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.

Commercial Real Estate Brokerage – Appointments in Huge Capacity

business meeting
Create more appointments and meetings faster.

In commercial real estate brokerage, you will need a good selection of ongoing appointments and meetings locally to allow you to build market share, your client list, and commission opportunities.

(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)

Those special and ongoing appointments will only come to you through your direct prospecting efforts and new business focus. Don’t let a day pass without a deliberate and direct focus into new business opportunity.

There is one fact to remember here as you strive to improve your commercial real estate career. Our industry is usually based on local personal contact and individual trust. That is why meetings and appointments are so important.

So what about luck?

Certainly there will be a degree of luck helping you gain some market traction and listing opportunity, but most of the quality new business that you create will come to you through deliberate prospecting and client contact over time. There is really no other consistently good way to grow your real estate business comprehensively and directly.

Make quality choices

So you have some choices to make here. You can move through the industry slowly, or you can take the fast track to grow your leads and client list. If the fast track is for you, then consider the following facts and strategies:

  1. Exactly how can you reach out to new people in an ongoing and relevant way? The message here is that you cannot and should not be average when it comes to your prospecting and client communications.
  2. You will need some local market information and research to support your prospecting activities. In every connection and communication, provide that local market information professionally and specifically to the right people. Vary your market information presentation strategies using graphs, charts, statistics, photographs, and case studies. Allow those specific marketing tools to support your professional skills.
  3. What types of clients and prospects should you focus on? Always bias your prospecting efforts towards quality; the definition of quality would relate to specific buildings, specific clients, particular property precincts, and certain local businesses. Within your client and prospecting list, you should have a select group of VIP people that you will be connecting with more frequently and more directly. Action your contact into that list.
  4. Remember the opportunities evolving from asking the referral question. As part of every client and prospecting meeting, ask for existing and future referrals hence providing links to other people that may have a property interest. Some of your clients and prospects will know a number of other property people from the location. Ask the right questions relating to referrals at the right time in every meeting and in every client relationship.
  5. Remember the two sides of the property market and most particularly the property owners and the local businesses. You will get plenty of new business opportunity from both segments providing your prospecting model is adjusted accordingly. There are variations of new business that can be created from both property owners and business proprietors. Are you prepared to market yourself comprehensively into each group? How would you do that?
  6. What are your services? Typically, you can provide specialized brokerage services such as a seller’s agent, a buyer’s agent, a tenancy advocate, or investment specialist. In each case you will need a deliberate marketing approach and focus. You also need specific and supporting market information to help you penetrate the market.

So there are some good things that you can do here to create more appointments locally as a property specialist. Every day should be a special day when it comes to generating new appointments with new people. Start the day with a prospecting approach to new people.

(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)