In retail shopping centre leasing, every tenant shop and every property vacancy should be leased to a plan. That plan is your tenant mix strategy. All good retail properties and shopping centres all have a base plan of this nature. They know what tenant they want in what location, and over the years they shape the property performance and rental return in this way. It is called tenant optimisation and forms part of the ‘tenant retention plan’ for the property.
The tenant mix plan should be part of the retail property business plan and that should be updated annually. Plans of this nature help you steer the property performance for the landlord. A plan of this type is even more important today as some retailers suffer the pressures of the internet and a shift in sales to online.
A good tenant mix formula for a retail property will involve a number of key factors that underpin the landlords leasing decisions. Here are some tips to help you structure a good tenant plan for your retail property today.
- Understand your base property and its position in the eyes of the existing customers. Why do they come to the property today? What would they like to see changed in the property and why? How often do they come to the property now and on what days of the week? Questions like this will help you formulate a leasing plan.
- Shoppers want convenience and a correct retail offering to suit their buying needs. Convenience means many things when it comes to a retail property however one thing that is high on the agenda for most shopping centres is the car park. Shoppers need to feel safe and comfortable in using the car park. It is perhaps the one main thing that can influence future sales and trade for the tenants. Make your car park easy to use and access. That will include the entrance and exit points to and from the car park and into the surrounding main roads.
- You are likely to have an anchor tenant in your property. Perhaps you have more than one anchor tenant. Stay close to these tenants as they will have a good feel for customer buying patterns and current levels of sales. They will bring customers to the property, and they should help the trading levels of the specialty tenants in the property.
- Look at your entrance ways to the property and the shopping mall. What tenants do you have at the entrance ways and are they the right tenants for those locations? Generally speaking you should have smaller tenants at the entrances to create impulse buying.
- Some entrances to the property will be more active than others. Look at the relationships to public transport drop off points and taxis outside those entrance ways. The entrance points to the property create customer movement patterns and places where people will congregate.
- Ensure that the common areas in the property provide comfort and satisfy the needs of the customers and shoppers. Do everything you can to get the customer to spend longer times in the property for shopping and browsing.
To review your property tenant mix, you really should adjust your vision to that of the customer. Take a trip to the property at various times of the week and experience the retail shopping centre from the customer perspective.
Make notes of the things that you see and how the property functions for the tenants and the customers on each day of the week. What are the pressure times when it comes to property use and shopper visits?
In commercial real estate you should be telephoning lots of people every day. The cold calling process is the way to do that. In a way, your success in cold calling is a numbers game. You track your numbers and in that way you will know what is working for you and what is not. So what numbers should you track?
You track the numbers that can tell you how you are progressing. One secret in the whole process is to make calls at the same time every day. Over time you will know if that is the best time to find the people that you need to talk to. If it is not the right time frame, then you shift your call time slot to make things work. Systems are really important when it comes to getting your prospecting model to work for you.
Here are some of the main numbers that are really important to getting momentum in the commercial real estate prospecting process.
- The numbers of outbound calls to new people are the base to work with and from. At least 50% of your outbound calls should be to new people that you have not spoken with before. In that way you will build some momentum of new business growth.
- After some time you will have a list of people that you must call back because in the last conversation they indicated that they had a future interest in what you wanted to talk about. So the balance of your call time each day (the other 50%) should be devoted to follow-up calls with previous contacts.
- In 2 hours of call contact you should be making 50 outbound calls. In that time you will not get through to all those people, but you should get through to at least 15 to 20.
- Call results should be recorded in a database when you find people of relevance. Do not waste time in capturing unnecessary information. Only enter the information that can be something for you.
- Of the people that you talk to some will move to meetings with you. As you gain skill and momentum in cold calling, you should be getting 2 meetings per day from your call contacts.
- From the meetings that you have every week with these people, at least one transaction or listing should occur.
- When you have established a relationship and a listing from the call contact process, it is a matter of tracking the time on market for the listings and the conversions to sales or leases as the case may be.
So I go back to my point, when you track the numbers you will know how you are improving, and that is what commercial real estate prospecting is all about. Good hunting!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.