Gain the Edge in Commercial Real Estate Agency – Start Strong

When you work in commercial real estate agency, you should start your day strongly and with focus.  Get as much done as you can before other disruptions start to take over (and they will).

It is a fact that things in commercial real estate agency will happen daily that you do not expect.  That being said, there are still key things that you need to do every day to improve your market share and client connections.  If you overlook these things, you will soon have less commission coming in and you will also be missing on the quality listing stock.

So to start strong every day, you need a plan and a process.  Action is everything in our industry and directed action can allow you to form habits.  It is the habits that will take you forward as a professional in our industry.

Here are some ideas to help you with effectiveness and focus as a commercial real estate agent.

  1. It is easier to control the start of the day than it is to control the whole day.  If you can control 1/3 your day, you can be quite successful and effective as an agent.  Plan your activities so that your working day can and will be under your control from 7 am. to 11 am.  Don’t let others change or modify your diary before 11 am.
  2. Prospect every morning from 8 am to 10 am.  Get your outbound cold calls done then. That one single process will be critical to your market share.  It is interesting to note that most top agents do this.  Struggling agents overlook the process or avoid it.
  3. Talk to your clients from 10 am to 11 am.  After 11 am the pressures of the day can take over so get to your important clients on key issues early.  You can do the same thing at the end of the day and in the evening.
  4. Look after your database yourself.  Only you have the information that should go into it, and only you are going to benefit from it being correctly used.  If you go into your database every day you can shape the information and use it to your advantage.  Ongoing contact and trust in our industry is a really big thing.
  5. As you move through the day and the week, track your numbers and ratios relating to calls out, meetings, presentations, listings, inspections, and deals closed.  You should also track your exclusive listings as they will do more for your market share than open listings.

So you can see that the key thing here is control.  When you are in control you can get more of the right things done.  That is how you move up in the industry.

Avoid Dangerous Clients in Commercial Real Estate Agency

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:

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

Great Opportunity for Commercial Real Estate Agents in this Property Market Today

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.

Every Little Bit Helps in Commercial Real Estate Marketing

In commercial real estate sales or leasing, every little bit helps when it comes to marketing the property to the target market and local area.  A correctly constructed marketing campaign should be 75% focused on the local area and 25% focused on the greater region and beyond.  Here are some tips on marketing from our Newsletter for agents.

In just about all property marketing efforts, we find that most enquiries will come from local business owners and local property investors.  This is the reason for the bias to local marketing.  Sure you may have some properties that are an exception to the rule but almost always it is the local enquiry that really matters

So all of this being said, the advertising effort for any property and listing should be comprehensive and across a number of marketing tools and systems.  The days of ‘generic’ advertising and promotion are well gone.

So let’s differentiate marketing between ‘open listings’ and ‘exclusive listings’.

  • In the ‘open listing’ situation you have no control on the property or the client.  For this reason advertising is largely a matter of convenience.  You put a sign on the property and an advert on the internet.  Any enquiries that you get you can process in an ordinary way.  Importantly you should not waste much of your time on any ‘open listing’.    If the client will not trust you with an ‘exclusive’ agency, then understand that your focus should be elsewhere on your better listings.
  • ‘Exclusive listings’ are better for the client and for you.  If the client is genuine in the sale or lease process, ‘exclusive’ listings allow you to get deeply into promoting the property to the local area.  The communication between you and the client is a lot stronger and more relevant to getting results from the marketing campaign.  Every ‘exclusive’ listing should include a reasonable amount of vendor paid marketing funds.

When you are to promote a property to the local area, a campaign should be structured on the target market, and personally driven by you as the agent or salesperson.  When you get too many listings, the ‘personal’ side of property promotion gets a lot more difficult.  The number of ‘exclusive’ listings that you can take on at any one time is about 15 listings.  Beyond that number, you need a personal assistant to help you with the required systems and processes.  Remember that the client wants to talk with you and not your assistant.

To put high value and relevance into your property promotion, take every listing personally into the area and the business community.  Use every listing as a reason to talk to business owners and property investors.  In this way you will get better results from all your marketing campaigns.

You can get more free tips like this in our Newsletter for Commercial Real Estate Agents.

Auction Method of Sale – Checklist and Tips for Commercial Agents

In commercial real estate today, auction activity can be quite specific for the particular property.  For this very reason, you should have a specific checklist for taking the property to auction.

If you choose to use this method of sale, then it should be for the right property and it should be done for the right reasons.  Even in tough property market conditions, the auction process can work quite successfully providing the agent focuses effort and time into the marketing campaign to attract the right buyers.

As a successful method of sale, it requires specific effort to get the message out into the group of target buyers.  Typically the campaign will go for a period of 6 to 8 weeks.  During this time, the first half of the campaign will be critical to the momentum that you require.  The marketing message has to reach the target audience comprehensively with a consistent offering and full property details.

Here is a checklist that you can use or adopt when considering the auction method of sale.

  1. Get the correct appointment to act signed in accordance with your agency laws and legislation.
  2. Review similar properties in the same location that could have an impact on your marketing campaign.
  3. Check out the subject property detail relative to the information provided by the client.
  4. Look for any unusual factors of property ownership or obligation that will have some impact on the auction sale campaign.
  5. Inspect the property comprehensively so that you have a good list of features and improvements to merge into the draft advertising.
  6. Get professional photographs taken of the property to use in the marketing campaign.
  7. Prepare a list of selling points that should feature in all of your advertising material.
  8. Review the property for the potential inspection process.  Understand how you will take people around the property when they have been qualified for that process.
  9. Prepare draft advertising for the client to review and approve.
  10. From the approved advertising material, prepare a promotional brochure for distribution via e-mail, direct mail, and personal inspection.
  11. Review the database in your office for prospects that may have an interest in the property and that may be suitable for a pre-release property inspection.
  12. If the property involves leases and tenancies, you will need to comprehensively check all of those documents for details of income, expenditure, and property performance.
  13. Prepare an investment report or information memorandum to be used in the campaign.  The detail within this document should be reviewed for accuracy and relevance.  Get the client to approve the document in its final form and before it is dispatched to any prospects.
  14. Prepare the documentation relative to the auction method of sale.  In some cases, this documentation should be prepared by the vendor’s solicitor.
  15. Start promoting the property and hold the inspections with qualified prospects.
  16. Keep the property owner fully briefed on inspection results and market feedback.
  17. As you move towards sale, it is relevant to get the property owners thoughts on the reserve price for the property.  On the auction day, the reserve price should be given to you in writing.
  18. You may or may not want to take offers prior to auction.  That is a strategic decision subject to the prevailing market conditions and the instruction of the vendor.
  19. The auction should proceed as planned unless the client has achieved a sale prior to the auction date.  Suitable deposits and contracts should be exchanged subject to the method of sale used.

You can add to this list based on the property type, your location, and the particular vendor.  This method of sale is quite unique and involves a dedicated promotional process that can only be achieved through an exclusive listing.

You can get more tips in our Newsletter right here.

Two Words That Can Change Cold Calling Results Forever

In commercial real estate agency today so many salespeople and leasing executives struggle with cold calling.  They find it frustrating and quite soon they will find something else to do.  Unfortunately cold call prospecting is then avoided for the future; they incorrectly move away from the one thing that can change their lead conversions forever.

So what stops you from making the calls?  Here is a good list:

  1. Poor organisation
  2. Call reluctance
  3. No dialogue
  4. Distractions
  5. No momentum
  6. No database
  7. Lack of a prospect list
  8. Meetings
  9. Clients, etc

Make no mistake, cold calling is hard but it does produce volumes of results when you improve your call contact systems.  It takes a mindset and a process that should be practiced.

All of this being said, there are some very simple things that you can do that will help you radically with the call contact process; one of the most effective is based on two simple words.  The words are ‘stand up’.

When I say ‘stand up’ I am referring to you standing up when you make your contact and cold calls.  So many top real estate agents do it; you probably do it now when you are making a mobile telephone call as you walk!

The fact of the matter is that your call quality and conversational ability is a lot higher when you stand up and talk on the telephone.  There is something in moving and talking at the same time that goes well together.  Whatever the secret is, you should try it and use it.

The benefits here are quite clear:

  • More call confidence
  • Better conversational ability
  • Better tonality in the call voice
  • ‘Right brain’ thinking as you talk

If you put all of these factors together you will find that those hard to make cold calls will be a lot easier for you.  It really doesn’t really matter if you have clients and prospects in commercial or retail property sales, leasing, or property management, the fact of the issue is that you should be making lots of cold calls each week to people that you have not spoken to before.  That’s how you build market share.

Start to work on you mindset and use the ‘stand up’ process to improve you call conversations and dialogue.  Quite soon you will see some new confidence in the calling process; when that happens you will convert more meetings.  A good result, don’t you think?

Shopping Centre Managers – How to Get the Retail Tenant Mix Right

When it comes to leasing and managing a retail property today, the tenant mix is critical to the income that you create.  Without a successful tenant mix, the investment performance for the property owner will be difficult to achieve.

In a retail property today, there are just so many things to be carefully balanced; that is because of the prevailing economic conditions and the property market pressures locally.  At this current time and in most locations, it can be difficult to find the right tenants to fill vacancies.  It is also hard to keep the tenants in the property.

For this very reason, a tenant retention plan and a vacancy leasing strategy should be adopted by all agents in serving their clients.  These elements should form part of the business plan for every investment property under management.  Top clients need a top property management and leasing service, and that is what this process can do.

All of this being said, as professional commercial and retail property leasing experts and property managers, it is up to us to bring the required experience and knowledge to the landlords that we serve.  Special skills are required when it comes to tenancy analysis, and tenancy mix strategy.  These special skills also command a fair and reasonable fee for service.  Discounts do not apply for a top service in our industry!

The placement of a tenant is simply not a matter of just leasing, negotiating, and occupancy creation.  It is a matter of finding the right tenant for the right property, and matching the lease back to the requirements of the landlord’s investment strategies.  The age of the property will also have some influence on the leasing process given the requirements of refurbishment and tenancy relocation.

Here are some factors to merge into your property leasing strategy and tenancy mix.

  1. Get to know all of the tenants in the particular subject property.  A close working relationship with them will help you identify any pressures of occupancy or rental payment.  With the property market today, as difficult as it currently is, it is better to retain tenants in occupancy through good lease management procedures, than to lose them to another property where incentives or rental adjustments may be more attractive and the landlord is more flexible.  Understand that many other real estate agents will be chasing your tenants as a natural course of business.  Your property package needs to be competitive in the local property market.
  2. The factors of supply and demand will apply to your property type and the local area.  Those factors will also influence market rentals, incentives, and vacancy factors.  Every landlord needs to be updated regards the trends of the local property market so that sensible leasing decisions can be achieved.  An extended vacancy and loss of rent is far more damaging to a property than a startup lease with a lower rental.
  3. Check out all of the major properties locally that could be considered as competitors to your subject property.  Review their tenancy mix and vacancy factors.  Look for the strengths and weaknesses that apply to each particular property.  If possible, get details of the current market rentals and the upcoming vacancies in each property.  With this information, you can influence some of those tenants towards your landlord’s property.

A very skillful commercial or retail leasing expert knows how to balance all of these things for the clients that they serve.  Create a tenant retention plan and a tenant communication strategy to strengthen the overall lease profile of the property for the landlord.  That is what leasing and property management is all about.  In one word you could say it is the creation of ‘stability’.

If you want more tips on tenant mix and tenant retention, you can get them at our main website http://commercial-realestate-training.com/

Commercial Real Estate Agents – Property Sales and Leasing Strategies that Matter

The services we provide as the local commercial or retail real estate agency are quite specific and special.  The local property market will change throughout the year, as will the supply and demand for premises.  On that basis, we are the experts to help the clients that we serve.

Sales and leasing strategies for commercial and retail property will change throughout the year.  Each and every prospect should be entered into a database so that we can build on all future opportunity when the right property comes along.  Your diligence here will help your commission conversions and future listing opportunity.

Local property market information will come in many forms including prices, rentals, future developments, and the supply and demand for new space to occupy.  The clients that we serve cannot hope to cover those issues themselves.  That is where we step in as the experts and property strategists.

Top agents know how to package the negotiation for the best outcomes and results for the client.  These agents know what the market is doing, and how to package the right transaction for the clients that they serve.

Here are some tips to help you design your services for your local commercial and retail property clients.

  1. Local market information will vary throughout the year; you will see changing results in both sales and leasing activity.  This local market activity will be setting the necessary benchmarks and the market rentals or prices as the case may be.
  2. Local business sentiment, together with changes in the business community will have impact when it comes to property occupancy, sales, leasing, and rental returns.  It is our job to accumulate the necessary market knowledge and strategy to help the clients that we serve.  Optimising property occupancy and rental returns will help the eventual sales equation and resultant price.
  3. Rental strategy is quite specific to the location, the property type, and the intentions of the landlord.  In most cases, the rental should be set with the landlord prior to commencing any marketing effort relating to the particular property.  Standards and differences will apply when it comes to gross rental, net rental, incentives, rent reviews, and lease options.  We are the experts to help with these factors.
  4. Monitor the lease terms and conditions that apply to existing properties in the local area.  Business sentiment will have impact on existing negotiations and marketing strategies that you apply to each and every listing.  The supply and demand for local property will have immediate impact on the starting rental for any leases.  The same for pressures apply when it comes to the sale price.  On this basis, you need to know the differences between asking prices or rents, verses the facts and outcomes in finalised and completed transactions.
  5. Outgoings and operating costs will need to be recovered when it comes to lease occupancy.  The decisions you make here will have impact on the landlord and the rental structure of the lease document.  Local market standards, and the particular elements of the property may influence you when it comes to gross or net rental.  Importantly, the operating costs for the property should be recovered as part of the lease structure, so make the right decisions when it comes to rental type and outgoings recovery.
  6. Tenant mix strategy will shift and change throughout the year.  Tenancy mix decisions become important when you are working with a property containing multiple occupants in close proximity.  The duration of leases, and the proximity of those leases to other tenants need to be considered as part of each lease negotiation.
  7. The permitted use for each lease and tenant occupancy should be well considered and controlled.  Is quite important to ensure that the permitted use described in each lease that you negotiate is very specific and tight.  Too much latitude here  will allow the tenant to change the focus of the business and the offering to their customers.  This also has impact on any future lease assignment or subletting situation.  The permitted use will also have relevance to the tenancy mix strategy and any tenant retention plans that you implement.
  8. Vacancy and lease management should occur throughout the year.  Staying well ahead of any lease events and critical dates is quite important.  Prepare the landlord for any negotiations well in advance.  Have due regard for the local market conditions and the benchmarks established by other similar properties nearby.

It is easy to see why the services we provide as commercial real estate agents are regarded as specialised and unique.  That is why we charge a significant fee for service.  The clients that we serve can benefit significantly from the factors of our negotiation and finalised transactions.

Automating Your Commercial Real Estate Prospecting Model

In commercial real estate today and in your agency, it is necessary to have a good selection of quality listings.  Quality listings will always create solid enquiry in any market.  It is those quality listings that will help you with dominating your territory and converting more commissions.

It is an observed fact that low quality listings produce poor enquiry.  It is much harder to build your market share and listing opportunity as a commercial real estate agent from poor quality listings.  That being said, it is also the case that open listings produce poor quality commercial real estate activity.  As a priority, pursue exclusive listings for a lengthy period of time with all of your clients.  In this way, you will control market enquiry and convert more transactions personally.

So here are some rules that should apply to the prospecting process in helping you with your market share and future commercial real estate business opportunities.

  1. Get to know your territory intimately.  That will mean on a street by street basis and or property by property basis.  Your territory should not be too large or too complex.  You cannot be a commercial real estate specialist to everybody and every property type.
  2. Identify the existing properties on the market today and their time on market.  There will be reasons for properties not selling or not renting.  In each case you should review the competing properties and competing agencies to understand the errors in marketing and the poor performance of some of the salespeople involved.  Over time you can market yourself around weaker agencies and properties that have not been correctly promoted.
  3. Prospecting should be undertaken on a daily basis for at least 2 or 3 hours.  That should be the number one activity in your diary regardless of anything else.  When you set this rule and stick to it, you will achieve more market share and market intelligence.  Over time this will have a major impact on your commissions.  Cold calling should feature as a main component of your prospecting efforts.  This requires special diligence and commitment, but the rewards are many.
  4. Get to know the businesses throughout your local territory.  Those local business proprietors will understand and potentially help identify for you the changes to property in the local area.  Over time those businesses will also be looking for alternative premises to lease and or rent.  Those businesses can also be a great source of sale and leaseback activity.
  5. It is very easy to approach businesses as part of your prospecting model.  On that basis it should occur every day.  You will gain valuable market intelligence from the process.  It is somewhat harder to identify property owners and approach them.  That is mainly because they hide behind company structures and property trusts.  Create a list of prime properties in your region so that you can gradually work through the potential property ownership structures and identify the right people to talk to.  It will take time, however the results are significant.

While this list is not finite or complete, it will give you the foundation for the prospecting process to commence.  The commercial real estate industry is very much personally orientated and built on relationships.  Over time you must build relationships with key people, business proprietors, and property investors.

Commercial Real Estate Agents – Taking Action in Building Market Share

In commercial real estate agency it is easy to get distracted on things that will do nothing for your business or market share.  In many respects, the easiest way forward is not the best way.  Consistent action is required every day to build your market share in commercial real estate sales and leasing.  In that way you can proceed and grow the listing and commission opportunity as an agent.

The top agents of the industry work to a system or a plan.  They know the things that are required to help them move ahead.  They do those things every day.  It is the system that is taking them forward.

You hear so many wise and experienced salespeople in the industry say that nothing happens until you take action; they would be right, it is however the right action that is required so you can build your market.  You will know your market and the changes that are underway; those changes will give you priorities in action and focus.

Look for the Changes

Every month and every year the property market changes with respect to property enquiry, time on market, and listing quality.  Staying ahead of those changes will help you match the right actions to the market that exists.  So what can you do?  Try some of these:

  1. Building your new business prospects just has to be number one on your diary of activity as a commercial real estate agent.  When you do this you will find that the market will offer lots of opportunity.
  2. Keep track of new property developments so you can watch the balance of supply and demand that may have impact on your property type or in your territory.
  3. Keeping your listings moving ahead at all times.  Exclusive listings are really important in this process.  Open listings are basically a waste of time unless you know that you have a buyer or tenant available now or soon.
  4. Connecting with Clients has to continue in all markets and at all times.  A good database will help you do just that.  How many prospects and clients should you have in your database that you regard as high value and active?  The answer is about 300.  It takes time to build those numbers but the process works.  You may have more contacts than that now, however the number of 300 relates to the key people that you believe that may have momentum and want some property help in the future.
  5. Work to a system of prospecting and cold calling on a regular daily basis.  Each day a call system will create new meetings if you call enough people. So how many people should you call each day?  The answer is about 40.  You will not get through to 40 people but you should get through to at least 15 people and of those you should be able to get at least one meeting with some opportunity.

Set clear targets for listings, prospecting, meetings, and contracts or leases.  Use a database to capture all of your contacts and meetings on a daily basis.

Fact Finding the Ideal Tenant in Commercial or Retail Property

When you have a vacancy or a pending vacancy in a commercial or retail property, you need to target the right tenant to fill that vacancy.  This then suggests that not all tenants will be suitable for a given property, and that observation is correct and real.

Commercial property agents should know exactly what the right tenant would be for a given vacant area in any property; and then they should know how to find that targeted tenant.  Top agents do this all the time.  These top agents are in touch with the movements in the local area and business community.

  • How much do you know about the local business community and its leasing pressures and leasing future?
  • Do you know what tenants are looking for today when it comes to new property movements and where they are moving to?
  • Are you in touch with lots of tenants as part of the prospecting model that you use?

So what does an ‘ideal tenant’ look like in your property location?  To a degree the question is answered with the following factors in mind:

  • The needs of the local business community
  • The prevailing tenant mix
  • Business sentiment and volatility
  • Supply and demand for new and older lettable space
  • The growth of the surrounding population
  • The business base and profile of the local area

In any investment property location and area, there will be ‘seasons’ and ‘peaks’ of property enquiry in any given year.  In most ‘years’ the leasing market is active for just 10 months, allowing for seasonal holidays, climatic conditions, and property availability.  For this very reason it pays to work well in advance with known property vacancies and leasing requirements.

An ‘ideal tenant’ will vary from property to property but many of the following factors could be on the list of ‘tenant requirements’ from a landlord perspective.

  1. A stable business that brings brand and identity to the property
  2. A tenant that integrates into the property existing tenant mix well
  3. Lease terms and conditions that strengthen the property rental income over the lease term
  4. A solid and secure market rental that underpins the value of the property for the landlord
  5. Tenancy design and layout that gives a good image to the property

Does such a tenant exist?  Yes is the basic answer, and to find them you should make contact with all of the businesses in the local area on a regular basis.  Over time you will find the good tenants, and those that want to move to other quality properties.  Most businesses stay within the same general location when they relocate, so they can take their customer base from property to property.