Those clients that fail to adjust to market circumstances deserve what they get (or fail to get). The best clients will always listen to market circumstances and allow their agent to refresh the property and push on with other marketing and pricing ideas.
A Brokers Job
Our job is to match the strengths of the property listing into the market conditions and make things happen. It is also our job to resolve the weaknesses that may be present in the property so results can happen with inquiries, inspections, or offers. There are some real skills to be tuned and developed there.
In this audio program, John Highman talks about the ways that you can and should approach those difficult commercial property listings to get better results.
In commercial real estate today, most of your results (in commissions and listings) will be created through specific involvement with just the top 20% of your clients. Understanding just who are the clients in the top 20% is the important issue to work through. You could say that they are the VIP clients that you should be working with.
The 80/20 concept is called the ‘Pareto Principle’ and it was identified as a general business rule back in the early 1900’s. So what is it? It is a known fact of business and a proven equation when you are looking to covert more results from your efforts. You can use the rule quite comfortably in commercial leasing, sales, and property management.
So we move the concept into commercial real estate for your location and apply it to your business. It doesn’t really matter how many clients you have in your database now, it is the top 20% that you need to identify and then comprehensively service over time. Approximately 80% of your revenue activity will come from that group of elite clients.
In this audio program, John Highman talks about the 80/20 rule and how you can work with it. You can listen to the program or download it below.
Build some sales magnetism in commercial property. Here are the rules to help with this idea:
Your listing will be location based. When the property comes to the market, get into the location and talk to lots of local people. Tell them about the new listing, why it could be important to them, and how you can help with more information.
Target market your properties. Every listing can be taken to certain business owners, investors, and industry professionals. Make this a special part of your client services. Define the target market as you pitch for the listing, and then comprehensively connect with the target market through the campaign.
The people that inspect your property listings should be comprehensively qualified so you can show them other things as they come to market. It is interesting to remember that the best listings create the best leads and prospect inquiry. If you lift your listing focus for that very reason, you will find that your database will grow faster and with higher conversion factors.
Choose the best method of sale and particularly use the exclusive listing process. When you look at any subject property, the methods of sale that you use should be high on inquiry generation and inspection creation. Do you know what types of campaigns and methods of sale are better than others currently?
Help your clients succeed. A successful outcome for your clients could be a higher price or rent, a shorter time on market, or a timely sale that fits into their business activities and investment plans.
When you seriously think about these things, you will soon understand that most agents and brokers are very ordinary. They don’t do much with the listings that they win. What a mistake! They list, advertise, then hope for a result. That is the generic marketing approach; it doesn’t do anything for your brokerage profile or client base.
Commissions get easier in commercial real estate when you understand that one single listing or one deal can easily be used as the foundation for other things and particularly opportunities. That’s when you can refine your actions and focus.
Take your single client, listing, or transaction and open up the opportunities that exist around you.
Need some more real estate business?
Here are the facts and some valuable ideas:
A good listing in any location can be the basis of making lots of calls to property owners in your town or city. Talk about your listings with the local people.
A signboard that you place on a property will be the foundation of connecting with nearby business owners and property owners. A signboard is a great business tool and will give you conversational leverage locally.
A quality property listing will (or should) be the origin of a door knocking program in your business precincts or territory. Get into your local area and talk to people about your listing stock.
Every time you get a call from an advertisement, ask the person calling you about what they have seen locally. They may have looked at other properties and therefore be an active buyer or tenant.
When you hold a property inspection, get the fuller perspective from the inspecting party about where they are now, what they are doing, where they want to be with their property needs, and when they have to do something. Ask good questions and make lots of notes.
List exclusively so that you can control your listing stock. Some agents just take on open listings for the sake of having a property on their books. Whilst I can understand the basic idea, open listings give you little leverage and ability to grow your market share. Exclusivity is the only thing with listing that will help you build your real estate business.
Know the market locally. Your comprehensive awareness of the listings, deals, negotiations, and time on market will help you through any client conversation and listing process. Be prepared to quote the facts.
Build on your successes and tell the ‘world’. When you have done a deal, get the message out to your location, your database, and your clients. Let people know that you are the person that has created a result. Encourage them to talk to you and discuss what happened.
Look for referrals in each contact and relationship. Use the power of referral business to grow your database with ‘warm contacts’. It is very easy to open a new opportunity from the basis of a referral.
This list is just the start of the process, and particularly so when you look at all the opportunities that are around you.
Every conversation, every lead, and client relationship can be expanded into something else. Ask and you shall receive.
In commercial real estate brokerage today, you will always be on the lookout for new listings and new clients. One strategy to consider that is well proven and successful is that of marketing your services around general location of other agent’s boards. The strategy is quite simple and yet effective.
So how does this work? When another agent or broker places a signboard on a property within your territory or location, you can approach the other property owners and business proprietors in the immediate location and particularly with the adjoining properties. They may like to compete with that new listing nearby. You can be the person to help them.
The logic works
This listing and prospecting strategy is based on the logic and premise that one listing will create local area interest and churn. You can help with that; you can provide solid reasons for property owners that the strategy would work locally for different property types. Build your marketing strategy around that.
Other property owners in the area may consider competing with the other brokerage competition and their listing. Other business owners in the area may consider taking property action as part of the other local listing. Market yourself into the location based on those two assumed situations; you will find leads and changes in that way.
Factor of attraction
You could say that this is potentially a real factor of attraction when it comes to new business generation. When you understand the process and how it works, you can attract your new business opportunities from in and around the activities of other agents through your listing territory and city. Use their listings to find more property churn nearby.
To establish the system of your business conversion and listing attraction, you will need to track all of the new listings with your competitors as they come to market. As soon as they place a signboard on a property, you then canvass the street and the location personally.
Assess the local area
Given that there are plenty of signboards within your location, you can use these signboards as points of leverage to get started and to attract other listings from the location. There are some rules to make this work:
Get personally involved – When another agent places a signboard in a street or on a particular building, get into the location and meet with the local business owners. Also separately and directly approach the property owners in each case; this will require a degree of research so be prepared to put in the effort. Talk to local people about how you can help them with their property needs at the same time as the other listing may be on the market. One property listing will create local property interest; you can market your services on the property churn. The extra new listing that you can create in the location can be positioned competitively and keenly for alternative property marketing. Your listing can compete competitively with other listings in the immediate location. Your listing presentation and service pitch should be structured accordingly, and that is to build on the momentum of the other listings. Explain to your clients and prospects how your marketing process will integrate into the area whilst providing leverage and greater value to the target market with price, rental, or improvements.
Demand exclusivity – To make this work consistently, you will need to convert your listings exclusively. There is no point in focusing your efforts on listing marketing and local area coverage unless you have exclusivity. Many agents and brokers struggle with this concept and can’t sell their services ‘exclusively’; exclusivity is the only way to dominate market share as a relevant and important agent for the location. When you have an exclusive listing, you can drive new business using unique and special marketing processes.
Focus on quality – A good listing will help you stand out as the agent of choice for the targeted segment and the location or territory. A quality listing should be comprehensively marketed locally at a personal level, and then comprehensively both online, and offline. The marketing process and the campaign that you create will involve vendor paid marketing funds. Given all of these facts, your listing pitch needs to incorporate the base strategy of exclusivity and vendor paid marketing, giving the client plenty of reasons why that will be so important to their achieved price and time on market.
Target marketing – With every listing that you pitch for focus on the target market and help the client see that factor as being critical to the momentum they require. Show the client exactly where that target market will be located and how you will tap into that category effectively and directly. When the client can see that you totally understand the target market and how to tap into it, your listing conversions will be easier to achieve.
So you can now see why you should have some quite specific prospecting and listing strategies that you can improve on and develop over time. Show the local area why you are the agent of choice, doing that through relevant and real marketing for the location and the target audience.
Walk away when you have to
As a final point here, be prepared to walk away from listings and clients where the ‘package of property’ seems unrealistic and unmatched to prevailing ‘market’ conditions. Your time is precious, so only take on the clients and properties that offer potential.
In commercial real estate brokerage, things change frequently throughout the year. The only object or fact that you can control is your response to the property market and its changes. There is always opportunity in change, but you have to dig for it. Local property market awareness will help your responses.
What do you do?
It doesn’t matter whether you are specializing in sales, leasing or property management, the location changes and the market sentiment will be there for you to work with and turn into commissions and or leads. It is a valuable process to monitor your activities each day and direct them into particular strategies that you can shape and refine.
How do you rank with these?
Here are some specific ideas that can really help drive better results for agents and brokers. See how you rank with these ‘change factors’:
What you say – Given that we are communicating with people every day, what you say and how you say it will be a great leverage factor in business conversions. Learn about the conversational factors in telephone prospecting, negotiating, pitching and presenting. Notably all of those situations are quite special in our industry. Develop the voice and the right words that support conversational confidence with people.
Property market awareness – Check out the local listings and the trends in enquiry, prices, and marketing strategies. Understand just what formula is creating the best enquiry and momentum towards a successful sale or lease situation. Watch the top agents in your location so you can see the strategies and differences that are potentially giving them the edge in listing conversion.
Recent enquiry – Clients like to hear about recent levels of property enquiry. If you are tracking the enquiry numbers for your exclusive campaigns, you will have some valuable information that can influence the listing processes with your clients. Also assess the numbers of people that you are talking to every day. Lift your contact numbers on a daily basis; set some contact benchmarks that you can improve given the available time.
Marketing solutions – There are many ways to market a property today. How can you make your promotional processes more specific and relevant? What can you do to leverage more enquiries from the advertising that you have both online and offline? There are many ways to creatively and professionally improve property marketing. Try better photographs, creative promotional copy professionally created, layouts, keywords related to your area and property type, and place the property in a matrix of online portals, social media, and database newsletters.
From these four simple factors you can see why personal performance is a big thing in commercial real estate brokerage today.
Most of the property market ‘slumps’ are a reflection on personal agent or broker performance rather than true market conditions. Are you up to the challenge?
To get a reasonable market share around you in commercial real estate brokerage you should consider your daily efforts and actions. Understand what you are doing and not doing. Understand the things that are wasting your time. From that point it is just a matter of change.
Caution! Some agents and brokers never change their ‘problem’ habits, and on that basis they struggle for their entire career. Things don’t need to be that way.
How’s Your Business?
Perhaps you are wasting your own time in real estate due to a lack of process and quality in your business systems? So it is time to step up to move into a better level of property performance. It’s a good year in the industry and there are things out in the market to be done.
If you are lacking listings, enquiries and clients, then you are likely to be lacking good business processes centred on the best clients and properties. Here are some ideas to help you resolve that:
Think about and action your prospecting around your listings – When you have a listing in your area and within your property speciality, you have something to work with. Use your listings as reasons to talk to others in the street or suburb. Remember that business owners need to relocate from time to time, and property investors look to upgrading their portfolios. Help those people remember you at the right time by getting in contact and staying in contact in a relevant way.
Referrals – When you have finished a successful transaction you will have the opportunity to explore referrals, leads, and repeat business. If the client is satisfied with your professional efforts then there are things to do with referrals and leads. Help other people to direct you to the next clients and property owners that you can serve.
Previous clients – Go back in your sale and leasing records to find those people that you and or your business has helped over the last 5 years. It is likely that some of those people are still active in the property market. Do they want some more help?
Other agent’s clients – Don’t be afraid of positioning yourself with clients that currently use other agents and brokers. There could be some reasons for those clients choosing a different agent. Professionalism will help you connect with those people and stay in their memory for the right reasons.
FSBO – This is a strange market segment, although a useful one. Some FSBO owners eventually give up trying to resolve their property problems. Let’s face the facts; they probably don’t have the contacts, the database, or the skills to negotiate a sale or lease deal professionally. Can you help them?
Investors – Local property investors are great clients for the long term. They need all types of help across tenant mix issues, leasing, selling, renovating, and portfolio mix. When they trust and respect your skills, you can do something to help them.
Business Owners – Stay in contact with local business owners. They will require professional property assistance at some time in the future. Keep them up to date with prices, rents, enquiries, and stock availability. Share your facts about the property market and pull in the local business owners that can use your help.
These simple strategies will help you attract more new business in the best possible ways. Make yourself known locally as the agent of choice; that agent that people must go to when property challenges present.
When it comes to leasing commercial property today make sure that you understand the current market conditions, and that you convey those market conditions to your local clients, landlords, and the tenants that you serve. Our industry is not an experiment; it is a very specific process and it is established on set investment, marketing and negotiation principles.
Help the Client Understand the Facts About Leasing
Any misunderstandings or missing information when working with tenants and landlords from a leasing perspective should be realigned to current day market conditions with clear market evidence and relevant supporting material.
Your job is to have that ‘comparable’ material available and handy solve any negotiation, listing, or leasing challenge. Condition the people that you work with in the correct and the most professional way; use market evidence.
Your Message on Leasing?
The concept here is that you are the best person to ‘recondition’ your property market and the people that you work with; you understand the realities of the property market far better than they do. Help your clients and prospects realize that the real market conditions are here to stay and brief them on those conditions. Explain the prevailing market conditions comprehensively.
Gather the facts and then help the landlords and tenants that you work understand the prevailing market conditions across:
Rental activity – track and measure the levels of rental activity across all recent leasing transactions. Compare the differences between net and gross rentals in each case. Understand how they relate to the location and the property type. Provide the rental details to those that do not fully understand what is happening locally with property segments.
Market rentals – real market rentals are determined as a result of negotiation between willing and committed tenants and landlords. Some of those rentals will be impacted by local vacancy factors, the available competing properties, and the asking rentals applicable to each property and landlord.
Competing listings – where appropriate take your clients to see competing properties in the location. The visual approach will help them understand the influencing factors that impact levels of enquiry and offers.
Property improvements – with older properties there will be issues with the standards of property improvements. Do assessment of improvements, services, and amenities when it comes to every leasing vacancy.
Industry enquiry – understand where the levels of enquiry coming from today when it applies to particular locations and property types. If you are marketing effectively in an ongoing way then the enquiries coming to you should show trends and opportunities. Every inbound call generated by a quality listing should help you understand what tenants are looking for today. You can chart those requirements and provide recommendations to the landlords that you work with.
Methods of marketing – certain methods of marketing in commercial real estate will be more successful than others. A lot depends on the target market that you are chasing however choose the right marketing solutions to suit the situation, the current market conditions, and the target audience. The Marketing Solutions that you adopt will be somewhat subject to the amount of available funds and the prevailing market conditions. +
Inspection processes – some properties require specific inspection strategies allowing for the improvements, the property layout, the strengths and weaknesses of the listing itself, and the landlord. As part of every exclusive property listing process, establish the inspection processes that will feature the property correctly and directly at all times. In a complex property, establish the track or route that you will take across floors and through common areas.
So, all of this is informational and helpful when you are working with property investors, business owners, landlords and tenants today. Are you prepared to provide and explain all the elements of the property market to those people? Have you got all of the information to help ‘close’ on a leasing transaction?
Recondition the clients thinking and perceptions in leasing properties and premises locally. You are the specialist to do that.
When it comes to the marketing of commercial real estate listings today, it pays to have some very specific goals and targets. This then helps you spend the marketing money effectively and specifically as part of the property promotion.
Here below are some listing tips from our eCourse.
The goal setting process also helps you see when the achieved results from the promotion are not as you would expect. You can then make adjustments during the campaign and potentially lift the specific listing results when it comes to inbound enquiry.
What are Your Targets in Listing?
Here are some realistic targets that should be considered as goals to be monitored and created as part of every exclusive listing promotion:
Target market reach – make sure that your campaign is matched to the target market and the media channels that they use or connect through. If your property is in any way special, you will need to undertake a specific target market assessment prior to the commencement of the campaign. As prime examples in this case, medical properties, specialized warehouses, specialized manufacturing, and redevelopment opportunities are all properties that require your promotional efforts reaching into a particular target market. Design your campaign accordingly. Track and measure the results that you get from your campaign so that adjustments can be made midterm to the promotion.
Understand the timing and spread of the campaign – you will only have a short opportunity at the time of campaign commencement to create plenty of churn and activity. The first few weeks of any property promotion will be the best weeks to attract fresh new enquiry and undertake the property inspections. Every exclusive listing marketing process should be heavily biased to the first three or four weeks of activity. During that time you can report to your client on enquiry and inspection feedback. The feedback will help you condition the client to the prevailing market conditions.
The enquiry rate – from the start of the promotional campaign monitor the volume and type of enquiries that you are attracting across the different media outlets and channels. Soon you will see where most of your marketing spend is more effective. That information is valuable when it comes to optimising property enquiry across your brokerage and for your specific listings and or clients. The information will also help you pitch for listings and convert exclusive campaigns including reasonable levels of vendor paid marketing. It is hard for a client to refute or debate the validity of actual enquiry facts from the market and from other property listings.
Inspection results – every property inspection will give you an opportunity to interact with qualified property purchasers or tenants. The comments made by those people will be a good indication of relevancy and value when it comes to any property listed and promoted. Collate and tabulate those inspection comments in a report to your client on a weekly basis.
The time on market – throughout every year there will be fluctuations and changes to the property market. That will have an impact on listing promotion, negotiation, and closure. The time on market can be impacted by a number of different things including pricing, promotion, competing properties, client conditioning, property features, and marketing spend. If you like, time on market is actually an equation to be carefully structured as part of the listing process. Shorten the time on market expectations for your listings by packaging each property in the best way for the best result. Help the client see the strategies required to move through the process in a timely way. Don’t let a listing become stale and obsolete in the property market today.
Considering all of these simple promotional facts, remember that the client you are servicing wants the best result at the best price, and in the best time frame. They don’t want their property or their property challenge to be an experiment in marketing; they don’t want to waste time or money (neither do you).
Provide specific help to your client so that they can be well conditioned for the prevailing market circumstances in your location. Help them make the right decisions.
In a commercial real estate team, you cannot have negativity in any way or form. Individual agents performing poorly can easily influence the activities of others simply through sharing their negativity in the office and during sales meetings.
If this is a problem for you, the particular team member will need to be personally managed and redirected to solve their listings slump or commission problem. If the problem cannot be solved quickly, the person should be removed from the team.
It is a fact that most under-performing agents in any property market will have created the problem for themselves through lack of planning, a lack of action and poor focus. Training and skill development can help redirect those agents back to the important tasks and industry standards to build the business. That being said, any agent or broker with a negative attitude needs to be willing to learn and improve under the pressures of poor performance. That is where the leadership skills of the sales manager or team leader become very relevant.
Here are some good ways to control and remove negativity within the real estate agency team:
Whilst the property market will have variations of enquiry and seasonal change, there will be listings to attract, properties to market, and deals to negotiate. The attitude of the team and the actions of individual people within the team should be encouraged and promoted to a high level. You can do that through regular role playing, team meetings, and industry updates. Every sales meeting should be a positive event encouraging feedback from every team members and discussing market opportunity; high performing team members can be encouraged to share their experiences with others. The story of success goes a long way towards building ideas and momentum across the team.
Agents and brokers that are struggling with any part of their business may need to work with high performing agents for a period of time to experience and see the successful ways of working in the industry. Whilst every top agent or broker will do things differently, it is the advantage of a personal system that takes them forward; their system takes them into the opportunities of the property market in sales, leasing, and property management.
Every broker or agent should have a specific business plan relating to personal performance, territory management, prospecting, and new business focus. The plan should set the momentum for the financial year and be tracked on a monthly basis. It is unfortunately common to see agents create their plan for the year and then forget about the document and its application from that point onwards. Top performing agents structure a plan based on their skills, the property market, the location, and the identified opportunities of the property segment. In the case of top agents, that plan will be formulated prior to the beginning of the financial year and will be pursued vigorously each week and each month through the year. Adjustments will be made by the agent when necessary to ensure that growth of listings and commissions occur efficiently and directly in any property market.
On a weekly basis, every agent and broker should be tracking their results when it comes to essential activities such as cold call prospecting, meetings, listings, negotiations, and commissions. The best way for them to track the results will be through a chart or graphing process. That information can then be shared with the team leader, and on that basis by compared across the team. The team leader can then see areas of poor performance in agents that are struggling with certain segments of property activity. In identifying problems early, it is easy for the team leader to provide the necessary guidance and professional training. For
So the message here is that any negativity can be removed from a commercial real estate brokerage team through direct action and close monitoring. The skills of the team leader will have a lot to do with the results achieved.
As an agent or a broker in commercial real estate today, the current events in the market will be sources of substantial leverage and opportunity when it comes to a future sale or a lease situation. You can also find plenty of property management opportunities within a sales or leasing transaction.
The message here is quite clear for the astute agent or broker. Look for the opportunities within the market based on industry trends and business churn.
The property market moves in cycles and in the case of commercial property it is the local business or economic cycle that impacts the decisions of property investors, business owners, and tenants. What you can do here is built leverage and action from certain activities in your market. Here are some ideas to help:
Inquiries – Any property inquiry coming in to your office from the marketing of listings will allow you to create a conversation, qualify the party, and potentially find out about their new property needs and changes. Understand the motivation of the person making the inquiry, and the timing of their decisions. It is likely that they will be talking to other agents locally, so be prepared for quoting other properties where appropriate that may suit their inquiry.
Quality listings – When you focus on quality listings you will generally have many more direct inquiries coming in to you from each marketing process. Understand what the factors of attraction are when it comes to tenants and buyers today. Fully qualify the people that you talk to and then itemize or short list property requirements. You will soon know how to package a listing and find the right properties for today’s market.
Inspections – Every property inspection allows you to connect completely and thoroughly with a potential tenant or property buyer. If the subject property inspected doesn’t suit the inquiring party, add some other property inspections to the list. Most buyers and tenants will purchase or lease property from within the local area. That is because they understand the location, the values, the rentals, and the opportunity. Track your inspection activities within your database. Keep in contact with inspecting parties for the long term.
Methods of sale or lease – There are differences in the market when it comes to the successful methods of sale or the methods of lease. Understand the factors that work in your local area with buyers or tenants as the case may be. A timed method of sale such as an auction can put some urgency in the property decision process. A quality listing taken to the market through the auction process will usually create a lot of interest. From one auction marketing campaign you can create a substantial database of qualified buyers.
Offers – An offer to purchase or lease may or may not be successful in today’s property market; a lot depends on the client you are working for and their impressions of the prevailing market conditions. Understand the offer limitations and the negotiation objectives of the people that you are working with; negotiation skills will help you in this process. You can quote other properties to those people that may have been unsuccessful in any property offer.
Referrals – From any successful listing, be it in sales or leasing, you will find further new business in asking for a referral. Be prepared to ask the right referral questions at the right time; understand that most business people and investment property owners have relationships with others that can lead to more opportunity.
So the message here is quite clear and most particularly that simple issues and events in commercial property today can give you some leverage and lead to other opportunities in new business over time. Be prepared to work with the right people and see the opportunities.
In commercial real estate brokerage it is not unusual for agents to struggle or have a slump in business from time to time. The matter is resolved when they focus back on building market share and client base.
So why does a ‘slump’ in business happen? Whilst the market may change and the tenants or buyers could be slower to respond to a deal opportunity, everything comes back to the volume and quality of listings held by the broker. A good quality listing that has been correctly marketed will sell or lease most of the time.
So how can a broker or agent get out of a ‘slump’ in commissions and listings? Try some of these:
Simplify the day so more of the correct things get done. It is a sad fact that diversions occur each day and far too many brokers let those diversions take over. Focus on the things that must be done; understand the importance of those things in business generation at a personal level. An agent that is struggling is usually well ‘off the rails’ when it comes to important business tasks.
We are the products of our habits. Only our habits will help change the market and our commissions. Start a new habit per week and develop it to a high level. Focus on the key things that mean a lot to building market share. The question will then be what are the most important habits to develop? In most cases they are a mixture of the following; prospecting, presenting, inspecting, and negotiating. Take one of these habits per week at take deliberate steps to improve the process. When you have got the new skill underway, move on to the next one. I go back to the point that ‘habits’ are really important in our industry.
Track your progress each day in the things that mean something to where you are headed as a broker and agent. In tracking the numbers you can improve your results in the things that matter. What would I track? Try these; cold calls, meetings, presentations, listings, inspections, and closed deals.
We must control the working day. We have work choices throughout the day and the choices that we make will build our market share or destroy it.
If someone wants a slice of your time and asks for an appointment, understand that only the most important people get time with you. Unimportant issues can wait to later in the day when the key issues in your business plan have been done.