Are there dangerous clients in commercial real estate? Absolutely; yes is the answer. You will come across them all the time. You must protect yourself from these clients that are out to manipulate the deal for themselves without true transparency.
Ethics in our industry is really important. Poor quality clients can derail your listing integrity and commissions. So the message is that you should keep to the rules in the industry that protect your actions and listing activities. Clients that are less than honest can destroy your business in many different ways.
So here are some signs to look for when it comes to client selection and communication:
- Watch out for the clients that will not sign an agency appointment ‘until you find a buyer or tenant’. The request happens all the time in our industry but you cannot and should not act outside of the laws of commercial real estate agency in your location. You are bound to act legally and with integrity; if the client wants you to ‘bend the rules’, they are not a client to have and you simply cannot trust them. In those circumstances walk away from the deal or the listing. Let some other agent waste their own time and risk legal action. It is not fun when legal claims are made against you.
- Some clients work with many agents. Now this is just fine if all relationships are ethical and legal, but your listing and negotiation information should be protected by a valid appointment to act and an established client and agent relationship. If you suspect that the client is sharing your ‘market intelligence’ with other agents, you could have a problem.
- If your client avoids giving you an exclusive listing, it can be a sign that you really do not have their commitment and trust. They could also be working with many other agents at this very moment in trying to sell or lease the property. Ask the questions and get to the real facts of the matter.
- A reluctance to give you full access to the property or comprehensive property detail is a sign that something is going on. A similar problem is evident with the client not disclosing tenant and income detail for the property. If the client is not being open and honest, step back from the deal until you know all the facts. Get copy of all current property related documentation before you go to the market, negotiate, or talk to other people. Understand the facts that are before you.
- Failing to put things in writing can be a big problem in our industry. Many conversations across the telephone happen every day. Always keep your notes of client and customer conversations and instructions. Evidence the matter back to the other party in an email or similar written or electronic form.
Lastly something should be said regards confidentiality. Know who your client is and what their instructions are. Keep client agent discussions and instructions confidential. Disclosure of privileged information can get you into a lot of trouble.
The commercial real estate market of today has some challenges to deal with. In most cases it is a slow market or there is an abundance of unsold properties, and or vacant premises for lease.
The property market doesn’t disappear; it just changes. That change factor is what we as commercial real estate agents can help with. We become the ‘agents of change’ and can provide the right solutions for property investors, business owners, and tenants. People need our help in many different ways.
If you are finding that things are a bit tough at the moment for you as a Real Estate Agent, have a look at the way in which you are doing things. Today you need a ‘toolbox’ of solutions to help the clients and prospects in today’s property market.
Creativity and relevance are the two facts to aim for here. Are you creative in marketing your properties for sale or lease? Are you relevant as a top agent in this type of property market? Generic agents struggle in this type of market because they do not have the ideas and strategies active to solve property problems for clients.
So let’s give you some ideas to put into your agent toolbox for commercial real estate sales and leasing.
- Have all the market facts and information at your fingertips for the particular property type and deal that needs to be done. You cannot change the client’s perception without the right information.
- Check out all the competing properties locally before you meet with your client. Be very familiar with prices and rents that are being asked. Time on market assessments will also be of value in helping the client see what is going on today.
- Have stories of success with other local properties and listings that you can share. Most clients will listen to the experiences of other properties and clients.
- Have alternatives for the client to choose from. When alternatives are available, the decision to be made is less difficult. Most clients will choose the ‘middle ground’ alternative.
- When you list any property, set the rents and prices for today’s market. The client’s perspective on price or rent should be challenged if it is too unrealistic. You do not want to waste your time or theirs in the listing process.
- Provide the solutions that the market needs including personal marketing systems that will allow you to take the listing to the right people in your database and the right local property owners.
Help the parties make decisions. In many respects our clients and prospects are just looking for the right agent that can solve their issues quickly and effectively.
When you work in commercial real estate, you really do need a top prospecting model to help you grab market share. The faster that you do this the better it will be for your career.
The most successful top agents, still prospect every day to keep the pipeline of opportunity pointed in their direction. If you are struggling with listings, now is the time to look at your prospecting system and refine it to something that is strong, and results driven.
I like to think of prospecting and cold calling as a ‘jet powered’ process. It is a bit like preparing for an overseas trip on a large airliner. You do all of the preparation work, you then turn up at the airport; you take your seat on the plane and then prepare for the ‘push in your back’. The engines build to maximum thrust and then you power down the runway.
The analogy really works when you look at commercial real estate sales and leasing. The preparation work has to be done; without that preparation you will not take off, it’s that simple.
Some agents are still sitting on the ‘runway’ when it comes time to turn on the ‘engines’, and some have returned to the terminal. Perhaps they have thought that a more local destination may be more realistic in a taxi! Perhaps they decide to walk home!
In this industry you get back that which you put in. The results and the market share are out there to be grabbed by those salespeople that ‘push’ themselves. Develop that ‘thrust’ when it comes to moving forward.
Experience says that prospecting will take you forward in a major way in commercial real estate. Every salesperson in any location should have a prospecting model that works for them. It will be a combination of a few different things that they do quite successfully every day.
Here are some tips to help your prospecting model:
- Devote 2 hours each day to prospecting. In the first instance this can be done on the telephone as part of a systemised cold calling process. The calls produce the meetings and that’s the way to make it all happen.
- Make your prospecting a daily event that you track in numbers of calls out, meetings, listings, and inspections. Every number that you track will help you move ahead.
- Expect that some of the things that you do will be ‘dead ends’, and that is just fine. Learn from the things that did not work for you and find those things that do work for you. Importantly you should be taking forward steps every day.
If you need more listings or you want some more commissions, now is the time to look at your business and prospecting model. If you are not getting your ‘fair share’, then the answer lies ‘within. When you adjust your systems and processes you will find better outcomes are possible.