In commercial real estate agency it is very much the case that the day will take over your diary unless you take control. People will impose on your time and things then will go absolutely nowhere.
If you are like me, you will hate people wasting your time. In our industry time is money and we need to remember that. In an average day lots of people will want a slice of your time. How about this list for starters?
- Existing clients with their listings
- New clients wanting to list their property
- Team leaders wanting to talk about the weeks results
- The boss (for all sorts of reasons)
- Tenants looking for property
- Buyers wanting to inspect your listings
- Telephone enquiries
- Administrative people needing help getting your marketing campaigns underway
So, all of this says that we need to set some solid rules that will not be broken or changed. We must control our time as it is the main thing that we can control in commercial real estate agency.
Systems can set you free to get on with your business. When business runs smoothly then you find the clients and the listings that you need.
Every system in commercial real estate is essentially made up of subsets or systems for key things. Each part of the process can be refined and improved. I have had systems for all of the following:
- Prospecting systems so I can keep focused on the right properties and clients that will need my services one day. Every good commercial agent should have a pipeline of some type.
- Presentation processes so that every property that I pitch for is a deliberate pitch that is well controlled to a solid approach that I know works. Confidence here is the key.
- Listing systems for each property type such as office, industrial, and retail property. I would also have systems for sales, leasing, and property management. Retail shopping centres are quite different and feature with their own systems that are unique to retail.
- Inspecting a property is quite special and having a process for that is wise. A checklist to help you ask the right questions and look at the right things in the property will always be of benefit. The inspection system should take into account the property type and the location; that is why you need checklists for this.
- Marketing processes for the listings that we work on should not be generic or ordinary. The fact of the matter is that each property should be uniquely promoted to a plan; this assumes that it is an exclusive listing and you have vendor paid marketing funds paid in advance.
- Negotiations and communications with clients should be documented. It is common that things will get delayed or changed when you are negotiating with a client on a sale or a lease. When you have the supporting documentation and notes, nothing can go wrong.
If you are finding that things are out of control and you are struggling as an agent, take a look at your systems in commercial and retail real estate agency. Build some processes and controls that help you move forward.
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.
In today’s property market, we have marketing systems to support our personal branding and our property listings. These are two distinctly different challenges when it comes to marketing. The properties will come and go from the market, however your personal brand needs to consolidate and grow.
So let’s look at some different aspects of marketing and the challenges to be handled.
When it comes to property marketing, you will be competing against other properties, the market trends, and other agents. Through all of this, you need to attract the right level of enquiry and then qualify that enquiry for potential conversion. Given that the property market currently is rather challenging, every marketing effort must be specific, direct, and effective.
The ultimate goal of every marketing campaign should be to establish enquiry from the target market. When you get enquiry, you can create inspections. Over time the enquiry that you create will allow you to improve your database of qualified prospects; those qualified prospects can go into your database for regular ongoing contact. That is exactly what top agents do and how they create better transactions from the market over time.
To correctly market a property today, you need sufficient funds and a dedicated marketing campaign. Vendor paid marketing should be the rule and not the exception. That being said, you should also ask for an exclusive listing to allow you to spend the necessary time in marketing the property for the clients that you serve.
The property market today requires real effort on the part of the agent. That effort can only come through exclusive listings. Those exclusive listings also allow us to build our market share and database of qualified prospects.
Here are some factors to incorporate into a property marketing plan:
- Determine the features relative to the subject listing. Those features and improvements will dictate the target audience. The advertising that you create should be directed at the target audience with a consistent message relative to the property.
- You will need to determine those three or four factors that create the interest relative to the property today. Those three or four factors will need to feature in each and every advertising or media channel used. Consistency is the key when it comes to property marketing. Every advertisement should send the right message consistently, given that the same person may see the property in a number of different media channels. Eventually the right message could very well encourage the person to lift the telephone and make an enquiry.
- Understand the differences between the different types of marketing today, and use the ones that are most successful for your property type and local area. In most cases, newspaper advertising is becoming less relevant to the commercial property industry. Direct marketing and internet marketing are taking over as the tools of choice when it comes to creating property enquiry.
- Research the keywords that are used on the search engines relative to your property location and property type. Those keywords can be easily researched and then incorporated into your property advertising and marketing. That will therefore allow each advertisement to be tuned to the requirements of property enquiry today.
- As part of the property marketing effort, use plenty of professionally taken photographs in the advertising and in the brochures. You can always see when those professional photographs are used. The placement of the property on the Internet will also be enhanced by quality professional photographs. Most commercial salespeople and agents do not have the knowledge and experience to take photographs from the right angle or the time of day. You only have one chance to market the property, and on that basis the photographs need to help you in every way possible. The cost of getting the photography done is minimal when you consider the value of the property and the potential sale price or rental.
When it comes to marketing any commercial property today, create a plan relative to the client, the area, and the property. Drive that plan in a way that encourages enquiry. It is the enquiry that you want and that will help you with conversions.