How to Put More Human Contact into Your Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

city buildings on river

In your commercial real estate career, it is hard to get anywhere without a good degree of client and prospect contact.  Your brokerage and your office location will have little to do with the little to do with the inquiries coming in.  (NB – you can get more client contact strategies in commercial real estate brokerage right here in ‘Snapshot’)

Each day you simply must get out the front door of the brokerage, and into your territory.  It is a precise process that requires a plan.  Build your real estate business around people first and foremost.  Talk to more people and take a record or notes from valuable conversations and relationships.

Facts of Time

Why think this way?  It takes about 3 to 6 months of direct prospecting to get some real momentum up and running in a brokerage career; what you want to do here is give energy and focus to database accuracy and growth.  Get to know plenty of local people.

What can you learn from this?  Your database should be at the center of your tasks, your diary, and your daily activities.  Choose a good database program that works for you and your property specialty, and then use it each day; revisit the details of earlier contacts, meetings, and conversations.  Look for those small pieces of information that could turn into a valuable discussion or new real estate business.

Human Focus

Put the concept of ‘human contact’ back into your real estate business.  While it is always easy to send an email or make a telephone call, the traditional approach of ‘face to face’ meetings and ‘drop-ins’ tend to be the best way to get traction and momentum with new clients and prospects.  You can judge the success of a commercial real estate agent by the depth of their database and the strength of personal relationships with key customers and prospects.

Contact and Communicate

So, let’s get some more focus on this concept.  Here are some ideas to help you get your ‘human contact’ plan up and running in your real estate business:

  1. Door knocking local areas, businesses, and tenants – get to know all the firms in the streets and the zones that you control. It is always likely that a simple conversation with a local business owner can lead to something of value, be that in a sale, lease, or property management.
  2. Meetings in a regular way – when you have established a link and relationship with a new client or prospect, stay in contact so that you are seeing or talking to them at least once every 90 days. Regularity is important to build profile and relevance.
  3. Getting to know the clients comprehensively – some customers can have ongoing property needs and or challenges. Get to know their portfolios and locations.  Look for the elements of change in investment.
  4. Establish a VIP prospect and client program – some of your contacts will be more ‘valuable’ for future business in so many different ways. Differentiate your customers based on value, location, capability to act, and property requirements.
  5. Creating ‘leave behind value’ for all your meetings and inspections – when you have made a contact or connection, send some follow-up information immediately after the event. The information that you submit can ‘open the door up’ for ongoing communication.
  6. Every inquiry or inspection is a reason to keep connecting – when the first inquiry comes in, keep the conversation and connection flowing through a series of professional processes including brochures, emails, and case studies. Local property information is always of interest to investors and business owners.  Share information that is relevant and real for the location.

Through these strategies, you can build a solid business profile as a top agent for a location and property type.  Go for the opportunities that you can sense or see.  Keep connecting at a personal level.

Why it is Better to be a Listing Agent in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

city view of buildings

In commercial real estate today you see so many agents and brokers that work for buyers and tenants of all types without a formal appointment to do so.  Those buyers and tenants claim to be looking for something by way of a property to own or occupy, and then the agent spends lots of personal business time and resources looking around for that ‘magical’ property and investment.

(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 is this a problem?

Invariably the buyer or tenant is very likely talking to many agents locally at the one time, and all of those agents are committing precious resources chasing around the local property market to find the ‘ideal’ occupancy or ownership solution.  The person making the inquiry is very likely going to transact a property sale or lease at any time and with any agent that finds the right property.

So what is the problem here?  You cannot control that inquiry or negotiation therefore you cannot control your real estate business or any negotiation that may be possible.

The message?

There is a core message that is so important in our industry.  You, as the agent or broker must control the listing stock.  When you do that, the local people are coming to you (be they tenants or buyers) to inquire or inspect.   It is far better to be a listing agent working on controlled stock for that very reason.  You control the property and the client; on that basis the inquiry comes to you automatically, and you negotiate the deal for the client.

A good process, don’t you think?  Don’t just chase around after buyers and tenants if you have a choice; find the property listings and capture them exclusively.  The buyers and tenants will then come to you.

Let’s put a ‘proviso’ on this listing agent focus.  Exclusivity is part of the listing process, and open listings don’t really matter, and certainly have little value to the growth of market share for any agent or broker.  Can you accept that rule and work with it?

The right things

When you are the listing agent a few things fall into the right places, and that will help you with your property business.  Here are some ideas for that:

  1. Client creation and retention – When you find the client, you control the relationship over time. That ownership puts you in a favorable position for long term income opportunity.  How many clients do you really know deeply now?
  2. Focused negotiation – You are then the only agent or broker that the client is listening to. You have their attention and trust.  The negotiation process gets a lot easier.
  3. Referrals are more achievable – When you work closely with the client, a successful transaction is more easily obtained and the resultant referrals can be converted when the time is right. Repeat business is also a by-product of working closely with a client in this way.

From these three simple facts, you can see why the ‘listing agent’ process is more important than any other business strategy in our property industry.

(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)

Commercial Real Estate Client Opportunities

woman using laptop
Focus on your commercial real estate clients.

In commercial real estate agency and brokerage today, it pays to understand the needs and requirements of all of your top clients.  Those issues will change for those clients throughout the year with the seasonal pressures of property activity and the economy.

Put yourself into the position of the client that you serve, and provide tactical and strategic property information to optimise ownership opportunities; in doing so help their investment performance.

Here are some other variables that will have an impact on your top clients:

  • The supply and the demand for property locally within the property type
  • Upcoming new property developments within the region
  • Vacancy factors impacting tenant enquiry with investment properties
  • Changes to the zoning or development regulations as they apply to the precinct
  • Property redundancy and or change
  • Changes to the roads and infrastructure supporting property occupation and use
  • Shifts in business sentiment applying to a property precinct or property type

Taking all of these factors into account, the prices and the rentals within your territory will change significantly throughout the year.  As the local property specialist, your clients really do need your assistance with the knowledge and intelligence that you can bring to their investment performance.

Sometimes we tend to overlook some of the key clients within our market place.  Quite soon the competitors and the other agents in our industry are grabbing a significant slice of our market share.

Within your database today, establish a special service process for high value customers and property owners.  It is almost like having a VIP club within your database.  Service those special clients with highly specialised property information; that can be through regular updates on supply and demand, and tips regards property performance.  Over time you can become the agent of choice when it really matters most.

Here are some ideas to help you with client communication and servicing:

  1. All of your clients and customers should be asked to join your database.  As part of that process, ensure that they are comfortable in getting emails from you together with newsletters on local property activity.
  2. Your VIP clients should be spoken to personally at least once per month.  Stay ahead of the local property changes within the precinct and around their particular property location.  Give the client updates regards the location and the precinct.
  3. Identify any competing properties nearby that could have an influence on the performance of your client’s property investments.  Look for any exposures or risk that can flow back to the tenancy mix or the income base for your client’s asset.
  4. Write a regular industry update or blog regards local property activity, and changes.  Link that update or blogging process back to your social media activities and your database.  You can also link your informative blog to the regular newsletters you send out to your clients and prospects.

 

The best client relationships in our industry are built on trust.  That trust takes time to establish however it will bring you significant opportunity over time.  Top agents build and encourage good client relationships.

How to Condition a Commercial Real Estate Client

two men sitting in back of cab looking at a laptop computer
Conditioning a client with facts and information.

If in commercial real estate agency today, you need to condition the clients and the prospects that you work with.  To do that successfully, you do need market information and market knowledge.  The conditioning process is quite special and requires practice as well as supporting information.

Most clients will have an inflated opinion of their property in the market today.  As part of the listing process, you will need to shape their thinking in preparation for a realistic price or rental; be prepared for the listing and structure it on terms and conditions that are favourable for the prevailing market conditions.  You will also need to position the property for the correct marketing campaign and negotiation situation.

It is interesting to note that many top agents will not take on a listing that has been overly inflated in price or rental.  Invariably what will happen in such circumstances will be a stale listing, and a lot of wasted time on your part.  Your goal should be to only list properties that are realistically close to the prevailing market conditions; condition the client accordingly.

Here are some ideas to help you with the client conditioning process:

  • Identify the other properties in the local area that remain unsold or vacant.  They will have an impact on your marketing campaign and your clients listing.  Take photographs of those properties and get details of the current prices or rentals.   Show your client the marketing strategy used in each case.
  • Prices and rentals will change throughout the year.  As an industry expert, you should track those numbers and be prepared to show the client those trends through a graphing process.  You can add to that process the current status of time on market when it applies to each property type locally.  That should also be graphically displayed.
  • New property developments will come and go from the local area.  Large and new property developments can have a serious impact on any prices and rentals with existing properties.  On a monthly basis, visit the local planning office to identify any new property developments in the early stages of approval and implementation.
  • The capitalisation rates and yields that are achieved when you compare rentals to prices will be a good indicator of the buoyancy of the investment property market.  When the property market is soft or slow, the yields tend to rise.  When properties are in short supply and in high demand, the yields tend to fall.  That assessment will be a reflection of the condition of the market today.  High quality properties and those that are in scarcity will always attract a higher price when compared to the income cash flow.  Understand what you are looking at when it comes to prices and rentals.  If you are going to compare the yields between properties, make sure that they are directly comparable when it comes to location and improvements.
  • Show your client the different alternatives that can apply in the marketing process.  Give your client at least two or three alternatives when it comes to the marketing approach for the given property.  Whilst you can make your recommendations in marketing, the alternatives will help the client make a choice that they can afford.
  • Every property will have an ideal method of sale or lease.  That decision will be made on the basis of the target market and the prevailing market conditions.  Your recommendations to the client should be quite clear when it comes to the prevailing property conditions today and where the listing will be best promoted.

The client conditioning process should be seriously considered with every property listing.  Be prepared to talk the client through the best promotional strategy and package the listing for optimal enquiry.

If the client will not listen to logic and reason as part of the listing process, your only choice is to whether you should take the listing on, or walk away.  If the price of the property is too unrealistic, it is better to walk away.  You can then protect your professional image and your time.

You can get more tips and commercial real estate training in our Newsletter right here.

Commercial Real Estate Agent Client Loyalty Programs

man standing on image of world globe.
Get on top of your market with a client loyalty program

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.

Here are some tips from our main commercial real estate training website.

So what can you do to structure a ‘client loyalty’ program?  Here are some ideas:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Establish a special newsletter for the process of ‘VIP’ contact.  Brand that newsletter uniquely and personalise the text with specially selected properties.
  8. 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.
  9. Provide a private access part of your website so the ‘VIP members’ can get to regular industry updates.
  10. 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.

Get our regular training tips and ideas for commercial real estate agents at our main website right here.