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.