In commercial real estate brokerage most of the new business that you create will be through ongoing prospecting and appointment creation. If you are finding that the property market is a bit tough or slow, then take a serious look at your prospecting model and activities on a daily basis.
Can your processes be improved?
Can you spend more time on connecting with the right people in the right way?
How will you show them your relevance as an agent for the location and the property type?
They are interesting questions that all require specific answers.
The ideas will help you get back in to the key issues of the market and property opportunity existing. There will always be people looking for solutions and strategies surrounding office, industrial, and retail property. They need experts to help them move through the challenges and the stages of investment property improvement or occupation.
Why are you special?
The clients and the property prospects in the market today need to know who you are, why you are so special, and how you can help them specifically with property market trends and opportunities. The personal marketing process and requirement in today’s commercial real estate brokerage is very high and specific.
The skills required in selling, leasing, or property management activity today are quite specific and direct. Gone are the days of generic Property Marketing and openly listing properties. Exclusivity is the only way to dominate market share over time. Actively pursue the Appointments are Everything in Commercial Real Estate as part of your property presentation pitch and presentation.
In this tougher commercial property market there are all sorts of pressures and hurdles to handle in agency on a daily basis as you look for the right prospects and deals. Importantly each and every day your system should take you forward a bit further towards the targets that you are chasing.
In saying that there are some really important observations that will help you understand the bigger issues and then help you get somewhere.
Many agents and salespeople have very little system. They do not do the right things every day and on that basis they struggle. They take each day as it comes. Very few salespeople have a personal business plan that they stick to and modify as they go through the year. That is a massive opportunity. You can quickly get past the competitors that have no base plan or focus.
Most towns and cities have elements of activity to tap into. You just need to know what to look for. If you can move from sales to leasing, you will always find property listings and business to tap into. On that basis become very versatile with the property services that you offer.
These two simple facts will set the scene for new business. Stop working for others and start working for yourself; when you really accept and understand that the process of new business comes from you personally, the doors to new listings and deals open very quickly. Property business is always out there; it is just a matter of what you can do about it. Stay away from any negative and poor performing salespeople in your team; you do not need to travel their road to destruction.
Self-belief is a wonderful thing; self-action is even more powerful. You need both to get somewhere in commercial real estate.
If you have not got a base plan for your working day, here is a simple one that works for some agents that I know. One of those agents earns 7 times more than anyone else in that office. Here is their plan:
Start the day on the telephone doing some prospecting. That means a time frame of about 2 hours that can take you through to 10:30 am in the morning.
Move all your meetings beyond 11:00 am every day.
Leave your paperwork to the time beyond 5:00 pm every day.
Get your of the office when and only when you have finished your prospecting.
Visit your territory and sales patch every day to meet new people and to door knock new businesses that you have not called on before.
These 5 simple things are not done by most salespeople every day. That shows just how easy it is to be better than the others that you compete against.
When you work as a salesperson or agent in commercial real estate, the prospecting process can be very frustrating. That is because it is not easy and it does require practice and real focus. Some people find those two things really hard to achieve on a regular basis. Here are some tips from our regular bulletin for Commercial Real Estate Agents.
The good agents prospect every day for about 2 or 3 hours. When this becomes a habit in your business processes and diary, the market opportunities start to evolve. Given that your salary usually revolves around commissions, this is a good thing.
Having seen many salespeople struggle with the issue and most not handling it well, I have developed a set of rules to help the process for those that want to get ahead.
When you follow the rules, things start to happen. I want to share those with you now:
Prospecting and cold calling is the single most important thing that you should do every day. There are no short cuts; just research and do the work. That being said, it is best to get your ordinary business day very organised so that the same time frame is set aside for you to prospect and cold call. Research does not fit into that time frame; researching the people to call takes time and should occur in the evening the night before you make your calls. The internet and the business telephone book will be good sources of opportunity if you use them methodically.
There are only a few simple things that will make a lot of difference to your career in the industry. Prospecting is always number 1 on the list. Presentation and negotiation skills fall at numbers 2 and 3. As you can see, the industry is quite simple if you break it down to the main categories. So what should you do with items 1, 2, and 3? You should practice them on a regular basis. The process of practice will fast track the results that you get.
The process of prospecting involves contacting lots of people on a regular basis. Some of those people will have no interest or need for your services and on that basis should be dropped from ongoing contact. Others will have a need one day, and on that basis you will need to talk to them at least every 90 days until you can get a meeting and put a ‘name to a
face’. This industry is all about relationships, and meetings are really important to start that.
As you prospect with new people, expect that most people will not want to talk or meet with you. That is quite OK given that you do not want to waste your time (or theirs). Look at ‘rejection’ as a simple process of advantage that allows you to talk to other people and find the right opportunities.
If you prospect well, you will build a good market share faster than those that struggle to organise themselves. Are you up to the challenge? I hope so.
Need some more tips to handle prospecting in commercial real estate sales or leasing? Get our bulletin here.
There are lots of commercial real estate salespeople and agents around the local property market. Some of them are less professional than others, and the best top agents will be few and far between. When it comes to a sales pitch for listing presentation, you have to connect with the client and convey your credibility and experience in an effective way. You will be up against some top agents.
The good thing is that most agents take a generic approach to the sales pitch process. That means your presentation can be more successful if you choose to make specific steps in building your credibility and showing it in your sales pitch or presentation.
What Does the Client Want?
When it comes to selling and leasing commercial or retail property, the one thing that really matters to the client will center on the success of the process. They need to see that you have the experience, tools, and strategy to make the sale or leasing process as fast and as painless as possible. They want the right agent with the dominance in the market and the credibility to make the process work.
Ultimately they want the best price or rental, but they also need a reasonably short time on market. They understand that the longer the property remains on the market, the more difficult it will be in attracting new and fresh inquiry.
To lift your credibility as a specialist commercial agent in your sales pitches the following factors will be of great assistance.
Show the client similar properties that you have successfully transacted in recent time. Give them details of the time on market, the starting price or rental, and the end result. Emphasize the strategies necessary to complete the transaction quickly and effectively.
Show the client some comparable properties in the local area that are just not selling or leasing. These properties will be with the other agents in the local area and on that basis should be suitably explained. Tell the client why you believe these listings are not moving and how those other agents have got the wrong processes underway.
Explain to the client the recent levels of enquiry that you have had from buyers and tenants for similar properties. You should be able to provide specific case studies of the requirements of some of these parties. Show them the size of your database.
Pricing and rentals should be broken down to a unit level; in this way you can compare properties of different sizes in the same general location. That analysis will be per square foot or per square metre as the case may be. You can then also relate to the cost of replacement of the improvements on various properties; split the properties into levels of relevance.
Take digital photographs around the client’s property and then compile a slide show of photographs that can run on your laptop whilst you are making your presentation. Make sure that the slides running automatically are only photographs. Do not attempt to put any words into the slides process; just use the photographs as trigger points for discussion and let them roll through continually during your presentation. For a typical commercial property, a selection of 30 or 40 photographs will be adequate.
Show the client how you will be inspecting the property with potential tenants or buyers as the case may be. Give details of the features of the property that will be emphasized in your inspections and in the marketing process.
Give samples of relevant advertising that can apply to the client’s property when you take it to market. Itemize the trigger points and focus points that should be featured in the advertising.
Provide a timeline to show the client exactly how you will be preparing the property for marketing and how you will then be taking it to the market as part of a dedicated and specially designed campaign.
All of these things help you build credibility as a specialist commercial agent. Show that you are fully prepared to take on the subject property with all its challenges and attributes. Confidence and strategy will underpin your market knowledge and allow the client to see that you are really the agent of choice when it comes to the property solution that they require.
In commercial real estate today, we see far too many agents offer discounts and marketing cost benefits as part of the sales presentation or pitch. If the client is looking for a discount before they will make a decision on the listing, then they are not the client that you need. It is better to walk away from these clients. If they are basing their listing decision on ‘cheap’ and ‘shortcuts’ they are likely to be difficult clients when it comes to negotiations with serious and reasonable prospects. Here is a tip from our Newsletter.
In this market buyers or tenants are very aware of market conditions, and they will not offer above market prices or rents, or enter into unrealistic negotiations with unmotivated vendors or landlords. There are lots of other properties to choose from today.
The reality of commercial real estate market today is that sales and leasing transactions are slow and difficult to put together. The average transaction does not occur quickly or easily. Real focus and effort is required on the part of the salesperson or agency to resolve the property pain for the client, and that takes time and a strategy. The word ‘discount’ doesn’t feature as a requirement or have any relevance.
Discounted commission or discounted fees in the sale or lease process create the following issues:
The agent will be more inclined to work on properties where the fee is more realistic and appropriate for the volume of work concerned.
The agent knows that the client is not totally committed to the sale or lease process and on that basis it is more likely to be an adversary in the marketing and negotiation activity.
Sometimes a client will look to the agent to cover the marketing costs as part of the promotional campaign. Most agents in that case will selectively and restrictively market the property within a small budget.
The reality of property sales and leasing today says that we have fewer buyers and tenants to work with for the average property listing. Levels of enquiry are slower and negotiations are longer. Getting the message out to the marketplace is more important than ever before.
So the best agents today in their sales or listing presentation will firmly commit to the following process in front of the client.
They will define the best strategy and timing to take the property to the market. This will include due consideration for market conditions, competitive properties, methods of promotion, levels of enquiry, and pricing or rental strategy.
They will comprehensively determine the target market that best suits the property to be promoted. When the target market has been defined, it is much easier to create a specific marketing campaign and seeking vendor paid marketing funds.
They will recommend the marketing campaign across a number of initiatives relevant to the target market. Most marketing campaigns run for a period of six or eight weeks and then slow right down. A full 60% to 70% of the marketing funds should be spent and committed to the first half of the campaign. This is how you build momentum and enquiry. It should also be said that the every aspect of the marketing campaign should be tracked for results; if something is not working, you change it.
Good agents will personally commit to direct marketing including canvassing the streets and businesses, cold calling, and database contact and review.
There are many more reasons to appoint an agent on a full commission than to provide discounts. Clients should be given the specific reasons why discounts and shortcuts do not work in this market.
When it comes to your career in Commercial Real Estate Agency, you really do need to know how to motivate yourself each day and stick to a system. Here are some tips for building the right attitude in commercial property sales and leasing. When you achieve the right momentum here you can build a better business for yourself and increase your commssions and listings. You can join our Commercial Property Agents Newsletter here.
When it comes to commercial real estate sales and leasing today, you will find that there is a growing gap between members of the sales force, and it centres on the internet. Some salespeople embrace the internet well, some do so generically, and some do not do it at all. Make no mistake here, the internet is with us when it comes to marketing commercial property, but it is now evolving to a level of salesperson personal marketing. This is where you can get left behind if you do not adjust and learn some new processes. Here are some tips from our Newsletter for Commercial Real Estate Agents
So to differentiate between the types of commercial property salespeople and their marketing efforts today, here are some findings:
1. Those salespeople that do not use the internet at all are a fast dying breed of ‘old school’ salesperson. Listings can be marketed personally, and that used to be a standard practice, however today it is necessary to get the property message to the buyers and tenants and that is through the internet. Most property investors and business owners will use the Internet as a technology tool of property enquiry.
2. At the very basic end of the marketing and promotional scale, property listings should be advertised on the Internet and that requires some knowledge regards drafting advertisements with due regard for search engine keywords. If you can create advertisements that are Internet friendly, you tend to get more enquiries coming from the search engines. Investigate the search engines and the keywords that are ranking the highest in your local area. If you do this on a monthly basis, you can keep your list of key words regularly updated. Good advertisements generate more enquiries, and in a tough market like this, that’s exactly what you need.
3. To use the Internet more effectively as a personal marketing tool, the salesperson can utilise various levels of social media. So that would typically be Twitter, Linked in, Facebook, and e-mail marketing processes surrounding each listing. Every person that you meet should be captured into your database and potentially fed into the social media platforms that you use. Their consent to this process is highly important.
4. This last category of Online Marketing is overlooked by many salespeople given that they do not understand the process or are not willing to devote the time to implementing it. In one word it is blogging. It is perhaps one of the most powerful tools on the Internet, and when used correctly, can give you a massive personal profile across all the search engines and in your local area as a commercial property specialist. In simple terms, you create an Internet blog structured around your local area and property speciality. If you continually write interesting articles and pieces of information regards the property market, the Internet will recognise you as being a source of information. That is how you achieve a better Internet profile. One essential part of the process is to write your blogs regularly and that means a few times a week or more. When you do this the search engines will see you as a source of specialist property information and that helps your personal name escalate in the search engine rankings. When it comes to commercial real estate that is a great idea. You need to be known as the industry specialist and expert. This process will help you.
So if you have just started your career in commercial real estate, it is wise to take on the necessary profiling process on the Internet that reflects and promotes your skill and expertise as a commercial property expert. Providing you regularly update the information, the Internet will be a massive source of personal marketing and branding.
When it comes to running a commercial real estate office, the database system that you use is a significant source of opportunity providing the correct detail is entered and captured at the right time. This is a personal process that should be the responsibility for every salesperson within the business. Here are some ideas from our Newsletter for Commercial Real Estate Agents.
A question always arises as to who should own the data in the database when the sales person leaves the business. It is best to deal with this question as part of the salespersons employment agreement. There is an argument that the data belongs to the real estate office given that they are employing the salesperson and paying some form of retainer. When the salesperson is working on commission only, then the factors of data ownership can be different. As a secondary strategy here, it is best to provide the sales people within your business with a mobile phone. When the sales person leaves the business, the mobile phone is retained for future usage.
So let’s assume that you have the mobile phone issue under control and that you have a suitable database program to capture the enquiries that come in to your office.
Here are some tips for running a contact system in commercial real estate sales and leasing.
1. Integrate an e-mail contact system into the database usage. The emails system should be able to contact anyone in the database individually or as part of a mass broadcast. The emails system should be able to track the openings of each email by each individual subscriber.
2. Make sure that you are contacting each person in the database at least every 90 days. This is a personal approach that should be done on the basis of a telephone call or a meeting. It has been proven that the 90 day contact process is highly effective for new business opportunity. If you go beyond the 90 day process and contact your prospects less frequently, it is apparent and has been evidenced that they tend to forget about you and your business. Constant contact in a systemised way is very efficient.
3. The results of every meeting and telephone discussion with every prospect should be entered into the database by the relative salesperson. This allows others within the office to be aware of the current status of the prospect.
4. Each salesperson and leasing executive within the office should be targeting at least 25 new people to talk to every day. Whilst this initially seems difficult, the reality is far easier. It is simply a matter of using the business telephone book for your local area and adopting a process of talking to tenants and business owners. They will tell you so much in regards to the local area, the property, and their occupancy. They will sometimes tell you the name of the landlord.
This simple list can be added to given the attributes of your property market and the property types that you work with. The best real estate offices have up to date and comprehensively maintained databases. You can get more tips for commercial real estate agents at our website http://www.commercial-realestate-training.com/ or you can subscribe to our newsletter here.
When you work in commercial real estate agency for a number of years, you know that the property market fluctuates and changes frequently. The only way to work efficiently in the property market as an agent or salesperson is to build your prospecting model and to implement it every day. Here are some tips from our Newsletter for Commercial Real Estate Agents today.
If you do this you will earn more commissions and listings. That’s the formula for success in the industry.
Whilst this may sound fundamental, the reality is that many salespeople really struggle with the prosecting process. If you can be one of the minorities that creates a clear and efficient prospecting system, and that you implement it every day, then the local property market awaits your activities and ideas. You can win a lot more business. We tend to forget that clients and prospects that need to sell and lease their property really do want an active agent that is not afraid to get out and about to attract new business and contact.
The best agents are not afraid to talk to new people and to source out tenants, property owners, investors, and business leaders. All of this takes system and consistency. It is a very personal issue that cannot be delegated to a PA in your office. If you live and drive your database, you can create the contacts and the churn that you need. So who should you contact?
Here are some of the high value contacts in commercial real estate agency prospecting today:
Local property owners
Property investors locally
Tenants in commercial, industrial, and retail buildings
Business owners in the local area
Planning officers at the local council offices
This list of people will have the network and the ideas that you need to tap into as an agent. They know what is going on in the market place and may want to do something themselves at any time in the future. When you get in touch with these people, the ongoing contact process is really important. It takes about 3 or 4 telephone calls over an extended time to open the door with these people. This is where your database becomes really important.
Find some database software that supports your contact and call process and implement its use every day. In about 3 or 4 months the benefits will become apparent. All it takes is a consistent call contact process that you do every day to try and get meetings with the right people. When you make lots of calls, you will find that some people to not want to talk to you, or may not have a need. That is just fine and you should proceed as quickly as possible on to the next call. Keep up your calling process for 2 or 3 hours every day. Consistency and persistence will pay off when you take ownership of the process and to the hard work yourself.
Industrial property needs to be well-positioned with due regard for transport routes and transport access. Look at the road configuration and proximity with due regard to heavy transport access and deliveries to and from the property.
Some industrial tenants and properties require access to raw materials and the labour market. This could involve public transport or ports, rail heads, and airports. Look at the access issues here.
Power supply with industrial tenants is particularly important as they usually have a high load demands and extended hours of electrical load. Can your tenants access the power they require easily? It may be necessary for you to talk to the power grid authorities and the tenants in this regard.
Can the tenants dispatch their product easily into the transport corridors and transport facilities within the state? This is particularly the main roads, airports, ports, and shipping facilities.
Is the property located in a recognised industrial area surrounded by good and busy industrial tenants? Talk to some of the other local businesses to see what they think about the local area.
Are there any unsold properties or an abundance of vacancies in the industrial precinct and are tenants and properties in high demand? Look at those vacancies and get details of the asking rent.
Does the precinct feature an abundance of investment type property or is there a balance of Owner Occupation in existence? Could other tenants in the area be looking for properties to purchase and get away from the rental or lease issue?
What is the ratio of floor area between the office areas to the warehouse? Is that ratio too high or too low given the trends of occupancy in the local area? This will be relevant to the type of property and the customers that they service.
What is the height of the warehouse between the slab and the underside of the steel frame supporting the ceiling or roof area? That dimension can oppose or restrict certain types of storage and/or access by transport vehicles.
What is the access to the warehouse area from the main road fronting the property, and how many roller doors service that access? Are those roller doors motorised, do they allow the entry of modern semitrailer vehicles? Is there a need for other access doors in the future and can they be easily installed?
Is there an abundance of good lighting, or natural lighting in the warehouse area providing good visibility?
What is the load tolerance of the warehouse floor for heavy vehicles, what are the dimensions of the floor surface slab and does it provide ease of access for loading vehicles and trolleys?
What are the dimensions between the supporting roof columns of the building? This will dictate the types of storage and pelleting load area which may affect any future tenant occupancy.
What fire prevention systems and security systems exist in the premises that will be relevant to occupancy?
Is the building fully compliant with health, safety, and fire regulations? It may be necessary for you to visit the local building authority to check this.
What is the external fabric of the building? Is it easily maintained, does it provide a quality appearance?
Is the internal warehouse suitably lined and insulated given the property usage that is expected?
Is the property flat and suitable for trucks and or loading? • Does the office area provide good quality presentation, services, amenities, and business environment which will support the tenant in their future occupancy?
Is there any asbestos in the building, and if so, is it documented and maintained within regulatory and legislative management practices?
Ask about environmental risks and threats from the property or from the occupancy.
Look at the local maps to see how the property fits into the location and the geography. Look for things that can impact property usage such as rivers and creeks that could flood. Look for slippage potential if the block is sloping or near steep areas.
What does the zoning of the property allow it to be used for? Check out the local development plans.
Has the block been filled or re-levelled? Get details of this. It may be necessary for a soil report to satisfy buyers or tenants as to property suitability for their operations.
So you can add to this list based on your local area and the types of industrial tenants that you deal with. Formulate a checklist from this and the other things that you can add. As part of the inspection process, take lots of photographs of the improvements and the property itself. Loading areas and turning areas for trucks will be of real importance to many property owners, as will hardstand space in the property.
This subject has proven so relevant for some commercial agents I have decided to write some more about property inspections in commercial real estate and how you can do the inspections efficiently and thoroughly. When you correctly inspect a property you minimise the threat of problems later in the marketing and negotiation process. Here are some ideas from our Newsletter for Commercial Real Estate Agents.
As a general rule, believe only what you get in writing or in hard copy evidence. If something is advised to you, then go the extra step and get a copy of the relevant documentation as proof of the key facts.
So here are some more ideas and issues to add to the property inspection process:
Information is the key to property investigations and listing creation. Sometimes the client will know about most issues and current facts although you cannot rely on this. Whatever the clients tell you about the property should be written down for use and investigation later if anything is missing or not fully understood.
Verbal comments should always be supported by written 3rd party evidence. This means getting in touch with the local authorities and other organisations that can complete the information with some detail in written form. It is likely that the information will be needed later in due diligence issues and negotiation towards contacts.
Check out the property ownership and title detail. If the property is owned by a Trust or Company, you will need to go the extra step of identifying the structure within that group. You should be sure that the person talking to you has all the relevant authority to do so.
If a building exists on the property, ensure that the use and occupation of the property is legal given all the current building codes and rules. Visit the local council to ensure that you have a good idea of any current orders or notices that could apply in property occupancy today.
If the property is impacted by environmental, heritage, or energy issues, you will need detail. Many property buyers or tenants are sensitive to these factors and they will ask for more information.
The outgoing for the property are those costs that apply to the property operating the way it is currently. Get a copy of the outgoings so you can identify those extra costs of property usage and see how they compare to other properties in the same area of similar type. A history of outgoings over the last few years will also be useful.
If the property is occupied by tenants, get copies of all leases, licences, and other agreements so you know exactly what terms of occupancy and rent are today. Look for outstanding issues with tenants that have not been attended to on time or are still in limbo. They can normally include rent reviews, options for a further term, lease renewals, refurbishment matters, insurance notices, lease negotiations, make good provisions, arrears matters for each tenant, permitted uses of the premises, and the list goes on. Importantly you will need to read these documents and interpret them.
Any extra areas or spaces that apply to building usage should also be found and investigated. They are typically car parks, signage, naming rights, storage, extra areas of property occupancy, plus more.
Be aware of the property zoning that applies to the premises and the property usage. The property and the tenants should comply with this zoning category. Legally correct occupancy is a big thing today and property orders and notices can result from an illegal property usage.
Ask the client about the property history and the reasons why they purchased it. It is remarkable how much information will be gleaned by these questions.
Matters of risk in the property can be many, so inspect the property with care and attention to detail. When in doubt ask more questions. Only when you have all the property information should you take the property to the market publically. The subject property may have been on the market before, so ask questions about this to see if other agents have tried to market the property and what may have happened in those circumstances.
One good thing that can be done in addition to these things above is to walk around the local area and talk to the local business owners (if possible). They will tell you so much about the local area and the matters of change or threat. They can also tell you things about the property that you are to inspect or potentially take to the market.