Its the middle of the year and lots of commercial real estate brokerage going on. In this commercial real estate podcast I have decided to cover three specific issues to help real estate brokers and agents as they strive to improve market share. Most particularly the topics are:
Some of the common problems today with commercial real estate websites and how to deal with that
How to build the systems and strategies surrounding effective territory planning and new business farming in commercial real estate brokerage
The facts and issues surrounding the use of marketing cards as part of a commercial real estate brokerage prospecting model
This audio program is provided in MP 3 format for ease of download and ongoing access. You can share the file around your real estate brokerage as well as access the file across a number of different electronic platforms including smart phone, computer, and audio sound system. You can also listen to the recordings as you drive to work or work out in the gym.
We have loaded some more charts and templates to our e-course this week. You can get our Commercial Brokerage E-Course right here.
In commercial real estate brokerage the cold calling process is an essential part of new business generation. Making direct cold calls is a real skill and requires personal effort and systematisation.
One of the most important factors to help when it comes to telephone prospecting and new business generation is that of practice. Making telephone calls in this way does not come easily to many people. Most agents and brokers will struggle when it comes to the right words and phrases to use when telephone marketing. Regular daily practice can help when it comes to call conversions and meeting opportunity. The more calls that you make, the easier the whole thing becomes. Over time you will feel comfortable when it comes to telephone prospecting.
Before going too much further here, it should be understood that the principal target of cold calling as an agent or broker is mainly to achieve meetings with people that could need professional property services in the future. To achieve that knowledge and to create those meetings with the right people requires a conversational approach, not pitch and push process. If you push too hard for business in any telephone call, it is likely that you will lose out on the conversation and the call will come to an end.
Here are some ideas to help you with your professional cold calling process and meeting conversions:
Commitment – Commit a particular time of day to the process. The best time to make those calls will be first thing in the morning before other things take over your activities and focus. You will need to spend approximately 2 or 3 hours in making cold calls each working day. During that time you do need to have absolute focus on the process and avoid any distractions or diversions.
Mindset – When you have the correct mindset to make the calls, conversions to meetings are a lot easier. The best mindset to use is that of confident questioning. You are simply making a call to understand if the person you are speaking to has an interest or a potential future need in commercial investment property into the future. If that is the case, then you have a reason to stay in contact and/or create a need for a meeting. As the local property expert, you have the professional skills and the market information that is valuable to the right people.
Focus on Groups – In making your calls, focus on two distinct groups of people. Firstly you should be talking to all of the local business owners and business proprietors. Secondly you should be talking to all of the local property owners and investors. Within both segments you will find needs and opportunities when it comes to property selection, acquisition, and disposal.
Database Software – Choose a database program to help you with tracking conversations and opportunities. The database that you choose doesn’t need to be expensive or complex. It does however need to be readily accessible and user-friendly. Every day you should be shaping and changing the detail within the database subject to recent conversations and meetings with key people.
Taking these four simple factors into account, telephone prospecting and cold calling requires real personal effort and deliberate activity. There is no easy way to get around the process other than hard work and commitment. That is how you will find new business leads and opportunities in commercial real estate today. You can then professionally drive your business further when it comes to new clients and quality listings.
In commercial real estate brokerage, your reputation will make or break your career. That is because the cycle of property activity is so long and listing success will be largely formed on the back of ‘trust’.
It doesn’t take long for a poor reputation to spread in the industry. Some agents and brokers that under-perform with their client’s property requirements are soon to suffer the implications of those actions.
So it is a fact that the clients that we serve like to know that they are working with an agent or broker of integrity and skill; someone that has the right knowledge to make the property pain for the client disappear as quickly as possible at the best level of outcome. So what would that be? Try some of these:
Quick sale or lease
Nil incentives in leasing
Best buyer profile
For this reason, every exclusive property listing should be worked to a plan and a process that gets the message to the right target segment of buyers or tenants as the case may be.
Notice that I did say ‘exclusive listing’? Any open listings are a process of luck and should only be serviced when you see opportunity. It is the controlled stock in this market that really matters and ‘exclusive listings’ will give you that.
So let’s go back to the point that ‘reputations matter’. What can you do to strengthen your reputation? Try these:
Write a blog about property activity locally on a regular basis. Talk about your property speciality in many different ways and make that blog of interest and of use to the readers on-line. It is remarkable how often useful information is seen online by property investors and sellers or tenants as the case may be.
From your blog you can link the posts into your social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Don’t spread yourself too thin on the ground by using too many platforms. You only need 2 or 3 to make the process work.
Write articles for your on-line newsletter and add those articles to the listing detail that you send out. The articles will help show the market that you are skilled and knowledgeable in many different ways.
Make these things a regular process that you can stick to. Over time your relevance and reputation as a good agent or broker will build.
The leasing segment of the commercial real estate market is particularly specialized. Many agents choose only to work on leasing opportunities within their property specialty. That being said, if property leasing is your primary source of real estate income, then you need to consider the quality of property that you work on and the clients that you serve. Low quality listings can be huge amount of work for very little personal outcome or commission. Choose your listings well. Don’t let low quality listings drain your resources and time.
Vacancies in good properties will always attract enquiry. Poor quality properties and vacancies achieve lesser enquiry; that will drag down the inbound enquiry and the achieved rental rate. The net result will be lower commissions. So you need to be selective on the properties and the premises that you work with from a leasing perspective.
So the first priority here is that you should focus on the servicing of good clients and good properties in the market. Research the local area to understand exactly where these clients and properties are located. Put them at the center of your prospecting processes.
It can take time to build the necessary relationships with the appropriate and the best landlords. To make the matter a little bit easier, build an extensive database of business tenants through the region. In that way you improve your value to the landlords that you serve. Soon they will know that you have the necessary tenant contacts and leasing opportunities that they need.
Here are some essential things to do every day as part of specializing in property leasing services:
As a general priority, focus on achieving exclusive listing appointments with the landlords and the vacancies that you service. In this way you can control your market. An openly listed vacancy will give you little opportunity to grow market share, and if you achieve a leasing result it will be by luck more than process.
The first thing that you should do every day would be in telephone prospecting and cold calling. Given that you work with business type tenants, most of your prospecting can occur between 8.00 AM and 10.00 AM. Most of the businesses in your local area will be operational in that time. Your focus should be to talk to the business proprietors and to understand their leasing and occupancy needs. So the prospecting call is a questioning process a rather than a sales pitch. Seek to understand the tenant’s needs and upcoming leasing issues.
Build a significant database as a result of your prospecting activity. That database should be split into tenants of different business types and locations. The tenant database should be separate to the landlord database; it should also be a lot larger. One of the factors of attraction when it comes to pitching your services to a landlord will be that of your database size and its relevance to the property type. For this reason, ensure that your database is comprehensive, large, and totally up to date. It is difficult for a landlord to ignore an agent that has total control and awareness over tenant movement in the local property market.
Stay in contact with all of your clients and most particularly those with an exclusive listing. Keep them advised of the changes to the local property market when it comes to supply and demand for leased space. Watch out for the new property developments that could impact market rentals, lease incentives, and occupancy rates.
Check out the listings that are still on the market and those that are new to your property segment. Wherever possible, identify the resultant lease terms and conditions relating to any finalize lease deal. There will always be a difference between an asking rent and an achieved market rental.
Make sure that your current lease deals are progressing based on the terms of the lease agreement and or current negotiations. Every lease transaction should be supported by valid market rental, guarantees, accurate and legal documentation, and suitable deposits. Stay on top of your current agreements and the parties to the negotiations. Make sure that your lease negotiations are not stalling for any reason.
A leasing agent is always closely watching the activities of tenants and landlords in the local area. You can add to this list above by understanding the greater property opportunity locally and the good clients that you are targeting. Set some rules and start prospecting.
In today’s commercial real estate market there are so many challenges for agents to address and conquer. On of the big ones is prospecting for new clients. Cold calling helps the process greatly but so many agents struggle with the rejection factor and the organisation that is required on a personal basis.
Here are some tips on audio MP3 to help agents with their prospecting efforts and outbound calls.
In commercial real estate agency the tenants that you talk to must be qualified before you spend a lot of time with them. Most tenants looking for new or alternative premises to occupy will have spoken to quite a number of local property agents; on that basis you are just another person to get information from. Asking the right questions will help you work with the right tenants in the right way.
Most towns and cities will have a good supply of vacant premises available. We have some good listing stock to work with. If you want to dominate the local leasing market for your property type, it is wise to focus on the best property locations and the quality properties. In that way you will move more listings and do so faster.
Here are ten questions to ask prospective tenants before you get deeply involved in matching listings and undertaking property inspections:
Find out just who you are talking with and determine that they are the principal decision maker that is looking for property to lease. This issue gets more complex when you are dealing with a company or corporation. You may be talking with the local business manager but they may have little decision facility.
Understand their property requirements in location, improvements, car parking, area of premises, permitted use, and rental budget. These simple facts will help you with creating a short list of premises to look at.
The services and amenities in a property may be of relevance given the way the business or tenant operates. Staff and customer numbers will place some pressures on property choice.
A lease can be negotiated on the basis of gross or net rent. Through direct questioning you can see what rent types could suit the tenant. That will then influence the choice of property, the lease negotiation and the initial term of the lease in years and or months.
Ask them about any contacts they may have made with other agents. If your market is dominated by open listings it is likely that the tenant has looked at a lot of your listing stock already; on that basis you can see your commission from a lease agreement ‘disappear’ due to another agents introduction to the same property earlier.
The ideal timing of property changeover will give you an idea of just how important the move of premises is to them.
When you have got these facts sorted and identified you can move to the next stage of property selection and inspection. A wise leasing agent will get all the leasing the facts on the table and clearly identified before the hard work starts in property identification.
In commercial real estate today, every agent should have an ongoing ‘client loyalty’ program to help with growing market share. In this way you can stand out as a relevant and top quality agent. It is then difficult for the client to overlook your presence and availability when it comes to taking a property to the market for sale or lease.
So what can you do to structure a ‘client loyalty’ program? Here are some ideas:
In the first instance you should give it a name. Without a name the client does not know or feel that they are any different to others in the local area that you may be working with. In the absence of anything else to use, you can call your program the ‘VIP Client Connect’. Tell the client that they are part of this ‘exclusive’ group. Show them what will be happening and why that will be of benefit to them.
On what basis will you be selecting ‘VIP’ members for the group? Will the criteria be based on property location, size, value, portfolio type, or frequency of business?
The program should be about the client and on that basis they should get something out of it. There is no point in structuring a program if you are going to do nothing with it. What can you do for them as part of their membership in your group of ‘VIP’ clients? How will they know that they are ‘special’ and that you are doing extra things for them?
Focus on ‘loyalty’ with these clients and not ‘discounts’. Professionalism should be the backbone of the program; discounts have no place in a commercial real estate client relationship if professionalism is your goal. Ensure that you are sending a message of high quality and comprehensive services in sales, leasing, and property management.
Provide market updates that are comprehensive and regular. They can be sent directly to the client with links to supporting resources and research on your website.
Your database should segment these ‘VIP’ members from the others that you work with. The database should also have the ability to capture the details of ongoing contact.
Establish a special newsletter for the process of ‘VIP’ contact. Brand that newsletter uniquely and personalise the text with specially selected properties.
Set up monthly or quarterly industry briefings that can be held in your office for selected clients. Invite other industry professionals (solicitors, accountants, and planners) to complement your presentation.
Provide a private access part of your website so the ‘VIP members’ can get to regular industry updates.
Make it easy for these special people to make contact with you 7 days per week. Give them the mobile cell phone numbers to use in the event of questions or concerns.
You can do more with this list based on your property speciality and your location. Make your clients and prospect feel special in your business. The rewards will be many.
In commercial real estate agency today, it is essential that we take all necessary steps to understand the potential of the property transaction and the client. A complete and comprehensive understanding will help you when it comes to a successful outcome for both you and the client.
This then says that you should really take the time to know the key facts that relate to the particular property situation and the requirements of the client. Here are some questions to help with that process:
Define the property from a legal perspective so that any listing and negotiation process can be correctly implemented and documented. Copies of supporting documentation, titles, owner representations, deeds, and conversations will be central to the accuracy of the listing. Look for any missing documentation or confusing circumstances. Resolve any of these challenging issues as part of the listing process. Review all of the property ownership documentation prior to any marketing campaign commencing.
Many properties will have extended issues to investigate. They could relate to rights of way, easements, encumbrances, orders or notices. The leases on the property may also have an impact on any sale or property investment situation. This then says that you must be accurate and detailed in the property listing process. Any errors made in documenting the listing can come back to ‘haunt you’ later during the negotiation or due diligence process. Learn how to interpret property documentation, leases, and factors that relate to the tenancy mix.
The local property planning process will have impact on building usage, improvements, tenant occupancy, future developments, and capital growth. Take the time to understand the local property development plans as they apply in your region and for any particular listing. Look for any changes in the development plan that could have an impact on the property in the future.
If you review the history of the area, you will see certain trends that relate to prices and rentals. You will also see factors that have impact on marketing, listing, negotiations, and time on market. Stay ahead of the current trends in property activity and the history of prices and rentals as they apply for each property type.
Every client or prospect will have factors of focus when it comes to property ownership and portfolio development. Some clients will own a number of properties or seek to do so over time. This then says that some clients can be very valuable from an ongoing business perspective for a real estate agent. In saying this, the cycle of activity in commercial real estate is relatively long. It can be many months if not years before a client is ready to take the next step in their property investment and ownership plan. You need to stay with the client for the long term, nurturing the relationship wherever possible with relevant and real information.
A client or a property investigation can be quite complex. Look for the potential that the client or a property can offer you as real estate agent. Position yourself for ongoing service and support to the client. The business, new listings, and commissions will soon be easier to attract.
In commercial real estate agency today, you need to be an entrepreneur in your business practices and your focus. Your successes in the industry as an agent will come from your personal endeavors.
The agency that you work for will have little to do with the process of building greater personal commissions and generating listings. Successful agents are individually driven and have a comprehensive marketing plan to promote themselves comprehensively through the region that they work in.
There are some very simple strategies to apply here if you wish to rise to the top of the market. That being said, all of those strategies require personal effort and deliberate focus. They take time and effort each and every working day to implement effectively.
Here are some of those strategies to help you develop the entrepreneurial mindset of a top commercial real estate agent:
They say that you can learn a lot from experience. You can also learn a lot from the other top agents in the area. Whilst some of those top agents may work with competing agencies, you can observe what they are doing and how they do it. You can replicate their successful processes when it comes to knowledge, skill, and marketing.
Every client that you serve today will be an opportunity for repeat business in the future. The cycle of commercial real estate is quite long and on that basis your relationships will need to be built and nurtured. Focus on quality clients and quality properties. It is the quality properties that will bring you more enquiries from any marketing campaign. Poor quality properties bring poor results.
Referral opportunities can be generated from successful transactions. Stay close to your clients, customers, buyers, and tenants as part of closing a transaction and moving on. Ask for the referral at the right time.
There are certain skills which are absolutely critical to the services that you provide as an agent. You should have significant skills in prospecting, presenting, marketing, inspections, negotiations, and documentation. These six aspects of your career require constant upgrade and practice. When you do this, it makes it a lot easier for you to rise up in the ranks of the commercial property industry.
Every listing, sale, or lease is an opportunity to talk to other people in the local area. Send a direct letters to the local property owners and the property investors as part of your marketing efforts. In many respects, one single listing can allow you to talk to several hundred people. It is simply a matter of developing a mindset to do it and commencing the process.
If you choose to be an entrepreneur in commercial real estate agency today, you do need to take a serious look at your business activities and systems. They will help you take advantage of the local property market providing you implement the appropriate action on a daily basis. Success in this industry is driven from personal activity and nothing else.
In commercial real estate agency it is essential that you sustain peak performance when it comes to undertaking the daily business of an agent. Peak performance can be many different things for each of us, however in our property industry it usually relates to client contact, prospecting, marketing, and negotiations. It is a very personal process.
The agents that are struggling are usually the ones that have little focus on the key issues that really matter. It is very easy to get tied up in mundane and ordinary issues. You can be ‘busy’ doing all the wrong things; you can also be ‘busy’ chasing hope in a sale or lease, and distant deals that you have been working on for months if not years. A good degree of selective work is required to build and maintain your income. Understand the difference between a good deal that has a reasonable chance of success and one that is really a great waste of time.
The key issues in our industry relate to building the business, converting the business, and establishing a strong market share. Peak performance has something to do with that. Here are some tips to help you:
Segment or split your day into the things that really matter. They are the things that will help you build your business, listings and commissions. If you put a title to the tasks they will be prospecting, client contact, and marketing. Those three things will allow you to inspect properties with the right people and negotiate on more deals.
Identify the key issues, clients, actions, and tasks that are closest to the money and commissions. Avoid anything that cannot give you a lead or a commission. Your income depends on your focus and actions.
What exactly are you really good at (in commercial real estate business)? Hopefully your skills are in connecting with clients, finding listings, and marketing. When you understand what you are good at you can do more of it. If you are not a top performer in some critical things then you will need to improve. Practice will be required.
Enjoy what you do. Passion and attitude has a lot to do with moving your market share forward.
Look for the top agents in the local area. See what they do and how it works for them. You can replicate their skills and actions. Watch and learn.
Simple things like these five will help you move ahead as an agent in commercial real estate. Control your time and your focus.
Leasing commercial property today can be a challenge for all sorts of reasons. The landlords that we act for and the tenants that we negotiate with all have requirements to be balanced into a lease structure. Negotiating a lease can be a real challenge.
When you look at the financial or calendar year, there will be ‘seasons’ of property activity. Sales and leasing activity for a property type will vary during those ‘seasons’ of business and tenant activity. As the local real estate agent you must do the best you can with leasing given the rental and leasing requirements. Understand what the property market is doing and then ‘prospect’ into it. You will soon find the landlords and tenants that require help.
Reflecting on today’s property market, here are factors that require attention of the leasing agent:
Comparable properties in the local area should be understood and watched. From time to time you will see those comparable properties take your tenants or seek to attract your tenants away from their leases. It’s all about you being competitive as a property when it comes to lease terms and conditions. Use a tenant retention plan to keep your tenants happy and in occupancy. Talk to your tenants regularly.
Market conditions will change during the year. Pay particular attention to the factors of market rent and vacancy rates. See the trends in both and look for the upcoming new property developments that could impact the supply and demand factors of occupancy.
Rents and incentives will change during the year. Gross and net rents will rise and fall based on the supply and demand for space. Importantly your vacant areas should be competitive when it comes to marketing vacant space to new tenants.
Local property types will show trends when it comes to rents and vacancies. Watch what the market is doing. Stay ahead of the trends and advise your clients and landlords how to handle their tenants and rents.
Landlord requirements will vary based on the holding requirements and cash flow of the property investment. The leases that you negotiate will also be based on the holding requirements of the landlord. Understand these factors.
Vacancy factors will have an impact on the tenant mix. Work with your tenants to keep the vacancies under control. Talk to new tenants to encourage lease negotiations of currently available space.
Outgoings recoveries will help the landlord with net rents. Look at all the leases to see what recoveries can and should occur. Reconcile and charge those outgoings correctly in accordance with the leases.
Lease documents will vary across a property and on a landlord by landlord basis. Read your leases and enforce them correctly.
To be successful in leasing commercial property today, you must understand the market, the landlord, the local rents, and the property performance. It is a fine balance that is a professional requirement for property leasing agents.
In commercial real estate you must prospect for new business every day. In that prospecting time, 50% of the time should be spent on people that you already know and are progressing up the contact pipeline, and the other 50% should be spent on the new people and property owners that you have not spoken to before.
When you follow this model of prospecting, you find that your market opens up with opportunity; the clients and contacts that you know will expand. From that action plan you see the new business that you need.
It is a fact that many agents if not 90% of agents do not prospect enough. They like to find excuses to move on to other things. When they get busy, the first thing to be avoided or removed from the diary is prospecting. That then leads to a market downturn and decline in listings and then commissions.
Here are some rules for prospecting in commercial real estate:
Don’t work with a small group of clients and prospects. This will expose you to loss of income when a client moves away or stops activity in property. It is better to have your main client list (the ‘A’ list) and then a secondary client list that you can move into or escalate when the ‘A’ list is shrinking. As a general rule you should have an equal number of people or prospects in your ‘A’ and ‘B’ list. Prospecting on a regular basis will help you with the numbers in each group.
Know what your idea client looks like and where they are located. When you get focused on a specific client you can target your prospecting for better effect. Top agents tend to focus on clients with large properties or portfolios of multiple properties.
Know what your ideal property listing will be and where it is located. This focus helps you with organised prospecting. Keep to a geographical area so you can methodically go through your region with focus on properties and clients.
The prospecting efforts between sales and leasing, versus property management are a bit different. The best agents can work with sales and leasing quite well. Be aware of the property management opportunity and have someone to service it with you or for you. That being said you will need the right people in the agency business to take on the workload. Commercial property management is quite special. The same can be said for retail shopping centre management.
These are quite simple rules to follow; simple to create, but hard to do. Prospecting reluctance is a big issue for some agents. Take on the task and get better at it. Soon the business will come in.