There are many different pressures influencing your business day when it comes to client contact, meetings, and negotiations. Somewhere between all of those three key activities you will need to be doing some marketing and some prospecting.
So you simply cannot waste your time in any way or form as it is the most valuable resource that you have. Your activities generate leads and commissions over time; there is a special equation to monitor here about how new business can grow through your personal effort.
When you put the right effort in, you get some real momentum with tenants, landlords, sellers, and buyers. They are all out there in the local property market, thinking about how they can do things and solve property problems.
The Right Priorities and Facts
Here are some specific ideas to help you keep your business day under control as best possible. See how you can work with these ideas:
Control your diary electronically across a number of cloud-based platforms. You should be able to access your diary on your mobile telephone, your computer, and your tablet. Make sure that everything synchronizes between your electronic devices.
Don’t let any other person in the office make appointments for you whilst you are out on other appointments or business activities. Your time management priorities will not be the same as other people when it comes to meetings, negotiations, and client contact.
Start the day in prospecting mode for at least three hours. It is a specific business discipline that will help you connect with new business opportunities in the local area. Use the first three hours of every working day talking to new people through door-knocking, cold calling, and direct meetings or marketing.
It takes about 3 to 6 months to drive reasonable level of business activity and market share. Every day during that period you will need to talk to new people and create new levels of professional service. Eventually the new business opportunities will be generated from your deliberate and direct efforts of prospecting. When the new business starts to come in, continue prospecting as part of a professional time management business model. You simply cannot stop prospecting for new business.
When you have a negotiation to complete or a deal to negotiate, that may take specific priority at the start of the day. That should be the only reason for you to divert your prospecting activities to another time later in the day. I go back to the point that you should not overlook the requirement to prospect for new business on a daily basis.
Look for the reciprocal value in the things that you do each day with marketing, clients, inspections, and transactions. There will be opportunities for referral and lead generation through many of the relationships that you will already have. Ask the right questions at the right time.
The business owners and the prospects or clients that you work with will have pressures and relationships that can open new transaction opportunities for you. Remember to ask the right questions at the right time.
There are all sorts of procrastination problems in commercial real estate brokerage today. Don’t let them hold you back or derail your business efforts. Break through the barriers and issues that are holding you back. Time is your most valuable resource, so use it well and dedicate your time to the things that really matter.
Get your business diversions under control and stop procrastinating. Know what is important to your market share, client list, listings, and commissions. Somewhere in that awareness will be listings and leads. You (and only you) are the person to resolve the ‘quandary’.
Your key resource?
So, as I have said, the most important resource that you have is time. Use your time wisely and specifically. Yes, you will have challenging and difficult things to deal with every day, but do the work in an organized and specific way; that is how you build your real estate business. Are you ready to move ahead in the industry?
Solutions to common problems?
Here are the solutions to help solve procrastination, given the typical commercial property agent problems:
Unrealistic clients – some clients will waste your time, so don’t let that happen. You are (or should be) the property expert, so tell the clients what you can recommend with the property listing and or the challenge of the client; if they won’t listen, then you have a choice as to whether you should take on the property and the challenge. Don’t take on a listing or client requirement that is too far off the market. Give good reasons for your recommendations and be very specific when working with clients. Be prepared to walk away from an unrealistic client in a professional way.
Too many meetings – some brokerage businesses are overly controlling of their agents and brokers. The fact of the matter is that top agents don’t need to be controlled; they know what they have to do and they will go and do it if you let them. One brokerage meeting per week is more than enough to control and direct a real estate business, and that meeting should be at a time of day that is not ‘peak’. On another note, any of your junior agents and trainees should be controlled through direct mentoring and not frequent meetings involving others. Allow your good agents and brokers to get out into the market each and every day. ‘Kill’ the extra meeting requirements.
Complex listings – some of the larger properties take a lot of research and investigation before the property is released to the market. That is your job and you can’t avoid the full property investigation requirements. However, when the investigation is done, the mundane listing issues can be done by others. Make sure you have the right administrative support to get this extra work done.
Complex marketing campaigns – this is a special problem to watch. Your marketing has to be specific to the property and the location. You should be taking a good degree of time in structuring and releasing your marketing campaigns on your exclusive listings. Sure, open listings are a different situation and they should not take much of your time, but differentiate your marketing efforts and only spend extended time on your exclusive listings.
Unqualified inquiry – we have all been impacted by people that seem to say that they can purchase or lease a listing. Deeper qualification about their market awareness, intentions, budget, and inquiry will prevent you spending too much time on ‘time wasting’ people.
So you need a plan to solve these things. What could you do with that plan? What could you put into it? Some of the answers here will help you get your plan in motion.
When it comes to operating a commercial property management department, you need to set some performance indicators that will help the individual managers match their services to the needs and expectations of the clients. That being said, many clients will have particular needs when it comes to property performance, tenant mix and tenant management, reporting, and income generation. This is all the more reason for the use of the manager benchmarking and indicator assessment process.
Without relevant indicators, you will fail to see any shortcomings in performance and eventually some property management clients will move to other agencies for their management needs. It is a known fact that the property management process is demanding and time consuming. Many property managers cannot handle the pressures and organizational issues that come with the job.
Time versus fees
Some properties can be particularly time intense for a variety of reasons; that being said, the fees for service should be suitably structured so that time allocations applied to the property are covered in the base management fee. Far too many agencies set their fees based on industry standards rather than services to be provided to the property.
So you need some performance indicators to track as part of the function of your property management department. Each week those performance indicators can be reviewed as part of the regular department meeting.
The primary object of the indicator process is to understand where there are any shortcomings and failures within the services provided to clients, or the overall division. Here are some typical indicators that you can merge into your review process each week:
Monitor the vacancy factors as they apply to the greater portfolio. Set yourself some benchmarks that are regarded as the limits of vacancy above which you will or should not go. Some properties will have greater problems with vacancies and on that basis they will need a specific leasing focus and more complex leasing services. Some property managers will not be managing their vacancies in accordance with the standards of the business. This assessment process will help you identify those managers that are not giving the right attention attention to the leases and vacancies in their portfolios.
Monitor the aged debtors and the arrears within the portfolio. Split those numbers into property managers and client portfolios. Look for any discrepancies that can apply to the recovery of arrears monies on behalf of clients. Pay particular attention to the larger portfolios and the ways arrears and aged debts can be hidden within the tenancy mix. An aged debtors report by client and by property should identify tenants that fall into this category.
A big issue within the management of a portfolio is risk management. Various risks apply to the function of a property on a daily basis. The greater number of tenants and customers within a property, the greater the exposure of the client and the agency to risk events. If you manage a commercial or retail property, you are in charge of the risk of problem and should have a specific program of risk management that is reported to each week by each separate property manager.
Some landlords are demanding when it comes to the performance of their property and the quality of reporting. That being said, they are entitled to receive what they require when it comes to property management services. The agency does however need to get the fees correctly set for the services provided. That’s where most agencies fall down when it comes to matching fee generation and services. Understand your landlord clients, your fee structures, and ensure that both issues are correctly harmonized.
The responses of a property manager to the maintenance needs within a property should be tracked. Failure to address maintenance issues in a timely way can expose the agency and the client to liability and negligence claims.
Lease management, tenant retention, and tenant management are all specific lease and income issues. They require specific systems and solutions on the part of the manager within each property under management.
Look for leasing opportunities, lease renewals, tenancy relocations, rent review negotiations, and specific tenant expansion or contraction requirements. They can all be opportunities for property income improvement but also fee generation. Every property will produce different pressures and opportunities of this type, and on that basis have a fee structure that can be applied for the extra work within each of these categories.
This is just the start of the indicator process; there are other things that can be added to the list. That being said, there is a real need to monitor the performance of each property, each client, and each manager. The performance indicators will help you do that. The long term benefits are a stable property management portfolio and clients that trust your services.