In commercial real estate brokerage leasing, you need plenty of tenants to fill the vacancies that you will work with and will identify. At least half of your database should be filled with business based tenants and their leasing requirements. (NB – you can get our free Commercial Real Estate Course here)
Given that your brokerage zone will be a section or a segment of the city, in a logical and direct way connect with all the tenants in the zone. Understand what the tenants are thinking and doing when it comes to property occupancy and change.
Relevance of Database and Location
As a special note, the size and the relevance of your leasing database as it applies to the location and the property types will be a major point of leverage in winning new business.
When it comes to attracting landlords and property owners to your services, you will need some form of differential.
To achieve that ‘difference’, consider the following questions:
How big is your database currently and how relevant is it to the location? The businesses within the list should be locally based and or regionally connected. Split that database list into major corporations and smaller businesses.
Where are the good quality buildings in your town or city? Review the tenancy mix in each case. Understand exactly who is occupying the major properties locally and for what reason. When you know the top tenants, the better buildings, and the top corporations for the area, you can hone your prospecting efforts accordingly. You can drill down into the businesses that have the capability to grow and relocate as company profits allow. You will also understand the buildings that are best suited for some companies and corporations from a branding profile and operational perspective.
Have you been keeping your database list and its contents up-to-date? The data within the database will be important in several different ways. At the top of that assessment will be accuracy and timeliness of the information you have gathered. Spend time each day connecting with the people within the list to see how business pressures and changes are impacting their occupancy decisions.
Have you been connecting with new people in a regular and ongoing way? You will always need fresh contacts and connections to grow your real estate business and the leasing opportunities available. You will need high quality clients and particularly the local companies and corporations to work with from a leasing perspective.
As a leasing agent you are frequently looking to lease vacant premises in an office building and CBD location. Many enquiries and calls today will or should come to you from the marketing campaigns you create; the rates of enquiry for every high quality leasing opportunity should be tracked.
The important issues in capturing enquiry are in qualifying the enquiry, in understanding what tenants are looking for and when they require it. Successful leasing agents will have a large database of well qualified tenants and business owners that they can approach when the right property comes to market.
That being said, I have heard many leasing agents complain over the years about the problems of chasing after the specific leasing requirements of tenants only to find that the tenant has found something or will not move on an ideal property or location. The fact of the matter is that you should only go so far in helping tenants because they are not fully committed to you; they can waste a lot of your time asking about certain properties, and at the same time be talking with many other agents. Set the limits on just how much time you should spend on any tenant lease enquiry.
The message here is if you control the quality buildings to lease, the enquiries will very likely come to you in abundance. Good buildings for lease will drive better rates of property enquiry. That then makes it a lot easier for you to fill your database with the right tenants and business owners.
The tenant qualification process is quite special and direct. Here are some of the main facts and questions to explore in finding out what the tenant needs, and to identify how genuine they are in looking for a new property to occupy:
Decision Maker – Understand who you are talking to and their role in looking for a new property to lease. With business type tenants it is common to see some person in middle management tasked with the process of finding properties to ‘short list’. Ideally you want to be talking to the key person in the property decision process.
Essential location – Some businesses must be located in particular precincts and zones of a city. There will be reasons for those choices and points of focus. I like to ask about ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ locations so I can create a short list of properties in each case.
Rental budget – The rent for a property is not just a single amount of money; added to that figure will be the outgoings and sundry charges geared to occupancy. The type of lease will dictate how the rents and outgoings will be charged and paid.
Improvements – The office fitout will have desirable design factors to suit the way the tenant undertakes their business, interacts with staff, and serves customers. Car parking will also have a factor of priority in final property choice. How many car parks do they need?
Timing – Understand when they are looking to make the move. You can then integrate the issues of fitout construction, and the moving of the business.
Given all of these things I like to ask the tenant directly about what other properties they have already seen; it is likely that they have approached a few leasing agents already and on that basis I don’t want to waste my time in quoting things that will not suit or they have already seen. Protect your time and focus on key questions to get directly to the tenants leasing requirements.