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.
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