In commercial real estate, there is a lot of difference between the servicing requirements behind exclusive listings versus open listings. Any open listing situation is virtually an experiment on the part of the client and they will have minimal commitment to you as the salesperson or agent helping them. The client will generally be listening to many agents and trusting none.
So it is the exclusive listings that will bring us better quality stock and trusting clients. That being said, it is important that we give our clients reasons to choose the exclusive listing method of sale or lease. As part of the sales presentation or pitch process, you should have some solid reasons to recommend an exclusive listing process with your agency. Why are you better than other agents?
Many agents will choose or recommend the exclusive listing method to the client, and then make some fairly generic statements regards the reasons to choose an exclusive listing process with their agency. Just about every experienced property investor has heard a variation of the following:
We know the local area very well.
We have sold or leased a lot of property recently.
We have been in the area a long time.
We are the best agent in the local area to sell or lease this property.
We have the property knowledge to do the job for you.
We have good people in your agency that will move the property for you.
We have relationships with the other agencies across the country and they will also market your property.
We will market the property and our cost.
We will fully target your requirements of price range and timing.
We will lower the commission because you are a good client.
I will keep you fully informed.
We are the best agency to sell this property for you.
None of this will make an impact on an experienced property owner or business proprietor. The listing decision will be made on your relevance to help them and the confidence that you give them.
It is quite disturbing when you look at this list to understand how generically similar a lot of agents and salespeople are when they do their sales pitch. Top agents will go a lot further than the generic sales pitch approach. Top agents will drill down into the matters that really count regards the property and its position in the local area. They will also come up with very specific strategies to market, inspect, and negotiate the single listing. Clients really do know when they are dealing with top agents.
So here are some tips to help you service your exclusive listing clients.
Tell them how you will be marketing the property and show them some solid examples of that process. Give them some choices in the marketing approach whilst still making your recommendations.
Take the client to the property and walk them through the inspection process as you see it, explaining how you will build on the features of the property and the improvements.
In each week of the exclusive listing marketing campaign, you will need to be connecting with the client with a updates regards inspections and enquiry. The client should be spoken to at least every two days throughout the entire listing agency period. If nothing has occurred from any part of the planned marketing activity, it is still important that the client knows that. Lack of information will turn them against you and make any future negotiations difficult.
When an inspection has occurred with the property, direct feedback should be given to the client. This third party feedback will be valuable in helping you condition the client to the prevailing market conditions.
Clients are always important to a commercial real estate agent. In times of a slower property market, is imperative that we provide high levels of interaction and service at all times. In this way you will achieve better results with all of your listings, and the chance for referral business at a later time.
How can you close more property presentations and sales pitches? The pitches that we do as real estate agents in the one transaction are numerous. Think about these to name a few:
Pitch to get a meeting with the property owner
Pitch to get a listing opportunity
Negotiate on the listing creation
Sell the advertising package
Attract the right enquiry
Present the property to the buyer
Negotiate and close on the buyers offer
Negotiate with the seller regards the offer from the buyer
One of the real secrets in pitching your services or offering is to help put the client or other party in some degree of perceived control. In simple terms you give the client some options to consider around the key decision. When the client has options, they do not feel like they are being closed. The key decision becomes simpler and easier. I call this the ‘Option factor’.
The nature of the human mind and psyche is that it does not want to be forced or manipulated. You can use this ‘Option factor’ as a tool of negotiation in commercial real estate sales and leasing.
When you work in commercial real estate sales and leasing, the territory dominance that you achieve is largely created by your own personal endeavours.
There are far too many ordinary salespeople out there today. When the property owner wants to sell or lease their property they really do need the agent with territory dominance. That is the agent that knows:
Where the enquiry is coming from
What the enquiry is looking for
The limitations on finance in the local market
The marketing campaigns that really work
What deals are being done and on what basis
How to draw in the right target market for the property.
When to close in on a genuine enquiry from a buyer or tenant
Has the majority of quality property listed in the local area
Whilst every agent should know and provide these things, the reality is that many do not do well on the performance specifics.
Looking at these simple issues, they are all related to things that you as the real estate agent can and should take to the seller or property owner as part of the sale or leasing campaign. This is where value and service stands alone as the best way to attract the client to your specific property solutions. Market and territory dominance supported by knowledge and experience will help you attract more quality listings.
When working as a commercial real estate agent you will see many types of property in many situations and levels of quality. When it comes to selling the property, there is a factor known as the ‘liquidity factor’, and it will impact the sale and price outcome. In simple terms the ‘liquidity factor’ is the time it can take to sell the property.
By comparison to other types of investment, commercial property has a high liquidity factor as it takes time to sell it; usually days or weeks. The share market as an investment type is just the opposite with a low liquidity factor, as shares can be sold almost within the hour. People choose to invest in commercial property as it is relatively stable and less volatile than shares. There is however the liquidity factor to contend with when it comes to property sale time.
It pays to take the seller of the property through the liquidity discussion so the right choices are made when you take the property to the market for sale.
Essentially the ‘liquidity factor’ is all about the time the property will take to sell. It is driven by things such as these:
Location of the property
Size of the property
Amount of money required to purchase the property
Lease profiles and documentation
The age of the property in the local area
Changes to the population locally
Changes to the business sentiment locally
Methods of sale to be adopted
Identity of the property in the local area
Price pressures locally
Comparable or competing properties in the local area
All of these factors will have positives and negatives when it comes to the time of sale. Importantly it is up to you as the real estate agent to help the seller understand the ‘liquidity’ of the property and how it will impact the choices of property sale.
As a real estate agent myself of many years, I hear the words ‘territory domination’ used in many ways. Every experienced sales person and agent wants to dominate their territory and the competition agents in the area. So what does it mean? You can check out some of my thoughts below and also at http://www.commercial-realestate-training.com/
Here are a few things that it means to me:
Getting a greater share than anyone else in quality enquiry for property to buy or rent
Having more landlords coming to you to rent or lease their property
Having more sellers coming to you to sell their commercial real estate
Having the best quality listings in the local area on your books to sell or rent
Having no problem at all in converting new business to exclusive listings of a reasonable length of time
Attracting other agents unsold or unrented listings to you for a fresh listing
Having the best salespeople with other agents ring you up to look for a job
Every agent would like most of these facts and events in their business. So just how do you get to the pinnacle of territory domination as a real estate agent? After working with the top agencies and with some great people over the years I have set some rules or secrets to the process:
Work hard personally at prospecting each and every day in your business
Get as many quality signs into your territory as possible on good quality listings
Service your listings with great attention to detail and target market every single listing
Monitor your marketing efforts so you know what works and what doesn’t
Use the internet as a massive marketing tool and keep abreast of the changes and systems evolving from it
Send out success letters to property owners and businesses around every property you sell or lease
Concentrate on two markets of people, the business owners and leaders, and the property owners and investors. Both of them will give you significant opportunity
Set up a constant contact process of keeping in touch every 90 days with prospects so you are top of mind.
Be honest, trustworthy, knowledgeable, and skilful in your commercial real estate talents
Great salespeople create great market share. Start working on these things right now. Great salespeople take control of their own destiny.
Do you want more commissions and listings? You simply have to be great at prospecting and cold calling. The rest of your business will follow.
Guess what? Most real estate agents and brokers are not sufficiently disciplined to do the right levels of prospecting on a daily basis. That is the most significant opportunity that exists in the property industry; you just have to be better than the rest at prospecting. Sure listing, negotiating, and closing are other important skills, but they will come as a natural by-product of prospecting.
Focus on cold calling and prospecting. So how do you do this? You set some prospecting rules and you start practice. The words ‘rules’ and ‘practice’ are another couple of problem words for many in the industry. Many struggle with doing both.
So let’s get away from the negative and presume you have the determination, the focus, and the drive to prospect for new business on a daily basis. Here is a ‘killer prospecting model’ that really works. The rest will be up to you. This model takes 3 hours a day, 5 days per week.
There are no gaps and Saturdays and Sundays are the only days off in the prospecting process. That is the first rule; probably the most important.
The second rule in the process is that you must prospect on the telephone in the morning because after that you will be distracted by other things and not stick to it. Without going deeply into it, there are established facts of personal performance in business that show the morning is the right time to do prospecting.
Get away from setting any meetings in the morning. Tell the boss that you prospect at that time and that you would prefer to set meetings with him and anyone else in the afternoons. Even meetings with clients and prospects should not occur in the morning unless it is an absolute necessity. The only reason to break the rule is if the meeting is for an active deal that is closing.
The 3 hours of prospecting each day in the office is done from the telephone. In commercial real estate you are predominantly dealing with business people and they generally will take your call if commercial real estate is an issue for them. If it is not an issue then you simply move on. Do not set up a meeting with someone who has no interest; remember that your time is precious.
Drop the cold calling scripts and use your own words; that will be the way you will feel comfortable with the process. Use trigger words to flow the discussion, but do not use scripts as the listener will sense the processes and turn off.
Know that it takes you about 20 minutes of cold calling every day to get the process into momentum. Once you are through the 20 minutes you must keep going and not stop for 2.5 hours. In that way you will make progress.
Find a quiet place to make your calls so that you can focus without distraction. Your success in tele-prospecting depends on it.
Research your call list the night before so you do not waste critical call time in research. This is critical to the call process.
Create a series of simple forms to use in the call process so that you can capture the results later in the database. You must not stop the call momentum.
Try to contact 10 new people on the telephone each day. If they are not in the office when you call then simply make a note to call back. You should be able to make 50 calls in 3 hours.
Your only reason for calling prospects is to see if they have a need or an interest in commercial property. When you really understand that yourself, then the calls will be easier and the quality of the discussion will be higher.
Have a great database to record everything. Use something that you are comfortable with. At the basic end of the database alternatives you can use Microsoft Outlook, or Access. Both are useful, low cost and user friendly. When you want to move to something more relevant to the property industry you can spend many hundreds dollars; personally I believe you can do very well with the basics providing you know how to use a computer well (in that you have no choice).
These are the rules that you need to set in your cold call prospecting. After you set the rules, you start the practice and you will need to do that for a couple of weeks until things are moving well. To your success in commercial real estate prospecting! You can get more detail on prospecting and cold calling in real estate here at http://www.commercial-realestate-training.com/