When you really understand the commercial real estate market and the brokerage activities in your location, you will fully appreciate that you should be talking to lots of local people in a regular and ongoing way. The database that you create from the people that you know and talk to regularly will be your pipeline of new business in so many different ways. (NB – You can get our free commercial real estate course right here)
Whilst some listings will come to you because of the brokerage that you work for, most of the high quality listings will be a direct result of your personal effort and ongoing contact with property owners, investors, and business leaders.
In those 3 categories of people you will find commissions, listings, and a good degree of property pain. So how do you get this important business activity underway? You make lots of cold calls in a regular and ongoing way.
Cold Calling Benefits
The principle and main benefits of cold calling can be best described in this way:
Building you personal profile
Finding new people that need property help locally
Tracking property changes locally
Finding new listings
Keeping up to date with market trends
All of these things fit quite specifically into the business of commercial real estate brokerage. If you are looking to improve your career in commercial real estate, then look to the strategies and skills in cold calling. Learn how to make more professional business calls every day in a relevant and logical way across property and business segments in your town or city.
In this audio program, John Highman talks about the real benefits of cold calling and why you could consider it as an important part of your real estate model.
Learn the real and relevant skills behind making more prospecting calls in a positive way each and every working day.
In commercial real estate leasing, the competition that exists in your property market will very likely be talking to the same very people and businesses that you are. In saying that, the quality of the connection between agents and businesses or landlords can sometimes be of poor quality, so you have something that you can work with and improve.
If you are going to stand out as a top agent in the leasing market, then you have to do the right things with real focus and control; and then you should work on the good quality buildings or locations from a leasing and vacancy perspective.
Stand out as the agent of significance for the location and property type. When you work the better buildings, more inquiry will come your way.
Drill Down into Facts
To get ahead in the leasing market, here are 7 points of focus to drill down into with your landlords and tenants:
Know who you are talking to – Always get to the facts when you are talking to someone new, be that across the telephone, in a meeting, or through a door knocking process in the local area. The people that you talk to will give you the momentum in your leasing business, but understand who they are before you say too much about the property or give out information. If a person is slow to introduce themselves, then you should also be slow to give out the property facts. There is no point in wasting time on someone that is not fully honest and open with you.
What do they need and when? – Get to the core facts of their property situation. What do they want from a leasing perspective and what will be the critical timing? Ask about their critical points of choice or need with any property they may find or want to inspect.
Where are they now? – If they are in business now, seek out the facts of that occupancy. It is also valuable to see their current location and how they use premises as part of a business operation. You can see the interaction between staff, customers, business operations, and layout of the current property.
Exactly what can they afford? – Rents change by location, not just by property type. Tenants don’t fully understand that fact, so a market rent awareness for a new location and property type is valuable. Help them understand net rents, outgoings, and other operational costs such as water, electricity, and gas. Those services will be consumable within the property, and the tenant will have to pay as consumed. How will that happen?
Business requirements for the change – When you ask about their current business, there will be many things to explore in property layout, configuration, improvements, access in and around the premises, and special zones such as showrooms, administration, sales, and storage. See how they are using their current property with these factors in mind.
Staff and customer requirements – How will the balance between staff and customers be accommodated within the building? There will be special zones to consider such as car parking, customer service, customer sales, and showroom access. Remember also the factors of parking that may apply in the precinct and on the street. At certain times of the day there may also be issues with access from busy roads and freeways.
Timing for the change – The timing of property change will be variable and will likely be impacted by individual business activities and seasonal business fluctuations. It takes time to move business into a new building and location. There will be a crossover of time that applies to the relocation into the new property. You may be able to help the tenant in understanding how the new occupancy can commence with rent-free periods and early access being given to the new property and location.
There are some quite specific things that you can look into as part of the leasing services and solutions you provide to tenants today. Ask the right questions and go deeper into the issues that really impact the relocation for the business.
The deeper that you can go into the tenant’s situation will show a degree of professionalism that other agents may struggle with. Be special, real, and relevant when it comes to the commercial property leasing market today. Show that you are the best agent or broker to assist when it comes to business relocation and leasing resolve.
In every town or city there are things that you can find that relate to commercial property sales, leasing, or property management. You can get plenty of leads if you drill down into the location. Meet people and ask questions. A good conversation will take you closer to a property activity.
Having a good database will always help with new business generation. For the new people in the industry, the priority to establish a good database is high. Three to six months of effort will usually get a contact list established; from that point on it is a matter of keeping the data fresh and accurate.
To help my friends in the industry get established and stay on top of the right market trends, this audio will probably help. It talks about who you should know and why that should be done. Enjoy.
When you work in commercial real estate brokerage, the local business community can be a great source of leads and opportunities at a personal level. Use that fact as a point of leverage in getting your brokerage business underway or at the times when you require more clients and listings.
It is a simple fact that local businesses are very close to or aware of the activities of property owners and property investment. Those local businesses will hear about things and see things before you do. They will know about changes and pressures; that is where they can be of help to you. In saying that, you really do need to approach them in the correct way.
So what can you do with this?
Consider your current area and city. Understand where things are changing and what the local business owners think about that. Try these ideas and strategies for starters:
Businesses under pressure – given the changes in the economy in most countries, some business segments are looking to adjust. Property occupation or use can be part of that adjustment. Ask questions locally of all the local business owners and occupiers; read the local newspapers. You will find those businesses thinking about change.
Higher occupancy costs – when the rents go up, some businesses will start to look for other locations and other buildings to occupy. Pay close attention to the levels of occupancy cost, rental, and outgoings as they apply to property occupation locally. Different building types will have different cost averages to watch and work with. That is where specialization can help you move into a market share and find the new business.
Expansion or contraction – when you look at single businesses in particular locations, you will see the physical signs of space and occupancy pressure. Perhaps those businesses with little or no storage capability, or not enough space. When you see the problem, make the call with some direct questions.
Landlord difficulties – some landlords are really challenging for their tenants from an occupation and lease position. Some landlords try to squeeze the maximum rental from the asset without due regard for property performance and presentation. When this becomes a factor of property occupation, then the tenant will soon be thinking about moving.
Property failure or age – older buildings create problems for tenants and customers. That pressure will bring about business frustration and movement. The same can be said when a new property development is evolving in an area. The older properties will start to feel the restraints of redundancy. That’s where you can get involved.
Vacancy factors – you will see precincts where the vacancy factors are rising. The same can be said with particular buildings. Some buildings will always be hard to lease. Some property precincts will become less attractive to business owners and investors. That being said, there are factors of change and redevelopment that will provide brokerage opportunity.
Strengths and weaknesses – when you look into a location you will see certain factors of strength that attract new tenants and occupancy. Those strengths can always feature in your property prospecting activities. Use of the strengths of a location and or property type to put some momentum and activation into your prospecting activities. Watch out for the weaknesses that apply to any zone or property type. The weaknesses in a property zone can give you some leverage, as people move and change out of the area.
So the message here is that you can use the local business community to find the opportunities relating to commercial property investment and brokerage. Ask plenty of questions, capture the information into your database, and keep in regular contact with the right people.
In commercial real estate brokerage today it pays for every agent to have a definite plan of approach to bring together all of the many things that need to be controlled and actioned. If you like it is a bit like having a blueprint to the business at a personal level.
I have put together some of the more important issues to get under control personally and to help you formulate your commercial real estate agent blueprint. You can add to the list based on your property type and location:
Define your property type – Some property types will be more relevant to your skills and or marketing confidence. Understand what you are good at and focus on that property type; that will give you required confidence and then help you with listing conversions.
Define your services – There are differences between sales, leasing, and property management. Sales and leasing activity are strongly linked and one leasing deal can lead to a sales opportunity in the future; that is why I say that all agents should be able to jump from sales to leasing and back again quickly and effectively. You will normally earn greater commissions from a typical sales deal than from a leasing deal (based on averages), and the people that you target as prospects in each group are different so understand those differences and track both types of people. As the property market shifts from a buyers focus to a tenants focus, you can move with it.
Set your marketing zone – Limit your zone of activity in your town or city to a number of properties and inside a precinct of main roads. The focus inside a geographical area allows you to track property activity, rents, prices, time on market, and marketing strategies. That focus will also help you a lot when it comes to connecting with clients in a property presentation.
Define your clients – What does your ideal client look like? Where are they located? How are they involved in the property market? What will they need from someone like you? When you know the answers to these questions you have something significant to merge into your personal marketing efforts. Your prospecting and cold calling will become a lot more centred on market segments.
Research the property market – In each year there are changes, dips, troughs and peaks in market activity. Some are predictable due to seasonal holidays and business calendars. Your prospecting and listing efforts should have due regard to those seasonal changes. Only take a property to the market when all targeted segments are active and looking for something to buy or lease.
Determine key indicators to track – Some of the main indicators that can show you how you are performing as an agent are centred on prospecting, listings and negotiations. Each week take those indicators such as commissions, listings, and presentations into account so you can see where things are developing. Build on your strengths and fix your weaknesses. That’s how you progress in our industry.
Set up action processes – Every day a system of actions will take you forward. It really matters what you do in a regular way. Consistency will take you forward; random actions will not do much at all.
Set your goals and targets in listings, commissions, and clients – These 3 categories of activity are most important. They are simple numbers to track so start charting the progress you are making in each. Ratios will soon be seen and that is when you can improve your skills in key business generation activities; start practicing!
So these numbers and categories of activities will show you where you are heading as an agent. You can strive to improve in so many different ways in our industry; it’s a personal process.
In commercial real estate brokerage, the sales pitch or the presentation that you provide to the client should have plenty of character and commitment from you at an individual level. You are the ‘first point of sale’. Everything with the listing hinges on your ‘first point of sale’.
First and foremost in any listing presentation, the client needs to commit to you as the ‘agent of choice’ before they will listen to you with your recommendations and marketing solutions. Your character and commitment needs to flow into the presentation in a valuable way. Your skills and knowledge need to be superior to your competitors when it comes to winning the listing. Confidence and local property knowledge will help.
The presentations made by top agents are geared to personal involvement on the basis of an exclusive agency. When you control the listing, you can control the opportunity of a valuable transaction over time. Exclusive listings are easier to convert when you get involved in the marketing process at an individual level.
So how can you add ‘character and commitment’ to your listing presentation? Here are some ideas to help:
Connect with the client so that you can totally understand their property needs and priorities. Question everything before you provide recommendations. Drill down on the needs of the client to get to the true facts of the matter.
Every client will have certain challenges when it comes to price, rental, and timing. They will also have targets within their own mind as to what could be achieved. Those targets may be totally out of the question when it comes to the current market conditions.
Provide the correct recommendations to take the client forward, and put yourself into the marketing process at an individual level. Let the client see how you will be taking the property to the tenants or the buyers in a direct way. Forget about generic marketing; it simply doesn’t work.
Show the client the results you have achieved recently when it comes to properties of a similar type locally. Summarize the marketing solutions and the challenges in each case. Tell the client exactly how you promoted the listing and reached the target audience. Compare those actions to the subject property and what will be required to achieve inspections and negotiations.
Your database is likely to be quite valuable when it comes to winning listings. Keep your database up to date and use it as leverage when it comes to pitching for a listing. Show the client the short list of prospects that you have already identified as part of marketing the property. When the property is released to the market, the people on your shortlist should be encouraged to inspect the listing as part of a pre-release. It is very difficult for a client to overlook or walk away from a prospective list of tenants or buyers. Use your database and your short list as leverage in the presentation to the client.
Any quality listing should be directly marketed to the local area. That will be at a personal level in addition to any generic advertising you may be doing. Prepare a suitable flyer or brochure to take to the property owners and businesses in the same general location as the listing. As soon as the signboard goes on to the property, you can be door knocking the businesses and the property owners locally.
It is easier to win a listing when you get personally involved in the marketing process. That involvement can only occur with exclusive listings. Help the client understand the difference and commitment that they and their property will receive when it comes to an open listing and an exclusive listing.