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.
There are always plenty of competitors chasing the same clients in the same properties in a location, and particularly within your territory. For that very reason, you do need to have some definite and deliberate winning based strategies to help you grow your market share over time.
Understand the variables of your real estate business, and particularly so for the location. Look at what can and will happen over the foreseeable future with the following categories of new business and property activity:
The supply and the demand for property within your location will always change, and you need to adjust to that over time. Look at the indicators and adjust your prospecting and marketing efforts accordingly.
In this audio program, John Highman talks about the important skills of attitude and activity as part of winning new business in commercial property today. Learn the special skills to develop a winning attitude as a broker or an agent.
Investor clients are always active in commercial real estate and property. The same focus happens in most major cities around the world.
Some investors will be changing assets frequently as the property market allows; capital gains can be tapped into through timing and choice of the right property types in the better locations. That is where a good commercial property broker or agent can help with market knowledge and timing solutions.
Whilst commercial and retail property can be speculative as an investment type if you don’t follow the rules. Most investors seek to understand the balance of supply and demand, and the prevailing economic sentiment in a location. That is where opportunities can be found.
In this audio program, John Highman talks about how commercial real estate brokers can work with more property investors in a positive way; ultimately in ways that can open up into better property commissions and listings.
To get started in commercial real estate brokerage and agency today it is essential that you undertake a full review of the property market, your competition, the listings, and the business community. In reviewing those things, you can make some clear choices and take up on the opportunities that you identify.
Whilst you may work for a brokerage within a particular location, there will be strengths and weaknesses to consider and address as you establish your career; make the right choices and build the momentum that you need as an individual broker and agent. The right choices, and some specific action steps will help you move ahead faster in the industry.
Understand your market
Every property market is unique and different; your professional services will need to be shaped into the local market conditions and the opportunities that you identify on the horizon. You can move through some choices relating to sales, leasing, and property management. You can also choose the property types that suit your skills and local property knowledge.
You can develop your skills according to the prevailing market conditions and the property types locally. All of these elements require a definite plan and a definite approach.
Here are some ideas to help you get started in your career in commercial real estate today:
Licensing laws – understand the property licensing laws that apply to commercial real estate in your town or city. Visit the local licensing authority for real estate agents and brokers so that you can see how the licenses are issued, the costs involved, and review the local knowledge required to pass the appropriate examinations. There will always be plenty of other competitors in the location chasing listings and clients. Your skills and your local property knowledge will need to be shaped over time to improve your listings and your commissions. There is an education process here and also the relevant licenses to obtain.
Location specialization – review the location in which you are going to work, and understand the property precincts of activity. You may be restricted in the locations where you can work, so look into the locations specifically and ask all the right questions before you make final decisions. The location or locations may have limitations when it comes to future listing opportunity. The size and the types of assets within the locations will dictate the levels of sales and leasing activity that you can attract.
Professional skills and property knowledge – in looking at a property zone or precinct, understand how you can build the professional skills and the local property knowledge to compete with the other agents. Some agents are better than others, and some of those agents will already dominate the location for particular reasons. That assessment needs to be done as soon as possible as you consider entering into the property market as a broker or agent.
Market specialization – it is very difficult to work with all property types from a sales or leasing perspective. There are just too many facts to understand and listings to cover. Look into the local property market so that you can specialize within certain property types. In that way you can become the agent of choice attracting more business and client opportunity.
Brokerage selection – some brokerages offer more support than others. They can also be very different when it comes to administration, listings, client contact processes, and commissions. There will also be a degree of marketing and promotional support driven from the brokerage level. Ask questions about how these things are done and who pays for each particular process. Marketing in commercial real estate today can be expensive. The listings should be promoted through vendor paid marketing in most cases. You will also require a personal and professional marketing process for yourself. The brokerage may dictate how personal marketing that is done. They may also apply certain costs to the process as part of your employment package. Regardless of who you work for and how many skills you think you may bring to your career, it will very likely take you at least 3 to 6 months to generate some momentum in listings, commissions, and clients. For some brokers and agents, it takes a lot longer. Be prepared for some hard work, and make sure that you choose the correct brokerage to support your actions and momentum.
Personal marketing plan – as mentioned earlier, you should develop a personal marketing program to send a message of attraction to the right clients, the investors, and the business leaders locally who may need your services. You want those people to remember you at the right time when they reach a property or commercial real estate challenge. On that basis your personal marketing plan will be very important. It should cover the media channels available to you both online and off-line. Understand how you can promote your services through your existing listings, your clients, and referrals; also use the fullest promotional opportunities available in social media. Spread your message professionally, personally, and comprehensively using the information from the local area. The property related knowledge that you have now as an industry specialist, and can generate from the location will be a point of difference in your marketing. Use it as leverage when you talk to do people and existing clients.
So there are plenty of things that you can do here to fast track your career in commercial real estate brokerage. Establish a plan to help you get started as a broker or an agent working on commercial property today. Refine that process over time to increase your traction and your career results.
The commercial property management segment of the market can be quite lucrative from a brokerage perspective. The clients that you serve in that way require specialized skills and services over an extended period of time. The complexity of the property can involve strategies and activities across the tenancy mix, leasing, vacancy resolve, maintenance management, asset planning, and income performance. There are many things to do and many ways to approach the challenges that the client may face.
So the message here is that you can and should develop a significant property management portfolio in your real estate brokerage. Take the time to develop a list of clients and prospects who will need your services in management at some stage in the future. Develop a prospecting process to open the doors to management opportunity.
The best way to attract commercial real estate clients and those needing management services is to directly prospect the owners of the best buildings in the best locations. It is always preferable to manage a building with multiple tenants in occupancy and multiple levels of income generation.
The bigger buildings and those with a complex tenant mix require expert management help. They also require complex software management programs to administer the required controls on leasing, maintenance, tenant mix, and income optimisation.
So there are some distinct advantages here to be optimised. In this audio recording, John Highman talks about the opportunities of commercial real estate property management in brokerage today. See if you can use some of the tips that John talks about to open up your brokerage opportunities in this way.
In every town or city there are things that you can find that relate to commercial property sales, leasing, or property management. You can get plenty of leads if you drill down into the location. Meet people and ask questions. A good conversation will take you closer to a property activity.
Having a good database will always help with new business generation. For the new people in the industry, the priority to establish a good database is high. Three to six months of effort will usually get a contact list established; from that point on it is a matter of keeping the data fresh and accurate.
To help my friends in the industry get established and stay on top of the right market trends, this audio will probably help. It talks about who you should know and why that should be done. Enjoy.
In commercial real estate brokerage today, you should segment your property market in a number of different ways so that you can find the opportunity that may exist currently and that which is predictable for the future.
Market segmentation allows you to work on the right property listings and people over a period of time strategically. In that way you can get faster results.
Some listings are better than others. Some property locations are better than others. You also have a mixture of clients and businesses within the location to consider and connect with. Look for the variations and look for the people. Research will always help you find your leads and opportunities.
The right focus?
So you have some work to do when it comes to selecting the opportunities for your brokerage business into the future. Here are some ideas to do that:
Segment the geographical location – understand your limitations when it comes to time, and on that basis focus your prospecting efforts within a specific geographical location. Determine the zone or the precinct by both suburbs and main roads. Within that defined area, you should have sufficient new business opportunity to work with over the coming five years.
Select the correct property types – some properties will be more active than others when it comes to inquiry and activity. Undertake an assessment of supply and demand that applies to the location and the property segments. Look for the property types that create the most opportunity and change over the predictable future. You can then adjust your specialization across office, industrial, or retail as the case may require.
Develop the required property knowledge – when you have selected the property types that you can relate to and understand, a degree of local property knowledge will always assist you in working with sellers and buyers, together also are with local landlords and tenants. Every listing negotiation and property pitch should contain a good degree of market evidence and property knowledge. Understand what’s happening in the local streets and within the quality buildings when it comes to inquiry and a transaction activity. It is hard for a client or prospect to refute or dispute local market evidence. Make sure that you have all the required facts relating to the property type and the location.
Focus on quality buildings – some buildings locally will create far more activity and interest from the property market. It is not too difficult to identify those buildings and undertake the necessary research and investigation. Check out the tenancy mix, the vacancy factors, and the market rentals. Soon you will see a pattern of activity and opportunity that you can work with.
So there are some good things that you can do here from an opportunity perspective in commercial real estate locally. Always refine your strategies and focus over time. Understand what works for you in prospecting and new business, and the frustrations that you may need to resolve.
The property market will change many times through the year. The opportunities that you require will exist through that change and churn.
When you work in commercial real estate brokerage, the local business community can be a great source of leads and opportunities at a personal level. Use that fact as a point of leverage in getting your brokerage business underway or at the times when you require more clients and listings.
It is a simple fact that local businesses are very close to or aware of the activities of property owners and property investment. Those local businesses will hear about things and see things before you do. They will know about changes and pressures; that is where they can be of help to you. In saying that, you really do need to approach them in the correct way.
So what can you do with this?
Consider your current area and city. Understand where things are changing and what the local business owners think about that. Try these ideas and strategies for starters:
Businesses under pressure – given the changes in the economy in most countries, some business segments are looking to adjust. Property occupation or use can be part of that adjustment. Ask questions locally of all the local business owners and occupiers; read the local newspapers. You will find those businesses thinking about change.
Higher occupancy costs – when the rents go up, some businesses will start to look for other locations and other buildings to occupy. Pay close attention to the levels of occupancy cost, rental, and outgoings as they apply to property occupation locally. Different building types will have different cost averages to watch and work with. That is where specialization can help you move into a market share and find the new business.
Expansion or contraction – when you look at single businesses in particular locations, you will see the physical signs of space and occupancy pressure. Perhaps those businesses with little or no storage capability, or not enough space. When you see the problem, make the call with some direct questions.
Landlord difficulties – some landlords are really challenging for their tenants from an occupation and lease position. Some landlords try to squeeze the maximum rental from the asset without due regard for property performance and presentation. When this becomes a factor of property occupation, then the tenant will soon be thinking about moving.
Property failure or age – older buildings create problems for tenants and customers. That pressure will bring about business frustration and movement. The same can be said when a new property development is evolving in an area. The older properties will start to feel the restraints of redundancy. That’s where you can get involved.
Vacancy factors – you will see precincts where the vacancy factors are rising. The same can be said with particular buildings. Some buildings will always be hard to lease. Some property precincts will become less attractive to business owners and investors. That being said, there are factors of change and redevelopment that will provide brokerage opportunity.
Strengths and weaknesses – when you look into a location you will see certain factors of strength that attract new tenants and occupancy. Those strengths can always feature in your property prospecting activities. Use of the strengths of a location and or property type to put some momentum and activation into your prospecting activities. Watch out for the weaknesses that apply to any zone or property type. The weaknesses in a property zone can give you some leverage, as people move and change out of the area.
So the message here is that you can use the local business community to find the opportunities relating to commercial property investment and brokerage. Ask plenty of questions, capture the information into your database, and keep in regular contact with the right people.
In commercial real estate brokerage, you can find plenty of opportunity locally when you delve into the factors that support and drive the business community. When you understand the business community, you can turn that understanding into property leasing and sales activity.
Property Investments thrive and change when the local businesses are growing and relocating. As part of your brokerage prospecting model, get to know what businesses are doing and what they are thinking when it comes to growth and location.
Don’t be ‘Average’
Far too many agents and brokers wait for the listing opportunity to come to them through some inbound telephone call to the local real estate office; that is the slow way to grow market share.
If you want to get anywhere faster in our industry, then get out into the property market daily and talk to local business owners.
Find out what they are thinking about the pressures of their business and industry segment; some business segments are more active than others and that is what you can work with.
Ask questions about:
More or less space
Head office changes or merges
New businesses moving into the location
Improvements serving the business needs
Access to transport or end user markets
Lease duration or end of lease
The decision maker involved in finding new business locations
As an extension of this idea, you can work with particular types of businesses such as:
Bulky goods warehousing
So when you put these variables into a ‘local area equation’ of prospecting for new business, you can ask some valuable questions about business intentions, shifts, pressures, and requirements. Don’t be afraid to talk to new local people.
Local area business
Most of your new business will come from the local area. You want people to remember you so get out into your zone or territory and talk to the right people in a positive and direct way. Do these things:
Create a list of streets for your location where the better businesses are located.
Segment the businesses in size or type.
Research the leaders of each business before you make the call or contact.
Look for any property pressures in the location by travelling the streets and looking for the tell-tale signs of pressured property occupancy.
Somewhere in that owner/occupant awareness, you will find property change and churn requirements. Grow your property market on the basis of local area awareness. Talk to more people every day and build your business directly.
You will hear it frequently said that cold calling just has to be a part of a real estate prospecting model. Many agents and brokers struggle with the process and never really get it under control. That’s where the frustration is for many; they simply can’t get the skills under control or perhaps the focus is lacking.
One thing needs to be said here if your real estate business is important to you. The issue is that you must practice your skills at making calls and lots of them. There are plenty of people to reach out to and many ways to do that.
Focus Your Call Routine This Way
Here are some valuable ways to get things under control:
Best time of day – Choose the best time of day to make your calls. That will be the time when you can reliably get your calls done without disruption. Certainly you have to bend the rules sometimes when it comes to making calls because some deals and some client matters cannot be put off. Understand how you like to do your work and when you like to do that. Where can you get 2 or 3 hours per day to make your calls? The morning is perhaps the best time for most people.
Relevance in conversation – If you want people to listen to you, then you must have some relevant conversational facts to talk about. Those facts should be locally biased and interesting. Be prepared to talk about local property trends and changes. Be prepared to talk about identified changes that will bring interest and benefit to your prospect and client base.
Practice your words – Some words work considerably better than others when it comes to creating flow and interest in conversation. You can get some valuable books about ‘Words that Sell’, and ‘Phrases that Sell’. Merge some of those word concepts into your conversations and client contact methods. Practice will help you improve in that way.
Have a few stories to tell – Local stories about property issues and changes will always be valuable as you talk to many local people. Over the course of a year you can capture many good stories about property issues and changes. Choose the best stories. Master the art of storytelling; that’s what good salespeople do all the time.
Make lots of calls – Every day you need to make a reasonable volume of calls; that process will require research and a good database to track your progress. In a period of 3 hours you should be able to make 40 to 50 calls. If you are using the business telephone book to do that, the momentum you create will be valuable to the growth of your real estate business.
Track your progress as you make the calls – Make notes in your database of what people have said and what you decided to do for the people you have connected with. You can talk about call progress and previous comments when you next reach out to the same people. Familiarity will help you grow good levels of trust and respect in the people that matter.
Qualify the people in conversation – Good questions will help you know if you can be of help to the people that you call. Determine your relevance to them and when they will best benefit from your future advice. Tell them how you can help them and when you should be talking with them again. If you can see an immediate or pending need, create a meeting. The person to person contact process in commercial real estate is really important.
So there are some good things that you can do here with cold calling and commercial real estate prospecting. Are you up to the challenge of making the calls and providing the best property service for your local area? Show respect in your conversations with the people that will take your call and speak with you. Respect builds trust. That is how you can move ahead in your local area as a top agent.
When you ask the right questions in commercial real estate brokerage you can get the facts, and more importantly, show the client or prospect that you really know what you are talking about.
The Best Questions Get Results
The right questions will highlight your knowledge and your relevance as an agent. The clients that we serve like to work with top agents for the location. Is that you? How can you improve your real estate profile and business? You can ask quality questions.
When you think about the separate sections of the industry and the different property types, there are plenty of focus points that you can delve into as part of that specialization process. For example, you can look at the topic mixes between:
Investment ownership and property sales
Investment performance and leasing
Property management strategies and leasing or cash flow management
In asking these deeper questions you should understand these things:
What are the conditions of the local property market? – Things always change in commercial property so keep abreast of those things and where the pressures are occurring. You are the problem solver so be prepared to build your real estate business in that way.
What is a prospect or client to you? – When you know what a client or prospect is you can match your prospecting efforts and questions. You will understand what to say and when to say it.
How should you qualify a prospect? – When you know what a prospect looks like, where they come from, and what they are looking for, you will understand the best ways to drill down in your questioning and qualify them for your business and services.
What does a prospect or client want from you? – Delve into the client’s situation so you know what they need by way of property assistance. Sometimes you will know the complexity of the property challenge more than the client.
What are the pressures of the local property market today? – You are a solution provider, so you should know where the local property pressures are and how you can help with that.
When do they need your help? – They say that commercial real estate is a service industry, but timing has a lot to do with the conversions of property listings and clients. There are good times to solve property problems, and difficult times. Do a full market assessment to get those issues under control.
What can you do that is special? – There is no point in being ordinary in commercial real estate brokerage. Develop your relevance so you can stand out in your property market as the ‘Agent of Choice’.
In simple terms you can drill down into issues and match your questions to the property and the client or prospect situation. I go back to the point here that the right questions will help you get a lot closer to the issues that can convert a listing.
Questions in commercial real estate are always there to be asked and actioned. Ask better questions and match your services as a broker or agent to the answers that you get back.
In commercial real estate brokerage, you need plenty of clients to support your listing and commission activity. You also need new prospects and opportunities to fill the gaps when some of your clients move on or leave the industry.
Given that we are soon to be starting another calendar year, it is time to have a look at a new and fresh approach to prospecting and client networking. This should be a personal priority for all real estate agents and brokers. This is the best time of year to get your client activities and database directions set for the next 12 months.
Here are some facts that relate to the market today and the clients we work with:
The ‘market noise’ from competing agents will always be significant. Many of our top clients will be working with other real estate agencies or at least know of some other top agents locally. This is a continual threat to our market share that can only be addressed by relevant and constant contact with the clients that we know. That is why property specialization is such a critical process in building listing opportunity. When the time comes for the client to move on a property matter they will usually choose the best agent with a dominant market share within the location and the property type. That is why general real estate agents and brokers never really develop dominant levels of business.
Winning a listing today is not entirely about providing discounts or inflating the property price to attract the clients business. Winning a listing is all about packaging the property to attract the maximum interest and facilitate inspections. High prices and higher rentals will not do that. Understand the prevailing market conditions and how you can work with that to solve the property challenge for your clients and prospects. Show the client the true facts of the market as they apply to the property type and location. Tell some stories relating to both successes and failures within the property category.
If you have a property that has been on the market for a long time, it is time to seriously adjust and reduce the price and or the rental structure in line with market conditions. Clients are not fools when it comes to true market conditions; they want results. They will usually understand that an inflated price or rental will make the marketing process quite difficult, so your pitch or presentation needs to tell the right story and provide the right market evidence. Any property with an inflated price or rental will soon become stale on the market; stale listings are usually quoted by top agents as marketing weaknesses. It is easy to show clients how other overpriced listings have been poorly marketed and overlooked by buyers and tenants. If the client is still unrealistic on price or rental expectations, it may be time to walk away from the listing and let some other agency or brokerage waste their time.
Every quality listing should be exclusively marketed. As part of that process, you should be asking for and attracting vendor paid marketing funds. Structure your sales pitch and presentations accordingly. Marketing dollars spent will have a lot to do with your real estate profile locally.
Working within these very simple and yet important facts, it is time to look at the ways you can attract new clients and listing opportunities. As I said earlier, the change in the calendar year is upon us and certainly will give us the opportunity for a new business direction and a freshening of our client connection process.
Reaching Out for Clients
Here are some tips to help you with reaching out to new clients and prospects:
Visit the people within your current database with the deliberate intention of asking for referral business and opportunities.
Identify the bankers and financiers within your town or city that have an interest in commercial industrial or retail property. Get to know those people at a personal level.
Contact all local accountants and lawyers locally that appear to be reasonably successful with their business activities. They are likely to have many clients active or interested in commercial property.
Identify the entire listings list active with your competitors. Use those listings as leverage to talk to other property owners nearby. Some of those property owners may like to compete with the current listing in the same location.
Identify the people that have purchased investment property within the last 3 to 5 years. They are likely to be active again within the next two or three years. They may wish to buy, sell, lease, or develop.
Check out the property development activity at the local council. Also check out the changes to zoning and property usage. All of these things could be solid foundations for project marketing, future sales and leasing activity.
In our industry there are many leads and opportunities available at any point in time. It is simply a matter of digging deep enough into the marketplace, the people, and the listings. Opportunities in commercial real estate are always available and it is simply a matter of asking the right questions to the right people.
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