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How to Engage with More VIP Clients in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

city buildings on edge of harbour

In commercial real estate brokerage it is important that you segment your client list into groups and opportunities. As part of that, you should identify the VIP clients that you know and those that exist in your local area. They should be the primary targets of your prospecting model in an ongoing way. (NB – you can get our free commercial real estate training right here)

In this audio program, John Highman talks about the strategies behind VIP database management and the professional skills of commercial real estate sales and leasing today.

Learn how to improve your real estate business and grow the opportunities with the right clients in the right way.

You can access the audio program right here:

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Tenant Management Tips for Commercial Property

Human shadow figures in a building uid 1461085

When you lease and manage commercial property today, you really do need to monitor the activities of tenants within the tenancy mix and be ready to respond to occupancy issues.  Be aware of the changes within the building and the activities of tenants in each of the separate premises.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

Why worry about this?

It is better to be ahead of the tenancy problems before they become overly large or pressured, thereby impacting the landlord and the asset.  It is better to negotiate with the tenant through their trading or occupancy issue at the earliest stages.

  • Protect the tenant mix, lower the vacancy factors in your asset, and keep your good tenants for the long term.

Most buildings today with multiple tenants in occupation will have some form of tenant retention plan to consolidate occupancy and cash flow over the foreseeable future.  Within that document will be the necessary lease strategies, rental indicators, and tenant profiles.

So what is it?

It is a landlord based investment planner to help with occupancy planning.   Shopping centres and large office towers would have such tenant planning processes in place, and then they adjust the plan every year based on what can be observed and predicted in tenant occupation and known vacancies.

Tenant retention planning?

So the retention plan is a document that allows you to prepare at the earliest stages for the worst and best possible leasing scenarios, and control the best outcomes.  In other words, you can stay well ahead of the leasing and tenant mix problems before they get out of hand.  Isn’t that what the leasing strategies should be in any investment property?

 

  • Look for the indicators and the pressure points of occupancy.  Given the pressures of the economy and business today, tenants can sometimes suffer with pressures of cash flow emanating from variations of staff structure, seasonal sales, production, and intellectual property.

 

So what can you do here?

On a regular basis look at how the tenant and their business appears to be tracking, and wherever possible identify any weaknesses that could impact occupancy.  In simple terms, you stay close to the tenant in every way possible through a series of telephone calls, meetings, and email exchanges.  You take plenty of notes, and you negotiate through any issues as early as possible.

Here are some ideas to help you with that lease management strategy:

  • Inspect the property and the tenancy frequently so that you can see when changes are underway.  Where necessary, take photographs and plenty of notes to support your observations.  You can see variations with staffing, management structures, production, on-site storage, and business activities.  Look for the indicators and asked plenty of questions.
  • Stay in contact with the decision makers of the business so that you can identify when they are under any particular pressure of occupancy.  In any corporate structure there will be different levels of management to interact with.  Take notes and make observations when it comes to any meetings with tenants and management personnel.  A simple thing evolving from a meeting today can be a major issue in the future.  Understand the impact of a shift in rental or tenant occupancy within the asset.
  • Watch for any shift or change relating to staffing and management within the tenant business.  Are they still employing the same number of people? Has the management structure changed within the business?  When you see changes, ask questions.
  • The lease document will be important when it comes to enforcing lease conditions and rental cash flow.  Review the lease regularly for the necessary critical dates and methods of response that apply to the occupancy process.

Given all of these things, the landlord needs to be fully briefed on any lease issues and recent tenant meetings.  Those facts can be merged into the end of month reporting for the property leasing and tenant management updates.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

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The Many Different Ways to Build Your Commercial Real Estate Network Faster

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There are significant differences between commercial property and residential property. One of the biggest differences will be the types of people that you will be or are working with. You will find that the people transacting commercial real estate today are largely from the business sectors or the investment community locally.  They have different motivators and decision facilities.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

So what is the message?

The emphasis here is local. Get to know your local property market and the people that occupy or transact property within it. There will be plenty of people in your town or city to connect with over time ‘commercially’ if you have a good look into the businesses and the investors locally.  You can build long-term relationships in the right way, hence providing the right services.

What are your services and how do you sell into them?

You may provide investment sales services, leasing services, or property management solutions. That being said there are some very special services that you can implement within each of the three disciplines mentioned.  Here are some ideas to help across property management and also leasing.

Example of property management services

Take for example commercial property management as a business process and professional service. Here are some very specialized sub-activities within the asset and property management business:

  • income analysis and optimization
  • expenditure controls and budgeting
  • maintenance planning and routines for asset performance
  • tenancy mix planning and optimization
  • lease controls and administration
  • arrears minimization
  • vacancy marketing and property leasing
  • tenant selection and placement
  • the performance of an investment property within a larger portfolio
  • make good controls and lease compliance at lease end

So there are a number of things that you can do here when it comes to professional property management services. Given the types of buildings that you work with, there are some unique and valuable skills that can be applied across the disciplines mentioned.

Look at how you can provide some very special sub-set skills to the top clients and the active clients in your location. Always choose your best clients and properties with a bias towards quality and size. In that way any listing activity or property challenge will have a reasonable chance of fast resolve and marketing momentum.

What about leasing services?

So let’s look at leasing services as well.   If you are recognized as a leasing expert for a location, then you should have a number of specific solutions to locate and provide tenants to any vacancy problems that local landlords will be experiencing.

The place to start here is with your database. The size of your database in commercial real estate leasing will be indirect co-relation to the opportunities that you can create from the property leasing market. You simply have to know a lot of tenants within business segments and property precincts. That will then give you the ‘edge’ when it comes to working with landlords and vacancy challenges.

As a specialist in local property leasing, you should be able to provide a variety of services similar to the following:

  • an opinion of market rental relative to the location
  • tenant advocacy services for larger businesses
  • a selection of ideas to market any vacant property at any time
  • a clearer understanding of how property incentives should be shaped for the particular vacancy
  • marketing solutions to connect the vacant property to the right target audience
  • a solid awareness of leasing documentation that applies to commercial real estate leasing today
  • some real strategies behind rental establishment an escalation over time
  • ways to improve the property investment and the net income from a base of leasing activity

So there are some good things that you can do here as a specialist in commercial real estate leasing. Understand what is happening in your local market today when it comes to vacancies, tenant activity, and landlord pressures.  Take action with the market evidence you are seeing.

Match your professional skills into the momentum of the market and the trends of the time. You can choose to work with landlords, tenants, or business owners. Note that you can also work for property developers at the right time if the prevailing market conditions are right.

The take home message?

So the message here is that you should make the right choices when it comes to your property market and the specialist services that you provide. Look deeply into the needs of your clients as they address their property challenges. Look at the ways that you can provide specialist high-end real estate services to the right people in the right way.

Get to know your clients at each and every opportunity. Be prepared to take a property solution or option to your clients before they even know that they have a potential need or issue on the horizon. Be pro-active as a property specialist; that’s what top agents do.

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The Core Principles of Lead Generation in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

business man talking on cell phone.
You can create plenty of leads in commercial real estate brokerage.

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.

When you know lots of people, you can create leasing churn and activity.  Here are some ideas to help you improve your listing conversions and leasing results:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

You can get plenty more lead generation tips and ideas in our eCourse right here.

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Grow Your Commercial Real Estate Business Faster – Understand Exactly What Clients and Prospects are Looking for in Investment Property

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Know your roles and responsiblities as an agent.

 

Property Investors get involved with commercial property for a number of reasons.  Their motivations can be quite personal and specific to factors such as capital gain, redevelopment, highest and best use, building renovation, market rental, and portfolio mix.

In asking the right questions you can identify exactly what your clients and your Property Investors are looking for.  From that point onwards it is simply a matter of understanding capabilities of finance and the correct time for a transaction; those observations will apply individually with your clients and prospects.

Here are some ideas to help you understand exactly what your clients are looking for relative to commercial and retail real estate investment:

  1. Determine the property type that suits the balance of the portfolio. It is a well-known fact that portfolio diversity will lessen the risk and volatility of an investment portfolio.  In a lessening the risk, the returns can also be reduced.  That is where many Property Investors will divide their portfolio across retail, industrial, and office buildings.
  2. Understand the factors of timing with any property acquisition or change. Locally you will find the pressures of property supply and demand impacting prices, rents, and time on market.  There will be times of the year which are more favourable for the sales verses leasing activity.
  3. Some properties have a definite lead up to a promotion or marketing campaign. Some things may need to be fixed and addressed.  As an example, you may have to rectify weaknesses in the tenancy mix, vacancy factors, tenant selection, building cash flow, and rental structures.  Look for those weaknesses before you implement a marketing campaign for the client.
  4. Some of your clients will have a preference for portfolio improvement through diversity and change. They will be on the lookout for properties in particular locations, assets of particular value, and buildings that may offer a new and vibrant opportunity through redevelopment or a fresh alignment to the market rental locally.  When you understand the needs of the particular client, it is quite possible to put together a transaction off market without the pressured factors and interference occurring with other agents, buyers, or tenants.
  5. Within your database, determine a small segment of clients and prospects that you would regard as VIPs. Over time get to know exactly what these people are looking for from an investment perspective and identify when they could potentially need that repositioning or change.  From that point onwards you can be researching the market and looking for the correct property acquisitions and opportunities.

When you focus a lot more on your individual VIP clients and their property needs you can get to the real triggers and points of change that create commissions.  That then is a proactive approach to being a top commercial real estate agent.