In commercial real estate brokerage sales and leasing today, the clients that you know and work with are the foundation of your listings and commissions over time. Your client list has to grow in a continual way and that should be the ‘top priority’ of your working day as an agent.
Here are some key client questions for you to consider:
What is the best type of client for you to serve locally?
How can you ‘stand out’ as the agent of choice in your region?
Why should clients remember you as an agent when they need property help?
Why are you a better choice than your competitors from a ‘broker’ perspective?
What is your service approach to ‘exclusive’ clients and how is that special?
As you strive to build market share as an agent, these questions are quite important. Your database, and client interaction should be built around these core issues. Your answers to these questions should not be ‘generic’ if you are to capture a good share of the local property market and client base.
In this audio program by John Highman, you can learn some more facts about client contact and conversion in commercial real estate brokerage. You can get the audio below:
In commercial real estate today the top agents for a location are recognised as the industry specialists and local authorities in both sales and leasing when it comes to particular property types. Those top agents provide exceptional value for the clients that they serve. It is a deliberate marketing position on their part. How would you compare on this assessment?
Fact and Not Experiment
Real estate marketing today in both sales and leasing is not an experiment. It is a deliberate and definite process of investigation and research to attract targeted inquiry and achieve the best possible outcomes in either property price or rental. Time on market also has something to do with the results achieved.
So these three things all come together here, and those things are part of preparing for promotion of the property. An agent of authority knows how to achieve results.
So how can you show that you are the complete authority and property specialist? What can you do to lift your profile above that of your competitors? The simple answer is that you should develop some definite local area marketing strategies and build your profile at each and every opportunity in a professional way.
Here are some ideas to help you establish a real authority status as the top agent for your location:
Administration – Make it easy for your clients to move through their property challenge. The communication and administrative processes for the client should be crafted with that in mind. Some clients have little or no understanding of just what happens in the sale or leasing process. They are under stress, and you can help resolve that. Make it simple and keep them on track in the sale or leasing process.
Track record – When you achieve a result in a sale or lease situation, tell the local area and the people in it about the results achieved. Do that with case studies, emails, social media, and editorials. You can also publish articles on the article directories of interesting topics for a location.
Market share – Be seen as the agent of specialization for the location. Work in a zone and with certain property types; that precinct focus will help you with boosting personal branding and marketing. The agents that win the majority of the listings are those that can show that they dominate market share.
Established presence – Your coverage of both online and offline marketing will help you with your market presence. How can you do the promotional things with care and consideration? Focus on signboards for exclusive listings, and also online adverts of a dominance for a location. Be seen in the market place.
Are you ready to show the people of the property market that you are the best professional solution? Use these ideas to do just that.
Commercial investment sales is a special part of the property market. The rewards can be high in commissions providing you have sufficient listings, market share and qualified enquiries.
I also like to insist on ‘exclusivity’ as part of the property listing process. In this video I explain why that is important if you are to tap into the investment sales opportunities in your town or city.
See some ideas on Video about how Brokers can establish themselves in that lucrative segment of the industry.
Its the end of the financial year. A turning point in the market where some businesses and clients consider property occupancy, leasing, sales, and acquisitions. Its a good time of year for brokers and agents to get back into the growth phase of what we do. From now until December 2015 we have clients to call, listings to convert and commissions to raise.
In this podcast I am focusing on Sales related topics to help Brokers and Agents with market share and database growth.
The topics are:
How to systemise the commercial real estate business and why that is a good idea.
What you need to know about simple contact management systems.
How to improve your prospecting efforts for the year ahead.
A 3 stage formula of action for Brokers and Agents this year.
In commercial real estate brokerage you need plenty of clients to support your listing and commission activity. You also need new prospects and opportunities to fill the gaps when some of your clients move on or leave the industry.
Given that we are soon to be starting another calendar year, it is time to have a look at a new and fresh approach to prospecting and client networking. This should be a personal priority for all real estate agents and brokers. This is the best time of year to get your client activities and database directions set for the next 12 months.
Here are some facts that relate to the market today and the clients we work with:
The ‘market noise’ from competing agents will always be significant. Many of our top clients will be working with other real estate agencies or at least know of some other top agents locally. This is a continual threat to our market share that can only be addressed by relevant and constant contact with the clients that we know. That is why property specialization is such a critical process in building listing opportunity. When the time comes for the client to move on a property matter they will usually choose the best agent with a dominant market share within the location and the property type. That is why general real estate agents and brokers never really develop dominant levels of business.
Winning a listing today is not entirely about providing discounts or inflating the property price to attract the clients business. Winning a listing is all about packaging the property to attract the maximum interest and facilitate inspections. High prices and higher rentals will not do that. Understand the prevailing market conditions and how you can work with that to solve the property challenge for your clients and prospects. Show the client the true facts of the market as they apply to the property type and location. Tell some stories relating to both successes and failures within the property category.
If you have a property that has been on the market for a long time, it is time to seriously adjust and reduce the price and or the rental structure in line with market conditions. Clients are not fools when it comes to true market conditions; they want results. They will usually understand that an inflated price or rental will make the marketing process quite difficult, so your pitch or presentation needs to tell the right story and provide the right market evidence. Any property with an inflated price or rental will soon become stale on the market; stale listings are usually quoted by top agents as marketing weaknesses. It is easy to show clients how other overpriced listings have been poorly marketed and overlooked by buyers and tenants. If the client is still unrealistic on price or rental expectations, it may be time to walk away from the listing and let some other agency or brokerage waste their time.
Every quality listing should be exclusively marketed. As part of that process, you should be asking for and attracting vendor paid marketing funds. Structure your sales pitch and presentations accordingly. Marketing dollars spent will have a lot to do with your real estate profile locally.
Working within these very simple and yet important facts, it is time to look at the ways you can attract new clients and listing opportunities. As I said earlier, the change in the calendar year is upon us and certainly will give us the opportunity for a new business direction and a freshening of our client connection process.
Here are some tips to help you with reaching out to new clients and prospects:
Visit the people within your current database with the deliberate intention of asking for referral business and opportunities.
Identify the bankers and financiers within your town or city that have an interest in commercial industrial or retail property. Get to know those people at a personal level.
Contact all local accountants and lawyers locally that appear to be reasonably successful with their business activities. They are likely to have many clients active or interested in commercial property.
Identify the entire listings list active with your competitors. Use those listings as leverage to talk to other property owners nearby. Some of those property owners may like to compete with the current listing in the same location.
Identify the people that have purchased investment property within the last 3 to 5 years. They are likely to be active again within the next two or three years. They may wish to buy, sell, lease, or develop.
Check out the property development activity at the local council. Also check out the changes to zoning and property usage. All of these things could be solid foundations for project marketing, future sales and leasing activity.
In our industry there are many leads and opportunities available at any point in time. It is simply a matter of digging deep enough into the marketplace, the people, and the listings. Opportunities in commercial real estate are always available and it is simply a matter of asking the right questions to the right people.
In this property market it pays to work with the clients that are open and honest with you. Secure those clients on an exclusive listing. You will find all types of clients in the market today. Those clients that give you an ‘open listing’ are quite likely to be more difficult to deal with; so understand the differences and pressures of the listing types.
So what is wrong with an ‘open listing’ approach? Most of the time you will see that it is influenced by other agents and brokers talking to the client; frequently a client in that type of agency relationship is ‘closed’ to the realities of the market today. They want their price and fail to accept the facts of the recent market evidence.
So what does a ‘good client’ look like? Try some of these:
Open and honest
Ready to act
Understanding the current market conditions
Are motivated to make a decision
Will keep you fully advised of their intentions and changes
They give you some leverage in negotiating and closing on a deal
It is a fact that clients of this nature are more likely to be secured on an ‘exclusive’ listing for a reasonable period of time. Providing you get that listing, you can really drive the marketing process at a personal level. Exclusivity helps you believe in the listing and marketing process. You can then easily see the results at the end of the marketing ‘tunnel.’
It is worth noting that prospects and clients will come to you in a couple of ways. Some will feed to you through the office or brokerage leads. Others will respond to your prospecting activities. Lastly and most importantly many more good clients will convert to you by ongoing contact and relationship building. They are the ones that will likely be the ones to give quality to your market share and new business. For this reason your database and prospecting model is really important.
When you serve a top client well, it will ‘open the door’ on referral and repeat business. Look at those clients that you have helped over the years. Have you placed them into a ‘VIP’ process of contact in your database? Have you differentiated them from the general contacts and people that you have in your pipeline?
So the message here is quite clear. Focus on creating great client relationships that encourage ‘exclusive’ listings. Over time that will give you traction in building your market share with quality listings.
In commercial real estate today, the competing agents in your local area will leave clues and opportunities for you to act on. Many agents are not very systemised in what they do. On that basis you can seize the opportunity of targeting the weaker agents in the local area and their expired or soon to expire listings. You can also take action when it comes to the activities of the other agents.
As a general strategy, you can do a ‘secret shopper’ call approach to the other agents to identify how relevant and professional they are when it comes to taking a telephone enquiries about property listings. You will be surprised to note that many of them do not return calls in a timely way, and have no plan or approach to asking the right questions when it comes to taking enquiries.
When you understand just who the weaker competitive agents are, you have some targets to focus on.
Here are two specific clues and opportunities that I have used extensively over the years in agency work. They may also work for you.
When a signboard is placed by any of your competing agencies on a local property for sale or for lease, the other properties around that particular listing become primed for your personal and direct approach. It is a fact that other listings can be obtained in the same general location of a property that is on the market today. Other property owners and business owners may like to seize the opportunity and momentum of the marketing of the property nearby. They generally like to do this with a competing agent that has no conflict with the local listing. You can be the marketing solution for those other property owners and business proprietors.
When a commercial real estate agent has transacted the sale or a lease, they generally move on to other properties and other clients. They tend to forget about the deal and the client that they had just served. Keep an eye on all of the sales and listing activity in the local area. When another competing agent has just done a deal, make contact with the client approximately six months after the transaction. Then build the relationship with the client into the future. It is quite likely that the original agent is a overlooking the original client that they served.
From these two simple activities, you can use the momentum of other agencies to build your database of client contact and listings.
Commercial real estate is just like any other sales profession. You are required to sell yourself as the industry specialist that clients can use locally. Use the activities of other agents as a trigger of contact. Watch what the other agents do and replicate the things that seem to work. At the same time you can build your personal marketing strategy and points of difference.
Open listings with other agents will also be something that you should monitor and check out in case you want the open listing on your books. This then says that the open listings with other agencies are an opportunity for you to check with the property owner to see if you can serve them in a particular way. You cannot however build and control your market share from a basis of open listings. You can get the occasional and convenient property sale or property lease transaction.
If you want to build your market share as a top agent, exclusive listings are the only way to go. You can control your market and the client. Over time you can be seen as the expert handling the best properties in the best possible way. That is how you build market share.
In many segments of the real estate industry today, some would say that the rate of enquiry is slow and the listings take a long time to convert to a closed deal, albeit a sale or lease. The Buyers, Sellers, and Tenants that we work with have a slower cycle to making decisions and taking actions. Here are some tips from our Newsletter.
Whilst the property market does have slowness about it, there are some other issues to consider when you look at the bigger picture. How you see the bigger picture will impact your career as a real estate salesperson.
In this property market there are two significant problems in this ‘bigger picture’. Consider this:
Today we have the massive impact of global information in ‘real time’. Any problem on the other side of the world in another country is quickly communicated to our workplace, our desk, and our life. The internet has changed the way information is sent and interpreted. Even just 15 years ago the pressure of information was not the same. Today we have personal mobile phones and computers that tell us whatever we want and whenever we want it. Information is thrust at us like it or not in so many ways, and we have little choice in what we hear and see. The problems in global business on the other side of the world all of a sudden have some impact on the way we do business locally, spend money, and live our lives.
The free media believes that they have a ‘right’ and an ‘obligation’ to tell us every bit of gossip and rumour from around the world for the sake of ‘transparency’ and ‘honesty’. All of a sudden we get information overload with things that are not local, not fully checked or proven, and that are perhaps even what I would call ‘manipulated information’. It should always be remembered that the media (in the main) is doing what it does for one reason and that is to attract listeners and readership; the ultimate object behind that fact is then to attract and sell advertising.
Whilst all of this may be a healthy concept in a broader capitalist economy, too much of it can be counterproductive. From a sales perspective, we really do have to contain and control how much of this ‘distracting stuff’ that we see or hear, and that pervades the local work place and business environment.
It is very easy for this entire information overload to impact the way you think and the way you act. As a sales person in real estate, this can have a major collision on your thinking, your life and your commissions.
It is time to take control of your real estate business and your market. Make your own ‘news’, and don’t let the market impose itself on your business focus and systems. A great salesperson will set their business system in place and drive it forward regardless of the ‘gossip’ of the market and the media. Top agents always get to the top of any property market through personal system and deliberate action. Top agents establish ‘filters’ so they can maintain the best focus on what they do without being shaped by an overzealous and distracting media.
When you work as an agent in commercial real estate, it pays to understand where you are going and where you have been in relation to commissions and listings. In only that way can you tap into the better ideas and changes that will help you get more market share.
The property market is always changing, both seasonally and economically. Planning for those seasons and changes will help you find the sections of the market that are really active (or potentially so).
Gone are the days of waiting for a call or a prospect to walk in the door of your office to seek your help. There are far too many agents around for that to be of any benefit to you. In this property market you must:
Prospect every day via the telephone (this is a critical habit in our industry)
Call into businesses in your area to introduce yourself and your services
Reconnect with old clients that you helped with other transactions over the years
Watch the time on market of your listings so you know when changes are required to freshen the listing
Track the other agents listings to see if you can help those property owners when the listings expire
Market every listing that you have personally into all the adjacent businesses and property investors
It should be said that you cannot advertise a property in the newspaper or internet and hope that a deal will be forthcoming. The only listings that should get the ‘random’ service approach are the ‘open’ listings in your books. Exclusive listings are to be given priority marketing. When you control your market through ‘exclusive listings’, you control your progress and market share.
The industry is all about people and how we connect with them. Rarely will you win commercial real estate business from people that have only just met you for the first time. Relationships are the key and your ratios of meetings and calls will help you understand just where those ratios are improving or could improve.
So here are the key ratios to track in your team and for yourself as a property expert:
What is the average commission that is paid per transaction? This information will help you understand the quality factors that apply to your existing listings. In many cases, salespeople just need to lift their listing quality to get more commission.
What are your conversion rates between presentations, to listings, to converted and closed transactions? These ratios will help you understand just how you can improve your outcomes. You may have a weakness in presentations, or negotiations; when you find a weakness you seek to improve it through practice.
How many prospecting calls must you make each day to get 2 new listings per week?
Are you closing and completing at least 50% of your listings? If not, then you have a problem and you should look at the client conditioning and your listing negotiation skills.
What is the average time on market for your listings and how does that compare to the other agents and listings in the area?
What is your ratio between exclusive and open listings? You should be listing in the majority exclusively.
You may be able to add to this list, and importantly you do so to keep on top of the market trends and opportunities. The top agents of the market understand just what is going on with local property and how to tap into it at any time.