Local people are the foundation of a successful real estate business. You can work with the key players of the real estate business locally and most particularly sellers, buyers, and business owners. There are plenty of opportunities in commercial real estate to be sourced in those groups as part of a prospecting model.
In this audio I talk about the importance of a ‘locally focused’ prospecting model and how that can work for you in your real estate business. Drive more listings and commissions your way through a bias towards the local area and the people in it.
In commercial real estate brokerage, you should be looking for the ways that you can match your VIP clients into the right listings and property situations. There will always be a good group of your clients looking for more investments or a portfolio change. (NB – you can get our free commercial real estate training right here)
So what can you do with this?
When you know lots of local people, you will find those key clients that you can work with in a productive way. You can move those clients across sales, leasing, and property management activity.
Understanding the clients situation is at the center of all of this. If you are connecting with your clients regularly, there will be things that you can help with.
In this audio based coaching session, John Highman, Commercial Real Estate Coach, talks about the ways that you can match your clients into the opportunities that you know about.
At different times of the calendar year there will be good opportunities to run a sales listing drive. As part of that you will be choosing the best methods of marketing and sale. Business and investor sentiment will also have something to do with the choices made here.
So you have some sales listings? Maybe you want more of that? Either way, here are the main factors of opportunity to tap into as you drive the sales momentum forward locally:
Timing for season and location – look at the property activity for the year, and reflect on the history for the area. Most sales calendars are best commenced just after the Christmas break and also just after the change in the financial year. In each case you have a few months to build momentum on listed properties, and the people looking to buy are not generally distracted in local business issues or holidays.
Best methods of sale for the time of year – you have a few methods of sale at your disposal. Choose the right ones that match the property and the client’s needs. At the basic end of the equation you will have auctions, tender, expressions of interest, and sale at a price. One or more of those methods will be the right choice for your listing. Talk to the client and get their commitment to your recommendations; explain the issue to them, and convert them. Match some vendor paid marketing into the right method of sale, and the exclusive listing process.
Talk to the right investors and property owners – every listing will be more or less attractive to certain segments of the local property market. Find those people by directly target marketing at an individual level. Get involved separately in doing that. Make sure that you meet with the right people in the right places. You want them to know you and remember you as the industry professional that they require.
Repeat contact 300/90 – in our industry, regular contact will always help listing momentum and conversion. All of the people in your database should be spoken to regularly. The 90-day cycle works well. The way to achieve that level of contact will be through deliberate calls, letters, and meetings. The database that you use should be adjusted to bring up that 90-day process of contact automatically.
Track your streets and location progress – when you have anything to sell or market, review the streets and the competing listings. Get very involved in local area marketing. Know what is happening in the streets and do something with that knowledge.
These simple strategies are all relevant and special in the sales drive that you may create in your commercial real estate business. Optimize the process of promotion and property momentum. The first few weeks of any sales campaign are the most important. Get involved and get active.
A sales team in commercial real estate brokerage is typically (or should be) a group of like minded sales professionals in control of their market, their clients, the territory and their special property types. When you look into the team there are special indicators to watch and track as the team gets results in listings, clients, commissions, and referrals.
Commercial property today is as competitive as ever; top sales teams should be working to a plan and strategy for their location. The real estate ‘year’ is most commonly between February and November each year. Most of the sales and leasing transactions will be done in just those 10 months.
In this audio program, John Highman talks about the importance of tracking and monitoring the performance of the sales team.
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 commercial real estate leasing, there are plenty of lead generation opportunities to be had when it comes to tenant placement and leasing activity. In any town or city at any time, there are usually plenty of tenants looking to move for a number of different reasons.
Your job is to locate those tenants at the earliest possible time before they consider moving and changing premises. The relationships that you strike with tenants locally will help you grow leasing activity and opportunity.
There are two sides to the levels of new business that you create as a property leasing specialist. Firstly you should be working with landlords helping them with vacancy problems and tenant mix strategies. That in itself is quite specialised process. Secondly you should be working with local businesses and tenants to help them relocate at the right time as part of their business activities and growth strategies.
What’s it all about?
So the message here is that you should be focusing on lead generation with both landlords and tenants. Separate strategies are required. You should be connecting with these two groups in a regular and ongoing way. That is why your database and your prospecting activities are fundamentally important to lead generation in commercial property leasing. Tenants and landlords should be segmented within your database, and relationships should be growing with each qualified lead or prospect.
Specialist leasing services for a location and property type are always in demand. Consider your answers to these questions:
What is your specialist service?
What values and opportunities do you bring to the landlords and tenants that you serve?
How can you improve your professional service offering to both landlords and tenants?
Why are you the leasing expert for the area and the location?
How can you market vacant premises more directly and effectively?
An important factor to remember?
It is an interesting fact that your database and the people within it are perhaps the most important factors of leverage that you can apply to the lease negotiation process. If you are growing your database daily and regularly, the landlords and the tenants within your list will allow you to quote any property, vacant premises, or a new leasing opportunity quickly and directly.
If you are struggling in the property market now with leasing activity, take a serious look at your database and start to improve it and grow it through regular contact with new people.
CONTACT SYSTEMS: Keep in contact with all local businesses. You will find that businesses are moving and changing premises for many different reasons. Make sure that they remember you at the right time when it comes to changing location.
QUALITY CONTACTS: Network the tenants in high quality buildings. The tenants in high quality buildings are generally those businesses that can afford better quality occupancy and longer term leases. The commission you achieve from such a high quality property leasing transaction will generally be higher per unit of space under lease. Many corporate tenants today require the services of a tenant advocate to help them find new premises and other properties. You can offer comprehensive and specialised tenant advocacy services.
LOOK FOR CHANGE: Look for tenants moving premises or those that are under some form of business pressure. When you canvass through an area or a location, look for the signs of change. You will see some businesses that are under pressure to relocate. Levels of stock, lack of parking space, lack of storage, and growth of business activities are all signs of a tenant or a local business needing help.
SERVICE OFFERING: Establish some comprehensive tenant placement services. As mentioned before, tenant advocacy can be part of the services that you offer. In other words you will be locating a tenant into a new property. In that case the tenant will be paying your commission and they will be your client for the purposes of the transaction. The larger corporate tenants are generally quite comfortable in seeking out and using the services of a specialised tenant advocate. They are also prepared to pay the necessary fees for service.
FRANCHISE BUSINESSES: Establish contact with local franchise businesses. Many franchise business models focus on factors of location first and foremost. They generally need to locate a new franchise business into a zone or precinct after they have undertaken the necessary market research and study. Make direct contact with local franchise businesses to understand the preferred business locations and lease circumstances that they prefer. They may also share with you the terms and conditions of the typical franchise agreement at they use. The franchise agreement will need to be integrated into the lease terms and conditions that you may negotiate.
So there are some things that you can do here when it comes to lead generation in commercial real estate leasing. Understand the differences between landlord activity and tenant activity. You can offer specialised services in each case.
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.
In commercial real estate sales and leasing, you need results when it comes to cold calling. There is no doubt that the cold call prospecting process is a significant part of the business generation system that you should be running. That being said, you still need to get results from your telephone contact processes. Tracking your numbers as you make the calls is really important.
To get the call system up and running for you I have provided a number of tips that will help you with establishing the right mindset, and building the processes to support the results that you will achieve.
The first two or three weeks in the call prospecting system are always the toughest. That is because it takes time to develop a new habit, and you have had years of other activities to break or reshape. Developing new habits are part of the commercial real estate business and certainly part of the prospecting process.
Every day you will be contacting many people in the local area. The key to the process is in making lots of calls in the easiest possible way. When it comes to commercial and retail property, the best place to start is in the business telephone book. Every business will have a relationship to commercial or retail property as a tenant or an owner. When you ask the right questions, you will get the market intelligence that you need. Local business owners will also tell you more about the local area and their immediate location. It is very easy to telephone 50 businesses from the telephone book on a daily basis. As you do this, you should track your findings and the comments from relative prospective business owners.
To telephone 50 businesses, it takes about 2 hours. You will not get through to 50 people during that time or establish 50 reasonable telephone conversations. Those people that you cannot contact today should be put into the pipeline for a return phone call. Out of 50 telephone calls, you should get through to approximately 15 to 20 business proprietors. It is then simply a matter of asking the right questions.
Many salespeople look at the cold calling process incorrectly. In our industry, it is very difficult to pitch over the telephone. On that basis your initial call should simply be to find out if they have a need or interest. Following that point of qualification, you can generate a meeting with the right people. On that basis you will not be wasting your time.
The super-fast process to cold calling is simple and straightforward. When you stick to the rules above, you will find that results are achieved. Keep yourself focused and detailed when it comes to capturing information.
In commercial real estate you will be inspecting many different properties for many different reasons. Over time this can become second nature, however complacency in the property inspection can see you overlooking an important item or fact that can have a real impact in your property transaction.
Given that there are a few different property types that you will work on, you can have a checklist approach to all of them. In other words you can a specific checklist to work on each property type. For example:
Office property single level and or single tenant
Office property high rise with multiple tenants
Retail property single shop
Retail property multiple shops on single level
Retail property medium to larger size with multiple tenants
Industrial property of various sizes including warehouse and office configurations
All of these property types can be quite specific when it comes to inspecting and listing. Respect the differences and have a selection of listing checklists and questions that you would ask relative to the property type. When you do this it sends the right message to the client that you really do know what you are doing and that you have the knowledge to handle this property well.
In many situations you will be inspecting the property with the client in preparation for potential listing. For this very reason it pays to have a comprehensive approach to documenting and questioning as you move through the property.
Here are some things to incorporate into your inspection checklist:
Get the title search and legal property description before you meet with the client. This will help you will the facts of what the property is and how it is positioned in the location.
Check out the zoning and the permitted use of the property relative to the existing local development plan. If you are going to sell or lease a property, it pays to know that it is ‘legal’ in its function.
As you move through the property with the client, take notes of what is said as you may have to fall back on those notes later in evidence or in support of key negotiations. Some clients are well known for selectively telling you things about the property, and not all the issues that you should know that could impact the sale or lease. Look at the property with a questioning mind; look for the issues and the problems that a property presents to you in marketing and negotiating.
Take digital photographs as you move through the property as this will help you remember the conditions and configurations of the improvements.
Services and amenities should be documented as tenants or buyers to the property will want to know those details.
As a general rule, you should not ‘price’ a property until you have had time to consider the property detail, reviewed the competing listings, and looked at comparable sales or rentals. If you do this effectively it will help make the listing of the property more relevant to the market and the current levels of enquiry.
When you do a commercial property presentation today to win a listing, the competition agents are likely to be ‘breathing down your neck’ and connecting with the client with all types of bonuses and ideas. On that basis your presentation just has to be the best and most relevant to the client.
Why are you the best agent to market this property? The client has to see the answer quite clearly and efficiently. Your presentation will do that.
Here are some common problems that we see in today’s market.
The competition agents will be chasing your client or prospect constantly for a listing. They will be filling the clients head with misinformation and ideas to destabilise your listing or opportunities.
The price or rent that you offer the client is likely to be different than that which they require. Show them some relevant market evidence to help them understand the circumstances of the market today.
The listing type that you need may not be what the client wants to give you. Always go for an ‘exclusive’ listing. Open listings are a great waste of your time and effort; if they sell or lease, it is more from luck than anything else.
Your fees in both commission and marketing can be a hurdle. Set fees that are based on a quality service and the time that you are going to apply to the listing. Tell the client how you will take their property to the market.
The method of sale or lease can be of concern to the client. They may not want to take too much risk in the sale or lease process. That being said, if you know the right way to sell or lease the property then have strong evidence to support your arguments.
Here are some presentation tips to use as you present your ideas to the client about their property and their needs today.
Do not use a fixed or written script that is likely to limit the presentation. Be open and natural as you talk to your prospects to show your confidence and knowledge that can help them. The confidence that they see from you will come from the body language and the words that you use.
Use all the clients’ senses to convey the message. Bring together two or more senses in your presentation so the client is involved and connected to your story. You can do that by giving them something to hold (a proposal) whilst you show them some images or photos of the property, and as you explain your ideas and strategies. Fully connect at all levels.
Have solid recommendations that are innovative and relevant to the best outcomes for the client.
Show them the competition properties that they are up against and how you can adjust around those issues.
Know the market and the relevant property solutions that are applicable to your market. It is notable that many agents and realtors are too general in the presentation. You must build your presentation on relevance and speciality that is connected to the property. The client has to see that you are the best choice of agent to help them.