A career in commercial real estate does not need to be complicated but it does need to be focused. Above everything else that you do in the industry, one thing will stand ‘head and shoulders’ above everything else as a success factor.
Exactly what is it that will help you convert more listings and commissions?
The answer to the question is quite simple; it is the number of people that you know at a personal level who are the relevant players in the property industry in your town or city.
That is the most important factor to incorporate in your marketing efforts and professional promotions. Get to know the right people in a comprehensive way.
If you are looking to build your career as a commercial real estate agent, or perhaps you are looking to improve your market share, take a serious look at your database and the depth of relevance you have created with every prospect and client. Those people need to know you as the best agent locally for the property type and the location.
In keeping your real estate career simple and direct, as well as successful, look at your database and the communication processes associated with it. Here are some ideas to help with that:
Over time you will find that some people or clients will fall away from the property industry and become less interested in buying, leasing, or selling. For this very reason you do need to top up your database continually with new people and fresh contacts. That is then a prospecting strategy.
You will find that many people will take months if not years to take the next step in property activity. For that reason your database should be structured around a pipeline process and a staged level of contact. Every 60 to 90 days you should be connecting with the best people within the database in a relevant and real way. That will help you build a professional profile as a top agent and industry professional.
As in any other professional sales career, your communication and negotiation skills will be critical to the outcomes you achieve. Practicing those two skills will help you improve conversions from listings, inspections, and negotiations. Develop a practicing process that you can merge into your weekly or daily diary; role plays are valuable to help with the challenges of the property market as they apply to your industry type and location. Keep practicing the challenges that you see every day and develop real responses that you can give to solving the problems your clients may have.
It is quite clear from this simple strategy that you do need to know a lot of people in your local area. Those people should be recognized prospects or clients that are acting or will act on a property investment situation now or in the future.
Take a simple and direct look at your database processes. Understand how you are finding new people and connecting with them over time. Improve your client and prospect connections at every opportunity and practice your professional communication skills to suit the challenges of today’s property market.
In commercial real estate agency and brokerage today, it pays to understand the needs and requirements of all of your top clients. Those issues will change for those clients throughout the year with the seasonal pressures of property activity and the economy.
Put yourself into the position of the client that you serve, and provide tactical and strategic property information to optimise ownership opportunities; in doing so help their investment performance.
Here are some other variables that will have an impact on your top clients:
The supply and the demand for property locally within the property type
Upcoming new property developments within the region
Vacancy factors impacting tenant enquiry with investment properties
Changes to the zoning or development regulations as they apply to the precinct
Property redundancy and or change
Changes to the roads and infrastructure supporting property occupation and use
Shifts in business sentiment applying to a property precinct or property type
Taking all of these factors into account, the prices and the rentals within your territory will change significantly throughout the year. As the local property specialist, your clients really do need your assistance with the knowledge and intelligence that you can bring to their investment performance.
Sometimes we tend to overlook some of the key clients within our market place. Quite soon the competitors and the other agents in our industry are grabbing a significant slice of our market share.
Within your database today, establish a special service process for high value customers and property owners. It is almost like having a VIP club within your database. Service those special clients with highly specialised property information; that can be through regular updates on supply and demand, and tips regards property performance. Over time you can become the agent of choice when it really matters most.
Here are some ideas to help you with client communication and servicing:
All of your clients and customers should be asked to join your database. As part of that process, ensure that they are comfortable in getting emails from you together with newsletters on local property activity.
Your VIP clients should be spoken to personally at least once per month. Stay ahead of the local property changes within the precinct and around their particular property location. Give the client updates regards the location and the precinct.
Identify any competing properties nearby that could have an influence on the performance of your client’s property investments. Look for any exposures or risk that can flow back to the tenancy mix or the income base for your client’s asset.
Write a regular industry update or blog regards local property activity, and changes. Link that update or blogging process back to your social media activities and your database. You can also link your informative blog to the regular newsletters you send out to your clients and prospects.
The best client relationships in our industry are built on trust. That trust takes time to establish however it will bring you significant opportunity over time. Top agents build and encourage good client relationships.
Lots of people work in a commercial real estate agency and brokerage. Only a small number are really good at the process and can be considered ‘entrepreneurial’. We call them ‘Top Agents’. They work really hard and do the right things every day.
Can anyone rise to the top of the industry and dominate the market as a ‘Top Agent’? The answer is always ‘yes’; in saying that, they need to be very skilled and have an open mind to learning and improving as a professional in the industry.
Over the years you will see so many different situations that you will need to adjust to or handle. When you make those adjustments, the opportunities open up for you as an agent or broker in listings and clients. Seek to improve your processes and systems so you are comprehensively covering your territory and property specialisation.
So what can you ‘tap into’ in the local property market today? Try some of these:
Property investors looking to grow their portfolio with quality stock
Tenants looking to relocate into a better property
Landlords with vacant premises that are dragging down their rental income and cash flow
Corporate tenants that are looking for expansion or growth solutions for the business
Clients that you have previously serviced that may want more help or could be changing focus
Solicitors or Accountants with property clients that need to make some property changes
Property investors that require property management services to help them get though leasing and income pressures
So can you help with any or all of these? Of course you can; it is simply a matter of marketing yourself accordingly. Comprehensively and persistently promote yourself into the local area and those people in the list above.
The cycle of commercial real estate is long and may take months if not years for some clients to get to the next point of action. If you stay in regular contact with the right people in the right way, the leads and the listing opportunities will come your way. The message here is clear; work hard and the business will come.
It is interesting to note that many agents and brokers that are new to the industry will usually take on any listing just to get some stock. Whilst that may be appropriate at the early stages of a career, they should start to focus on exclusive listings and quality properties.
It is no secret that the commercial real estate industry is quite competitive. Most of the clients and the listings that you work with will have some impact or involvement with competing agents. This then says that you need to stand out as the best agent of choice with the correct amount of experience and knowledge to the property type.
Let the client make the choice when it comes to the best agent for the property listing. Show that you have the confidence and knowledge that’s more relevant to the client than those competitors around you.
This then says that your presentation and sales pitch process needs to be of the highest quality. This is a positioning process and requires ongoing daily strategy. Here are some ideas to help you dominate your market share and increase your client or customer profile:
Don’t be too eager to take on every listing that comes your way. Look for quality properties and quality clients. Stay away from the bottom end of the market where listings are too hard to move or distressed clients are not being flexible on price.
Specialise in a property type in your local area. Research the trends when it comes to time on market, supply and demand, pricing, rentals, and marketing strategies. Understand what works and give your clients clear reasons for accepting that information.
Use a checklist as part of your client meetings and client discussions. Let the checklist improve your questioning process and responses. In that way you will be more professional than those agents that rely on memory rather than establish systems.
Develop a series of stories that relate to the local market and your property speciality. Stories will always help you when it comes to the property presentation and the interest of the client.
Carry with you a selection of marketing alternatives and marketing successes in the local area. Chart the trends from the inbound property enquiry when it comes to each property type.
Build your profile personally on the Internet through social media, blogging, and article writing. Those three things would do a lot for your personal branding as an industry specialist. That being said, they do require time and ongoing effort.
When a competing agent puts a signboard on a listing in your territory, talk to the other property owners and the businesses in the immediate vicinity. They may wish to compete with that property already listed.
Build a database that you can use as leverage with your client meetings and discussions. Is very hard for a client to ignore a large database of relevant and accurate information. Show the client as part of your sales presentation that you have a number of prospects already available to inspect the property when the listing has been agreed.
Simple processes like these allow you to position yourself as a top agent of relevance and success. The clients that we serve, like to work with the best agents in the local area; we need to give them the reasons to choose our services over others. Develop the skills, the knowledge and the experience that will help the client work with you when it comes to existing property needs and challenges.
In commercial real estate agency, the marketing process that you choose today will have significant impact on the outcomes that you require with new inspections and fresh negotiations. Every property that you take to the market should be carefully structured into a targeted marketing campaign.
It is interesting to note that most commercial real estate markets change throughout the year and will have seasonal selling and leasing cycles. This then says that the timing process and the method of marketing that you choose for a property will be quite important and seasonally adjusted.
Here are some marketing tips to help you with promoting a listing and optimizing the enquiry that you achieve from the promotion.
Review the property with the client prior to forming any opinion on marketing or promotion. Walk around the property together to look at the strengths and weaknesses that the property provides. Ask the client about the history of the property and the reasons for their actions today in seeking a sale or a lease. Get to the key facts of client motivation today.
Given the previous point, you can now relate to the other properties in the market that may be competing against the subject listing. Show the client some of those other properties and provide details of current marketing efforts, prices, and rents. Your new listing needs to be well positioned in comparison to other listings for attracting better enquiry. That can very well mean a particular method of sale or lease and choices about marketing.
At any given point of time, the enquiry coming into your office relative to different property types should be tracked. The tracking process will help you with conditioning clients in the listing and marketing process. When you understand what is working to get more enquiries, you can take better actions with each property type.
Will the property require any preparation work prior to marketing? The first three or four weeks of any marketing campaign are quite important. Your enquiry rate needs to be optimized for that time frame. Any hurdles or obstacles that can be seen in the property when inspecting should be removed prior to commencing the campaign.
Clearly define the target market for the listed property. Ensure that the choices you make in promotion are matched to the target market in every respect. Exclusive listings require much more effort when it comes to promotion. They also have a significantly higher conversion factor to a successful transaction. On this basis you should be encouraging the client to choose the exclusive listing process for their property.
Today we are blessed with the technology and the resources that will help us promote a property listing directly and effectively. Package the listing correctly for the client so that you can optimize the inbound enquiries for the property, and therefore gain more inspections and negotiations.