Commercial Real Estate Brokers – Ways of Achieving Success Through Effective Personal Marketing

The marketing process in commercial real estate brokerage should never be ‘generic’ with perhaps one exception and that is in the promotion of ‘open’ listings.  ‘Open’ listings generally waste everyone’s time, and will usually only sell or lease through some factor of ‘luck’.  You can’t base your commercial real estate brokerage business on ‘luck’.

How Are Listings for You?

Some agents and brokers will claim that they must list ‘openly’ because ‘that is the way the market is for them’ and the only way they can get new listings.  Whilst I accept that fact initially for those agents that are very new to the industry, I will say that the best agents avoid ‘open listings’.  They grow their profile and market share consistently over time so that the new clients and prospects locally will come to them to list properties for sale and lease.  That is when it is really easy to demand ‘exclusivity’.

If the client really wants the best agent then they must accept the terms of engagement that the agent is offering.  They are then your terms!  Are you ready to package your professionalism and sell it?

Are You the Expert?

If you have a comprehensive and specialised personal brand as a local property ‘expert’, then it stands to reason that people will want to list their property with you rather than some other ‘random’ agent or groups of agents.  Take a serious look at your personal marketing processes.

Taking this point further, your market share and listing conversions of an exclusive nature will largely depend on your ability to establish your brand as the ‘go to agent’ for your location and property speciality.  You can and should invest more time in building your real estate image and speciality.

Here are some rules to help you do that:

  1. Your Listings – Understanding the point that I made earlier about ‘exclusivity’, make the marketing process very special and deep with all of those high quality listings that you are bringing in. It is difficult for other property owners and investors to ignore the activities of any agent with the best properties and the best marketing ideas.
  2. Other Agent Listings – If you are stuck for current listing stock, use other agent’s listings in a location to talk to local property owners and tenants nearby to any listing. Some simple questions and conversations will help you find the next listing in the same street or perhaps a business owner looking to relocate.
  3. High end marketing campaigns – Get some traction with your marketing by seeking and converting vendor paid funds. If your advertising efforts on any quality property are of a higher professional level than that of your competitors, you should be attracting the new business leads and enquiries very easily.
  4. The personal approach – You are the marketer of your business. You sell your services well then people will choose the agent that they trust and believe has the better business and market coverage.  Is that you?

Simple marketing rules like these help you consolidate market share and listings as an agent or broker in commercial real estate.  Follow the rules and grow your real estate business.

You can get more commercial real estate brokerage marketing tips in our ‘Snapshot’ eCourse right here.

6 Ways to Build Your Commercial Real Estate Agency Market Share

In commercial real estate agency, you really do need to understand what is going on in the marketplace and then make some solid choices at a personal level to improve your prospecting and deal activity.  Everything comes down to a personal level and process in our industry.  Success has little to do with the agency that you work for.

Outsiders and new agents to the industry are tempted to think that commissions and listings come easily.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The quality and the growth of your business will come from personal focus and momentum.  The choices that you make on a daily basis, and the actions that you take in prospecting and marketing will drive your business forward.  The agents that struggle in the industry are those that have little or no system when it comes to business generation and market share.

Here are some strategies to help you initiate a business plan as a commercial real estate agent.  Consistency in focus and the actions that you take every day are the keys to getting momentum and traction with your market share.  Here are the ideas to help you:

  1. Understand the condition of the market today in deal activity, competing agents, and future growth.  Look for the opportunities in sales leasing and property management activity.  Understand where you fit when it comes to those three distinct disciplines.
  2. Choose the property type that you understand and can relate to.  That may be in office, industrial, or retail property.  The clients that we work for require specific expertise when it comes to resolving a problem with a quality property.  The marketing and inspection process with any listing is not an experiment.  It requires specific knowledge and expertise to tap into the right target market.
  3. Determine the cycles of the local property market when it comes to leasing and sales turnover.  You can do that by reviewing the history transactions through the region.  In most markets, a commercial or retail investment property will change hands or be upgraded at least once every seven years.  It takes that long for the appropriate capital gain to occur or the client to reach the next stage of portfolio change and growth.  Be sensitive to the cycles, and start prospecting the right people inside their property cycles.
  4. Start prospecting on a daily basis ensuring that you’re talking to new people as well as current contacts.  The whole process should take you about 2 or 3 hours per day every working day.  In a very short period of time you will find some new business opportunity.  When that occurs, keep the prospecting process underway.  That’s how top agents grow market share.
  5. When a competing agent puts a signboard on a property, it is an opportunity for you to talk to the property owners and business proprietors in the immediate and adjacent vicinity.  This then says that the marketing processes of a competing agent give you leverage when it comes to building your market share.  It is a fact that nearby property owners and business proprietors like to compete rather than cooperate with a nearby property sale or lease transaction.
  6. When you list a property, personally market the details of the property to the local region of property investors and business owners.  This involves door knocking and telephone calls.  From this process you will identify other opportunities to work on in the future.  Pay particular attention to the immediate property location and the streets around the subject listing.  Walk the streets and knock on the door’s to introduce yourself and the upcoming listing.  Ask questions and talk to more people; it is amazing how much information you will extract from the market when you do this.

Building your market share in commercial real estate agency is a simple and yet ongoing process.  You should have three or four solid strategies underway such as those above to help you connect with the right people and build the right relationships.

Commercial Real Estate Agent – Property Listing Analysis to Win the Deal

When looking at a commercial property for the first time, it is best to have some form of property analysis report or checklist that can help you cover the required issues relative to the property type and location.  Here are some tips from our Agents Newsletter.

When you analyze all of the local property information correctly, it gives you confidence when it comes to the listing pitch and presentation with the client.  The client wants specific information and needs to know that you have completely reviewed the property and the opportunities that the property presents to the market today. You know the market better than they do.

Know the commercial property trends

Today we find that the industry is under significant change and the trends are more difficult to pick or plan for.  As agents we can understand the market today better than the client.  Most clients in your local area desperately need the assistance of a quality commercial real estate agent to help them with their property liquidation or transition.

Every listing pitch or sales presentation with the client has to be of the highest quality and totally relevant to the subject property in every respect.  Many competing agents will be chasing the same listing with their own version of a marketing approach and the listing strategy.  For this very reason, you need to be at the ‘top of your game’ when it comes to local market information and the listing strategy.

Real Property Analysis

Your thoroughness in the process of property analysis will give the client some significant comfort in considering you as the best agent to list the property.  Here are some more ideas to help you with your comprehensive property and marketing report.

  1. Describe the property and its improvements comprehensively.  That will include the age, history, improvements, services and amenities.  If any risks exist in the current local area, they will need to be factored into your recommendations and report.
  2. Tell the client about the current levels of enquiry that exist for that asset and property type today.  Reference to your database will help the client understand what is really going on in the market today.
  3. You need to show the client that you totally understand the strengths and weaknesses that the property brings to the market today.  The strengths can be fed into your marketing strategies and recommendations.  They will also help you define the target market for the asset.  The weaknesses on the other hand will need to be addressed when it comes to property promotion.
  4. Detail the locational factors that apply to the property and include the details of competing properties that are available in the same location.  Check out all of the competing listings to understand their methods of marketing, and the reasons they may be still on the market today.  If any errors exist in those other listings, you do not need to repeat them when it comes to your client’s asset.
  5. When considering a marketing strategy, price, or rental, the factors of income, expenditure, and property outgoings will have an impact on the levels of enquiry that you will get.  Consider how these financial factors will be merged into your marketing efforts and what impact they may have.
  6. Review all the leases in the property to understand the differences between each lease and the impact that each lease has on the income stream for the asset.  In many respects, the lease profile and tenancy mix within an asset will have greater impact on the potential enquiry and price.  Do some comprehensive research on these factors, before you make your final marketing recommendations to the client.
  7. Vacancies in a property will be of some concern to most prospective property buyers and will have impact on the marketing program.  Similarly some leases or tenants will need to be addressed prior to the commencement of promotion.  Provide the client with a leasing solution for any outstanding vacancies.
  8. The tenancy mix should be reviewed for strengths and weaknesses.  Factors of vacancy may need to be resolved prior to the commencement marketing.  Outstanding matters of negotiation with current tenants may also need to be resolved prior to the commencement of promotion.

All of these factors lead to some solid recommendations of listing, marketing, inspecting, and negotiating.  Let the client see that you really do know how to address the challenges of the current economy, and the challenges of the asset.

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

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?

Beneficial Local Leads and Opportuntities for Commercial Property Agents

If you keep in contact with the local businesses in your area, you can uncover some significant property opportunity for your commercial real estate agency.  The process of contacting businesses is far easier than chasing down the property owners in your region.  A good prospecting model should involve both processes in balance.

It is the local businesses and the decision makers behind those businesses that can tell you what is going on in their region and their street; they can also tell you what they may be looking for in regard to future property activity.  It is easy to find local businesses, and it is easy to make contact with them.  The business telephone book is a valuable asset to grow your database.

Given that the local businesses are essentially the backbone of property occupancy, part of your database should be deliberately constructed for local business networking and the market intelligence that you gather.  Some of those businesses will be tenants, whilst other businesses will be owner occupiers.  Either way, there are property needs and challenges from time to time that they will need help with.

You can approach local business proprietors in two different ways.

  1. You can cold call them as part of your prospecting model on a daily basis.  This process is quite successful and worthwhile merging into your networking program.  Contacting 40 businesses a day is quite easy when you use the business telephone book.
  2. You can personally canvass the business streets and business locations as part of a ‘drop-in’ prospecting activity.  Getting your face in front of business proprietors in this way will help you gather significant market intelligence.

It should also be said that any significant property with multiple tenants will be a good opportunity for new business prospecting.  Many top commercial real estate agents will pick a large CBD building with multiple tenants and work through the list of tenants until they know what every tenant requires by way of occupancy and when their lease expires.  The direct approach works just about every time.

Many business owners and corporations do not have the experience or the expertise when it comes to commercial or retail property investigation and relocation.  For this very reason, they require local market assistance; you can be the source of this very valuable market intelligence.  Special property services may also be required such as tenant advocacy, or buyer’s agent.

Businesses and larger corporations will generally utilize these specialized services with the right agency.  They then become your client and will be paying your commission.  It is perhaps the reverse process to the normal sale or lease transaction, however it is quite productive and rewarding from an agency perspective.  You simply need to change your perspective on the transaction to help the business owner or corporation find the right property locally with the correct improvements.

The way to make this process work is to establish an initial base of contact with the right decision makers in every local business.  Over time, you can reconnect with these people and encourage a meeting at the right time.  Trust and information will help you open the door on future property requirements.  It may take three or four telephone calls every couple of months before you get to the right decision maker with a face to face meeting.

These business owners and business managers will appreciate local market intelligence and feedback when it comes to property rentals, property availability, and property prices.  As a strategy in connecting with these people, you can create a single page brochure that you can leave with them detailing the recent property activity and results.

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 – Incredibly Easy Prospecting Model and Timeline

In commercial real estate, you need a prospecting model if you want to be successful.  It is a very simple message and fact, but very complex task to initiate for some (although it does not need to be so).  The sooner you develop the process, the quicker you will get results in commissions and listings.

In any commercial real estate team, it is easy to see the difference between the agents that regularly prospect and those that don’t.  The difference will be in quality of listing stock, and conversions to closed transactions.

Establish Your Prospecting Process

The prospecting process is unique to you yourself as an individual and property specialist, and your territory with its property types and property investors.  To get your system going, it is necessary to establish some rules relative to the local area and the property types.  First and foremost, you should understand the following factors:

  • Set some boundaries relating to the primary area of focus in your region.  You cannot be an agent for everybody and cover every location.  The commercial property market is just so specialized that the knowledge required across different areas will be difficult to achieve and maintain.  It is better for you to become an area specialist and perhaps even a property specialist within the area.
  • With all of the available property types locally, determine the property types that will be of high demand into the future.  There is no point in you specialising in something that has little activity or reducing market share.
  • Get to know the history of property sales and leasing activity throughout your local region.  The historic trends in property sales, rental returns, business demographics, and population growth will influence the future of your commercial real estate market.  Ensure that your market has the expansion and churn factors that you require for property change over, sales, and rental.  The history of property activity is in fact a timeline.  The time line will show you where the opportunity will arise over coming months and years.

Within any local area, you will find groups of prospects that offer real commercial real estate opportunity on a regular basis.  Getting closer to those groups will help you with further listings and further inquiry.

Most particularly the top priority groups that will feed you with listings include the following:

  1. Franchise business groups seeking new property positions as part of their business model will always be on the lookout for good property locations.  Every franchise group will have unique requirements of property selection and occupancy.  For this very reason, approach them individually and get to know their selection process and terms of acquisition.  When it comes to leasing, they will usually have a standard form of lease to support their franchise business model.  They will also have particular requirements of demographics relative to the local area, the population, and exposure.
  2. Solicitors with clients that have property challenges or needs will need your help.  Whilst solicitors may know how to transact property, they usually need assistance when it comes to liquidating a property or acquiring a new one.  Local market knowledge will help them greatly with this process, and you can be the source of that experience when it comes to the local property market.
  3. Accountants with clients and property investors that require property solutions are a always out there looking for specialised property assistance and local market knowledge.  This is where you can be of high value to them as they work to resolve their client’s property problems.

Every existing property listing is an opportunity to talk to other property owners and business proprietors.  In this way you can expand your market intelligence and relevance as a property specialist.

Checklists for Cold Calling in Commercial Real Estate Agency

When it comes to making cold calls in commercial real estate, you need some form of checklist to help you with progressing the conversation in a relevant way.  Most of the people that you call will have no interest or need when it comes to property sales or property leasing.

However some other people do have a need, and on that basis you should have a questioning process to help you move towards a meeting with these qualified people.  Systemise everything when it comes to a cold calling model in your commercial real estate business.

Here are some rules to help you establish a checklist in the cold calling prospect process.

  1. The best way to get a cold calling system up and running is to start from an initial base of telephone numbers in the business telephone book.  The local businesses will have some relationship to property either as a tenant or as a property owner.  On that basis they become targets for information and ongoing contact.
  2. In most cities and towns, you will have a significant group of local businesses that can be fed into this call contact system.  When you initially approach them it is simply a matter of understanding if they have a need or an interest when it comes to commercial property.  They will be requiring the services of an experienced property agent at some stage in the future.  Your job is to identify if that need is sooner or later.
  3. It is very hard to pitch your services across the telephone.  It is far more effective to strike a conversation, arrange a meeting and establish the personal contact.  Commercial real estate is quite complex when it comes to leasing sales and property management.  On that basis, your priority in making calls should always be to establish a meeting first and foremost.
  4. As part of the call contact process, ensure that you have a good database to use in capturing the information identified and found.  That database should categorise people into suspects, prospects, and clients.  It should also categorise people into business owners, property owners, tenants, and property developers.  Take control of your information with these categories.

The checklist process in making direct calls to businesses and property related people should have due regard to your local area.  There are certain things in your local area that will be important to property owners and business proprietors.  Here are some ideas that can be added to your contacting system and questioning process:

  • Are they a tenant in the location?
  • Do they own the property for the business?
  • Are they aware of other property changes locally?
  • Do they have needs of expansion or contraction for the business?
  • Is relocation something that would help them?
  • When do they consider property change?

All of this information will help you with the valuable market intelligence that you require.  Over time your database can become a significant point of difference and advantage in building your commercial real estate market share.