things into levels that you can act on.

 

 

Creative Brokerage Vision

 

So, the factors of imagination that you want to nurture here are creative and visionary.  Seeing the potential transaction, listing, or property development early is important.  You are the broker or agent with the ‘property market awareness’; that information is of value to the clients that you work for.

 

With a fuller awareness of the property market, it is likely that you will see many things before others do, and particularly the clients that need help or want to expand or change their investments.  Acting early on opportunities before other agents and competitors will help in converting the new business.

 

 

Capture the Ideas

 

How can you work with this valuable approach to your real estate business?  Here are three useful ideas:

 

  1. Carry a small notebook with you that you can use at any time to capture your thoughts and observations. That is particularly so with any things that you see or think about during the working day or after hours; capture your ideas.  The act of writing things down will be very helpful in capturing the concepts, ideas, and facts that you come across every day.  Most successful property transactions start from a small idea or observation that is acted on at a later time.
  2. Mind-maps are a way of creating a vision or opening a complex real estate issue into a ‘roadmap’ of actions. One big issue or property event is usually a matrix of smaller steps or stages.  There are plenty of mind-map programs that you can get to use on the computer or iPad.   You can also use a simple blank piece of paper as a ‘mind-map template’ when you are working with complex issues.  Get a simple blank piece of paper and a set of colored pencils, and then use those basic tools to extract your ideas.  When you put something on paper you can act on the opportunity and the separate stages; you can see the ‘road ahead’.
  3. Devote the start of the day to ‘brainstorming’ your business and your property market. The best time to do that is when you arise first thing in the morning.  You can ‘brainstorm’ your thoughts over a coffee and breakfast, or perhaps before your regular exercise routine.

 

The message here is that you can productively use your observations from the marketplace to find opportunities in commercial real estate brokerage.  You just need a few tools to help you be creative and visionary.

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Essential Listing Strategies in Commercial Real Estate

city buildings on harbour

Some listings in commercial real estate are quite slow to attract enquiry and move to the next level of an offer or negotiation.  That is where our creative professionalism is so important for the clients that we serve.

 

Sometimes, you will find that the listing will stay on the listing books for too long.  In such situations, it is necessary to try for a listing extension.  Your skills in client communication at that time will be fully tested as you ask for more time.  The client must believe that you are still the right person to continue to work on the property and handle the challenges that it or the property market presents.  Are you the best agent to stay on the listing for the future?

 

 

Time on Market Problems?

 

Why will a property take longer to sell?  Try some of these for starters:

 

  • The property market is slow to respond due to economic circumstances in the region or the business community
  • Enquiry is low for the property type or location
  • It could be the wrong time of year to market the property
  • The price range for the property is too high or it is out of the range of most buyers
  • There are too many other properties on the market currently and those properties are not moving.
  • The target market for the property is too narrow or wrong for the listing
  • Not enough marketing was done at the time of initial promotion
  • Too many new properties are coming into the market creating a situation of oversupply
  • The business community is moving from a purchase priority to a lease priority

 

There are plenty of reasons for listing ‘stagnation’.  You may also have other local issues that are also evident in your location, and those that you believe are fundamental reasons for the slower listing enquiry.  Either way, you must know the reasons behind a ‘stale listing’ and its failure to attract local property enquiry.  Strategy then takes over; that’s your job.

 

 

Recommendations That Matter

 

When you have the fuller information for the slower enquiry rate, you can concentrate on the property owner and package up a series of recommendations to win a listing extension of time.

 

Consider these strategies in asking for a listing extension:

 

  • Provide a plan of change to the listing and its marketing, pricing, and inspections.
  • Identify a new target market of buyers or new ways of approaching the target market.
  • Revamp your inspection processes to show the property in a new way.
  • Get the client to lift the presentation of the property to encourage more enquiry.
  • Create new advertising layouts and copy so that all ongoing marketing will be ‘fresh’.
  • Get some new photographs taken of the property to show different features and angles of the building, the internals, and the surrounds.
  • Give the client some alternatives of marketing and pricing to help them decide on the future promotions.
  • Ask for an adjustment to the method of sale or pricing if you believe that change will attract more enquiry.
  • Change the method of sale to suit the preferred target market.

 

From these issues you can create a timeline of changes for the client to see and consider.  The clearer that you can be in this communication with the client will help you in winning a listing extension.

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How to Build Effective Systems in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Hong Kong harbor at sunset

Personal systems are the foundation of progress and success in commercial real estate brokerage.  Those systems can evolve in key areas of the business personally.  In this audio program, I share the most important processes that I have seen and used over the years in working clients and prospects.

(NB – if you want more ideas to help your commercial real estate business you can get them in our Snapshot program right here)

Brokerage momentum comes from clients and properties.  The only way to get substantial penetration into those segments is through ‘process’.  Have a listen to this audio to see how your ‘process’ would compare currently as a broker or agent.

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Local Clients – How You Can Find More of Them

city buildings in Hong Kong

Local people are the foundation of a successful real estate business.  You can work with the key players of the real estate business locally and most particularly sellers, buyers, and business owners.  There are plenty of opportunities in commercial real estate to be sourced in those groups as part of a prospecting model.

(NB – you can get plenty of client tips and ideas in Snapshot right here – its free)

In this audio I talk about the importance of a ‘locally focused’ prospecting model and how that can work for you in your real estate business.  Drive more listings and commissions your way through a bias towards the local area and the people in it.

Here is the audio:

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Essential Commercial Real Estate Leasing Tools to Use with Landlords and Tenants

The commercial real estate leasing process is quite special.  You can work with tenants or landlords, but either way you will need some local area information and the tools to help you through any property inspection and negotiation.

In this audio, I share my thoughts on the tools that are most effective when it comes to engaging with landlords and tenants as they strive to arrange a lease on market conditions.  (NB if you need ideas to help you with leasing, you can get them here in Snapshot – its free)

Given that you know the property market and the trends in leasing, you can develop a ‘toolbox’ like this to create better real estate negotiations.

You can get the audio right here: