In commercial real estate brokerage I frequently get asked about how new agents can find the right people and clients to serve in their town or city. The question is so common that I just wonder why those salespeople do not know the obvious or take so long to understand it. The industry is similar to many others; diligent focus and work is required at a personal level to find new business, and when that happens, results occur.
The new business is always out there to attract and convert across sales, leasing, and property management. Yes, I know it takes time, but the diligence and actions of ‘top agents’ always shines through when it comes to finding the best clients, properties, and commissions.
It is my firm belief that you cannot be a top agent without some personal plan of prospecting action that you implement every day and refine over time. Regular actions create habits, and habits in our business change listing conversions and commissions.
In commercial real estate brokerage, the hiring of new salespeople will be a critical issue to support the flow of new listings and commissions into the business. In any 12 month period, you will lose some of your sales and your administrative staff for uncontrollable reasons. This then says that you must have a pipeline of recruitment underway.
Hiring experienced salespeople will have distinct advantages for you in the brokerage. To allow the targeted process to occur, make sure that you understand and have identified the key players in the market. Your competitors will have brokers and agents in employ that can be targeted.
Here are some of the advantages to employing experienced agents or salespeople with an industry profile and track record:
The agents and brokers that are active in the market today will have an established personal profile that can easily transfer to another brokerage. A top agent will usually have a database of contacts and prospects that will move with them.
They will have established significant trust with a number of key clients in the local area. Referral and repeat business should be achieved from that connection.
They will have significant market knowledge, profile, and confidence when it counts. They will have the correct strategies and solutions to use as part of the presentation and pitch for new business. Most top agents should convert at least 65 per cent of the listings that they pitch for.
A good agent will bring with them the advantages of greater success from working with challenging listings and difficult clients. They will know how to handle those clients and those listings that need to be repackaged, restructured, differently marketed, or personally branded.
The experienced salesperson that specializes in a property type will be very useful. That is even more so the case when your brokerage doesn’t specialize in that property type currently. The extra skills that are brought to the business will allow you to diversify and grow market share.
If you pick up a new broker for your commercial brokerage business, it is a wise move to allow them to work the territory and the property type that they have built their market share around. This may cause some difficulty with other employees that you have now in the same territory or patch.
So the logic here says that you can and should target experienced brokers and agents. Choose the right people based on professional character, results, and market share. Integrate them into your existing team so that the skill base and the database will be improved.
In commercial real estate agency you need strict daily procedures and market knowledge to help you build market share. When you start your career in the industry it is very easy to develop poor or incorrect habits that can threaten to derail your career. This is certainly the case if you are modelling your activities off some other agent that is less than professional or somewhat ordinary when it comes to business skills.
Time in the industry does not always build the skills of an individual agent or salesperson. Personal effort is required. Learn and grow your skills and knowledge in every way possible.
It is wise to watch and assess the activities of the best people in the market. Find out what they do and why. Check out their marketing and prospecting skills; see if there is something that you can replicate.
To help you in building your commercial real estate business and listing focus, here are some tips and ideas to develop:
Define your sales territory by location and property type. You can then focus your prospecting into a zone on a ‘street by street’ and ‘property by property’ basis.
Organisation is the key; get a good database to help you with tracking information and leads.
Your ability to prospect will greatly impact the results that you get in listings and commissions. Top agents are great prospectors. This is a very specific skill and it can be refined to suit your market and territory. Practice in dialogue is the key.
Create a marketing folder that contains everything that you need in the field when talking with sellers, landlords, buyers, and tenants. You will need ‘visual’ material including charts, photographs, and comparable properties. Include with that a selection of listing forms and marketing proposals.
Create a set of 3 typical marketing strategies for the property types you work with. They can be used with the clients and prospects that you pitch your services to. The clients that we work with like to see and compare before they make choices in marketing and listing.
Start a weekly assessment of comparable properties, signboard counts, and current internet listings. From those facts you can check out the priorities when it comes to leasing and sale requirements from the market.
Quality listings will always give you better inbound enquiries from buyers and tenants. Assess you territory or sales patch for the best property locations and businesses. Those zones should contain the property targets and property investors that will help you with reaching market dominance.
Talk to more people every day. Always take the opportunity to fill your contact cycle and database with new prospects.
The commercial real estate industry has plenty of opportunity for those agents that work to a system and focus on growth of market share. Take charge of your career and get your systems and action plans in place.
In commercial real estate agency today, we need salespeople that can take deliberate action and remain focused on the task at hand. Whilst many will say that they can do this, reality says that most won’t. The discipline required is lacking for many.
Discipline in action is a common problem when it comes to sales people today in commercial real estate. There are ways to deal with this. When you understand the matter and how it impacts your work style, you can make massive changes in your commercial real estate business.
Here are some ideas from our Newsletter for Commerical real estate agents…..
The property market today is reasonably challenging in many different ways. Here is a list of the things that I see around the property market today:
Vacant premises that have remained vacant for some time
Properties remain unsold after lengthy marketing campaigns
Some tenants are struggling to pay rental in accordance with the terms of the lease
Some landlords have over committed when it comes to borrowing funds on property investments.
These things are massive opportunities for us as commercial real estate people to help clients and resolve problems. Whilst some will say that the market is in a ‘slow patch’ today, it is at this time that our specialist property services are required. You can dominate the market today.
Assuming that you can see this opportunity, it is just a matter of you focusing on the right properties, the right clients, and segments of the market. The character and commitment of a salesperson to the task will have a lot to do with the results that they achieve. Your sales character and commitment is a key factor to take you forward.
Over recent years, a lot has been written regards the required character of a salesperson and a business person in different job roles. Psychologists have determined that there are four basic characters that have an impact on the work that we do. Most people will have a predominant character which will influence their thinking and the work that they undertake. When it comes to selling, leasing, and managing commercial real estate, the character of the salesperson needs to be matched to the task at hand.
This market requires salespeople that are prepared to drive themselves towards the opportunity that is available. This is a market today that requires action and focus. Some salespeople struggle with achieving those two skills.
As mentioned earlier, the predominant character will have great influence on how we work and what we achieve. If you are struggling to get results in this market today, it is likely that your predominant character needs to be reshaped and redirected towards the right skills that the market requires. In other words you need to practice and develop change.
The good news is that characters and work styles can be changed. When change is achieved and firmly established with ongoing habits, the salesperson can move to the top of their market as a specialist in commercial real estate. We all have a choice, it is simply a matter of understanding the factors involved, what you need to do, and taking the required actions. Set the foundations for a better client base, quality listings, and more transactions.
As a commercial real estate sales agent, you will get benefit from establishing systems to list, market, and negotiate on your listings. The fact of the matter is that systems will help you stay under control when things get busy or change.
The property market changes from time to time. Currently there are lots of properties for sale and fewer buyers that can put a purchase together. Given that our primary task is to sell a listing, you can develop some dedicated processes to help the overall sales and marketing process.
Commercial real estate sales is all about finding the quality listings, attracting the right enquiry, and converting the transaction. To help you with the process and the outcomes, you can take a serious look at the procedures that can be improved in your agency, or personally.
Here are some core procedures that apply to the commercial real estate sales process today. Review the ideas and test your existing processes and strategies.
Create a marketing packet of information that can be sent easily and quickly to any person that requires more information from you. The marketing packet will relate to a particular listing or a service that you can provide. The marketing packet should be dispatched by e-mail and or mail very easily and quickly. If you are sending the marketing packet via e-mail, ensure that the documentation is converted to PDF format. In this way the layout and the presentational aspects of the information will be preserved.
When it comes to commercial, industrial, and retail property, you can have specific prelisting kits that apply to the property type and the location. Those kits will contain the latest market information, samples of advertising and marketing, some details regards your agency and the key staff, plus testimonials from previous happy customers and clients. You may also have some market share information that proves your agencies relevance and specialty in the local area.
Canvassing and prospecting will always be a critical component of commercial real estate sales. Every salesperson should have a specific canvassing and prospecting program that they undertake daily and weekly. In this way they can build their pipeline of opportunity. On average, a top agent should be bringing in at least two exclusive listings per week. Those listings should be controlled for a period of at least six months. In this way those top agents can control the property enquiry and the client communication. Over time these factors will give you better market share and better clients. If you find it difficult to convert exclusive listings, then you need to improve your listing sales pitch and presentation. That will require some practice, but over time you can achieve better conversions of exclusive listings.
The marketing campaigns for the properties that you sell will be unique and different. On this basis you will need to track the results of every marketing effort with every exclusive listed property. Each week your marketing efforts should be adjusted to optimise the enquiry that you can achieve. Be quite specific in your marketing effort, and ensure that every quality listing is the subject of a specific and well directed promotional activity.
A top agent in commercial real estate sales will have their job and their market share totally under control. You can’t do this without having significant systems and focus into the local area. If you are looking to improve your client base, commissions, or listings in commercial real estate this year, take a serious look at the procedures and systems that are currently being utilized in your agency and by you personally.
When you run a commercial real estate business, it is always hard to find the right people to help you build your business. Most new salespeople will claim to have the necessary drive and commitment to do what is required, but in the majority of cases, they will not have the factors that produce great success in the industry in all markets.
When the property market is at the top of the cycle, just about any salesperson can make commissions simply by going to the office and sitting at their desk. It is the more ordinary markets where listings are hard to move and enquiry is difficult to generate where the top agents stand out as being the best in the local area.
Here are some strategies to help you with choosing the right salespeople, and running your commercial real estate business.
Always be on the lookout for good people. That can include other agents in other real estate offices. The right people should be able to show sales results and discipline when it comes to the commercial property market.
The industry is largely based around relationships and networking. This then says that every top agent will usually have a significant group of clients and contacts to work with. Good agents will always have a database of several hundred clients or prospects that they work with. The accuracy and the up to date nature of that database will be important.
Divide the sales territory into precincts and property types. Some salespeople will be working a defined geographical area, whilst others will be working a specific property type in which they specialise. Such is the case when it comes to retail property given the specific and the unique nature of the property and the people involved.
When employing future salespeople, it pays to undertake a psychological assessment of their sales skills. Top salespeople are quite unique when it comes to business style and performance. They also require special types of management and leadership. That being said, a salesperson is employed to generate commissions and listings. Have each potential new salesperson for your business or agency checked out thoroughly at a skill and mindset level, before you employ them. Make sure they have the necessary character traits that a salesperson requires in this industry.
When it comes to employing new sales people in the industry, two factors stand out as critical to ongoing performance. The first factor is market share, and the second factor is conversions. For this very reason, it is essential that you monitor the market share of each salesperson relative to their location or property speciality. When you can see that the market share is consolidating and growing for a team member, the next factor to watch and observe will be the conversions of listings to completed transactions. It is one thing to list a property, and it is another to convert the transaction. Some salespeople list very well, but cannot sell or lease at a satisfactory level.
We need more top agents, or people that can reach that level of the industry. Can any salesperson reach the top of their industry in their location? The answer is absolutely and yes. The right people will learn and adapt their skills to improve and grow in the industry.
Success letters in commercial real estate are the letters that you put out into your business community and database to tell them of your success in leasing or selling a significant local property. Every sale or lease is a great opportunity to connect with these groups, and a success letter is the way to do it.
Why send a letter and not an email? The fact of the matter is that letters will be read far more frequently and effectively than emails. Most emails are ‘culled’ by the email filter or the user so that they do not have to read unnecessary material on many different things.
If you send a success letter communication to your clients or prospects, ensure that you follow up every letter with a telephone call. Every letter sent will give you the opportunity to open up the relationship with more people; this is a ‘people-based’ business remember!
If you want to send a message about your success, send a letter and enclose your business card. It’s that simple. Forget about complex brochures and flyers; just send your business card. A business card is more likely to be kept than any fancy brochure that you send.
Here are some rules regards sending these letters:
Have a local area focus so send the letters into a defined area that could include people and businesses that know the property that you are referring to.
Sale or leasing results should be ‘bragged’ about, so get a signboard onto the property as soon as the deal is done (subject to client approval). The signboard should feature a ‘sold now’ or ‘leased now’ sticker and your telephone number.
Every person that has been through the property that has been sold or leased should be communicated with to see if they are still in the property market and if you can still help them.
Businesses and property investors locally should get all of your success letters on the basis that you will be telephoning them after the letter to see if they have a ‘need or interest’ in other property activity.
From your letter sent out, encourage calls back to you about the deal done or the local area trends. Talk to people and spread the word about the deal (with suitable restraints given confidentiality). A successful transaction is worth talking about.
Try sending 2 separate letters and not just 1. The letters should be about a week apart and encourage dialogue if the person has a need to know more about the local area and the property trends.
As simple as this process seems, the difference in the marketing approach helps you stand out as an agent of success and choice in the local area. That is the type of agent that businesses and property investors like to work with.
When it comes to working in the property industry, commercial real estate can be very special and unique. The knowledge required to be an expert in your field is quite specific. For this very reason it pays to specialize in a property type and a location. All the ‘top agents’ do exactly that.
You can be a sale and or leasing expert, or perhaps a commercial property management and leasing specialist. The important thing is that you are very good at what you do and you can talk to the service you provide in a comprehensive way.
I should also make a special note here about ‘retail property’; retail is much more specialized than office or industrial property. If you are a true ‘retail expert’ then focus on the special issues of retail property performance such as tenant mix, leasing strategies, and increasing sales performance for the retailers. All of these things lead to a great property performance.
Our clients like to deal with ‘property experts’ that have a very good command and control of the market. Whilst your office can have a good marketing position and perception in the local area, you personally should also have the same.
Here are some tips to help you get the right focus in your career and steer the process forward.
Find a top agent or mentor to help you with ideas and focus. Experience is a great thing and those that have been working successfully in the industry for a long time will have ideas that they can share with you.
Watch the good people in the industry to see what they do. Some of your competitors will be better than others in market share and closed transactions. Some salespeople in those competitor businesses will be ‘top agents’. How did they get to that position and what do they do every day to build their market share? Look at their marketing efforts and their property speciality; are there any differences in what you are doing? How can your mirror their ‘good’ processes?
Systemise your day so you stay on track and move ahead in your plan. The only real resource that you have in the industry is the time that you use every day. Don’t waste a minute of time on things that do not matter.
Personally create a database that grows through your daily prospecting efforts and directed action. You will capture a lot of information in that database that can take you forward into new property opportunities. The capturing and recording of the right information is a personal skill; ensure that you do all of this work yourself so you take ownership of the information and use it to the fullest of its circumstances.
Avoid poorly organised salespeople that make excuses. There are a lot of these people around. Negative comments and ideas from these people do nothing for your momentum and market share. Whilst the property market may appear slow or sluggish, don’t let the comments of ‘poor performers’ hold you back from trying something new and relevant.
In any property market there are always opportunities to be captured. In most cases your results are driven by the number of relevant people that you know and maintain contact with. It always comes back to who you know and how you keep up the contact.
Selecting a tenant in a commercial or retail property can be a challenge. Vacancies can occur within the property from time to time throughout the year. Some of those vacancies will be expected, whilst others will be the result of a tenancy default.
When you manage or lease a commercial or retail property, it is wise to incorporate a lease management and tenancy mix strategy into the property business plan for the property each year. The lease management plan will help you when it comes to finding and negotiating with new tenants to the property.
Given that each particular property is unique, and every landlord has special priorities relating to their property investment, the selection of a tenant to fill a vacancy is quite important. Here are some tips that can be applied to selecting a new tenant for your commercial or retail property:
In an ideal world, you want the tenant to be of good quality and high profile. The tenant of this type will bring stability and benefits to the overall tenancy mix. Other tenants in the property can benefit from a new high profile tenant entering the property precinct. For this very reason, franchise tenants and the associated branding they take with them will be quite desirable in the tenant selection process.
The landlord for the property should be encouraged to establish a standard lease that matches their property intentions and property investment. This lease can then be easily used when you negotiate with a new tenant. It should be noted that many solicitors acting on behalf of property clients do not understand the property, its location, or its functionality. Encourage the client’s solicitor to visit the property first before any standard lease is put together.
The age of the property and the intentions of the landlord will have impact on the refurbishment and renovation activities to occur. The lease for the tenancy should be prepared with due regard to tenancy renovation, and property refurbishment. It is not unusual to ask the tenant to renovate their tenancy every three or four years as part of occupancy. A condition can be placed in the lease to this effect.
Any tenant seeking to occupy vacant premises should be able to provide some history occupancy in another property. It is desirable to talk to other landlords or property managers to ensure that your intending tenant is of high quality. If on the other hand the tenant is a new business, then you will need to satisfy yourself when it comes to business stability and long term occupancy. When that is the case, the form of guarantee or bond that you use in the leasing arrangements will be quite important.
The prevailing market conditions will have impact on market rentals, rent reviews, and lease options. It may also be the case that a lease incentive will need to be provided to attract a tenant to the vacancy. Assessing market conditions will therefore be critical to the leasing negotiation and finalization.
Every commercial or retail property will have standards that apply to hours of trade, and terms of occupancy. They in turn will have impact on property access, security, customer access, and operational costs. Any property that is closely geared to higher traffic flow such as that in a retail shopping centre, will have higher property operating costs to consider and structure into the lease rental.
When you create a good lease for a property and the landlord, it strengthens the overall investment for the long term and helps the property sell if and when that is to occur. Taking shortcuts when it comes to lease documentation will reflect badly when it comes to property performance and tenancy mix stability.
If you want more free tips for Commercial Property Agents you can get them in our Newsletter on this site.
Here is an interesting question to ask any commercial real estate salesperson. ‘What are you not doing today that you should be doing?’ In the answer that you get you will likely find the big problems that are holding them back from achieving more from their market.
Here are the things that most commercial sales people do not do enough of:
Prospecting for new business and new clients.
Inspecting the competing properties so they know what they are up against in the local property market.
Keeping in contact with those clients that have the really tough listings to market and sell or lease.
Touching base with all the local businesses on a daily basis to see what property ‘needs’ they may have in the future.
Personally taking each property listing to the local business community through a street walking cold canvassing process.
Finding and connecting with new property investors that may want to expand their property portfolio.
I could go on but I think you get the message here.
Step Up to the Challenge
Salespeople avoid the things that are hard or challenging. Reluctance soon sets in and the salesperson is then about the same as all the others in the local area. I don’t know about you, but being as good as the competition doesn’t thrill me too much; better is a good target and a benchmark.
Many, if not all salespeople join the commercial real estate industry knowing that the opportunities are huge in both income and lifestyle. That fact is always there in all markets, good or bad (even now). The good results that we get are driven from the actions that we take. It is the big and important things that we do not do each day that hold back the results that we get.
So opportunity exists right now today in your property market; you just need to tap into it. The best place to start is with the really important things that you are not doing.
Some underperforming salespeople just move from agency to agency every 18 months or so, thinking that the move will solve their market share and listing problems. Other salespeople of similar type stay with the same agency and just go nowhere special when it comes to listings and commissions. The income ‘pain’ just goes on.
Enough is enough! It is time to make a change and take charge of the future. A better time in the industry is available for all; the key lies within all of us.
Top agents take charge of what they are doing. They move strongly ahead with a consistent plan of attack. They are prepared to take the difficult steps forward every day. Soon they set new habits as part of taking action and dominating the property market.
In just a short time things can change in a major way. Are you up to the challenge? Are you ready to rise to the top of your market? Now is the time to get started.
In this tougher commercial property market there are all sorts of pressures and hurdles to handle in agency on a daily basis as you look for the right prospects and deals. Importantly each and every day your system should take you forward a bit further towards the targets that you are chasing.
In saying that there are some really important observations that will help you understand the bigger issues and then help you get somewhere.
Many agents and salespeople have very little system. They do not do the right things every day and on that basis they struggle. They take each day as it comes. Very few salespeople have a personal business plan that they stick to and modify as they go through the year. That is a massive opportunity. You can quickly get past the competitors that have no base plan or focus.
Most towns and cities have elements of activity to tap into. You just need to know what to look for. If you can move from sales to leasing, you will always find property listings and business to tap into. On that basis become very versatile with the property services that you offer.
These two simple facts will set the scene for new business. Stop working for others and start working for yourself; when you really accept and understand that the process of new business comes from you personally, the doors to new listings and deals open very quickly. Property business is always out there; it is just a matter of what you can do about it. Stay away from any negative and poor performing salespeople in your team; you do not need to travel their road to destruction.
Self-belief is a wonderful thing; self-action is even more powerful. You need both to get somewhere in commercial real estate.
If you have not got a base plan for your working day, here is a simple one that works for some agents that I know. One of those agents earns 7 times more than anyone else in that office. Here is their plan:
Start the day on the telephone doing some prospecting. That means a time frame of about 2 hours that can take you through to 10:30 am in the morning.
Move all your meetings beyond 11:00 am every day.
Leave your paperwork to the time beyond 5:00 pm every day.
Get your of the office when and only when you have finished your prospecting.
Visit your territory and sales patch every day to meet new people and to door knock new businesses that you have not called on before.
These 5 simple things are not done by most salespeople every day. That shows just how easy it is to be better than the others that you compete against.
Without a doubt, time is the most difficult issue to handle in commercial real estate. Everybody wants some part of your time on a daily basis. If you respond to all the requests and interruptions that come your way, you will simply get nothing done of any importance. Here are some tips for commercial agents from our regular bulletin.
Most people that struggle in the commercial real estate industry are those that have not systemised their day and defined the essential and most important tasks. They simply move from job to job in a random way, achieving very little.
It’s a fact, that these are the challenges that are quite typical in the industry today:
The office meetings occur on a regular basis
Sales and listing presentations occur on a regular basis
Inspections of properties need to occur with the team as part of the office marketing process
Clients want to meet with you to discuss the marketing of their property
Prospects ring you to inspect properties at short notice
The marketing of a new listing has to be created and lodged with the media in a short amount of time
Negotiations with current listings are protracted and detailed
Documentation has to be created to support recent activities with listings, contracts, and leases.
The boss wants your weekly sales report on his or her desk by the end of the day
Prospecting has to occur on a regular basis
All of your current listings require regular client briefings and updates
So here is the good news; every top agent has the same problems to deal with. They simply understand how to deal with them and create a system to support the process.
The reality of the above issues is that they will not go away. They will exist and will require attention. Your response processes are really important and will help you break through the barriers.
To deal with this productively, determine the three or four things that are really important to your career and job. Those three or four things will make or break your success in the industry. When you know what they are, they will need to be merged into your diary on a daily basis.
The number one issue on the list will be prospecting. Regardless of how long you’ve been in the industry and how much you know about commercial and retail real estate, prospecting should always take up 20% of your business day. Working on a standard assumption of the hours that you normally commit to the job, your prospecting should therefore take up two or three hours every day.
In some real estate offices you will see sales managers and salespeople excessively plan their activities, budgets, targets, and strategies. The common reality of most of those plans is that they will finish up in the bottom drawer of the desk; they will be overlooked or ignored. On a monthly or quarterly basis the plans will likely be pulled out for some lengthy discussion on performance and KPI’s. If that is what occurs now, you will need to make some changes.
Excessive planning doesn’t work
Excessive planning only works for those people that require excuses, and excuses don’t pay the bills. In this industry results matter far more than excuses. Take steps to become an action person rather than an excuse person. Formulate simple plans and avoid excessive planning that will tie you up in knots. Be flexible to the industry and situations around you on a daily basis. See what can be done and take action.
Successful commercial real estate salespeople (the top agents) build the career on simple regular actions. Decide what those three or four things are that can make a lot of difference to your results, and take action towards them every day.