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.
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.
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.