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.

No Brainer Top Marketing Tips in Commercial Real Estate Agency

In this commercial property market, you really do need to market yourself comprehensively and consistently to the clients and prospects that you deal with.  Your competitors will be doing everything possible to undermine your listings, attract your clients, and interfere with your leads and opportunities.  It’s a tough industry, but it is also very rewarding for those agents that can systemize their actions and keep up their focus.

What’s New?

There is nothing new here of course when I say that it’s a tough business world today; our industry is competitive.  Before everything else in commercial real estate, you must be a good marketer of your skills and services.  Every day you should be reaching into your database of contacts to consolidate your brand even further.

Here are some tips to help you consolidate your personal marketing plan as a top commercial real estate agent.

  1. From a marketing perspective, you will always get more leads and opportunities from quality listings.  This then says that most of your listing efforts should be directed towards properties of quality and desirability.  If you list low grade properties, you will attract low grade enquiry.  Get to know the right people with the best properties locally, and network them regularly.
  2. Each listing that you take on should be a controlled listing.  This means that your listings should be ‘exclusive’ by nature.  You should have control of those listings for a reasonable period of time.  Avoid open listings unless you really believe you can find the right person to take the property on.  Open listings are generally a waste of time given that you have no control over the stock.  In the open listing scenario, the clients are always listening to many agents at the same time and are therefore quite untrustworthy.
  3. Every quality controlled listing should be supported by a dedicated marketing program and vendor paid marketing funds.  This then goes back to the point and the importance of exclusive listings.  The equation is quite simple.  When you control the stock, you control the enquiry, and therefore you can close on more successful transactions.
  4. A successful sales or lease transaction should be communicated into the local business community and the surrounding property owners.  Any success that you have with a listed property is an excuse to spread the word of the positive result.  Be known as the local real estate agent of success and results.  Spread the message of your success locally.  Most of your leads and opportunities will come from the local property market exclusively.
  5. Every quality listing and exclusive listing should be personally marketed into the surrounding property owners and business community.  This means lifting the telephone to talk to the right people, and door knocking the streets surrounding the listed property.  Use every listing as an excuse to talk to more people.

In this property market today, there is an abundance of stock and a shortfall of qualified enquiries.  Some buyers and tenants cannot act in a market like this today.  For this very reason, every listing that you bring into your books should be optimized for maximum enquiry and market penetration.  Use that quality listing to get the message to the market.

You can get more tips like this in our Newsletter right here.

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 – 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.

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.

Jet Powered Cold Calling Tips for Commercial Real Estate Agents Today

When you work in commercial real estate, you really do need a top prospecting model to help you grab market share.  The faster that you do this the better it will be for your career.

The most successful top agents, still prospect every day to keep the pipeline of opportunity pointed in their direction.  If you are struggling with listings, now is the time to look at your prospecting system and refine it to something that is strong, and results driven.

I like to think of prospecting and cold calling as a ‘jet powered’ process.  It is a bit like preparing for an overseas trip on a large airliner.  You do all of the preparation work, you then turn up at the airport; you take your seat on the plane and then prepare for the ‘push in your back’.  The engines build to maximum thrust and then you power down the runway.

The analogy really works when you look at commercial real estate sales and leasing.  The preparation work has to be done; without that preparation you will not take off, it’s that simple.

Some agents are still sitting on the ‘runway’ when it comes time to turn on the ‘engines’, and some have returned to the terminal.  Perhaps they have thought that a more local destination may be more realistic in a taxi!  Perhaps they decide to walk home!

In this industry you get back that which you put in.  The results and the market share are out there to be grabbed by those salespeople that ‘push’ themselves.  Develop that ‘thrust’ when it comes to moving forward.

Experience says that prospecting will take you forward in a major way in commercial real estate.  Every salesperson in any location should have a prospecting model that works for them.  It will be a combination of a few different things that they do quite successfully every day.

Here are some tips to help your prospecting model:

  1. Devote 2 hours each day to prospecting.  In the first instance this can be done on the telephone as part of a systemised cold calling process.  The calls produce the meetings and that’s the way to make it all happen.
  2. Make your prospecting a daily event that you track in numbers of calls out, meetings, listings, and inspections.  Every number that you track will help you move ahead.
  3. Expect that some of the things that you do will be ‘dead ends’, and that is just fine.  Learn from the things that did not work for you and find those things that do work for you.  Importantly you should be taking forward steps every day.

If you need more listings or you want some more commissions, now is the time to look at your business and prospecting model.  If you are not getting your ‘fair share’, then the answer lies ‘within.  When you adjust your systems and processes you will find better outcomes are possible.

Commercial Real Estate Prospecting – Tips for Commercial Agents

When it comes to commercial real estate agency as a career, the only thing that really matters in your business model is your prospect list.  The more comprehensive and relevant your personal prospect list, the better the opportunities you will have as a real estate agent.  Opportunities are many things to many salespeople however in commercial property sales and leasing, the list of opportunities are something like this:

  • More business owners seeking to relocate or expand premises
  • More tenants looking to leave their current premises
  • Buyers seeking to purchase new property in your area
  • More property owners wanting to invest
  • More investors seeking to change their property ownership or portfolio
  • More owner occupiers seeking to start business in a new location

Many agents ask me as to how many prospects they should have.  Whilst the answer is relevant to your market and property speciality, generally the answer is in excess of 300 prospects.  Ideally the number should be 600.   These people are prospects that you can relate to and will take your call.  They know you as a property expert and recognise that you are a local property expert.

Do you tick these boxes?  Do these prospect list criteria fit your current database and prospecting system?  If not, you have some work to do.

There are only two ways to build a prospect list fast.  That is by making cold calls every day and then by getting out into your territory to meet property owners and occupiers.  As simple as these issues seem, they take a lot of personal work and consistency.  Many salespeople do not do either of these things very well; that is simply because they get distracted or prefer to do other things.

So this then opens the door for the agents and salespeople that have the discipline to make the calls and meet the people.  Add to this a great database system and you have the permanent solution for building your real estate business.

In saying that you need a database, far too many salespeople spend a large amount of time on selecting the right database program or software.  The facts indicate that you do not need a complex database or system.  You need something simple that you can use easily each and every day.

Importantly your first database should be simple enough to transport and export data from.  When you get to the day where you want to move your database to a special program that you have just purchased, the ability to export data will be critical.  So many agents have been frustrated by this very fact.  When you start your database system, make sure that the program lets you export your data in some common format to other programs.  When in doubt seek expert help.