When it comes to building your business as a commercial real estate agent, you will frequently be pitching and presenting for property listings against other agents in your local area. Most property owners will seek presentations from four or five agencies as part of the preparation for listing their property. In most cases, you will only have a short opportunity to connect with the property owner and present your strategies of marketing, selling and or leasing.
This then says that the presentation and pitch process that you utilize with your listings is really important. Many agents tend to provide discounts as part of the enticement process for attracting the new listing. Whilst this may seem somewhat sensible to attract the business, the reality is that any short cuts and discounts will have an impact on your marketing program and your income. It should also be said that discounting commission is not a sensible idea in this property market when hard work it required to convert the average deal and get it across the line.
Here are some tips to help your sales pitch and presentation process in commercial real estate agency.
- Be prepared to show the client some real and valuable points of difference in your service. Most agents use only generic comments such as good staff, knowledge, market share, and duration in the market. When it comes to pitching and presenting, these generic comments have little value in converting the listing. Your points of difference need to be real and specific to the needs of the client. This then says that any presentational process should be well planned and optimized for the property and client in question.
- Visit the property before hand, and take approximately 50 photographs of the property and the surrounding area. These photographs can be used digitally on a laptop computer or iPad as part of the property presentation. It is surprising how powerful a simple running photo-slide show of random photographs can be in a property presentation. The client will always show interest in their property and that is what the photographs relate to. Forget about using anything else on the computer, the client will only relate to their property and that is why you use property photographs.
- The best property presentation is a conversation or connection with the client on a number of levels. It is best to bring together all of the senses as part of the property presentation. That will mean visual, sound, and touch. To achieve this, you have your laptop computer loaded with property images, you have your verbal presentation with points of difference, and you have a property proposal to provide to the client for review (keep it short and to the point).
- Engagement is really important when it comes to the sales pitch or presentation. Engagement means connection and conversation. The top agents of the industry know how to engage and converse in a meaningful way. Local property knowledge and market trends will help you do this. Tell the client what the inquiry is doing, and what people are looking for. Demand an exclusive listing; do not take an open listing on the clients terms.
- Every property listing will involve both a strategy, and a marketing campaign. Both of these should be specifically designed for the subject property and quite unique given the trends of the local property market. In this way you can help the client see how you will attract the correct levels of inquiry from the selected target market. When the client believes that you are the best solution for their property challenge, it will be easier to convert the listing on an exclusive basis.
Over time you can improve your presentational processes through practice and the development of specific marketing tools. On average, the top agents of the industry tend to win more listings per property presentation. They do it because they can connect to the client more professionally than the competitors. It is a simple process, however it does require practice.
In commercial and retail property, a top leasing agent will make a lot of commissions. That is because they specialise. They know the local businesses that are looking to move over the coming years and they work towards putting the right deals together.
In reality, landlords need the top leasing agents to help them that really understand the local area. Those top agents will have their market covered in a comprehensive database of tenant movement, lease strategies, rent alternatives, and marketing ideas. Finding the right tenant for the right property is a real skill.
Landlords do not need an agent that just knows how to lease. Anyone can put a sign on a property and list it on the internet. When you are a ‘top agent’ you will have the market coming to you because of that intense and relevant market knowledge. You will also know who are soon to be moving and for what reason. Market intelligence is invaluable in our market today as businesses change location and seek better leasing deals.
These are the skills and knowledge factors of a top leasing agent today:
- They have a comprehensive awareness of what all the local tenants are doing in their current leases. They know when those leases will expire and will work towards helping those tenants in the last year of their lease to find something of better value or relevance to the business.
- They know where the successful businesses are that will need property change. They look for tenants in pressured occupation. Expansion or contraction factors are major triggers when it comes to property leasing.
- Top agents know the landlords of the area and the best properties that create the major interest. When you can relate to those properties and the existing tenant mix, you will soon see property change and opportunity in each.
- Rentals will change from property to property and location to location. To a great degree, the rentals in any location are driven by the rate of tenant enquiry and the supply and demand for leasing space. As part of that equation it is wise to keep a close eye on the upcoming property developments in the local area. It takes about 2 years from approval to completion when it comes to getting a new investment property established. That being said, the property developer will be offering some very real incentives to attract tenants even before the property comes out of the ground.
- Lease terms and conditions are sometimes standard to a property or landlord, but they will also be influenced by the rate and type of local property enquiry. A lease that is offered for a vacant space should be matched to the prevailing market conditions and current lease enquiry. You may need to create incentives to attract that lease enquiry.
- Franchise tenants are a good source of lease enquiry. Top agents work the franchise groups to find the right properties that suit them. Those franchise groups will have a priority in location and lease terms. Get to know what the franchise groups want.
To be the best leasing agent, you can dominate your market when you know what the tenants, the landlords, and the properties are doing. Isn’t that what we should do anyway?
When you have a vacancy or a pending vacancy in a commercial or retail property, you need to target the right tenant to fill that vacancy. This then suggests that not all tenants will be suitable for a given property, and that observation is correct and real.
Commercial property agents should know exactly what the right tenant would be for a given vacant area in any property; and then they should know how to find that targeted tenant. Top agents do this all the time. These top agents are in touch with the movements in the local area and business community.
- How much do you know about the local business community and its leasing pressures and leasing future?
- Do you know what tenants are looking for today when it comes to new property movements and where they are moving to?
- Are you in touch with lots of tenants as part of the prospecting model that you use?
So what does an ‘ideal tenant’ look like in your property location? To a degree the question is answered with the following factors in mind:
- The needs of the local business community
- The prevailing tenant mix
- Business sentiment and volatility
- Supply and demand for new and older lettable space
- The growth of the surrounding population
- The business base and profile of the local area
In any investment property location and area, there will be ‘seasons’ and ‘peaks’ of property enquiry in any given year. In most ‘years’ the leasing market is active for just 10 months, allowing for seasonal holidays, climatic conditions, and property availability. For this very reason it pays to work well in advance with known property vacancies and leasing requirements.
An ‘ideal tenant’ will vary from property to property but many of the following factors could be on the list of ‘tenant requirements’ from a landlord perspective.
- A stable business that brings brand and identity to the property
- A tenant that integrates into the property existing tenant mix well
- Lease terms and conditions that strengthen the property rental income over the lease term
- A solid and secure market rental that underpins the value of the property for the landlord
- Tenancy design and layout that gives a good image to the property
Does such a tenant exist? Yes is the basic answer, and to find them you should make contact with all of the businesses in the local area on a regular basis. Over time you will find the good tenants, and those that want to move to other quality properties. Most businesses stay within the same general location when they relocate, so they can take their customer base from property to property.