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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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’.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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’.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Follow the client’s instructions to completion. Keep the client fully briefed as matters shift and change. Information helps with negotiations.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.