Most commercial real estate agents will have a database. More often than not the database they have or use will be well out of date and poorly maintained. With all of this technology around us today you would think that the life of an agent would be easier?
I have seen agent databases that are many thousands of people only to find that most of the contacts are redundant, incorrect, or outdated. My view is that it is far better to have 600 people that you do know very well, than 5000 people that would not know you from a ‘bar of soap’. Our industry is built around the strength of relationships; remember that!
So, it’s the time of year where we should talk about refreshing and revitalising your database. It’s a personal process, and you can’t delegate it to anyone else in your team. Work your contact list comprehensively so you tap into the future deals in the market. It’s that simple!
A good real estate database will help an agent do all of the following:
Provide leads and opportunities
Integrate into automated newsletter systems
Give you sources of commissions and listings
Allow you to dominate market share or property type
Track and measure all client contact
So why do agents let their databases ‘self-implode’? It’s an interesting question; I think the answer has something to do with a personal lack of focus and not enough time to update the database information.
If there was a ‘golden rule’ in commercial real estate brokerage, it would go something like this:
‘Grow and maintain your database each working day.’
It’s a simple rule to understand; keep your business simple and centre your business on local people and prospects. Talk to lots of people every day and track your contact processes in your contact database. Ongoing relevant contact is required.
Here are 7 very good ways to ‘spring clean’ your contact list:
Make 10 calls into your list every day to update contact information. By calling people you already know you will find ‘changes to circumstances’ and future property needs just waiting to be tapped into. That’s a very good reason to make calls every day!
Check emails with all of your contacts so you can put them into an auto responder for ease of regular contact (you will need their permission to do that).
Update mobile telephone numbers where possible so you can keep in direct contact when the right property listing comes up. As part of that process, load all of your contacts into your mobile telephone for convenience of access and a ‘heads up’ when they call you.
Check websites for the business people that you connect with. You will find changes in information worth talking to them about.
Segment your contacts into VIP’s, Sellers, Buyers, Tenants, Business Owners, and Developers. Ask them about their property preferences and update your records accordingly.
Ask your VIP clients and regular contacts about property requirements and timing of needs. Whilst they may not require a property change currently, they are likely to do so in the future.
Integrate your contact list to your social media, blog and your email newsletter. Keep your communications business like and frequent. You want to be ‘top of mind’ when your contacts are seeking property change or help.
It is relatively easy to ‘spring clean’ your database and keep it that way. It just requires a daily process and consistency at agent level.
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, your time is highly valuable. The best agents manage their time efficiently to the tasks that are most important. It is a known fact that a controlled salesperson achieves more in income and listings. They stick to a system and they get the right things done.
It is a fact that things will happen every day that you cannot plan for. Clients, prospects, and fellow staff members will direct issues at you that need to be responded to. To remain efficient through this pressure, it is wise to control at least 1/3 rd. of your day. In that 1/3 rd. of the day you can do the right things that you know will help you build market share and your commissions.
Here are some tips to develop a time management system in your commercial real estate processes.
You must control your time. That has to be the rule. Your diary is something that is ‘sacred territory’ and only you put things into your diary. In this way you can choose what you do and how you do it.
I go back to the point that part of the day is to be fully under your control. In this time frame you should do the things that really matter to your business and your goals for the year. Prospecting is usually the thing that applies and should be actioned in this window of time.
Map out your activities for the week ahead. Sure, changes will occur, but put the big and important issues into your diary and keep them there for action.
When you arise each morning, spend 5 minutes reviewing what has to be done and checking the priorities of things.
Build some break time into your schedule so you can think and plan. You will also need some administrative time later in the day to capture the events of the day.
Move the unimportant things out of your day to times that are less critical.
Learn to delegate the things that can be done by others.
Control the things that relate to business generation, clients, marketing, and negotiation. All of these things will impact your business and cannot be overlooked or passed to others.
Create habits when it comes to the most important things in the business day. Do them to a schedule at the same time. Habits help you move ahead and get traction on the things that matter.
Don’t let other people have access to your diary where they can add appointments to your day. Only you should set appointments as you are the one that understands your focus.
If you want to be a top agent in commercial real estate, protect your time and do the right things as part of your working day. Take control.
In commercial real estate agency today, you can drive more opportunity in listings and commissions if you use a personal assistant. That being said, that assistant needs to provide the correct support to you in a professional way.
Many commercial real estate agents are not sufficiently organized to use a personal assistant successfully. All they do is extend the chaos from their desk to someone else’s. Some may say that it is OK to do that; I disagree. Top agents are not disorganized, they are systemized and focused. They can then use the assistant more effectively and comprehensively.
So it is the top agents that understand the processes behind working with other people and administrative support. Here are some ideas to help you with that administrative process and the duties that you provide or direct to your personal assistant.
Advertising and marketing can be a time consuming process especially when you create more quality exclusive listings. If you are a good ‘lister’ of quality property, you will find that there are limits on the number of exclusives that you can work with. Depending on the size of properties that you work with, you will usually strike a working limit at about 15 to 20 exclusive listings. So let’s assume that you have got this number of exclusive listings. The marketing for this should be controlled by your administrative support team. You are the best person to negotiate the listing and have the client agree on a marketing campaign. It is the administrative team that will take the campaign forward and place it in the necessary media channels.
The administrative team should be monitoring your market share in signs and advertising. This means that each week they should be tallying the number of other properties that you are up against in the local area. Get them to monitor your position against competing agents. Be careful that the difference is established between open listings and exclusive listings. Open listings have very little relevance to market share.
Your support team can take telephone enquiries for you and administer your diary remotely. This then allows you to get out into the field and talk to the people that need your services. Every agent should be out of the office for at least half of the day and thereby the support team can provide the backup that you require.
Every transaction today needs to be followed through. The more leases or sales that you create, the greater attention to detail and follow-through is required. Your support team can check the progress of all transactions on your behalf as well as follow-up on documentation that may be outstanding.
It should be said that the support team should not overly interact with your clients. The client relationship needs to be preserved by direct connection with you at all times. At the end of each day you should be connecting with all of your clients on all of your exclusive listings. Keep them up to date with all recent enquiries.
As a final note on this industry strategy, any disorganized agent or salesperson should not be given a personal assistant. They will just be spreading their inefficiencies to other people and dragging the office backwards.
Top agents are highly effective with the right support team behind them. Choose to be a top agent, and improve your services accordingly.
There are plenty of problems out there in the commercial real estate industry for us to solve. The landlords and property investors are challenged with vacancy factors, redundant properties, and high operating costs to name just a few. We thereby become the solution provider in the local area. Here are some tips from our Newsletter.
It is not a seller’s market, it is not a buyer’s market, but it is an agent’s market. We have the opportunity to reap the benefits of change; that is change in property ownership, occupancy, and eventually some new developments. The longer you stay around the industry you will know that the business is always out there, we just need to help the right people at the right time. Your database is critical to the process.
The property market is going through some reasonable change at the moment, and in many cases it is starting to consolidate and improve. There is a cycle to things, and right now the cycle has opportunity.
The moment businesses start to see better sales and improved client numbers, the flow through to commercial real estate is quite fast. The changes in tenant mix and property ownership start to occur.
So what problems can you help with?
What value do you bring to the clients and prospects currently?
Here is a list to think about; see where you can qualify as a ‘problem solver’ for your clients.
The tenants in the property are struggling to pay the rent.
The vacancy factor is too high.
Occupancy costs are higher than necessary.
New tenants are needed.
Renovation and refurbishment should occur to maintain tenant interest in remaining in the property.
Leasing strategies are non-existent or unsuccessful.
The tenant mix is wrong and needs adjustment to improve tenant sales.
The shopping centre needs a boost in customer numbers.
There is no business plan for the property.
Competing properties are taking all the tenants.
The property needs to be sold and enquiry is low.
The new property development is planned but tenants are hard to find.
These are all specialised processes. They require good agents with experience to move the property issues forward. You can provide specialist services and market yourself through them. Every problem that a client has is an opportunity.
A tenant retention plan is a good way to help current property owners with the tenant mix and the vacancy factors. You should charge a fee for the plan and get a fee from all of the leasing activity that you create.
Think outside the square and decide what services you can provide that the property market requires. To be a top agent you need to solve problems and specialise.
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