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Why it is Better to be a Listing Agent in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

city view of buildings

In commercial real estate today you see so many agents and brokers that work for buyers and tenants of all types without a formal appointment to do so.  Those buyers and tenants claim to be looking for something by way of a property to own or occupy, and then the agent spends lots of personal business time and resources looking around for that ‘magical’ property and investment.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

Why is this a problem?

Invariably the buyer or tenant is very likely talking to many agents locally at the one time, and all of those agents are committing precious resources chasing around the local property market to find the ‘ideal’ occupancy or ownership solution.  The person making the inquiry is very likely going to transact a property sale or lease at any time and with any agent that finds the right property.

So what is the problem here?  You cannot control that inquiry or negotiation therefore you cannot control your real estate business or any negotiation that may be possible.

The message?

There is a core message that is so important in our industry.  You, as the agent or broker must control the listing stock.  When you do that, the local people are coming to you (be they tenants or buyers) to inquire or inspect.   It is far better to be a listing agent working on controlled stock for that very reason.  You control the property and the client; on that basis the inquiry comes to you automatically, and you negotiate the deal for the client.

A good process, don’t you think?  Don’t just chase around after buyers and tenants if you have a choice; find the property listings and capture them exclusively.  The buyers and tenants will then come to you.

Let’s put a ‘proviso’ on this listing agent focus.  Exclusivity is part of the listing process, and open listings don’t really matter, and certainly have little value to the growth of market share for any agent or broker.  Can you accept that rule and work with it?

The right things

When you are the listing agent a few things fall into the right places, and that will help you with your property business.  Here are some ideas for that:

  1. Client creation and retention – When you find the client, you control the relationship over time. That ownership puts you in a favorable position for long term income opportunity.  How many clients do you really know deeply now?
  2. Focused negotiation – You are then the only agent or broker that the client is listening to. You have their attention and trust.  The negotiation process gets a lot easier.
  3. Referrals are more achievable – When you work closely with the client, a successful transaction is more easily obtained and the resultant referrals can be converted when the time is right. Repeat business is also a by-product of working closely with a client in this way.

From these three simple facts, you can see why the ‘listing agent’ process is more important than any other business strategy in our property industry.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

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Prescription for a Healthy Database in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

address book rolodex
Use your address book as a foundation for new business growth in Commercial Real Estate.

If you’re going to get anywhere in commercial real estate brokerage you need a comprehensive database that covers the marketplace for you. In simple terms, you need a healthy database that is up to date and growing in a regular and ongoing way.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

It is very hard to establish a career in commercial real estate today without a reasonable database to support ongoing contact and listing opportunities. The people that you know today are the sources of future opportunity if you work them correctly and directly; the need to be nurtured and shaped into the next sales, leasing, or property management appointment. Strategy and effort will help those outcomes.

Assess What Clients and Systems You Have Now

Look at your database activities as they exist today and decide how you can improve the depth of the data and the quality of the clients in the list. Understand where the next opportunities are within that list. Start talking to the right people in an ongoing way.

Here are some specific rules to help you establish a healthy database in your commercial real estate business as a broker or an agent:

  1. Segmentation – split the database into zones, price ranges, customer types, and property types. In that way you can successfully use the search facility to put together people and opportunities.  Make it easy to find the right people when you need them or when you have the right property to market.
  2. Up to date information – the data that you put into your list today is to be shaped and maintained over time. That information will change as will the property requirements of the clients and prospects that you know. Establish a contact program that allows you to maintain relevant and real information relating to each person and their current property situation. Look for pressures and the changes that they could be experiencing.
  3. Location based – in most towns and cities, property requirements will be centralized into particular streets and property types. On that basis you should focus your prospecting activities into a defined and active geographical zone. Assess your territory for the pockets of priority and property change. Look for the next levels of activity that you can tap into within the location.
  4. VIP Clients – some clients are better than others. Understand what a client should be for you and rank your clients on the basis of price sensitivity, timing, and location. When you find the right listing, you can make the direct contact in a relevant and real way.
  5. Email and Document integration – a good database will integrate into e-mail messaging, and document storage. Every communication and every document involving each and every client should be suitably stored and referred to through the database. Ideally, you want to access previous communications, messages, and documents easily and effectively.
  6. Marketing integration – when you get an enquiry for a particular type of property or perhaps a listing, that enquiry should be entered into your database. The subsequent dispatch of marketing information should occur from the database. Every brochure, listing, campaign, and method of sale or lease should be accommodated and managed through the database software program.
  7. Remove redundancies – don’t let redundant information destabilize your database. Every person and entry in your client list needs to be maintained for accuracy and relevance. Remove the redundant information in a continual and ongoing way. Enter new information daily from every meeting, conversation, listing enquiry, inspection, and negotiation.
  8. New information – given that you should be focusing all of your client contact and prospecting into a particular zone of your town or city, there will be new parcels of information that you can capture every day regards business owners, investors, developers, and owner occupiers. Carefully consider the categories, the segments, and the contact processes within the database that can then allow you to effectively capture the new information as you receive it.

If you are serious about commercial real estate brokerage, then you will be needing a database to support your activities in a regular and ongoing way.

Don’t take too long to understand that basic fact and the importance of creating your client list; start building your list and the necessary new relationships with valuable property people locally. That’s how you will grow your market share across sales, leasing, and property management.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

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Commercial Real Estate Brokerage – Searching for the Best Ways to Improve Personal Brokerage Performance

business men walking in street and talking
Learn from the best agents and brokers around you.

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’:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?

You can get more commercial real estate brokerage tips in our ‘Snapshot’ eCourse right here.

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All Important Questions to Ask Office Leasing Tenants Today

office cubicles
Vacant office space requires real strategy

 

As a leasing agent you are frequently looking to lease vacant premises in an office building and CBD location.  Many enquiries and calls today will or should come to you from the marketing campaigns you create; the rates of enquiry for every high quality leasing opportunity should be tracked.

Having trouble with tenants?  Here are some comments and ideas below that I sent to our ‘Commercial Snapshot’ Online Community this week.

What’s Important with Tenants?

The important issues in capturing enquiry are in qualifying the enquiry, in understanding what tenants are looking for and when they require it.  Successful leasing agents will have a large database of well qualified tenants and business owners that they can approach when the right property comes to market.

That being  said, I have heard many leasing agents complain over the years about the problems of chasing after the specific leasing requirements of tenants only to find that the tenant has found something or will not move on an ideal property or location.  The fact of the matter is that you should only go so far in helping tenants because they are not fully committed to you; they can waste a lot of your time asking about certain properties, and at the same time be talking with many other agents.  Set the limits on just how much time you should spend on any tenant lease enquiry.

The message here is if you control the quality buildings to lease, the enquiries will very likely come to you in abundance.  Good buildings for lease will drive better rates of property enquiry.  That then makes it a lot easier for you to fill your database with the right tenants and business owners.

The tenant qualification process is quite special and direct.  Here are some of the main facts and questions to explore in finding out what the tenant needs, and to identify how genuine they are in looking for a new property to occupy:

  1. Decision Maker – Understand who you are talking to and their role in looking for a new property to lease. With business type tenants it is common to see some person in middle management tasked with the process of finding properties to ‘short list’.  Ideally you want to be talking to the key person in the property decision process.
  2. Essential location – Some businesses must be located in particular precincts and zones of a city. There will be reasons for those choices and points of focus.  I like to ask about ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ locations so I can create a short list of properties in each case.
  3. Rental budget – The rent for a property is not just a single amount of money; added to that figure will be the outgoings and sundry charges geared to occupancy. The type of lease will dictate how the rents and outgoings will be charged and paid.
  4. Improvements – The office fitout will have desirable design factors to suit the way the tenant undertakes their business, interacts with staff, and serves customers. Car parking will also have a factor of priority in final property choice.  How many car parks do they need?
  5. Timing – Understand when they are looking to make the move. You can then integrate the issues of fitout construction, and the moving of the business.

Given all of these things I like to ask the tenant directly about what other properties they have already seen; it is likely that they have approached a few leasing agents already and on that basis I don’t want to waste my time in quoting things that will not suit or they have already seen.   Protect your time and focus on key questions to get directly to the tenants leasing requirements.

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Top Commercial Agent Tip – Do a Secret Shopper on Your Competition to Get Ideas

businessman talking on mobile phone outside
Some commercial agents don’t take calls well.

Not many agents and salespeople in commercial real estate have ever done a ‘secret shopper’ check on their competition.  That being said, it is a very powerful tool and will give you lots of ideas to work with.

So exactly what is a ‘secret shopper’ in commercial real estate?  It is the process of having someone call your competition agents and ask them for some details on a particular listing that they have.  What it will tell you is this:

  1. How timely they are in answering the telephone with property enquiries.
  2. How they return calls to people that make enquiry.
  3. Whether they ask the right questions of the person making the call.
  4. How intelligent or otherwise they are in the call contact process.
  5. What questions they do ask in finding out about the needs of the caller.
  6. How they give out property information in follow-up to a call enquiry

Now this is not ‘rocket science’ and is a gathering of basic sales market intelligence.  It is just so easy to do.  You just need a friend that is suitably primed with the right information and questions to make a telephone enquiry on your competitors.

This process will give you an idea of just how effective your top competitors are.  It will likely give you a good idea of their weaknesses as well.

To get the process started you will need to choose a few properties in the local area that are advertised publically.  When the advert hits the paper or the internet, get your friend to make the enquiry of the other agent via telephone.

Here are some of the parameters to use in the process.

  1. Give your friend making the call a list of the questions that are relevant to the property.
  2. Give your friend a profile and an email for the information to be emailed to them.
  3. Date and time of call
  4. Length of call
  5. Was the call answered the first time or did they have to leave a message?
  6. If they left a message, how many days or hours did it take for the agent to get back to your friend?
  7. Did they ask the following
    1. Property requirements
    2. Location
    3. Size
    4. Features
    5. Timing of need
    6. Contact details
    7. Email
    8. Arrange for an inspection
    9. Did they qualify your friend or was it a case of information overload and no connection?

You can add a lot more to this list.  Importantly you will find out just who are the good agents and who are the poor ones.  This process should be repeated every 6 months with the same top agents in your area; you will then know what you are up against and how you can improve.

Need more ideas or want to tap into a commercial real estate agent community online?  You can do that at our website right here.