Improving Sales Team Performance in Commercial Real Estate Agency

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Being Adaptable as a Commercial Real Estate Agent Wins More Business

In commercial real estate agency, you should be adaptable to the challenges of the property market today, and the requirements of the client.  This is really easy to do when you are a specialist in a property type and a location.

As a specialist in a property type and location you will or should understand the factors of pricing, rentals, tenancy mix, time on market, marketing, and negotiation.  You are the specialist that can take over the clients property challenge and turn it into a successful property outcome.  Specialization is the key to the process.

The clients that we work for require the right information and strategically relevant skills on the part of their agent.  If you pitch and present your services correctly, your conversion to an exclusive listing will be quite easy.

Those agents today with an abundance of ‘open’ listings are those agents that have not sufficiently branded themselves as experts in the local area.  They have no real point of difference when it comes to pitching their services.  The clients they work with can see no real benefit in exclusive listing with a particular agent.  If you want more exclusive listings, you will need to solve that perception.  I go back to the point that specialization as a property agent is essential to the process.  Top agents win more exclusive listings and that is the rule not the exception.

To be adaptable as a specialist real estate agent means that you have the necessary skills and the information required to handle the following situations comfortably:

  1. A client requires a vacancy in a property to be leased efficiently and effectively.  The tenancy may have been vacant for some time.  The client therefore requires innovative solutions that apply to the leasing process.  They need that vacancy filled as soon as possible.
  2. A vacant property requires repositioning in the market so that it may be sold or leased.  The pressures of the prevailing market conditions and the zoning requirements set the guidelines for the target market and the efforts that you need to undertake.
  3. At commercial or retail property has reached the end of its economic life given its current and present usage.  On that basis the property needs to be subjected to a material change of use and redevelopment.  As part of that process you will need to consider the approvals and strategies behind local planning and development.
  4. The client’s property may be under-performing from an income perspective.  You should know how to review the tenancy mix, lease profiles, rental strategies, lease documentation, and outgoings recoveries.  On that basis you will soon see the discrepancies when it comes to income recovery and growth.  You can add to this assessment the rules and legalities that apply to rent review negotiations, lease option negotiations, tenancy relocations, and redevelopment alternatives.
  5. The client’s property today may be a future sales opportunity.  In leading to that sales situation, they may have challenges that apply to the tenancy mix and the income profile.  Over time you can help them with income modification and capital growth.

You can look at a property from a number of different perspectives.  It may be vacant, unimproved, leased, or vacant.  The value for the property can also be determined in a number of ways based on the identified potential and the prevailing market conditions.  To assess the value of the property, you can cross reference two or three methods of valuation or appraisal to see what will work when it comes to any future listing price and marketing opportunity.

The top agents in a commercial real estate agency today are very adaptable.  They understand how to move across the requirements and changes of the market.  They know how to match the client and their property to the prevailing market conditions.  You can do the same.  Get to know your market and how it is changing and growing.

How to Pitch and Present for a Commercial Real Estate Listing

In commercial real estate agency, the sales pitch and presentation process is something that will hopefully occur quite frequently for you.  On that basis you need to be ready to present your ideas and strategies at any time and on short notice.  You never know when a client or prospect will want to talk to you about the market or the listing alternatives available when it comes to commercial real estate sales or leasing.

As a general rule, every agent should carry a complete and comprehensive marketing folder at all times with examples of property marketing solutions; those solutions should apply to leasing, sales, and property management.

Watch your competitors

In most property presentations situations today, you will be up against a number of other agents all seeking to attract the same listing into their agency.  Those other agents will be using a variety of enticements and discounts.

It should be said that the provision of discounts to a client is not a good way to win a listing.  Agents that cut corners on fees will generally cut corners on service.  Given that the client wants a result with their property, cutting corners really doesn’t work.  Adjust your pitch to suit that message.

You should win the listing based on your experience and relevance to the property type and the client.  Your strategies and marketing solutions should be so comprehensive and relevant that the client can see no other alternative but to give you an exclusive listing.  Build your presentation on that logic.

Discounts don’t work

The clients seeking a discount should be encouraged to understand the commerce of the deal and the marketing effort required by you as the agent.  A few hundred dollars saved in commission is nothing compared to the better price that you can achieve for the client with a dedicated campaign that is personally conducted.

It is the quality of your presentation and pitching process that will help the client understand exactly what you are going to do for their property and its challenges.  Your services need to be superior to that of the competitors locally.  Be relevant and be different.  Show the client why they need you.

Here are some tips to help you refine your presentation strategy when it comes to commercial and retail property.

  1. Check out all the competing properties in the local area so you can advise the client as to how the listing needs to be comprehensively marketed.
  2. The first four weeks of any marketing campaign are the most important.  During this time you will need to connect with the defined target audience and create as many inspections as possible.  Structure your marketing recommendations accordingly.
  3. Be aware of the current market conditions relative to the property type, and the seasonal sales or leasing pressures that can influence the starting of the marketing campaign.  If you have a quality property to release to the market, it may pay you to consider the ideal time frames to do that.
  4. Use some sort of graphical display to illustrate to the client how you will move the listing forward.  A Gantt graphing process is good for this application.  You can show the client exactly how things are done and where those things will head over the coming weeks.
  5. As a general rule, every property should be exclusively listed.  In that way you can create the correct amount of momentum, optimize the inspections, and negotiate directly with the client knowing all of the facts that are involved.
  6. Vendor paid marketing should be part of the exclusive listing process.  Get quality photographs taken of the property to feature in all the marketing material created and used.  Be aware of the opportunities that each marketing method provides.  The Internet should feature in every campaign.  In the first instance, it is the visual side of marketing that will attract more enquiry so use the best photographs wherever possible as part of your marketing effort.

When it comes to pitching for the commercial property listing, your strategies and ideas need to be well planned and optimized for the prevailing conditions and the property.  Help the client see why your strategies are so important.

Commercial Real Estate Agency Performance Standards that Matter

In commercial real estate today, every salesperson and every agent will require close monitoring when it comes to certain factors within their job.  Through this monitoring process, it is easy to identify if the agent or salesperson is lacking in some respect and requires knowledge or skills improvement.

It should be said that most salespeople require knowledge improvement and skills practice over time.  None of us are experts in everything.  Commercial real estate is a specialized part of the industry and even after many years of successful career activity, top agents should still be learning.

We all require skills improvement and regular practice.  That is why we should have regular sales team meetings and incorporate role playing into those team meetings.  In this way everybody can learn and practice from each other.

The property market is relatively difficult and challenging at the moment; many circumstances and problems will be experienced across the team.  Agents and salespeople can share these challenges as part of the team meeting, and then role play the solution or strategy to be used in resolving those common challenges.

Team meetings?

It should be said that many salespeople hate lengthy team meetings and role playing.  Those salespeople that have been in the industry a long time are likely to be those that offer the strongest resistance to personal improvement and change.  Through all of this, the top agents always know that practice is required and ongoing skills improvement will help their listing conversions and commission growth.

So you have a choice here; you can be one of the many that refuse to learn, or you can be one of the few that look to improve and grow their knowledge and their skills.  It is a simple choice and the answer should be logical.

Here are some performance standards that should be tracked by you as an individual, or if you are the sales team leader, the standards can be monitored across the team.  The standards will then show you if a particular person or perhaps even you personally will require some skills upgrade or knowledge improvement.  Don’t be afraid to learn, it is simply a factor of business.

  1. The number of signboards on properties in your local area.  This should be analyzed at the level of agency and salesperson.
  2. The numbers of properties advertised on the Internet per suburb, per salesperson, and per agency.
  3. The number of outbound calls made each day to new people
  4. The number of meetings created from cold calling and networking.
  5. The amount of new listings coming in each week
  6. The ratio between open listings and exclusive listings
  7. The amount of vendor paid advertising committed as part of the listing process.
  8. The numbers of inspections created per property and per salesperson on a weekly basis
  9. The size of the database for each particular salesperson
  10. The accuracy of the database and the volume of information maintained in that database
  11. The closing ratios to listings on a salesperson and property type basis.
  12. The amount of referral business converted from existing clients and closed transactions

You can quite likely add to this list based on your agency activity and agency structure.  When you track your numbers, you then know where skills can be improved but you also know where you are succeeding and growing.  These numbers will always assist you to stabilize your networking activities and therefore grow your market share.

The industry is not complicated; it just requires systemized processes and tracking.  When you do this, you will achieve more momentum and the personal success that you require will be easier to achieve.  You will know exactly where you are going and how you are proceeding.