The marketing process in commercial real estate brokerage should never be ‘generic’ with perhaps one exception and that is in the promotion of ‘open’ listings. ‘Open’ listings generally waste everyone’s time, and will usually only sell or lease through some factor of ‘luck’. You can’t base your commercial real estate brokerage business on ‘luck’.
How Are Listings for You?
Some agents and brokers will claim that they must list ‘openly’ because ‘that is the way the market is for them’ and the only way they can get new listings. Whilst I accept that fact initially for those agents that are very new to the industry, I will say that the best agents avoid ‘open listings’. They grow their profile and market share consistently over time so that the new clients and prospects locally will come to them to list properties for sale and lease. That is when it is really easy to demand ‘exclusivity’.
If the client really wants the best agent then they must accept the terms of engagement that the agent is offering. They are then your terms! Are you ready to package your professionalism and sell it?
Are You the Expert?
If you have a comprehensive and specialised personal brand as a local property ‘expert’, then it stands to reason that people will want to list their property with you rather than some other ‘random’ agent or groups of agents. Take a serious look at your personal marketing processes.
Taking this point further, your market share and listing conversions of an exclusive nature will largely depend on your ability to establish your brand as the ‘go to agent’ for your location and property speciality. You can and should invest more time in building your real estate image and speciality.
Here are some rules to help you do that:
- Your Listings – Understanding the point that I made earlier about ‘exclusivity’, make the marketing process very special and deep with all of those high quality listings that you are bringing in. It is difficult for other property owners and investors to ignore the activities of any agent with the best properties and the best marketing ideas.
- Other Agent Listings – If you are stuck for current listing stock, use other agent’s listings in a location to talk to local property owners and tenants nearby to any listing. Some simple questions and conversations will help you find the next listing in the same street or perhaps a business owner looking to relocate.
- High end marketing campaigns – Get some traction with your marketing by seeking and converting vendor paid funds. If your advertising efforts on any quality property are of a higher professional level than that of your competitors, you should be attracting the new business leads and enquiries very easily.
- The personal approach – You are the marketer of your business. You sell your services well then people will choose the agent that they trust and believe has the better business and market coverage. Is that you?
Simple marketing rules like these help you consolidate market share and listings as an agent or broker in commercial real estate. Follow the rules and grow your real estate business.
You can get more commercial real estate brokerage marketing tips in our ‘Snapshot’ eCourse right here.
In commercial real estate brokerage today you will frequently be negotiating with property owners, tenants, and business owners across a number of different strategies and property requirements. The best negotiation outcomes are achieved through skill development and will be a combination of a number of things including conversation, feedback, listening skills, and presentation.
Improve your negotiation and listening strategies
Over time you can improve your strategies with each element of commercial real estate negotiation, however you can fast track your negotiation skills through practice and personal development. Here are some ideas to help you with listening skills in any presentation, listing pitch, or negotiation:
- Choose the right place – wherever possible, choose the correct circumstances and the right place for the negotiation. Remove distractions from the process and the place. As a general rule, always negotiate directly one on one and in a face to face environment. Privacy is essential and confidentiality should be preserved. Get away from noisy situations, congestion, and other people. Choose the right place for the negotiation based on the parties and the property.
- Timing is important – whilst you may have a lot of things to say as part of the property negotiation, the timing of the process is very important given that you want other people to listen, interpret, and agree. If you believe the other person is under a degree of time pressure, then choose another time to extend the conversation into deeper issues and potential results. You want them to listen to you and absorb your recommendations in the right way. You want them to give you feedback as part of that process, and in moving towards a potential agreement.
- Look at the other person – as part of the property negotiation, presentation or discussion, ensure that you are completely committed visually to the other person, watching them as they talk and explain their position. Acknowledge what they’re saying, and restate any information that may require a further qualification or interpretation. You will also see elements of body language as they speak to help you fully interpret what they are saying.
- Control your emotions and feedback – don’t overreact emotionally as part of the property discussion and communication. Show your foremost respect of the other person and what they’re saying through controlled feedback and lower levels of emotion. You can be quite confident and involved in the property communication or negotiation, but you do not need to be emotional. Emotional involvement drives irrational comment. That can be a great danger in any property discussion and can be misinterpreted. Be patient and don’t interrupt when it comes to connecting with the other person.
Simple strategies like these can help you with client communications and property presentations. They can help you with lifting your conversions and negotiation results. Over time these factors can be practiced and improved.
On a final note, every commercial real estate negotiation should be documented with appropriate notes. Those notes can help you at a later time refer to the critical elements of the discussion and the outcomes.
When you are to lease a commercial property, the facts about the property and the leasing process should be at your fingertips. Tenants will ask you plenty of questions as part of the property inspection and enquiry process. Lack of information can slow down or derail a property lease negotiation.
You may only have one opportunity to convert your tenant to an inspection or a negotiation. So it is important to remember that preparation is the key to converting more leasing activity in a positive way. I like to do a lease orientation in preparation for that tenant attraction process.
Let’s face a few facts about property leasing:
- Every tenant will have different demands
- Every landlord will have specific ideas about rental, lease terms and conditions, and occupancy
- Some modern and new office or retail properties are very complex when it comes to lay out, fit out specifications, and the as built factors of design
- Property improvements, services, and amenities differ significantly from location to location
So there is plenty to think about here if you are the leasing agent. There are a lot of things to understand, look into, and review. Without capturing the interest of the tenant, they will quickly move on to another property inspection with another agent. You will only have one short opportunity to interest the tenant in the property and the vacancy.
Lease and Tenant Orientation
Here are some elements of lease orientation that I recommend you undertaken as part of every vacancy assessment and marketing process:
- Size – Understand the layout of the premises and the vacancy. The size and the configuration of the floor plate will be critical to tenancy design and business function. Some businesses require floor plates that offer flexibility in office configuration and departmental interaction.
- Tenancy use – Every vacancy should be assessed so that the ideal tenant profile and permitted use can be decided. The existing tenancy mix within the property may also have some relevance to the vacancy and the new tenant selection. Understand the pressures and the priorities that apply in choosing the right tenant with the correct business orientation.
- Access and security – Understand exactly how tenants will move to and through the property as part of their business operations. Security today is also a factor of concern for many businesses as they strive to service customers and protect staff. The tenancy itself may have proximity card access within a certain zones and certain floors. Advanced levels of security help when it comes to attracting corporate tenants today.
- Fit out standards – Within certain buildings there will be a need to establish and manage the standards of fit out construction. In that way you can preserve the quality of the property and the presentation to both tenants and customers.
- Rents and outgoings – Set some targets when it comes to market rental negotiation. As part of that, you will need to consider the incentives that apply in the leasing process for the location and the property type. Do a full market assessment of rental trends and opportunities as they exist within the property type. Advise the landlord accordingly, and set some flexible rental ranges that apply to any potential lease, the associated incentives, and the terms of lease occupancy.
- Strengths and weaknesses – Every property will have certain strengths and weaknesses to be understood and worked through. The strengths can give you significant points of difference when it comes to marketing, inspecting, and negotiating. The weaknesses on the other hand will need to be addressed prior to any lease inspection or lease enquiry.
So there are some good things to be understood and optimized as part of the lease orientation process. As the professional leasing expert, you can get these things under control at the earliest stages of lease marketing and thereby improve the levels of enquiry, and the negotiation outcomes.
If you’re looking to win more commercial real estate listings and particularly those that you can convert to successful contracts and leases, have a serious look at your listing presentation and the points of difference that you promote as part of the presentation. Why are you special? Why are you better than the other agents? In simple terms you need to stand out as the top agent for the job.
Are you average or generic?
Far too many agents and brokers approach the listing process generically with little preparation and no strategy. A client then has little to choose from when it comes to better ideas and looking for a positive outcome. What can you do that is different and relevant to the property promotion?
A listing presentation is not all about providing discounted commissions and seeking low marketing funds. Discounts don’t attract results. The client has to spend money to make money, be it as part of a sale or a lease transaction. Your job in the property presentation is to help them see why that is important.
What does the client want?
The client wants results and the listing presentation you make should be designed to convey all of the correct facts in the right way. Help the client see exactly how you will connect with the right property people in the market in a timely way; those who will have a potential interest in the listing and occupancy or investment.
Here are some ideas to help your property presentation and listing pitch with the client, and to help them with interest and involvement:
- Split the campaign into time frames – A property promotion should be staged so that responses can be tracked and adjustments can be made. The stages are best set to the immediate property release (2 weeks), the inspection and negotiation stage (4 weeks), and the repositioning phase (4 weeks). You only need to move into the repositioning phase if the property has not created sufficient enquiry or inspections.
- Explain exactly who the buyers or tenants for the property will be – Clearly set out who the buyers and tenants for the property listing will be, and then tell the client exactly how you will reach directly into those segments of people or businesses.
- Show what competing listings are doing locally now – Use photographs to show the client the other local listings that are on the market now and explain what has been happening with enquiry in each case. How will your clients listing stand out around those other listings? What can you do in the property promotion that is special?
- Show specific tasks critical to the momentum – You are the property specialist and on that basis you should have some good ideas as to how you will make the listing stand out locally. Put yourself into the campaign with specific tasks and property market investigations. What can you do in the campaign that will create plenty of enquiries? Split those important tasks into your request for an exclusive listing. Put those tasks onto a time line for the client to understand what you will do, when it will be done, and why that is so.
- Get the client involved – There are things that the client can do as part of the property marketing campaign; get them involved. They could for example give you a summary of property history and ownership that would be of interest to the local community of investors or business owners. Interesting information will help your marketing campaign and your inspections.
These 5 simple strategies will help your listing presentation stand out as comprehensive and relevant to the property market today.
Like it or not, energy forms a significant percentage of property operational costs today. In any retail or commercial investment property the common area power will drain a lot of profit from the landlord’s net income.
In simple terms the energy consumption factors of any investment property should be carefully controlled and optimised. That is one of the main jobs of the property manager to focus on; to improve the property performance financially in a realistic and professional way. In saying that, there are a few strategies that can work very effectively and directly in improving energy consumption and costs as part of the overall investment property performance.
Set Some Energy Strategies
Here are some ideas to help:
- CONTRACTOR MEETINGS: Meet with your maintenance contractors regularly as they will have some valuable ideas to share about the operational systems of plant and machinery. They understand the equipment better than anyone else; they will know what can be done to improve energy use whilst not overly impacting occupancy conditions in the building.
- THE COST OF ENERGY: Buy energy at the best commercial rates. There are different suppliers of energy in most towns or cities. They offer certain economies and purchasing power when it comes to energy.
- DEMAND TIMES FOR ENERGY: Understand your peak demand periods. With any office or retail property there will be certain periods of peak energy demand during the day and during the week. Those periods generally do not change, but how you purchase energy at those times will impact gross costs.
- CLIMATE CONTROL AND AIR CONDITIONING: Review air conditioning operations. The air conditioning plant in any investment property will consume a lot of power. In winter and summer those demands will shift depending on your typical outside climate and building design. In conjunction with your air conditioning maintenance contractors you can review special internal climate strategies such as delayed starts, optimal starts, outside air use, and night purges.
- AFTER HOURS CYCLES: The after-hours use of air conditioning, lighting, and the building itself will put demands on operational costs. Some of those use factors will be recoverable from the tenants in the building.
- LOW COST LIGHTS: Lighting modifications can occur to common area globes and tubes so that common area lighting costs are reduced. Understand how lights function in special common areas such as car parking, entrance foyers, and toilets showers. Sensor lights and LED hardware will help in saving costs.
- MOVING PEOPLE: Lifts and escalators are a big drain on power consumption. Whilst they are essential for the movement of people in a building, they could be partially shut down after hours. For example consider a high rise office tower; there is no point running all lifts in the lift banks if the building is largely empty. You can park lifts after hours and only run one lift in each bank in an office tower. The occupants will very likely not be impacted.
So these simple factors of building use will have a great impact on energy consumption and savings in any investment property.
In every investment property there will be factors of change to manage and implement. In any year the pressures of the tenancy mix and the requirements of the current property ownership will generate change in property performance. In saying that, every investment property should have a business plan that takes into account the strategies of the landlord when it comes to investment outcomes.
Here are some ideas to help you track and manage change within any commercial investment property.
- Lettable space – the lettable space within the building should be optimised in a number of different ways. To do that you can move tenants around subject to the timing of leases, and the negotiations with existing tenants. To establish that level of control, you can create tenant retention plan and leasing strategy for the property. In that way you can allow for expansion and contraction requirements within each tenancy. You can also allow for the pressures of an upcoming known vacancy. If you have a high quality tenant in occupancy, it pays to help them rather than frustrate them when it comes to occupied space. A good tenant needs to be retained rather than lost.
- Renovation and refurbishment – with any investment property there will be times where renovation and refurbishment activities will need to occur within the asset. That can be a complex process given the number of tenants in the tenancy mix and the types of customers visiting the property. In any office or retail property you will find that the renovation or refurbishment concept needs to be carefully planned and managed. The effects on tenants and customers from any renovation program should be controlled at all times. Failure to do so will see a potential loss of rental and a business threat to existing tenants.
- Better tenants – understand the tenants that you have within the tenancy mix. Some tenants will be better than others when it comes to brand, marketing, rental payments, and business magnetism. Some tenants will draw business to the building and in that way encourage the overall levels of trade and exposure for other tenants in the mix. Understand the differences between your tenants, best locations for each tenant, and the clustering factors that can encourage better levels of trade and customer attraction.
- Rental upgrades – throughout the year there will be a need to assess market rentals as they apply to the location, the tenancy mix, and the property type. Rental expectations should be strategies set within the business plan for the property. Every rent review coming up over the financial year should be estimated, established and negotiated on factors within the lease document and the prevailing levels of market rent.
- Lease documents – every lease document should be reviewed for complexity and critical dates. There will be certain terms and conditions in every lease document that will have an impact on occupancy and income expectations. Some lease documents will therefore be better than others when it comes to property performance and investment results. Before you embark on any change management activity, understand the lease documents that you have currently in the property and how those lease documents will respond through the upcoming project or expected change.
- Property strengths – every investment property will have strengths and weaknesses to be understood and addressed. Any change management program should allow for an improvement in property strengths and a resolution of any weaknesses. The weaknesses can generally be removed by modifying the tenancy mix, upgrading lease documentation, and undertaking a renovation or refurbishment project.
- Improvements and services – in providing property improvements, amenities, and services to the tenants in any investment property, understand how factors of technology may be changing locally when it comes to business function and occupancy. Any modern investment property should be maintained in a way that allows for gradual improvement and upgrade when it comes to technology and tenant occupancy.
- Moving tenants – don’t be afraid to move tenants around when lease advantages and requirements are noted in the tenancy mix. Some tenants will be more successful when located to other premises within the same building. There will also be pressures of change when it comes to tenant or business expansion and contraction. Look at the clustering factors applying to the tenancy mix. Some tenants will be much more successful when placed near complementary tenants in the same building.
- Anchor tenants and specialty tenants – anchor tenants are usually those that occupy large parts of the property for a considerable period of time. The rental structure for anchor tenants will be totally different to that of specialty tenants; the levels of rent that apply to an anchor tenant will usually be less per square metre or per square foot than the rent paid by a specialty tenant. A good anchor tenant will help you attract specialty tenants and lower the vacancy rate. The strategies that apply to the two tenant types will be different and should be merged into the tenant retention plan for the property.
So there are some good things that you can do here when it comes to managing and optimising change within your commercial or retail investment property. Understand the property as it exists today, consider the prevailing market conditions, and look for the opportunities that can be created over time for the property owner. That is how you improve an investment property. Bring together the strategies of a business plan, a tenant retention plan, the lease marketing strategy, and the tenancy mix.
Some agents may think that the need for listings is an uphill battle that never seems to go away. In part they are correct but the uphill battle gets easier when you follow the rules.
Confidence and systemisation are the key factors that help agents and brokers solve the pressure on finding and converting listings. In essence you must show all the people in the property market that you are the best agent in the area and with the property type. If you cannot do that now, then it is time to change a few things.
Here are some ideas to help you solve the listing battle and grow market share with real momentum:
- Relevance – It is a fact that relevance is the overriding concern that clients have when choosing an agent. The clients in today’s property market ultimately know that reaching out for buyers and tenants is not an experiment in property marketing, and real skills are required by top agents. The client will choose the best agent for the job. How do rank on the relevance scale? Why are you better than other agents and brokers? What can you do that will drive a top price or rent and better levels of enquiry to the listing? When you know the answers you have the foundation for converting more listings in your presentations.
- Pitch and present – Make your listing presentation meaningful and natural. Remove the hype and keep everything on a confident and natural basis. Remember that you are connecting with a person with property pressures; that person must be comfortable with your skills and property knowledge in ways that can resolve their property pain quickly and effectively at the best price or rent.
- Control your listing stock – When you list a property, control it through exclusivity. Any and all quality properties you list should be controlled in this way. Show the client exactly how you will comprehensively service their property if you are given an exclusive appointment. Work with up to 20 exclusive listings at any one time and in doing so, keep all your clients completely briefed on inspections, marketing efforts, and property enquiry. Information will always help in conditioning the clients to the market conditions.
- Market listings comprehensively – Make every exclusive listing the subject of a high quality vendor funded marketing campaign. Stage the campaign so it reaches out to the targeted segments of buyers or tenants, in ways that build inspection momentum.
- Encourage offers – When you have offers coming in from inspections, you have the start of the client conditioning and deal negotiation processes. Always get your offers in writing and support all offers with fully factual qualification of the parties, understanding that they can act in finalizing the contract or lease as intended.
To win the listing battle it is a matter of organising yourself to be highly committed to talking to lots of people in a regular and ongoing way. If you like it is a bit like disciplining yourself to undertake the commercial real estate business within a set of rules and guidelines. Get involved with your clients and your listings.
As an agent or broker in commercial real estate, you will have pressures and diversions when it comes to establishing your career and growing market share. Plenty of challenges will arise through daily business activities and when it comes to finding new clients to work with and for over time.
The top agents of the industry focus specifically on finding new clients and the needs that clients may have when it comes to property sales, leasing, and property management. That’s when the database becomes an essential part of their business.
When the property market appears to be slowing, it can usually be due to a simple change in seasonal activity, or a business adjustment due to economic pressures. There will always be plenty of listings to attract despite property market changes.
If you focus on high quality listings, the process of business generation is a lot easier. When you take a high quality listing to the market, the levels of enquiry are significantly greater, and the time on market factors are lower. It directly follows that you can grow your market share a lot faster when you focus on quality listings.
Ways to Build Your Commercial Real Estate Market Share
So the question arises as to how you can create and attract high quality listings as part of your personal market share. The answer is relatively simple and can be summarised in the following way:
- Build Your Skills – Practice your listing pitch and presentation frequently with relevance to the local area and the current levels of enquiry.
- Know the market – Understand exactly what tenants and buyers looking for when it comes to the property type and the location. Use those factors when it comes to pitching and presenting for a listing. Show the clients that you work for how their property can be matched into the current levels of enquiry.
- Ratios and Results – Track and measure the types of enquiry coming in when it relates to your location. Build your marketing programs around the factors of attraction from incoming enquiry.
- Be Selective – Avoid taking open listings as they will generally waste your time. When you can’t control the client, the enquiry, or the negotiation, things become difficult. For that reason focus your efforts around exclusive listings.
- Vendor Marketing Funds – Support every exclusive listing with vendor paid marketing. Use that vendor paid marketing to structure high quality promotional campaigns in the local area. You will soon be known as the agent of dominance and professional marketing skill.
- Referrals and Leads – Ask for referral business and opportunities with all the clients of the prospects that you work with. There will always be leads to be actioned through the referral process.
- Success Letters – Any and all successful transactions should be communicated back into the local area through direct marketing and success letters. Tell all of the local property investors and business owners of your recent successes when it comes to sales, and leasing.
- Talk to Many – Any sale or leasing transaction will give you a real reason to talk about property management services. Over time you can convert property management business and grow the portfolio for your brokerage. In that way you will control the listing stock into the future and provide the brokerage with a further source of listings as the property owners or investors change their investments stock.
- Previous Clients – Review the sales and leasing records for the brokerage over the last five years. Revisit the clients and prospects that have been part of any transaction during that time.
- Watch Other Agents – Track and measure the activities of other brokers in the local precinct. When another agent puts signboard on a property, it is an excuse to talk to the surrounding owners.
The commercial real estate business is not complicated but it is specific and requires a systematic approach. As an agent or broker, these simple facts provided will help you get traction in your market and build a list of leads and opportunities with the local property owners.
Here are some ideas to help you improve your cold calling activities in commercial real estate brokerage today. Contact property owners, tenants, and business owners using this approach. Get Commercial real estate training by John Highman at our website http://commercial-realestate-training.com/
Here are 3 topics for today. 1. Here are 7 Tips to Winning More Clients in Commercial Real Estate Today, 2. How to Assemble a Top Class Commercial Real Estate Team, 3. How to Conquer Call Reluctance in Cold Calling. These are Commercial Real Estate Training Programs by John Highman.
As a general rule in commercial real estate brokerage, every proposal that you put together should be benefit focused on the client. Show the client exactly how they will benefit from using your comprehensive services as a marketing specialist.
Use a Gantt chart to show the client the stages of listing, marketing, inspecting, and negotiating. This illustrative charting method is very effective when it comes to helping the client through a comprehensive and complex marketing process. It can also be a major point of difference in your proposal layout.
In today’s property market, the generic listing and marketing approach really doesn’t work. The competition in the marketplace is significant from other listings, and the experience and expertise of your competing agents and brokers will also place pressures on your listing conversions. Give the client some real reasons to choose you as the top agent of choice to solve their property pain.
It is worthwhile remembering that the client doesn’t want to be an experiment in marketing. They want their property to achieve the best levels of enquiry in the most effective and direct way. You hold the keys to the process and your proposal will need to clearly outline the strategies and recommendations.
Here are some tips to help you with constructing and submitting a proposal to sell or lease a commercial property today:
- Stand out as uniquely qualified to handle the property type in the town or city. You will need some testimonials and market evidence to help the client understand those situations and recommendations.
- Review the property for the strengths and weaknesses that will have an impact on the marketing campaign. The weaknesses may need to be addressed prior to the commencement of promotion. The strengths can be helpful when it comes to advertising layout and points of attraction.
- Determine the target market that will have a keen interest in the property type. Build your marketing campaign around the target market using specific points of difference and promotional processes that clearly tap into the target audience. Help the client understand those strategies and the reasons you are making the recommendations.
- Show the client how they will clearly benefit from utilizing your brokerage services and market coverage. Use your database as a point of difference when it comes to creating enquiry and spreading the message about the property. Create a shortlist of buyers or tenants as the case may be from the database; tell the client how you will be connecting into the short list of qualified parties as a priority as soon as the property is released to the market.
The focus of your proposal should be to attract the correct level of inquiry and generate inspections as soon as possible. When you get the inspections underway, you have something to work with and can then give the client feedback from those inspections.
In commercial real estate today, you will find that the competition and the market can become quite frustrating unless you are taking sustained and consistent action each and every day. The agents that rise to the top of the market are those that have an action plan and a business strategy.
It stands to reason that the best commercial agents and brokers have the best business plan. Certainly that is the case; however their business plan is supported by business activity and consistent focus.
Here are some strategies to help you with establishing your market share and business activity. You can modify the list or add to it as appropriate given your sales territory and brokerage brand:
- Don’t spread yourself too thinly in the marketplace. Concentrate your prospecting on a zone by zone basis. Each zone can contain approximately 100 properties.
- Track and measure all of your activities with particular attention being paid to prospecting and cold calling. Every day ensure that you are reaching out to new people as part of your growth of customer base.
- Determine exactly who the key clients are that you should be working with. You will need to identify them and find them. That research can take time, so each night you should be researching the calls and the contacts to make the next day.
- Check out all of the listings in the local sales territory or focus area. Understand the listings that are creating the most interest today. Look for the listing opportunities within the most commonly attractive property types and locations.
- Some properties will be offered for sale or for lease by owners. In most cases, those owners will not have the market penetration or the skills required to develop significant levels of enquiry. On that basis you can merge these property owners into your prospecting system. It is interesting to note that their motivation for self-marketing is usually to save on commission. When they list with an agency or broker, they tend to load the price accordingly so that the net price or rent result is the same. If you are going to work with these property owners, condition them to the prevailing market conditions, and be prepared to walk away from an overly inflated price or rental structure.
- Connect with the clients that you have acted for previously to understand their needs and requirements for property in the future. Ask for referral business where possible.
To be effective in this market place as a top agent, you do need to track and measure your activities on a daily basis. In this way you can see what is working for you and the things that are wasting your time. Refine your skills and your actions accordingly. Directed habits towards successful actions will take you to the top of the market with quality listings and good clients.
In commercial real estate, and most particularly with the property agents and brokers, sales team performance should be optimised throughout the year to adjust for the changes in property activity and regional demographics. In any period of 12 months, the market will change and on that basis similar changes will need to occur with prospecting, listing, negotiating, and marketing.
It is wise to have a process of tracking the key indicators in your property market. When you consider an average period of 12 months, most property markets have only 10 months of real activity in sales, leasing, and property management. Seasonal changes and market conditions will take up the other two months of downtime. Team performance needs to be suitably handled and adjusted within the agency to get the best results from 10 months of hard work.
Here are some ideas to help you improve your agency sales team performance:
- Top agents and brokers specialise in particular market segments. The segments may be geographical, or set by property type. Either way, specialisation is recommended. Specialisation process helps you cover the quality properties, key clients, and pockets of high level activity.
- Establish a prospecting model within the agency that can be tracked on an agent by agent basis. That will help you identify any weak links within the team. Some agents need help when it comes to prospecting, presenting, or negotiating. The tracking process will help you see those weaknesses and implement the necessary training and education programmes.
- Establish budgets that can apply to each agent or broker. The budget should be split into key indicators. Those indicators will normally be cold calling, meetings, door knocking, presentations, listings, exclusive listings, inspections, and closed transactions.
- Track the results that you get from every marketing campaign. The results that you get from an exclusive listing will be very relevant to your business activity. Open listings are not easily assessed in the same way given that the marketing of an open listing is random at best.
- At the end of each week, have the agency team provide a summary of activity including call numbers, meetings, listings, and inspections. You will soon see the differences between the members of the team and how effective they are when it comes to building their business.
When you track all of these numbers, you can see where the priorities lie when it comes to each agent and each broker in the team. Given that the property market changes throughout the year, adjustments will always be necessary at an individual level to ensure that quality listing stock is attracted to your business.
So what type of listings should you chase and attract? Quality listings create better levels of enquiry and will sell or lease faster. Over time that will improve your agency market share and commission opportunity.
Should you walk away from a low quality property listing? The answer is yes, if it will take you away from the other good properties in your area and sales or leasing territory. Commercial real estate marketing is a specific process needing effort and focus. Don’t waste your time.
In commercial real estate agency the goal setting process is quite important to the new business, listings, and commissions that you must to create. Without those goals and targets it is hard to know if you are improving individually, and or if that is applying across the team. Rarely will an entire team all reach peak listing and commission performance at the same time.
Any real estate agency without a successful performance management system and established goal structure is an agency that is doomed to failure. So many things happen given a seasonal listing and sales cycle that the trends and results from the market just have to be tracked; that tracking then should be related back to the performance of individual agents and salespeople. A successful real estate agency is a team effort.
Every property market is different and the same can be said of competing agencies within a market. The mix of property offering, listings available, and agency staff capability will all create challenges. Here are some rules to help you establish your goals and targets:
- Define the period and the market segment that will apply to the goals to be set. At any one time there will be differences between office, industrial, and retail property. The same can be said for sales and leasing activity in each. Assess your competitors as part of that process. What is your market share?
- Understand the history of the area when it comes to property transactions and time on market. Look for the patterns that apply to market activity. In any period of 12 months there is usually an activity period of 10 months where most of the business will come in. Look for the lag time between listing and closing on a transaction. What are people looking for in the market today and do you have plenty of those listings on your books or available for prospecting?
- What growth can you see in the property market and in what segments? Get details of the changes to population and business growth in your local area. Is there to be further opportunity for growth in those segments?
- Look for additional income or commission streams that can be built from sales and leasing activity. Generally that will be in property management, tenant retention planning, project leasing, renovation, or relocation strategies and plans. Set the critical factors of performance that matter to the business.
- Work from a basis of team goals and break that back to team members, territories, transactions, and property types. Get the team to come back with their estimates and targets given their market segments and property types.
- Set regular updates and progress meetings from those established and agreed goals.
A successful commercial real estate agency is a reflection of established business performance plans. The team targets are realistic for the available skill mix and the prevailing market conditions.
In commercial real estate agency each day, we are negotiating with many people across a number of challenging situations. Our ability to negotiate is a key part of growing market share and improving our commission opportunities. This then says that we should practice our dialogue and a negotiation skills at every opportunity.
A good negotiator in commercial real estate is one that understands the circumstances, the market, the documentary processes, and the intentions of the parties. It is sometimes a difficult equation to bring together. The clients that we serve expect their agents to be experienced and experts when it comes to the negotiation process.
So what are the negotiation stages and situations that we strike? Here are some of the main ones:
- The cold calling process is really a negotiation to establish a meeting with a new person. Your dialogue needs to be exemplary when it comes to communicating and connecting across the telephone. It is a specific skill that requires regular ongoing practice. In this way you can build connections with fresh prospects for your pipeline of new business.
- A cold call can also be something that applies to dropping into a local business to introduce yourself as a property specialist. The dialogue in that situation is totally different to the telephone process. This strategy can also reap significant rewards through practice.
- A sales pitch or presentation with a new prospective client is a negotiation to achieve a listing. That listing will involve a marketing package, marketing strategy, and listing process. It is interesting to note that the top agents within the market are very good at converting a new property to an exclusive listing. Those more ordinary agents in the market usually take the lesser alternative of an open listing. Unfortunately the ordinary agents struggle with market share as a result of this, and have little control over the deal that could possibly evolve. The message here is quite clear. If you want to convert more exclusive listings to grow your market share, then you need to refine your sales pitch and presentation process. A role playing strategy in your sales team meetings will help. Personal daily practice will also be necessary.
- When you find a suitable tenant for a buyer for a property, another negotiation stage will evolve between the parties. It is wise to remember the requirements and intentions of your client as the negotiation proceeds. Every stage of a negotiation should be carefully checked and documented. When you get to the final stages of offer and acceptance, the agreement document between the parties should be legally accurate, comprehensive, and correct. Some property transactions can be quite complex and for that reason you will need outside assistance to formulate the final document from the offer and acceptance situation.
Given these very common negotiation situations, you can see why dialogue improvement will help you strengthen your market share and commission opportunity in commercial real estate agency. Practice is required.
In commercial real estate agency, you really do need to understand what is going on in the marketplace and then make some solid choices at a personal level to improve your prospecting and deal activity. Everything comes down to a personal level and process in our industry. Success has little to do with the agency that you work for.
Outsiders and new agents to the industry are tempted to think that commissions and listings come easily. Nothing could be further from the truth. The quality and the growth of your business will come from personal focus and momentum. The choices that you make on a daily basis, and the actions that you take in prospecting and marketing will drive your business forward. The agents that struggle in the industry are those that have little or no system when it comes to business generation and market share.
Here are some strategies to help you initiate a business plan as a commercial real estate agent. Consistency in focus and the actions that you take every day are the keys to getting momentum and traction with your market share. Here are the ideas to help you:
- Understand the condition of the market today in deal activity, competing agents, and future growth. Look for the opportunities in sales leasing and property management activity. Understand where you fit when it comes to those three distinct disciplines.
- Choose the property type that you understand and can relate to. That may be in office, industrial, or retail property. The clients that we work for require specific expertise when it comes to resolving a problem with a quality property. The marketing and inspection process with any listing is not an experiment. It requires specific knowledge and expertise to tap into the right target market.
- Determine the cycles of the local property market when it comes to leasing and sales turnover. You can do that by reviewing the history transactions through the region. In most markets, a commercial or retail investment property will change hands or be upgraded at least once every seven years. It takes that long for the appropriate capital gain to occur or the client to reach the next stage of portfolio change and growth. Be sensitive to the cycles, and start prospecting the right people inside their property cycles.
- Start prospecting on a daily basis ensuring that you’re talking to new people as well as current contacts. The whole process should take you about 2 or 3 hours per day every working day. In a very short period of time you will find some new business opportunity. When that occurs, keep the prospecting process underway. That’s how top agents grow market share.
- When a competing agent puts a signboard on a property, it is an opportunity for you to talk to the property owners and business proprietors in the immediate and adjacent vicinity. This then says that the marketing processes of a competing agent give you leverage when it comes to building your market share. It is a fact that nearby property owners and business proprietors like to compete rather than cooperate with a nearby property sale or lease transaction.
- When you list a property, personally market the details of the property to the local region of property investors and business owners. This involves door knocking and telephone calls. From this process you will identify other opportunities to work on in the future. Pay particular attention to the immediate property location and the streets around the subject listing. Walk the streets and knock on the door’s to introduce yourself and the upcoming listing. Ask questions and talk to more people; it is amazing how much information you will extract from the market when you do this.
Building your market share in commercial real estate agency is a simple and yet ongoing process. You should have three or four solid strategies underway such as those above to help you connect with the right people and build the right relationships.