Some listings in commercial real estate are quite slow to attract enquiry and move to the next level of an offer or negotiation. That is where our creative professionalism is so important for the clients that we serve.
Sometimes, you will find that the listing will stay on the listing books for too long. In such situations, it is necessary to try for a listing extension. Your skills in client communication at that time will be fully tested as you ask for more time. The client must believe that you are still the right person to continue to work on the property and handle the challenges that it or the property market presents. Are you the best agent to stay on the listing for the future?
Time on Market Problems?
Why will a property take longer to sell? Try some of these for starters:
The property market is slow to respond due to economic circumstances in the region or the business community
Enquiry is low for the property type or location
It could be the wrong time of year to market the property
The price range for the property is too high or it is out of the range of most buyers
There are too many other properties on the market currently and those properties are not moving.
The target market for the property is too narrow or wrong for the listing
Not enough marketing was done at the time of initial promotion
Too many new properties are coming into the market creating a situation of oversupply
The business community is moving from a purchase priority to a lease priority
There are plenty of reasons for listing ‘stagnation’. You may also have other local issues that are also evident in your location, and those that you believe are fundamental reasons for the slower listing enquiry. Either way, you must know the reasons behind a ‘stale listing’ and its failure to attract local property enquiry. Strategy then takes over; that’s your job.
Ask for an adjustment to the method of sale or pricing if you believe that change will attract more enquiry.
Change the method of sale to suit the preferred target market.
From these issues you can create a timeline of changes for the client to see and consider. The clearer that you can be in this communication with the client will help you in winning a listing extension.
Most agents and brokers that are struggling in the property market today are doing so for the simple reason that they are not ‘relevant’ to the prospects and clients that are looking for property help.
Relevance wins property business; the ‘generic approach’ to commercial real estate has little magnetism for pulling in listings or commissions.
Disaster strikes when there is no real reason for clients, business owners, investors, or tenants to remember a particular broker or agent, and particularly so at the right moment when they are handling property issues and challenges.
So where are things now?
Want to improve your real estate business? Answer this question. Why should a commercial property client or prospect choose you to help them with a property challenge? It’s a scary question to ask; commonly the answers given by most agents are ‘generic’ and bland like these. They can provide:
Local market knowledge
Team service for the client
Client communication, etc.
All of these things are too ordinary, and just about every agent or broker uses the same ‘ordinary stuff’ which inevitably makes little or no difference to the clients that they serve. The statements are of no real attraction or interest to any client wanting property help.
So what can you do here when pitching your services? Clients prefer ‘specifics’ that are matched to their property challenges. For example:
A database of 2000 tenants in the location, 250 of which have been shortlisted to the client’s property listing (Leasing)
15 parties ready to inspect the new listing in the next week (Sales or Leasing)
Savings of $40,000 to be found in energy by load shedding (Property Management)
4 investors that missed out on the last local campaign are to be contacted (Sales)
If you haven’t got a very specific answer to that question given, then it is likely you will struggle for some time in converting business leads and opportunities.
Why do you have to determine a clear answer to that question? In simple terms you must be able to market yourself specifically as the best agent for the job. The only way you can do that is through a mixture of the following:
Locational coverage – Split your city up into a ‘primary zone’ for implementing all your prospecting, and a ‘secondary zone’ where you will still take business if it arises. In this way you can really cover the right people and the right properties in your ‘primary zone’. This extra level of focus in prospecting helps you with local area information, market evidence, and personal marketing. The question arises as to how many properties and or owners you should have in your ‘primary zone’. The answer is related to your capabilities to cover the patch with a direct marketing approach. You are the person that has to make the calls, create meetings, and door knock streets. In an ideal city location, choose a primary zone of properties and streets containing about 2000 properties. Then you can split the location up into activity zones that you can move through in a logical way.
Marketing mastery – Ensure that all of your promotional efforts are well crafted and implemented. Use words, phrases, photographs, and layouts that pull in the enquiry. Top agents are usually respected and chosen for their marketing skills.
Database depth and relevance – If you prospect directly into your area, you can build a database that will help you build your business. It is very hard for a client to overlook an agent that has a top quality database containing people from the location and within the targeted segment of business owners, tenants, buyers, or business leaders.
Property speciality – Get to know everything that you can about a property location and speciality. From that effort you will then understand where the next listings are likely to evolve and why that is the case. You will also know what things are selling or leasing for. You will understand why some levels of enquiry are better than others with certain listings. When you understand the enquiry, you can do something with it and improve it over time. Know what people are looking for in local commercial property and then market comprehensively into that.
Commercial real estate brokerage does not need to be complicated but it does need to be relevant. Get involved with your property market and show the right people why you are highly relevant to them as they seek to solve a few property problems.
When it comes to promoting a commercial property for sale or lease, try to put some suspense and anticipation into the property campaign. Get away from ‘generically’ marketing, and be very specific in your promotional efforts.
Know the Property
Look at the property for what it is and the strengths that the property provides over time for the buyers or tenants. Understand the target market for each exclusive listing so that you can really tap into creative marketing processes that pull in the right segments of people.
Ultimately you want a reasonable level of property enquiry with every exclusive listing; from that you will create inspections and lots of them. How can you do that? In simple terms you look at your property and build the marketing campaign or plan using relevant promotional leverage. You then implement that promotional plan.
Your Promotional Plan
Here are some ideas to help with promoting your next high quality listing:
Give your property a name or identity – If there is some history about the property or the location, you can use that information as a point of leverage and branding in your advertising copy. People relate to a story. The history of the property is likely to have a few stories that you can use in your headlines, feature points, and editorials.
Set the time for the campaign – Start the property promotion at the right time of year or month. Seasonal holidays and business cycles all put pressures into property promotion. You want the right people to see the advertised property so start the campaign at the right time of month and on the right days of the week. The campaign can be ‘rolled out’ in a staged way using ‘early release’ information, and then primary promotion coverage.
Use the right media channels – When you really understand your target market you can choose the best media channels to tap into your segments of buyers or tenants as the case may be.
Personal involvement – Put yourself into the staging of the property promotion. Tell the client what you will do personally to get the message about the property to the right people. Most top agents win more property listings because of the promise and strategy they offer in personal involvement. In exchange for that personal involvement you should insist on exclusivity with your listings for a reasonable period of time.
In commercial real estate brokerage today don’t take too long to take the required actions to boost your marketplace and client penetration. Get involved with your market so that you can identify the right property listings and the quality properties to work with over time.
There are plenty of good listings available for the agents that focus their prospecting efforts. It just takes a plan and a process of action.
Here are some valuable ideas to help you take deliberate action to boost your marketing profile and listing opportunities:
Any listed property in your location is an excuse for you to talk to the surrounding property owners. On that basis you can market yourself to the adjoining or nearby owners of properties listed with other agents. It is quite common that nearby owners will seek to compete from a sales or leasing perspective with the listed property nearby. You can be the brokerage solution to that process and have a signboard on that alternative property promotion at the same time as your competing agents.
Devote 2 or 3 hours per day to the prospecting and marketing process. There is absolutely no reason why you should be in the office sitting behind a desk unless you have a deal to negotiate or a client to meet. The rest of the time you should be out of the office talking to new people and finding new opportunities. That should be your focus for 2 or 3 hours per day.
Make plenty of calls every day to new people. Use your mobile telephone comprehensively and directly as part of a cold calling process to people within your property market. Make plenty of outbound calls every day, and as part of that have a focus on creating new meetings. Make it a personal target to establish two new meetings per day with new people.
Identify the best properties and the best clients. Undertake the required research of your property location and your targeted territory of listings. Understand exactly where the best properties are located and as part of that process determine who the owners are in each case. When you focus on the quality side of new property business and listing generation, the inbound enquiries tend to be more substantial over time. That can then help you rise to the top of your property market as an industry specialist for the location.
Ask for referral business as part of client interaction. With every positive client and prospect meeting, there is the opportunity to ask for referral business. It is far easier to convert commercial real estate business from referrals than it is from the cold calling or direct prospecting process. Merge the referral business process into your client and prospect interaction. One successful contact can lead you towards many other property owners and business decision makers.
So there are some very specific things that you can do here in commercial real estate brokerage as part of boosting your personal profile and market share. The best way to do that is by taking immediate action in your local market place, your town or your city. Talk to plenty of people in an ongoing way.
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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.