In every town or city there are things that you can find that relate to commercial property sales, leasing, or property management. You can get plenty of leads if you drill down into the location. Meet people and ask questions. A good conversation will take you closer to a property activity.
Having a good database will always help with new business generation. For the new people in the industry, the priority to establish a good database is high. Three to six months of effort will usually get a contact list established; from that point on it is a matter of keeping the data fresh and accurate.
To help my friends in the industry get established and stay on top of the right market trends, this audio will probably help. It talks about who you should know and why that should be done. Enjoy.
In commercial real estate brokerage today, you will always be on the lookout for new listings and new clients. One strategy to consider that is well proven and successful is that of marketing your services around general location of other agent’s boards. The strategy is quite simple and yet effective.
So how does this work? When another agent or broker places a signboard on a property within your territory or location, you can approach the other property owners and business proprietors in the immediate location and particularly with the adjoining properties. They may like to compete with that new listing nearby. You can be the person to help them.
The logic works
This listing and prospecting strategy is based on the logic and premise that one listing will create local area interest and churn. You can help with that; you can provide solid reasons for property owners that the strategy would work locally for different property types. Build your marketing strategy around that.
Other property owners in the area may consider competing with the other brokerage competition and their listing. Other business owners in the area may consider taking property action as part of the other local listing. Market yourself into the location based on those two assumed situations; you will find leads and changes in that way.
Factor of attraction
You could say that this is potentially a real factor of attraction when it comes to new business generation. When you understand the process and how it works, you can attract your new business opportunities from in and around the activities of other agents through your listing territory and city. Use their listings to find more property churn nearby.
To establish the system of your business conversion and listing attraction, you will need to track all of the new listings with your competitors as they come to market. As soon as they place a signboard on a property, you then canvass the street and the location personally.
Assess the local area
Given that there are plenty of signboards within your location, you can use these signboards as points of leverage to get started and to attract other listings from the location. There are some rules to make this work:
Get personally involved – When another agent places a signboard in a street or on a particular building, get into the location and meet with the local business owners. Also separately and directly approach the property owners in each case; this will require a degree of research so be prepared to put in the effort. Talk to local people about how you can help them with their property needs at the same time as the other listing may be on the market. One property listing will create local property interest; you can market your services on the property churn. The extra new listing that you can create in the location can be positioned competitively and keenly for alternative property marketing. Your listing can compete competitively with other listings in the immediate location. Your listing presentation and service pitch should be structured accordingly, and that is to build on the momentum of the other listings. Explain to your clients and prospects how your marketing process will integrate into the area whilst providing leverage and greater value to the target market with price, rental, or improvements.
Demand exclusivity – To make this work consistently, you will need to convert your listings exclusively. There is no point in focusing your efforts on listing marketing and local area coverage unless you have exclusivity. Many agents and brokers struggle with this concept and can’t sell their services ‘exclusively’; exclusivity is the only way to dominate market share as a relevant and important agent for the location. When you have an exclusive listing, you can drive new business using unique and special marketing processes.
Focus on quality – A good listing will help you stand out as the agent of choice for the targeted segment and the location or territory. A quality listing should be comprehensively marketed locally at a personal level, and then comprehensively both online, and offline. The marketing process and the campaign that you create will involve vendor paid marketing funds. Given all of these facts, your listing pitch needs to incorporate the base strategy of exclusivity and vendor paid marketing, giving the client plenty of reasons why that will be so important to their achieved price and time on market.
Target marketing – With every listing that you pitch for focus on the target market and help the client see that factor as being critical to the momentum they require. Show the client exactly where that target market will be located and how you will tap into that category effectively and directly. When the client can see that you totally understand the target market and how to tap into it, your listing conversions will be easier to achieve.
So you can now see why you should have some quite specific prospecting and listing strategies that you can improve on and develop over time. Show the local area why you are the agent of choice, doing that through relevant and real marketing for the location and the target audience.
Walk away when you have to
As a final point here, be prepared to walk away from listings and clients where the ‘package of property’ seems unrealistic and unmatched to prevailing ‘market’ conditions. Your time is precious, so only take on the clients and properties that offer potential.
In commercial real estate brokerage, things change frequently throughout the year. The only object or fact that you can control is your response to the property market and its changes. There is always opportunity in change, but you have to dig for it. Local property market awareness will help your responses.
What do you do?
It doesn’t matter whether you are specializing in sales, leasing or property management, the location changes and the market sentiment will be there for you to work with and turn into commissions and or leads. It is a valuable process to monitor your activities each day and direct them into particular strategies that you can shape and refine.
How do you rank with these?
Here are some specific ideas that can really help drive better results for agents and brokers. See how you rank with these ‘change factors’:
What you say – Given that we are communicating with people every day, what you say and how you say it will be a great leverage factor in business conversions. Learn about the conversational factors in telephone prospecting, negotiating, pitching and presenting. Notably all of those situations are quite special in our industry. Develop the voice and the right words that support conversational confidence with people.
Property market awareness – Check out the local listings and the trends in enquiry, prices, and marketing strategies. Understand just what formula is creating the best enquiry and momentum towards a successful sale or lease situation. Watch the top agents in your location so you can see the strategies and differences that are potentially giving them the edge in listing conversion.
Recent enquiry – Clients like to hear about recent levels of property enquiry. If you are tracking the enquiry numbers for your exclusive campaigns, you will have some valuable information that can influence the listing processes with your clients. Also assess the numbers of people that you are talking to every day. Lift your contact numbers on a daily basis; set some contact benchmarks that you can improve given the available time.
Marketing solutions – There are many ways to market a property today. How can you make your promotional processes more specific and relevant? What can you do to leverage more enquiries from the advertising that you have both online and offline? There are many ways to creatively and professionally improve property marketing. Try better photographs, creative promotional copy professionally created, layouts, keywords related to your area and property type, and place the property in a matrix of online portals, social media, and database newsletters.
From these four simple factors you can see why personal performance is a big thing in commercial real estate brokerage today.
Most of the property market ‘slumps’ are a reflection on personal agent or broker performance rather than true market conditions. Are you up to the challenge?
When it comes to the marketing of commercial real estate listings today, it pays to have some very specific goals and targets. This then helps you spend the marketing money effectively and specifically as part of the property promotion.
Here below are some listing tips from our eCourse.
The goal setting process also helps you see when the achieved results from the promotion are not as you would expect. You can then make adjustments during the campaign and potentially lift the specific listing results when it comes to inbound enquiry.
What are Your Targets in Listing?
Here are some realistic targets that should be considered as goals to be monitored and created as part of every exclusive listing promotion:
Target market reach – make sure that your campaign is matched to the target market and the media channels that they use or connect through. If your property is in any way special, you will need to undertake a specific target market assessment prior to the commencement of the campaign. As prime examples in this case, medical properties, specialized warehouses, specialized manufacturing, and redevelopment opportunities are all properties that require your promotional efforts reaching into a particular target market. Design your campaign accordingly. Track and measure the results that you get from your campaign so that adjustments can be made midterm to the promotion.
Understand the timing and spread of the campaign – you will only have a short opportunity at the time of campaign commencement to create plenty of churn and activity. The first few weeks of any property promotion will be the best weeks to attract fresh new enquiry and undertake the property inspections. Every exclusive listing marketing process should be heavily biased to the first three or four weeks of activity. During that time you can report to your client on enquiry and inspection feedback. The feedback will help you condition the client to the prevailing market conditions.
The enquiry rate – from the start of the promotional campaign monitor the volume and type of enquiries that you are attracting across the different media outlets and channels. Soon you will see where most of your marketing spend is more effective. That information is valuable when it comes to optimising property enquiry across your brokerage and for your specific listings and or clients. The information will also help you pitch for listings and convert exclusive campaigns including reasonable levels of vendor paid marketing. It is hard for a client to refute or debate the validity of actual enquiry facts from the market and from other property listings.
Inspection results – every property inspection will give you an opportunity to interact with qualified property purchasers or tenants. The comments made by those people will be a good indication of relevancy and value when it comes to any property listed and promoted. Collate and tabulate those inspection comments in a report to your client on a weekly basis.
The time on market – throughout every year there will be fluctuations and changes to the property market. That will have an impact on listing promotion, negotiation, and closure. The time on market can be impacted by a number of different things including pricing, promotion, competing properties, client conditioning, property features, and marketing spend. If you like, time on market is actually an equation to be carefully structured as part of the listing process. Shorten the time on market expectations for your listings by packaging each property in the best way for the best result. Help the client see the strategies required to move through the process in a timely way. Don’t let a listing become stale and obsolete in the property market today.
Considering all of these simple promotional facts, remember that the client you are servicing wants the best result at the best price, and in the best time frame. They don’t want their property or their property challenge to be an experiment in marketing; they don’t want to waste time or money (neither do you).
Provide specific help to your client so that they can be well conditioned for the prevailing market circumstances in your location. Help them make the right decisions.
In commercial real estate brokerage, it pays to go beyond solutions when it comes to working with clients and prospects. Show them quite clearly that you can provide a specific strategy and process to fast track their commercial or retail property challenge. Give them the process to move ahead.
In giving them the process and the action plan, this will usually be done in some form of listing presentation, sales pitch or property proposal. Whilst ultimately the client may wish to sell or lease their property, you need to show them the exact stages and the strategies in what can be a very complex situation. You can do this through a Gantt chart process.
So a Gantt chart can be placed in your property proposal to show the client the road ahead and your particular recommendations.
A standard lease or sale situation can be broken down into 15 to 20 specific stages. It is simply a matter of listing those stages on a Gantt chart in successive order. You can then apply a time frame to the process.
When the client reviews the proposal or the sales presentation, most of your discussion and recommendations can be formulated around the Gantt chart. You can talk to the process effectively and directly. The client can then see exactly what you are going to do as part of moving the property requirement ahead. Make it easy for the client to see through the complexity of finding a tenant or a buyer as the case may be.
In establishing this process for use within your brokerage, look at the typical sale or lease situation. As an example, I will provide you with a sales pattern.
As a general rule, the listing of a property for sale will involve the following stages:
Property inspection and information gathering
Reviewing the competing properties in the local area
Understanding the history of previous sales
Identifying the concerns of the client
Establishing a target market
Making recommendations to the client regards the property listing process
Creating a marketing campaign for the approval of the client including all of the required advertising layouts, marketing funds, and campaign timing
Seeking the approval of the client to the marketing campaign
Implementing the marketing efforts
Tracking the inbound enquiries from each level of marketing
Directly contacting a short list of qualified buyers within your database
Creating inspections with qualified parties
Short listing buyers for negotiation
Negotiating on the deal
Documenting the contract and getting the required signatures
Satisfaction of the terms and conditions of the contract including due diligence
Moving the property to settlement
So there are plenty of things here to do. Each of these stages will have specific things to focus on. The stages can be formulated into a Gantt chart related to the agency timeframe. The process helps greatly when it comes to converting exclusive listings. It helps the clients see exactly what you are going to do as the broker and how important that will be to achieving a positive outcome. Your property solutions become more real and meaningful for the client and their situation today.
If you would like more tips on commercial real estate brokerage, you can get those in our Newsletter.
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.
When it comes to listing commercial and retail property today the listing process is perhaps one of the most important things that will have an impact across your entire marketing campaign and property negotiation. As a commercial real estate agent it is a matter of gathering all the correct information, and preparing the client for the upcoming inspection process, marketing effort, and negotiation.
Here are some listing strategies that can be adopted in your commercial real estate agency:
From the outset, it is important that you understand the client and their current motivations. There will be reasons behind their actions in marketing a property today. Those reasons will impact the pricing, the marketing, and the eventual negotiation. It may be that they have certain challenges relating to property ownership that need to be satisfied. Discharging a debt could be part of that process. Ask the right questions and get to the real facts.
Comprehensively inspect the property so that you really understand the target market that will be relevant to the marketing campaign. Review all of the improvements within the property, the layout of the property, services and amenities, the precinct, and the property zoning. All of these things will align to some form of strategy when it comes to property promotion.
The prevailing market conditions should be assessed relative to the property type and location. You need to know exactly how much enquiry is coming in for a property of that particular nature. When it comes to people making property enquiry today, what are those people looking for when it comes to property purchase or property occupancy?
Check out all of the other properties locally that could be competing with your listing. The assessment should include improvements, time on market, pricing, services and amenities, agency marketing strategy, and client motivation. Some of those listings will give you hints as to what works and what doesn’t in today’s property market.
As a priority, your listings today should be on an exclusive basis wherever possible. That exclusive listing process should include vendor paid marketing funds. In only this way can you comprehensively connect with the buyers or tenants in the local area.
An exclusive listing with a satisfactory marketing campaign will always shorten the time on market. In most cases, that is what the client will require. Show them the advantages and the differences between open listing and exclusive listing. In many respects, it is not unusual for some top agents to walk away from open listings. Open listings are generally a waste of time unless you know that the property is well positioned for potential enquiry within your database.
In commercial real estate sales and leasing, you need results when it comes to cold calling. There is no doubt that the cold call prospecting process is a significant part of the business generation system that you should be running. That being said, you still need to get results from your telephone contact processes. Tracking your numbers as you make the calls is really important.
To get the call system up and running for you I have provided a number of tips that will help you with establishing the right mindset, and building the processes to support the results that you will achieve.
The first two or three weeks in the call prospecting system are always the toughest. That is because it takes time to develop a new habit, and you have had years of other activities to break or reshape. Developing new habits are part of the commercial real estate business and certainly part of the prospecting process.
Every day you will be contacting many people in the local area. The key to the process is in making lots of calls in the easiest possible way. When it comes to commercial and retail property, the best place to start is in the business telephone book. Every business will have a relationship to commercial or retail property as a tenant or an owner. When you ask the right questions, you will get the market intelligence that you need. Local business owners will also tell you more about the local area and their immediate location. It is very easy to telephone 50 businesses from the telephone book on a daily basis. As you do this, you should track your findings and the comments from relative prospective business owners.
To telephone 50 businesses, it takes about 2 hours. You will not get through to 50 people during that time or establish 50 reasonable telephone conversations. Those people that you cannot contact today should be put into the pipeline for a return phone call. Out of 50 telephone calls, you should get through to approximately 15 to 20 business proprietors. It is then simply a matter of asking the right questions.
Many salespeople look at the cold calling process incorrectly. In our industry, it is very difficult to pitch over the telephone. On that basis your initial call should simply be to find out if they have a need or interest. Following that point of qualification, you can generate a meeting with the right people. On that basis you will not be wasting your time.
The super-fast process to cold calling is simple and straightforward. When you stick to the rules above, you will find that results are achieved. Keep yourself focused and detailed when it comes to capturing information.
Without a doubt, prospecting is the most important tool in your commercial real estate toolbox. Without a good prospecting model your commissions and listings will flounder.
The ‘golden rule’ to establishing a prospecting model is to make it a daily event. You cannot look for new business once per week. When it becomes a central part of your diary on a daily basis, then and only then will you see results.
If life is that simple, why is it that so many commercial real estate salespeople really do not prospect well, if at all? Most salespeople suffer from a mindset issue that holds them back from making ‘cold’ contact to people that they have not spoken to before. They just ‘hate’ the process.
When you start anything new, the process does take time to ‘settle down’ and gain momentum. Setting new habits over old habits that you have established over the years is quite difficult. Persistence will however get you through if you set up your model of prospecting.
Here are some rules to help you get a good prospecting model together:
From the very start make sure that the prospecting time in your diary is the same time every day. So often salespeople break this rule and a habit of prospecting is not created. It is best to do the process in the morning first thing before anything else takes over.
You will need a simple script to use as part of making cold calls. The simple script should be an ‘opener’ to a conversation. It should not be a pitch for new business; a conversation is what you want when you reach new people.
Start your contacting model with local businesses. They are easy to find and approach. You can use the business telephone book to help you here. Those businesses will tell you a lot about the local area and be a great source of market intelligence. In some cases they will tell you who owns the property.
Define your boundaries and your streets. In this way you will know the ‘priority zones’ where you think the main properties are located. Opportunity starts to show itself when you focus and dig into a zone to extract all of the local information. Systems like this are really important.
Use a good database that is easy to use and backed up to the internet. So much work today occurs out in the field. You need to get to your database from a mobile telephone or laptop computer in the field.
Our industry is built on established ‘face to face’ relationships. Getting in front of the right people is a big part of building your market share. Remember, you are a self-promoter of your experience and relevance to the prospects that you talk to.
In this slower commercial property market, there is a lot of pain and discomfort being experienced by some of our clients and local property investors. That being said, we as the local agents and realtors are the pain relief behind the equation. We can solve a lot of problems for our clients. We have the market processes and tools to do that.
Here are the typical frustrations of property investors in commercial and retail property today:
Higher vacancy factors and selective tenants
Protracted vacancy periods
Poor tenants in the tenant mix and unstable market rents
Less quality enquiry for a property that is taken to the market for sale or lease
High property outgoings in maintaining the property for occupancy
Extended time on market when it comes to selling or leasing a property
Reduced price or rent outcomes from a contract or lease
Difficulties with finance requirements and lenders
Rest assured that the property market does change and will get better. Remember that just 5 or 6 years ago we had just come through a huge boom period of commercial and retail property sales and leasing.
In these more challenging times, we as the local commercial agents and realtors are best placed to solve property problems for our clients. We have the tools and the ideas to move some of these challenging properties over a slump or hurdle.
Top agents can thrive in this market because they have the contacts and the database to do a lot of good things for their clients and property listings. When the market gets tougher, the top agents simply focus with more action and relevance; they know what is required to help their clients and they set about doing just that.
So here are some tips to work with focus in this property market today:
Work with a focus on the local business community. They are likely to need property change or relocation. Some businesses will be more successful than others; sort through the local businesses to see who wants help with expansion, contraction, or relocation.
Some local property investors will be needing help with tenant retention plans and occupancy changes. Your database of tenants will help them.
Look at the older buildings that tenants are leaving. Those buildings may be a case for renovation or redevelopment.
The methods of sale or lease in this market should be carefully considered with due regard for the property and the surrounding area. Exclusive listings for a lengthy period of time are the norm and not the exception.
Vendor or client paid marketing should be obtained for every listing that is made exclusive.
Take every listing into the local area personally to the business proprietors within regional proximity. A current listing is a reason to talk to others.
In this property market, we are the specialists that can solve many issues for our clients. It is just a matter of how that is to occur.
When you do a commercial property presentation today to win a listing, the competition agents are likely to be ‘breathing down your neck’ and connecting with the client with all types of bonuses and ideas. On that basis your presentation just has to be the best and most relevant to the client.
Why are you the best agent to market this property? The client has to see the answer quite clearly and efficiently. Your presentation will do that.
Here are some common problems that we see in today’s market.
The competition agents will be chasing your client or prospect constantly for a listing. They will be filling the clients head with misinformation and ideas to destabilise your listing or opportunities.
The price or rent that you offer the client is likely to be different than that which they require. Show them some relevant market evidence to help them understand the circumstances of the market today.
The listing type that you need may not be what the client wants to give you. Always go for an ‘exclusive’ listing. Open listings are a great waste of your time and effort; if they sell or lease, it is more from luck than anything else.
Your fees in both commission and marketing can be a hurdle. Set fees that are based on a quality service and the time that you are going to apply to the listing. Tell the client how you will take their property to the market.
The method of sale or lease can be of concern to the client. They may not want to take too much risk in the sale or lease process. That being said, if you know the right way to sell or lease the property then have strong evidence to support your arguments.
Here are some presentation tips to use as you present your ideas to the client about their property and their needs today.
Do not use a fixed or written script that is likely to limit the presentation. Be open and natural as you talk to your prospects to show your confidence and knowledge that can help them. The confidence that they see from you will come from the body language and the words that you use.
Use all the clients’ senses to convey the message. Bring together two or more senses in your presentation so the client is involved and connected to your story. You can do that by giving them something to hold (a proposal) whilst you show them some images or photos of the property, and as you explain your ideas and strategies. Fully connect at all levels.
Have solid recommendations that are innovative and relevant to the best outcomes for the client.
Show them the competition properties that they are up against and how you can adjust around those issues.
Know the market and the relevant property solutions that are applicable to your market. It is notable that many agents and realtors are too general in the presentation. You must build your presentation on relevance and speciality that is connected to the property. The client has to see that you are the best choice of agent to help them.