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 commercial real estate brokerage, the sales pitch or the presentation that you provide to the client should have plenty of character and commitment from you at an individual level. You are the ‘first point of sale’. Everything with the listing hinges on your ‘first point of sale’.
First and foremost in any listing presentation, the client needs to commit to you as the ‘agent of choice’ before they will listen to you with your recommendations and marketing solutions. Your character and commitment needs to flow into the presentation in a valuable way. Your skills and knowledge need to be superior to your competitors when it comes to winning the listing. Confidence and local property knowledge will help.
The presentations made by top agents are geared to personal involvement on the basis of an exclusive agency. When you control the listing, you can control the opportunity of a valuable transaction over time. Exclusive listings are easier to convert when you get involved in the marketing process at an individual level.
So how can you add ‘character and commitment’ to your listing presentation? Here are some ideas to help:
Connect with the client so that you can totally understand their property needs and priorities. Question everything before you provide recommendations. Drill down on the needs of the client to get to the true facts of the matter.
Every client will have certain challenges when it comes to price, rental, and timing. They will also have targets within their own mind as to what could be achieved. Those targets may be totally out of the question when it comes to the current market conditions.
Provide the correct recommendations to take the client forward, and put yourself into the marketing process at an individual level. Let the client see how you will be taking the property to the tenants or the buyers in a direct way. Forget about generic marketing; it simply doesn’t work.
Show the client the results you have achieved recently when it comes to properties of a similar type locally. Summarize the marketing solutions and the challenges in each case. Tell the client exactly how you promoted the listing and reached the target audience. Compare those actions to the subject property and what will be required to achieve inspections and negotiations.
Your database is likely to be quite valuable when it comes to winning listings. Keep your database up to date and use it as leverage when it comes to pitching for a listing. Show the client the short list of prospects that you have already identified as part of marketing the property. When the property is released to the market, the people on your shortlist should be encouraged to inspect the listing as part of a pre-release. It is very difficult for a client to overlook or walk away from a prospective list of tenants or buyers. Use your database and your short list as leverage in the presentation to the client.
Any quality listing should be directly marketed to the local area. That will be at a personal level in addition to any generic advertising you may be doing. Prepare a suitable flyer or brochure to take to the property owners and businesses in the same general location as the listing. As soon as the signboard goes on to the property, you can be door knocking the businesses and the property owners locally.
It is easier to win a listing when you get personally involved in the marketing process. That involvement can only occur with exclusive listings. Help the client understand the difference and commitment that they and their property will receive when it comes to an open listing and an exclusive listing.
In commercial real estate brokerage, the use of prospecting letters will help boost your networking and new business efforts. New clients and listings can be generated by a good prospecting letter system. That being said, it is not just a matter of sending letters and hoping that results will occur; you need to develop a real logic to the process. You should also follow up the letters with a telephone call whenever possible.
Why would you send these letters? In most cases it is to achieve one if not all of the following:
More Sellers as listing prospects
More Landlords for leasing services
Better enquiries from the market
Buyers and tenants for your listings
Establish your brand as an industry expert
Looking at these things very simply, it is essential that you design your prospecting letters in separate ways for the market that you want to tap into; understand the new business that you are looking to attract back to you. Write your letter accordingly.
Here are some rules to creating a marketing system of letters for commercial real estate brokerage:
The letter process is a repeated system. In each period of 12 months the letters should be sent every 2 or 3 months. Each letter sent should have a separate message and theme.
Understand the ‘pain factors’ that apply to the market today and reach into those issues as part of the letter layout and message. Establish your brokerage as the ‘solution’ for all the pain and discomfort that a landlord or property owner could be experiencing.
Focus on listing stock. When you control the listings you control the market. Exclusive listings should be part of your proposal and presentation process.
Any of your competitors listings will be a trigger for prospecting letters in the same location. Any other property owners looking to sell or lease may like to compete with the other property.
Write ‘success letters’ for every sale or lease that you achieve. Send them into the immediate vicinity of the successful transaction.
Follow up all letters with a telephone call whenever you can. The personal approach is really important to conversions.
Purchase a good book on ‘copyrighting’ and ‘words or phrases that sell’. These simple books are invaluable when it comes to attracting the eye of the reader in your message.
Your marketing letters should be simple and composed over 3 or 4 paragraphs on one page only. Enclose your business card with each letter. Make it easy for people to get back to you.
If you want more listings in commercial real estate brokerage today, this strategy of sending prospecting letters really does work beyond the all too convenient ‘email’ strategy used by many. Most agents only rely on emails for prospecting communication; in those situations the client or prospect will usually not even read the content. The ‘delete’ button is all too convenient.
In commercial real estate brokerage today there are many opportunities to tap into. In any period of 12 months, there will be changes to the sales and leasing aspects of the market that can open up into new listings and new clients.
Brokerage prospecting models should always focus on quality listings and quality clients. The word ‘quality’ is quite important here in that you will always get better inbound enquiry rates from quality listings.
It directly follows that a sales or leasing transaction successfully completed will give you the opportunity for repeat and referral business. It is also the case that those clients that have had business with you previously will give you leads and opportunities to tap into if you ask the right questions at the right time.
Consider the following rules that can apply to a referral lead generation system:
If you consider the last period of two years as a point of reference, identify the clients and prospects that you have successfully served during that time. Open up the contact process with these people again and seek a personal opportunity for a meeting and market related conversation.
You cannot ask for referral business over the telephone. Arrange a meeting in suitable circumstances where you can provide the client with a market update. As part of that process, ask questions about their current property interest and involvement, together with the appropriate referral questions.
Within your brokerage, you are likely to have a number of clients that are serviced in an ongoing way. That may be through project leasing or property management services. Keep in regular contact with these people as they may seek to adjust their investment portfolio. They will also know other property investors that may be leads or referral opportunities for you.
As part of your existing prospecting program, you should know plenty of local business owners and proprietors. Some of those people will own local investment property, or may seek to do so. Understand the intentions of these successful business owners as they consolidate their financial nest egg.
Track and measure all of the recent sales and leasing activity through your region. That information will be quite valuable when it comes to establishing new meetings with clients and prospects. It is not hard to get a meeting when someone respects your skills and relevance as an industry specialist.
As part of your weekly brokerage sales meeting, insert into the agenda the topic of referrals and leads. That will focus the agents and brokers on to the issue as part of a regular reporting process.
In commercial real estate today you should be very careful to correctly qualify the prospects that you work with. Mistakes can be made if you do not get all the facts and figures relating to the person or company that you are dealing with. Here are some tips from our Newsletter….
Here are some common problems:
Lack of clarity on the improvements required in the property
Locational issues that hinder business activity
Price challenges that will not be resolvable
Rent and lease issues that cannot be compromised
Lack of money
Incorrect decision makers
Expansion requirements that cannot be satisfied
So the list goes on. The fact of the matter is that you really do need to know what questions to ask and how to do that before you take people to the property. Just because they may be ringing you from the signboard or the internet, doesn’t mean that they are already qualified to inspect. Ask the right questions before you act on the inquiry.
Here are some good questions to ask as part of qualifying a prospect today:
How did they get to you today? What have they seen that is making them call you? This information is really helpful because it lets you know what is working when it comes to marketing of listings locally.
What do they know about the area? It may be that you have to give them a local area briefing or brochure. Plans and maps will also help.
Have they seen other properties already? Other properties may have influenced their thinking when it comes to the local area or the value of properties and rents.
Are they working with other agents locally? If you are up against other agents now, you might as well know that early in the process.
What are the key factors of selecting a property? Improvements, services, and amenities will all have something to do with property selection.
What is the timing of negotiating and settling on a property?
What improvements must they have? There will be a ‘short list’ that must be satisfied over everything else.
What transport needs do they have for their business and staff? Public transport, highways, car parks, and street access are all factors to consider.
Where do they get their raw materials from and how do they send off the finished products from their business location? This could influence property selection.
What communications systems do they need for their business to operate?
Do they have special power, energy, environmental, or operational requirements?
You can add to this list based on location and property type. Asking the right questions will help you close more inspections and negotiations. Match the person to the property before you arrange the inspection.
In commercial real estate agency, you will come across many property developers. They are useful people to know given that they will take on new projects from time to time. New properties and new developments are a great opportunity for bulk commissions. Project leasing work will emanate from new property developments.
The focus of the property developer is to put the project together given the requirements of the local market. They require the assistance of a good agent to solve the leasing challenge or the selling requirement as the case may be with the new property developments.
All of this being said, there are good property developers and some that are not so good (I guess they will say the same of real estate agents!). If you are going to work with property developers, make sure that you have a valid and enforceable appointment to act and that your fees are well defined.
Here are some rules to apply to the project work with property developers:
Trust is very important from both parts of the property equation. They need to trust you and your skills in moving the property. That’s why they focus on the choice of agent and will normally appoint the agent with a proven track record in project leasing.
You need to trust the developer and his ability to pay your fees for the hard work that you put in. They will usually ask you to do a lot of work ‘up front’ to help them get the project together with their financiers. This work may be for no fee at all, but you should at least have a long term appointment signed on the property before you get involved in ‘free’ advice.
They are likely to cut your fees and delay your fees (it’s a common problem), so be prepared for some difficulties there. The basic message is do not work for a developer that is less than honest in payment of fees. Over time they will usually self-implode because no-one will trust them. They need a good agent more than you need them.
Check out the other projects undertaken by the developer before you commit to serving them on an appointment to act. A successful developer will have left a trail of good property projects locally.
When you get involved with these developers, be aware of the commissions you want and how you want to be paid. Every part of the project sale or leasing should incur a commission that is fair and relevant for the work involved. Do not provide discounts to the developer to win the work; he or she is likely to make you earn every dollar of your commission that you make. Be prepared for a strong but challenging business relationship.
You can get more Commercial Real Estate Agent tips like this in our Newsletter.
In commercial real estate today, the prospecting process is critical to your career. On that basis, the earlier you start prospecting as part of your daily activities, the more successful you can be over time. If you neglect your prospecting processes, you are doing yourself a lot of financial damage, and creating a loss of market share. Over time you can be looking for another job!
It should be said that the prospecting process is quite hard for some salespeople and requires considerable focus. It is hard in the sense that it is a process that not many salespeople are comfortable with or familiar with. Essentially it is a new skill and requires discipline to create a new habit. Prospecting does require a specific mindset that will allow the skills and momentum to improve into daily habits.
Finding the right people to talk to is all part of the prospecting process. When you start talking to them, regular ongoing contact is the rule and not the exception. This industry is based on personal ongoing contact and networking. It is a people based industry. It takes some time for the property owners and business proprietors to trust you sufficiently to help them with their property needs. Commercial real estate is not an experiment; it is a specialized business process requiring expertise and knowledge.
Here are some tips to help you with your prospecting processes:
The commercial real estate industry is built around local businesses and business people. It is the business people that occupy the premises and pay the rental. In starting your career, you can get a lot of information from local business proprietors. They will also be excellent sources of leads and opportunity. On a daily basis you should be talking to at least 10 to 15 business people as part of a new prospecting process.
Property investors are on the lookout for quality properties and or future investments. As you identify these people, your ongoing relationship with them should be nurtured for the opportunity and situation where you can help them. In many respects, some of these investors are in contact with many agents at any one time. For this very reason, your relationship needs to be stronger and more productive than those that the other agents may have with the same investor.
Property owners will always be a target from a new business perspective. The fact of the matter is that they are hard to find and hard to connect with. In many situations the true owner of the property is hidden within a company structure or Property Trust. Getting to the required person can be a frustrating process. That being said, it still needs to occur and it is part of the prospecting process for each and every commercial salesperson. Set yourself some simple benchmarks in regards to contacting these people and building relationships.
Check out all of the significant local properties and local businesses. They should all be entered into your prospects list and networked over time. It may take some time for you to connect with the right person and or get the necessary meeting. Persistence is the key to getting the results that you require.
Prospecting in commercial real estate does not need to be complex; it simply needs to be done. When you establish your own prospecting system and merge it into your time management processes, you will find that the property market will open up with the opportunity that you need.