Build some sales magnetism in commercial property. Here are the rules to help with this idea:
Your listing will be location based. When the property comes to the market, get into the location and talk to lots of local people. Tell them about the new listing, why it could be important to them, and how you can help with more information.
Target market your properties. Every listing can be taken to certain business owners, investors, and industry professionals. Make this a special part of your client services. Define the target market as you pitch for the listing, and then comprehensively connect with the target market through the campaign.
The people that inspect your property listings should be comprehensively qualified so you can show them other things as they come to market. It is interesting to remember that the best listings create the best leads and prospect inquiry. If you lift your listing focus for that very reason, you will find that your database will grow faster and with higher conversion factors.
Choose the best method of sale and particularly use the exclusive listing process. When you look at any subject property, the methods of sale that you use should be high on inquiry generation and inspection creation. Do you know what types of campaigns and methods of sale are better than others currently?
Help your clients succeed. A successful outcome for your clients could be a higher price or rent, a shorter time on market, or a timely sale that fits into their business activities and investment plans.
When you seriously think about these things, you will soon understand that most agents and brokers are very ordinary. They don’t do much with the listings that they win. What a mistake! They list, advertise, then hope for a result. That is the generic marketing approach; it doesn’t do anything for your brokerage profile or client base.
Its the end of the financial year. A turning point in the market where some businesses and clients consider property occupancy, leasing, sales, and acquisitions. Its a good time of year for brokers and agents to get back into the growth phase of what we do. From now until December 2015 we have clients to call, listings to convert and commissions to raise.
In this podcast I am focusing on Sales related topics to help Brokers and Agents with market share and database growth.
The topics are:
How to systemise the commercial real estate business and why that is a good idea.
What you need to know about simple contact management systems.
How to improve your prospecting efforts for the year ahead.
A 3 stage formula of action for Brokers and Agents this year.
In commercial real estate prospecting some people will want to do business with you and others will avoid any real connection. You will get the feeling that some people really do not care for a connection or information. Look for the ‘signs’, and understand what is going on (or not going on).
You can spend far too much time in chasing people that are ‘not interested’. Whilst it is great to have a good degree of professional persistence in prospecting, the fact of the matter is that you must protect your time. If someone is not receptive to your genuine approaches and communication you should remove them from your contact process and simple move on to talking to others.
In any town or city, there are plenty of people to talk to. Momentum is really important when it comes to growing your market share and your contact database. In most towns or cities you will have several thousand business owners and property investors to talk to. Finding them remains the challenge; however diligence will get you there over time.
Here are some guidelines to help you with a system for prospect and client communication:
Set some daily prospecting goals that you can relate to and believe in. That will usually involve a mixture of outbound calls, personal meetings, and property inspections. From that contact process you will find the people that really want to talk to you and build a relationship.
If you are at the beginning of your career and prospecting activity, start with some achievable numbers so that you can grow your momentum easily and effectively. Ultimately you should be prospecting for 3 hours every day. In that time you should be making 40 to 50 outbound calls. That can be a daunting target for many people. If you are at the early stages of your professional career and prospecting is a developing habit, then make 15 outbound calls every day until that becomes an achievable habit and target. From that point onwards, you can grow the numbers at five extra calls per day to reach the level of 50 calls. When you reach the level of 40 to 50 outbound calls, your prospecting time will be saturated with activity and meeting opportunities. At that level you can sustain reasonable activity and attract new business. From 40 or so calls you should be able to connect with 15 people. From that connection you should get 2 meetings per day. That is how you build your prospect list.
Practice your dialogue so that you can improve your connections and conversations progressively. In approaching a new person for the first time, the conversations should be based on trust and information. There is no point in pitching your professional services or pushing for a listing opportunity over the telephone; that can occur when you meet with the person and truly understand their needs in property today. Help the person trust you by providing valuable market intelligence and genuine property solutions.
So the key message here is for you to establish a contact and prospecting cycle based on trust; understand the necessity for filtering out the people that will not do business with you over the long term. Read the signs in any conversation, and avoid time wasting people. When you look at your sales territory and property speciality, there are likely to be many more people for you to research and connect with.
In commercial real estate agency today, you can create a ‘checklist’ approach to the property sales process. This procedure can help you be far more effective as an agent with your clients and with the marketing of the property.
In simple terms you can create a ‘sales timetable’ to keep you on track with the most important things relating to the client and the listing. You could say that the approach is a way of keeping you organised on the issues that matter.
Top agents are quite focused when it comes to clients and listings. The ‘checklist’ approach helps with the focus that you need. Here is a list of items that can be considered and merged by agents into a ‘checklist’ for commercial property sales.
Finding out all the facts about the market in the local area.
Understanding the property as it exists today, including improvements, services, and amenities.
Determining the client’s priorities and requirements when it comes to the sale.
Presenting and pitching your services in a way that matches the property as it sits in the market.
Listing the property accurately with due regard for property details and facts. If you make errors here, they will come back to ‘haunt’ you later.
Determining your services to be provided to the client and the property could be very relevant. You may need to market the property in a particular way. Make the right choices.
Protecting your commissions with a legally enforceable and correct agents appointment
Getting vendor paid marketing funds to promote the property to the market
Choosing the best method of sale to generate inspections and enquiries
Resolving property issues and presentational factors in preparation for marketing
Creating a relevant and high level marketing strategy
Planning the best ways to inspect the property
Releasing the property to the market
Direct marketing of the property to qualified buyers in your database
Tracking incoming property enquiry
Taking inspections to and around the property
Resolving questions and issues that potential buyers may have with the property
Negotiating accurately and effectively between the parties
Getting offers on a contract in a legally correct and accurate way
Closing on the offer between the seller and the buyer
Moving the property transaction toward settlement.
Satisfying any subject to provisions relating to the contract
Settlement satisfaction in accordance with the client’s instructions and the contract of sale.
Asking for referral business
Keeping in close contact with your clients after the initial transaction is completed.
When you look at the list, it is easy to see why we are specialists in our industry. We can provide real value to the clients that we serve.
In commercial real estate agency, it pays to role play and personally practice your listing presentations. Now it is known that many agents dislike ‘role play’ immensely, but it is still a fact that those that regularly practice are better agents and can convert the listings at a greater rate than their competitors.
When your income and your listings are at the centre of such an important process, wouldn’t you think that the matter is non-negotiable? With role-playing you can improve your client contact, sales pitch, and presentation skills.
Here are some facts that can be put into your sales pitch and listing presentation practice process.
Understand the client as to property priorities and pressures. They will have some key things that must be satisfied for a listing and subsequent sale or lease to occur.
Knowing the property prior to the presentation is essential. The property will have factors of location, improvements, presentation, income, and expenditure to be considered. Take plenty of photographs around the property to use as a simple photographic presentation on your laptop computer or tablet. Photographs can help a lot when it comes to connecting correctly with clients as you talk to them about the property.
Market facts and information should be checked and up to date. The client will have some perception of the prevailing market conditions. Invariably most clients really don’t have any understanding of the real facts that have the impact on their property.
Competing properties will be of concern, considering that there are so many properties unsold or vacant currently. Provide the client with clear information relative to the other properties located nearby and that remain on the market.
Show the client what is happening when it comes to inquiry, marketing, and inspections. Give the client some strategies that avoid the problems identified with the other listings.
A successful property presentation is really all about providing the right information in a confident way; showing the client how to move through the property challenges that they currently have. You can use a Gantt graphing process to show them the clear stages of property marketing, inspections, and negotiation.
It should be said that some properties are quite unique when it comes to the listing presentation. That is certainly the case when it comes to larger office and retail properties.
The complexity of the property will require an in depth evaluation prior to any sales pitch. Top agents tender specialise when it comes to property type and location. This helps the conversions when it comes to the listing presentation.
Start practising your sales pitch and listing presentation. Role play the process as part of your weekly team meetings. Every salesperson in the team can learn from the experiences of others.
In commercial real estate, there is a lot of difference between the servicing requirements behind exclusive listings versus open listings. Any open listing situation is virtually an experiment on the part of the client and they will have minimal commitment to you as the salesperson or agent helping them. The client will generally be listening to many agents and trusting none.
So it is the exclusive listings that will bring us better quality stock and trusting clients. That being said, it is important that we give our clients reasons to choose the exclusive listing method of sale or lease. As part of the sales presentation or pitch process, you should have some solid reasons to recommend an exclusive listing process with your agency. Why are you better than other agents?
Many agents will choose or recommend the exclusive listing method to the client, and then make some fairly generic statements regards the reasons to choose an exclusive listing process with their agency. Just about every experienced property investor has heard a variation of the following:
We know the local area very well.
We have sold or leased a lot of property recently.
We have been in the area a long time.
We are the best agent in the local area to sell or lease this property.
We have the property knowledge to do the job for you.
We have good people in your agency that will move the property for you.
We have relationships with the other agencies across the country and they will also market your property.
We will market the property and our cost.
We will fully target your requirements of price range and timing.
We will lower the commission because you are a good client.
I will keep you fully informed.
We are the best agency to sell this property for you.
None of this will make an impact on an experienced property owner or business proprietor. The listing decision will be made on your relevance to help them and the confidence that you give them.
It is quite disturbing when you look at this list to understand how generically similar a lot of agents and salespeople are when they do their sales pitch. Top agents will go a lot further than the generic sales pitch approach. Top agents will drill down into the matters that really count regards the property and its position in the local area. They will also come up with very specific strategies to market, inspect, and negotiate the single listing. Clients really do know when they are dealing with top agents.
So here are some tips to help you service your exclusive listing clients.
Tell them how you will be marketing the property and show them some solid examples of that process. Give them some choices in the marketing approach whilst still making your recommendations.
Take the client to the property and walk them through the inspection process as you see it, explaining how you will build on the features of the property and the improvements.
In each week of the exclusive listing marketing campaign, you will need to be connecting with the client with a updates regards inspections and enquiry. The client should be spoken to at least every two days throughout the entire listing agency period. If nothing has occurred from any part of the planned marketing activity, it is still important that the client knows that. Lack of information will turn them against you and make any future negotiations difficult.
When an inspection has occurred with the property, direct feedback should be given to the client. This third party feedback will be valuable in helping you condition the client to the prevailing market conditions.
Clients are always important to a commercial real estate agent. In times of a slower property market, is imperative that we provide high levels of interaction and service at all times. In this way you will achieve better results with all of your listings, and the chance for referral business at a later time.
In commercial real estate sales, the corporate clients in your area are good prospects for new business in any market and economy. They can afford the change of property in most markets and will look to change when the pressures of business dictate it. Owning the property that they occupy has advantages of controlled costs and controlled occupancy; they can make decisions for the business knowing that some landlord will not come along and change the goal-posts.
Corporate clients are a different type of client in that they are driven by business needs and are likely to have a head office or board of directors to report to or bring into the property decision. It pays to understand just how many of these prospects you may have in your area.
It is interesting to note that many agents and brokers mainly focus on property investors as prospects. Whilst this is part of what every agent can do, it does not need to stop there.
It is wise to open up your scope of prospects to include all those local businesses that own the property in which they are located, or may want to own local property. As the local property agent, you can be the person to help them.
So how do you start a program of tapping into the corporate businesses locally? You need a system that will keep you focused and organised on who they are and where they are. From that point onward you will need to know who the decision maker is in each case.
Here are some ideas to help you tap into the companies locally that may need property help.
Successful businesses will stand out in the area. They will have lots of activity, and perhaps lease or occupy prominent business locations.
Businesses of all types can be identified through the internet, yellow pages, business telephone book, and driving the streets. In a logical and methodical way you can tap into each business of relevance to your plan.
Look for pressures of expansion or contraction on a business by business basis. You have 3 categories of businesses given the property types that they occupy. Office, retail, and industrial property will call contain different businesses with opportunity; this then suggests that you have to be comfortable in crossing the boundaries of property types as part of your prospecting efforts.
Relocation pressures can also apply with some businesses. Look for those factors and tap into them.
It is a different world when it comes to prospecting companies and businesses. They have different triggers of decision and property change. A keen eye on the market and the local properties will help you find these high level prospects.
It’s a fact; in commercial real estate it is really hard to find good salespeople that consistently drive their own market share and do the deals. The factor is likely to be 80/20 between ordinary salespeople and the other good ones. Of the good 20% it is the case that only half of them are really at the top end of their market with dominant market share. The numbers are a reality check for those that want to enter the industry.
Yes, there is plenty of opportunity around for people to tap into, but it takes hard work and consistent effort to be really good. In any property market you have to work to a plan and a personal system. Those that do can tap into the right people when the right property comes along. Does that mean that you should not enter the industry and start your sales career? No is the simple answer, you must however be prepared to put in the effort to build your business, because the principal or boss of the office is only a small part of the equation.
Here are some tips for principals in looking for salespeople to work in commercial real estate:
Ask for proof that the person is really as good as they claim. Get specific figures on listings and commissions, and ask them about marketing strategies that they would use themselves in the current property market.
Beware of the agent or salesperson that is full of ego. They are likely to be ‘dreaming’ when it comes to the reality of what they do and what their market share is. Drill down on all the facts that they provide.
Get a character analysis done of the selected salesperson by a qualified human resources group. They would likely have a number of models to use and they are all reflective of the traits that the person displays or hides in the interview process.
Remember that you want a salesperson that can sell and list. You want a person that really knows how to build their market share with good clients, and then follow through with ongoing networking.
Be careful with the commission structures that you strike with top performers; whilst they may demand 60% or more of the commission in the deal, this will put your business into the grey zone when it comes to costs. They should only be paid the 60% when they reach the performance level each year. This puts the onus on them to improve and perform.
Watch out for the question about who owns the database of people that they create as part of their job. The database is your property as principal. You want them to maintain the database and leave it behind when they go. Whatever you decide to do here will need to be reflected in a contract of employment that complies with your local laws on labour and employment. When in doubt seek experts to help you.
Give each of your salespeople a mobile phone so when they leave and move to another business, they are leaving the mobile phone with you and allowing you to continue the relationships with their clients.
Local property knowledge and the intelligence to transact commercial real estate correctly are really important factors to keep you as the agent principal out of trouble. Dangerous, negligent, and poorly performing salespeople have no place in the industry. Your professional indemnity insurance does not have to be put through the pressure of difficult and underperforming staff.
So the message here is that the managers and principals of real estate offices should be very careful in employing salespeople. Make sure you are using the appropriate probation periods to check out any new staff that you employ. When in any doubt regards a salesperson it pays to act earlier rather than later; tolerating underperformers can be a costly experience.
When you are working in commercial sales or leasing, the tenants in buildings and in properties locally can give you so much information. It’s a fact that tenants know the area better than you; they have worked it for some time and can understand intimately what is going on with other property owners and businesses nearby. With the right questions you can open up some real tips and ideas to tap into. Starting the right conversation is the key to the process. Here are some tips from our recent newsletter.
These are the things that I would be looking for using this process of tenant contact:
Who owns the property next door? They are the landlords or investors that you can track down.
Do they have a lease and when does it expire? Would they like you to contact them towards that date to help them with market information?
Do they know much about the local property market and can you help them with some prices and rent information? • Who runs the business next door? They are the tenants that you can talk to for future leasing opportunity.
Have other businesses been in the street for a very long time? They could be the next ones to move or expand.
Have any nearby businesses indicated change in any way? They are opportunities to be tapped.
Are any local businesses showing pressure or problems of occupancy?
As to how you ask these questions is up to you, but asking is the key. To really get a grip on the local business community for leasing opportunities, so much good work can occur on the telephone from the comfort of your office.
Good leasing agents will spend about 2 or 3 hours on the telephone each day as part of the process. To build better market share as the local commercial real estate specialist agent, here is a contact process and model that you can adopt.
Research your area on a street by street basis. Visit all the businesses to leave a card and see if the boss will talk to you. As a bare minimum you should be able to get the name of the business proprietor for a later call.
Document all information that you get into a database so you can follow up on matters.
Spend at least 50% of your day out of the office in your territory talking to people.
Look for properties and businesses that are under pressures of change.
Contact property owners that purchased about 3 years ago and beyond as they will be the next ones to look for more property or change property.
Commercial real estate is a great business. It just takes dedication and focus for results to be achieved. So many agents struggle with that discipline. The small percentage of agents that handle it well soon rise to the top of the local market and do the larger share of the deals. We have got lots more tips in our newsletter if you find this of use in your property market.
When it comes to leasing and selling commercial property today, the market is really quite a challenge. Only the best property agents do really well and that is because they have a specific process of prospecting and networking that they maintain. They prospect every day at the same time and nothing, not even the boss, can derail the process. Here are some thoughts from our Newsletter.
Prospecting and networking is such a simple and basic fact of the business. You would think that most salespeople would accept and optimise the process. That being said, there is a massive opportunity out there for the salespeople that really get their prospecting organised and do it every day.
Now some salespeople will say that it is a lot of work to find the owners of property and then chase them down to make a contact call. I would agree, however I would say that these property owners are not the only people that you should be making contact with.
The easiest way to build your contacts in commercial property sales and leasing is through talking to all the business proprietors in your local area. The simple fact of the matter is that these people either own the property that they are located in or they rent it. Either way you want to know the facts relating to their property holding or occupancy so you can help them.
The other issue here to remember is that they will likely tell you who the landlord for the property is. On that basis they have saved you a lot of time. Put the information gained into the database. Your database is the most important tool in your office. Make the database a personal process so you can build a group of loyal followers in your local market.
The best agents in this market are those that know the local area and everyone that has property issues on the agenda now or in the future. That can be as landlords, tenants, business proprietors or developers. Just how many of these do you know?
Here are the rules for prospecting for new business today.
Research 40 businesses to call. You can do that easily from the telephone books in your area. The research is best done in the evening in preparation for the next day.
Create a standard form to use in the call process so you are simply capturing the conversation onto paper and then putting it into the database each evening.
Contact people in your database each 90 days to keep up the personal profile that is so important in business.
Get to know the local area and property trends so you can provide interesting conversation with property owners and tenants when you talk to them.
I hope that the message here is quite clear. Your success in the industry is really up to you in all respects. Do you have what it takes?
Far too many agents and salespeople have lengthy meetings as part of their business day and business week. When it comes to commercial real estate, you cannot waste your time. As a common rule, your meetings should not be longer than one hour, and that includes office based meetings with the team.
Many salespeople loose focus after an hour; they prefer to be out and about in the market or making cold calls. Any sales manager or principal that calls a lengthy weekly meeting is really wasting everyone’s time. It is important for the meeting convenor to get to the point of the meeting and let everyone have their say and then make a decision; you can do that in one hour.
If your meetings are longer than one hour then you have too many issues to cover or you have too many people in the meeting. Either way you have to split up things so you achieve more in less time. A sales team is not like a public service team where the mindset is to debate and refine. Salespeople like direction and decision; they then take action (or should).
Productive salespeople are part of a great real estate business. Frustrating your salespeople is not good practice. Keep the business flowing and get your people back out into the market as quickly as possible.
It is better to have 3 meetings of one hour duration, than cover too many issues in one 3 hour meeting once a week; most of the issues will not be acted on if you push through too many things. Salespeople have to be productive and lengthy meetings destroy that momentum.
Here are some great meeting rules for real estate teams:
Get your meetings done early in the day to ensure that you have everyone’s focus. The time of 7:30am is great for this.
Keep your meetings to one hour duration so you can cover things quickly. Do not call meetings unless they are really warranted.
People that want to talk and take the floor of the meeting too much need to be controlled so they do not take over. Some salespeople do talk too much. Let them get their point across then take other comments from the team. Keep things moving.
Set the agenda so you can move through key issues. Send out the agenda 2 days before the meeting so everyone can prepare their comments.
Keep minutes of each meeting so you can refer to them later. Send out the minutes within 24 hours so any actions can be commenced.
Keep people accountable. Salespeople are commonly great at avoiding doing the issues requested.
A short meeting is a great business tool. In a real estate office use your meeting strategy to simple effect. If your meetings are effective and short you will find that the team will attend and participate; those that do not do that should be counselled and eventually moved on if they do not.