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 property presentation today for sales and leasing has to be quite specific to the challenges in the property market. Every client that we present to should be under no misunderstanding when it comes to the prevailing market conditions. It is your job to tell them exactly how the market reacts at the moment to properties similar to that owned by the client.
The property sales pitch or presentation therefore needs to be comprehensive and specific to the property type. When you do this correctly, you will achieve a listing that is matched to the market and a client that is receptive to the required ongoing marketing and negotiations.
Here are some tips to help your property presentation process today.
- As a first stage of the client connection, it’s desirable to meet the client on site and go through the property together. This then allows you to ask questions of the client relating to the property history, the usage, and their motivations for sale or lease today.
- Following that property inspection, ask the client for at least 24 hours of time to allow you to research the prevailing market conditions, and provide the best recommendations to resolve their property challenge. Use that time to correctly structure the strategies and recommendations that should be put to the client. Be quite specific and not generic when it comes to those factors and your final proposal or recommendation.
- At the start of the actual presentation, explain to the client the prevailing market conditions as you see them relating to the property and it’s location. Provide evidence from competing properties on the market today as to time on market, pricing, and best methods of sale or lease as the case may be.
- Over the last two years, there should be some market evidence relating to the achieved prices and rentals for that property type. Whilst each property result will depend on improvements and location, it is worthwhile graphing the property market trends when it comes to results, prices, and rental. Make sure you have inspected each comparable property so you can relate the facts to the client from a personal level.
- Be prepared to tell a few stories relating to other clients and market situations. It is surprising how stories will gain the attention of the client and help your presentation overall.
- As part of the presentation, use plenty of digital photographs on your laptop computer. Those photographs can be rolling automatically as a slide presentation whilst you talk to the client about their property. Most of those photographs should be of the clients property, the surrounding locations, and competing properties. In this way the client will be connecting with their property and your conversation. Avoid slides with any words. Pictures will help grab the clients attention.
Top agents today take deliberate effort when it comes to the property presentation and connecting with the client. Everything needs to be specific in content and accuracy. Expect the other competing agents to do their very best to derail your property presentation. You will not have a second chance to meet with the client, so every presentation needs to be the best.
A sales pitch in commercial real estate can be a challenging process especially when you are up against other agents competing for the same property when the market is saturated with listings or agents. You do not know what the competitors are doing or saying and how they will pitch for the listing.
The best way to do a commercial real estate presentation is to start from a base of information about the clients need as you see it, and then ask questions to get their opinion on key issues. In this way you have their attention and you can show them that you really do know what they need or what the market can do for them.
Here are some other ideas to feed into your sales pitch:
- Questions create momentum in your presentation. For this reason it pays to consider and prepare for the right questions that will have real relevance to the presentation. You could include in those questions what the client has done with the property over recent time and what their intentions may be to move ahead with it now. Ask them about their biggest challenge now in moving the property, and what they see as the best outcome. From this information you can open up the discussion about the local market and current levels of enquiry.
- Local market knowledge will give you confidence to move through challenges that may be presented to you by the client. In most cases the client will not know much about the current market and the results that have been coming out of it.
- Understand the customer and their current property problem. Let them see that you relate to their concerns and show them how you will move matters forward. Your pitch is not really about you and your skills; it is about them and their property pain. Identify the pain and then provide the relief with real strategy.
- Hone your critical skills and practice them regularly. If you have any weaknesses, deal with them in role play and personal improvement. Sometimes your greatest weakness as a salesperson is the only thing that is holding you back from a great leap forward in your business and market share.
- Do not close or negotiate too early in the pitch process. Far too many sales people do this. It sends the wrong message to the client. Desperation does not do well in a sales presentation today.
- Use the right resources and have them available at your fingertips. There is nothing worse that pitching for a listing and not having all of the right tools to take you forward.
Follow up all presentations professionally and efficiently. Some clients will not make a choice on agent for a few days. Make sure they see your professionalism in winning and losing a presentation. Brand yourself as the best agent in a professional way.