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Prescription for a Healthy Database in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

address book rolodex
Use your address book as a foundation for new business growth in Commercial Real Estate.

If you’re going to get anywhere in commercial real estate brokerage you need a comprehensive database that covers the marketplace for you. In simple terms, you need a healthy database that is up to date and growing in a regular and ongoing way.

(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)

It is very hard to establish a career in commercial real estate today without a reasonable database to support ongoing contact and listing opportunities. The people that you know today are the sources of future opportunity if you work them correctly and directly; the need to be nurtured and shaped into the next sales, leasing, or property management appointment. Strategy and effort will help those outcomes.

Assess What Clients and Systems You Have Now

Look at your database activities as they exist today and decide how you can improve the depth of the data and the quality of the clients in the list. Understand where the next opportunities are within that list. Start talking to the right people in an ongoing way.

Here are some specific rules to help you establish a healthy database in your commercial real estate business as a broker or an agent:

  1. Segmentation – split the database into zones, price ranges, customer types, and property types. In that way you can successfully use the search facility to put together people and opportunities.  Make it easy to find the right people when you need them or when you have the right property to market.
  2. Up to date information – the data that you put into your list today is to be shaped and maintained over time. That information will change as will the property requirements of the clients and prospects that you know. Establish a contact program that allows you to maintain relevant and real information relating to each person and their current property situation. Look for pressures and the changes that they could be experiencing.
  3. Location based – in most towns and cities, property requirements will be centralized into particular streets and property types. On that basis you should focus your prospecting activities into a defined and active geographical zone. Assess your territory for the pockets of priority and property change. Look for the next levels of activity that you can tap into within the location.
  4. VIP Clients – some clients are better than others. Understand what a client should be for you and rank your clients on the basis of price sensitivity, timing, and location. When you find the right listing, you can make the direct contact in a relevant and real way.
  5. Email and Document integration – a good database will integrate into e-mail messaging, and document storage. Every communication and every document involving each and every client should be suitably stored and referred to through the database. Ideally, you want to access previous communications, messages, and documents easily and effectively.
  6. Marketing integration – when you get an enquiry for a particular type of property or perhaps a listing, that enquiry should be entered into your database. The subsequent dispatch of marketing information should occur from the database. Every brochure, listing, campaign, and method of sale or lease should be accommodated and managed through the database software program.
  7. Remove redundancies – don’t let redundant information destabilize your database. Every person and entry in your client list needs to be maintained for accuracy and relevance. Remove the redundant information in a continual and ongoing way. Enter new information daily from every meeting, conversation, listing enquiry, inspection, and negotiation.
  8. New information – given that you should be focusing all of your client contact and prospecting into a particular zone of your town or city, there will be new parcels of information that you can capture every day regards business owners, investors, developers, and owner occupiers. Carefully consider the categories, the segments, and the contact processes within the database that can then allow you to effectively capture the new information as you receive it.

If you are serious about commercial real estate brokerage, then you will be needing a database to support your activities in a regular and ongoing way.

Don’t take too long to understand that basic fact and the importance of creating your client list; start building your list and the necessary new relationships with valuable property people locally. That’s how you will grow your market share across sales, leasing, and property management.

(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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How to Sweep Aside the Competition in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

man reading newspaper
Know your commercial real estate competitors and then do something about them.

Make no mistake, the commercial real estate industry can be intensely competitive in so many different ways. That being said, most agents and brokers are typically ordinary when it comes to client contact and prospecting activities.

The best agents can usually push through the clutter and the competition through deliberate effort and a focus on new business generation.  They know the things that really matter.

(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)

The fact of the matter is that new business growth and opportunity over time should be a central part of your business model for your location and your property type. Make sure that you have a specific prospecting model that drills into the investors and businesses in your location on a daily basis.

Here are some ideas to help you sweep aside the competition as you work towards more listings and an increase in sales and leasing transaction activity:

  1. Ignore peer pressure and innuendo. There are too many so called ‘experts’ in the industry many of whom are quite average when it comes to business performance. Everything that you do and achieve in your individual real estate business is self-generated and has nothing to do with anyone else. If you deliberately ignore the other average agents around you, you can soon get traction within your own market share; build your confidence accordingly. You can then assess your own progress and opportunity. Judge the market yourself and understand with the market is heading for you. Make your adjustments based on personal experience and personal effort.
  2. Be yourself and improve yourself. Understand your skills for what they are and how they can help you grow your real estate business with both listings and clients. Improve your strengths through practice and knowledge development. Any weaknesses can be removed through personal training and personal development.
  3. It is best if you can specialize in a combination of specific services such as sales and leasing, or property management and leasing. There are distinct linkages between those services that will give you more business over time.
  4. Know where you are headed in the industry and the location. Establish a business plan that deliberately focuses you into a specialized property type and a specific location. Beyond that point you can drill down into various strategies of personal marketing, database growth, and client contact. You need to be the best choice as an agent or broker when it comes to property activity locally, so that strategy needs to be at the centre of your business model. Understand your competitors for who they are and what they do. You can then differentiate yourself appropriately for the location, for the client base, and for the predictable changes in the property market.

The message here is that you can specifically focus your commercial real estate business for better results over time. It is a personal skill and it is a personal strategy.

Understand exactly where you want to go when it comes to property market activity, income, and market share. Develop your commercial real estate business through personal and deliberate efforts.

(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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Common Problems for Brokers to Solve in Commercial Real Estate Database Use

man with telephone in hand.
Grow your database every day and talk to ever more people.

Like it or not, the database process in commercial real estate brokerage has to exist at a personal broker level, and it has to be up to date.  Old and redundant information in any database will bring with it problems and time wasting conversations.

Every broker should be very focused on their data growth, content entry and accuracy.  The process can’t and shouldn’t be delegated.

So It’s Logical!

So this sounds very logical and yet why is it such a problem?  Some brokers struggle with the processes of list management.  These are the most common issues in commercial real estate database creation and growth today:

  • Choice of the wrong record keeping process – Many agents and brokers still keep information on basic spreadsheets. They do so in an effort to contain costs and or for the purposes of simplicity.  The fact of the matter is that a spreadsheet with a lot of contacts will leave itself wide open to data loss and or errors.
  • Doing the work of data entry – It takes time to load data into a software program. Many brokers either do not have the time or do not want to enter data; they try to delegate the process.  Unfortunately the person delegated the work of list management has little involvement or commitment to the end result.  The message here is that the work has to be done personally by the broker, and the best time to do so is after hours at the end of the day.    Keep a standard form process underway so you can write things down during the day that could be required as a new entry in your lists.
  • Set targets for growth – Determine where your client and customer numbers are now. Set some simple growth targets of perhaps 5 new people per day.  Over time you will lose some current contacts as they will have moved on, so a growth strategy is important.
  • Making categories work for you – Categories will be required to help you find the right people to talk to. Split your list up into zones, budgets, property requirements, VIP’s, owners, tenants, and business owners.  Your selected software for recording the data should allow you to cross reference categories to find people and situations.
  • Regularly making contact – When a person is captured into your list, they should be entered for one reason only, and that is because they have a property interest now or in the future. From that point onwards regular meaningful contact is required with clients.  Talking to them or connecting with them at least once every 90 days will help with list momentum and new business conversion.

If you are looking for new business in commercial real estate today, the answer is in your list.  Refine your database activities and drive relevant contacts and conversations through it. Over time the listings will emerge as will the commissions.

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