Principles of Client Communication in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

In commercial real estate in most towns and cities there are plenty of prospects and clients to find and work with.  The issue is how do you find them and what do you do with those people over time?  It is a key question to understand. (NB – if you are struggling with your client list, you can get more tips and ideas in Snapshot right here – its free)

In this audio program I share the realities of client communication and give you some good ideas to work with when it comes to local property information that would be of use to your clients.

Strategies to Help Clients

Learn the various ways you can market your real estate services from a base of local property information.  Show the client that you are the local property expert.

You can get the audio right here:

The Things I Have Learned About Clients in Commercial Real Estate

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

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

Understand them first and foremost

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

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

High value clients

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

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

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

So, where can you start with all this?

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

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

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

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

Brand Marketing Strategy in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Do you want to lift your brand locally in commercial real estate sales?  You will need a plan to achieve that.  Each day you can then take more steps towards the top agent status that you require.

 

Why is a brand so important in commercial real estate brokerage today?  Well, the fact of the matter is that you really want the prospects and clients in the local area to remember you.  Your brand, your professional skills and your local area knowledge are all part of that.

 

There are plenty of competing agents around you all chasing the top clients and prospects.  Deliberately stamp your brand on the local property market.  Make an impression of the highest professional standards.

 

The clients and prospects today are smart; they will very likely have made their inquiries and undertaken their investigations to determine who is the best agent to help them with their sales or purchase requirement.  In the presentation or listing pitch that they are asking you to provide, they are testing you.

 

They want you to demonstrate your ideas and confirm that you are the best choice of agent to help them.  Are you up to the challenge?  Can you prove that you are relevant and special to the client’s situation?  What are your points of difference?

 

Here are some ideas to help you to lift your profile as a top broker or agent in investment sales:

 

  1. Canvas the quality buildings in the locationtalk to all the occupants in the best buildings in your territory and the priority precincts. Give the facts of the buildings or assets, the location, and the leases, look at how you can help with investment improvement or new property purchase.  You can service both purchasers or sellers (not at the same time though – you can only have one client).  Your services can be ‘tweaked’ accordingly for the clients that you believe have the most opportunity for you; match your sales knowledge and local area coverage into those client types.  You can be a buyer’s agent or a seller’s agent.  Specialization helps in each case.
  2. Talk to specific property owners of high value – perhaps the clients that you know own multiple properties locally. Perhaps they spread their investment risk across different property types.  Portfolio ownership and investment performance is quite special today.
  3. Create a VIP list within your database – those people are the very special prospects and clients that you will be servicing at a higher level over time. Develop some special VIP services to achieve that.
  4. Hold regular industry updates – you can hold industry briefings for your best clients and prospects on a quarterly or half yearly basis. Treat them differently and give them plenty of comparisons and case studies from the location and the recent transactions.  Have a few stories to tell from the local region.
  5. Establish an online marketing strategy incorporating social media – as you talk to more people from the region, share your ideas with them through social media. Your online presence today is really important; don’t just market your listings, but also market yourself.

 

In building your brokerage brand and your personal profile locally, search through all the property ownership records and the business registers to start your contact processes in a complete and logical way.

 

Don’t leave one property owner out of your contact processes.  Build your brand with the people that own the assets.  List your properties exclusively and control your listing stock.

 

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

The All Powerful Networking Event Concept for New Business in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

In commercial real estate brokerage, you can and should mix and match your prospecting activities to the market conditions and target market.  You can get involved in networking events and meet new people that way.

In this audio program, John Highman talks about the important prospecting concepts that help brokerage growth and opportunity.

How to Build Better Business Relationships in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

better business relationships in commercial real estate sml

In commercial real estate brokerage I frequently get asked about how new agents can find the right people and clients to serve in their town or city.  The question is so common that I just wonder why those salespeople do not know the obvious or take so long to understand it.  The industry is similar to many others; diligent focus and work is required at a personal level to find new business, and when that happens, results occur.

The new business is always out there to attract and convert across sales, leasing, and property management.  Yes, I know it takes time, but the diligence and actions of ‘top agents’ always shines through when it comes to finding the best clients, properties, and commissions.

It is my firm belief that you cannot be a top agent without some personal plan of prospecting action that you implement every day and refine over time.  Regular actions create habits, and habits in our business change listing conversions and commissions.

I have put together some notes here in pdf for building new client relationships in commercial real estate brokerage.

5 Handy Tips for Attracting More Commercial Real Estate Sales and Leasing Deals

commercial real estate fee negotiation.
Capture the listings and commissions

We all know and expect that to get anywhere in a sales related career you have to work hard.  Commercial real estate brokerage is like that.  Yes, you do have to work hard, however if you have a systematic approach to what you do, things will improve dramatically and in a better way.  In simple terms you can set some rules to the brokerage process.

Here are some tips from our online articles.

Here are some specific facts to help you get your career under control and hence improve your results:

  1. One listing leads to another – If you list quality properties, you will find that the marketing process of one listing will let you talk to many people locally.  You will also have some good enquiry coming towards you.  Carefully capture and nurture the leads and information that you get from all marketing campaigns.  Build your database and client base from all your marketing campaigns.
  2. Directed marketing – When you win a listing it is the start of the marketing process.  Quite a few decisions need to be made about target market and promotional strategies.  Maximum effort can be applied to an exclusive listing; however you do need vendor paid funds to attract volumes of attention in the campaign.  With most property types you will need about 1% of the value of the property to be applied to the marketing campaign.  Spend the money wisely and directly on promotional efforts that are well considered.
  3. Marketing variations – Any one good quality property should be marketed in a few different formats; that includes advertising layout and content.  That then allows you to promote the same property more effectively on different websites and industry portals.  Some brokerages have a professional copywriter overseeing and helping with advertising copy.  Whilst it is an expense to every campaign, it can be justified and the rewards are many.  Add the specialised service of a professional copywriter to your vendor paid marketing budgets.
  4. Refreshing listings – Every 14 days of a marketing campaign, refresh the listing with different photographs and promotional copy.  Include as part of that a modification of price or rent if those factors are published in the campaign.  To do this you will need a client that is conditioned to market conditions and inspection results.  The message here is that a change to marketing will help with enquiries coming back in.
  5. Feedback – When you conduct an inspection or get an enquiry from a qualified prospect, record the results in client feedback form.  At the end of each week you can use the form as a way of updating the client and also conditioning them to the facts of the market.  The good thing here is that the comments given are from other people and not you.  You are just the ‘messenger’.  When handled correctly you can position the client and the property for a shorter time on market and an effective deal negotiation when it starts.

From these things you can see that the property marketing process is one of considerable planning and process.  Every listing should be positioned for real momentum and enquiry opportunity.