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The Things I Have Learned About Clients in Commercial Real Estate

city buildings on river

Over many years, I have worked for and with many commercial real estate customers.  In saying that, the variation of customer focus and interaction was sometimes large, unexpected, and challenging.  (NB – you can get plenty of commercial real estate tips here in our Snapshot program)

Not all clients and prospects are ‘equal,’ and should be respected for the individuals that they are and the property ‘challenges’ that they face.  The fees that you set for working with some of these ‘high end’ clients on a complex project or property challenge should be well considered based on your predictable time and effort.

Understand them first and foremost

The message to remember with some if not all clients and prospects is in the need to get to know them comprehensively first and foremost; that is in their thinking, targets, challenges, and investment goals.  You can only provide ‘help’ when you understand the ‘big picture.’

Look for the patterns and strategies that you can provide help with.  Only offer the client your fullest services and commitment when you fully understand what they are doing, what they are facing, and what they are looking for in solutions.

High value clients

Some clients are better than others from a ‘value’ perspective to you.  Have you set your ‘value’ criteria?  Try some of these for starters:

  • Repeat business over time
  • Property portfolio by size, location, and type
  • Services variation (sales, leasing, and asset management)
  • Commissions by amount and frequency
  • Referral opportunity from friends and acquaintances

In looking at the list, it is easy to see how some clients will be higher ‘ranking’ than others.  Categorize the people that you know now, and can connect with.  Communicate with ‘locals’ for the ‘right reasons.’  Focus your prospecting and communication efforts into the best individuals in a location.

So, where can you start with all this?

Look at your database of clients and prospects, and then split that list into VIP’s and ‘others’.  Most of your prospecting and new business efforts should focus into the VIP’s in your client or contact list.  When you know the value that these people can bring you, then you can know what to do in communication and connection.

Here are some facts about clients in commercial real estate brokerage today:

  1. They are always out there looking for properties to act on. If you have a good selection of high-quality exclusive listings, you will find other ‘high quality’ investors approaching you about listing information and inspections.  The ‘quality’ rule is easy to follow and understand.
  2. They require market evidence. Keep abreast of local property trends and changes so that you can use them in an informational and relevant way.  You should capture the facts of the larger deals in sales and leasing so you can use those points in your client conversations, presentations, and listing pitches.  Market evidence is hard to refute or dispute.
  3. They like to work with ‘specialists.’ Most clients like to work with the established and active property experts for a location.  Real estate is not an ‘experiment’; put yourself into a ‘specialization’ category and help your clients and prospects understand that fact.
  4. They know what they are doing when it comes to local property.  So, take your time in helping them, and show them respect as you move through their asset challenges and known issues. Seek to understand them first before you pitch your ideas and strategies.
  5. They will generally listen to logic. When you work from a basis of local market evidence, the clients and prospects will listen.  Have some visual and informational tools to use in the customer conversation or meeting process.
  6. They like to have a ‘win’ with a listing, negotiation, or inspection. Some negotiations can be lengthy and complicated.  Let your clients feel as though they are in control as you move them ahead, and that they are at the ‘winning’ end of the equation.  A small ‘win’ will usually be a valuable tool to closing off on a negotiation or transaction.  In saying all of this, remember who your client is in the transaction, and help them move on the right opportunity.

Property clients are at the center of everything we do in commercial real estate brokerage.  Market yourself, your knowledge, relevance, and skills into your customer list.  That is how things work in commercial property today.

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Strategies for Building Commissions in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

city at night

If you have chosen commercial real estate as your preferred career, you have likely done so for a reason.  Perhaps someone has introduced you to the profession, or you have seen what some agents do and achieve in their career and you want to get similar results.

 

Many ‘Roads’ to Take in Commercial Property

 

Certainly there are many ‘roads’ of focus and activity to take in commercial real estate brokerage; all of those ‘roads’ are specialized in some way for both property type and location.   All of those ‘roads’ involve client contact, personal performance, commissions, and listings.

 

You have to be a person that will focus personal effort into all of those things, and that is certainly the case if you want to get more or improved results from your industry and from your efforts over time. 

 

You need a plan as an agent or broker, and that plan when started can be refined over time.  The commissions come to those that work with professional skills that are improved over time.  Are you that person?

 

Get More Real Estate Traction and Focus

 

Here are some ideas to help you get more traction in your career as an agent or broker, and attract better levels of commissions:

 

  1. Specialist skills – choose the property types that you understand and can match your professional skills into. Boost your skills through practice.  There is no point specializing in something that sells or leases in low volume.  Look at the end result of what could happen in your property specialization.  Improve your skills through deliberate effort.
  2. Local area – choose the local area that shows the best possibilities for your efforts over time. Review the streets and precincts.  Look at the buildings and investment properties in the chosen location.
  3. Owners, Tenants and Business owners – you can work for clients in all 3 of these categories, but in saying that, each category requires understanding and unique qualities of service. Given your location, how much business could you extract from the segments?  You could be an agent for landlords, tenants, buyers, or sellers; match your services into the segments that you prefer and then prospect the segments comprehensively in an ongoing way.
  4. Referrals – when you know a customer or client with reasonable familiarity, the referral process gets a lot easier. Encourage your clients to tell you about other people that they know who may be interested in property investment.
  5. Repeat business – some clients will transact commercial property in a number of different ways over time. That is especially so if they own multiple properties or a portfolio.  Review your clients on that basis.
  6. Quality properties – work with the better quality properties as they will attract more inquiry and that will lead to a better churn of listings and properties. As you work with more listings piggy back your listings and inquiries so you can move an inquiry from one property to another and eventually find the right solution for the buyer or tenant.
  7. A quality database – review the database software that you use an understand its potential for you in finding the right people to transact real estate in some way. Spreadsheets don’t offer a complete level of coverage; the larger that they get, the more difficult it is in finding the right people to match into a property listing or inquiry.

 

There are some special things that you can do here with a listings and commissions focus.  If commercial real estate is your career, then the elements mentioned here will be vital to the outcomes that you seek.  Refine them and improve them over time.  Top agents are created and shaped over time; luck has nothing to do with the process.  Your career and its results are influenced by deliberate choices and refined actions.

(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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Commercial Real Estate Brokers – Where Your Best Commissions are Derived

business man walking out door
Know where to find your best clients and better commissions in commercial real estate.

In commercial real estate brokerage, you must know where your new business is derived from and where the best commissions are likely to come from into the future.  Some new property business can be much more lucrative for you over time.  Understand what that new business looks like and how you can find it.  Focus into the segment that works for you.

Your opportunities will come from your local property market.  The way to find that business is to specialize and improve your services accordingly.  Top agents are very good at just one or two things, and then they drive themselves into that or those segment(s).

Where then are you likely to find the best business in both listings and commissions into the future?  When you know your skills and knowledge, you can do something with growth and market share.   You can also practice and improve your skills on the things that really matter.  That’s how you generate more commissions and listings in a relevant and real way.

Your special market segments?

Consider the special market segments below and how you can select the right category of business activity.  Ultimately strive to grow and shape your market share as a broker or agent over time.  Plan your way forward:

  1. Sellers agent – If you are a seller’s agent (or want to be) then you must know how to pitch and present your listing services competitively and directly to the people that matter. This is the ‘pointy end’ of our craft; pitching and presenting is something that will always vary based on the property and the client.  Ultimately you will need a good database of clients to focus on so you are there to help them at the right time when they need a property solution.
  2. Leasing agent – Three are always businesses looking to relocate locally. Spend some time looking into the business community and what they want from a property and improvement perspective.
  3. Property management specialist – The management services to be offered today to the owners of any quality investment property can be quite unique and comprehensive. Your fee structures should be as comprehensive as your services offered.
  4. Property performance improvement – Can you improve a property and its performance? Ultimately if your fee in property management is based on a percentage of passing income, then you can improve your fees through improved property rental cash flow.  When the landlord wins, you also win.
  5. Lease negotiations – Every lease negotiated deserves a reasonable fee. The value of a lease into the future is sustained as long as the lease is structured with due care.

And so the list goes on.   Can you see the opportunity here?  Specialization works in commercial real estate brokerage.

Look at your location, your client segments, the levels of professional services offered by your competition, and then understand exactly how you will pull in your commission and what your professional services provide your clients.  You will never have a big problem in setting your professional fees if you and your services are regarded as the best available for the client and their property challenge.

Your services?

Here are some other valuable service alternatives for you to open up into as a real estate agent for your location:

  • Tenant advocacy
  • Tenancy mix strategies
  • Buyers agent
  • Project development
  • Industrial property
  • Office property
  • Retail property

Your ability to earn money as commission and to convert listings will be based largely on your skills and knowledge.  Practice what you do and learn as much as you can.  That is what our business is all about.

(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)