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.