Every marketing campaign today in commercial real estate should be carefully considered to help attract the right level of qualified enquiry for each property listed for sale or lease. With limited enquiry from some property types and in some locations, the enquiry that comes in off any advertising or marketing effort is really special and should be optimised into your database and ongoing contact system.
As a general rule, marketing campaigns in commercial real estate should be vendor funded. All exclusive property listings should feature a vendor funded marketing campaign of reasonable flexibility. In this way you will collect better enquiry from all quality properties that are taken to the market.
The simple fact of the property market today is that you cannot easily build your profile as an ‘expert’ off the back of low profile property marketing; think ‘big’ and promote ‘big’ (that is why you need vendor funds for the campaigns).
The top agents of the property market make sure that the local prospects and business leaders know that they are out there and available to help. Every quality property is to be promoted heavily into the local area; that is the zone or precinct that will produce further listings for you at some stage in the future. Quality marketing campaigns are noted by others and will help you build your relevance as the property expert that you are (or want to be). There is no glory in being the ‘secret agent’ of your city or town. Get your profile out at every opportunity on every quality listing marketing campaign.
Enquiry base and database
Top agents work their enquiry base extensively into the future. Any buyers or tenants that missed out on a listing, or that inspected a listing that was not suitable, should be contacted regularly into the future to ensure that any other similar property that arises can be communicated to them.
Keep the ‘doors open’ when it comes to prospects and business leaders in the local area. Systematic prospecting will help you there.
Here are some rules that can be applied with any property that is taken to the market for sale or lease:
- The campaign should be set for a period of time, and that can be 6 to 8 weeks in most cases. During that time you can reach the target audience and track the results that you get. If enquiry is slow or not reaching the targets that you expect, it pays to adjust the campaign quickly; the process of ‘test and measure’ is really important when it comes to property marketing today. Track your enquiry results.
- Look for the methods of marketing that appear to be working more than others today in your area. That says that all enquiries that come in to your office should be sourced back to the place where the person saw the property advertised or the details of such. When you ask the right questions you will get facts that can help you with other properties.
- Every property should be marketed extensively at a local level. When it comes to businesses and property investors, they tend to buy and rent the property that they understand and that is usually a property that is located in the local area.
- Competing properties will always be a factor to consider in any marketing campaign. Get details of all properties in the same location or of the same property type that could compete with your listing. It may be that your campaign has to be adjusted to suit the pressures applied by these other properties.
- Every person that you talk to and every property inspection that you take across a listed property will help you understand just what people are looking for and when they want it. These factors or requirements can change seasonally so be aware of the property enquiry situation today and how it is adjusting throughout the year. Most ‘commercial real estate marketing years’ are just 10 months in duration; the rest of the year is downtime with holidays and seasonal changes. You have 10 months each year to make your listing and commission quota; all the more reason to focus all of your efforts when the business is ‘on’.
What level of enquiry is coming in at the moment for leasing and for sales situations with your listings? What are those people looking for? How much time does it take to convert the average quality listing to an inspection and a successful transaction? Key questions like this will help you with the tuning of the advertising campaign.
Top agents are usually great marketers of commercial and retail property. They get the message out. You can do that as well; make the effort to be the best in marketing of all property listings. Take the steps to improve all of your market campaigns today. In the long run that will help you improve market share and commissions. Your quality listings will give you real profile as a top agent with a dominant market share.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
In commercial real estate, the listings of other agencies will always be an opportunity for you for future business. Whilst it is always nice to create fresh new listing business yourself as part of your prospecting model, the other agents listings should be watched for the opportunity that they create.
Those other listings will give you not only local knowledge relating to market conditions, but also real opportunity to convert other listings around them.
Where are you today?
Before discussing this matter further, it should be said that your market share today should be identified and quantified. This will mean a regular ongoing tally of listings on an agency and salesperson basis through the local area both in property sales, and property leasing.
The best way to achieve these numbers will be through monitoring signboard counts, Internet listings, and newspaper advertisements. It is fundamentally important to understand where you are today before you can determine how to improve your market share. Is also important to understand who those competing agents are that may dominate the market today and why they do so.
The other listings
The other agents listings locally will offer some leverage and opportunity to you as part of market churn, and new business. Here are some ideas to help with that:
- Expired property listings that have been neglected by other agencies over the marketing time, will be listing opportunities for you today. In many cases, the property owners of expired property listings will be frustrated and therefore highly motivated to choose another agency and fresh marketing strategy. That being said, any new listing achieved with these property owners should be taken on a basis of modified price, modified rental, or changed marketing. There is no point in repeating any marketing errors that were unsuccessful with the earlier appointed agent.
- Every existing a property listing with another agency is an excuse for you to talk to the surrounding property owners near the particular listed property. A property that is available for sale or for lease is usually a catalyst for change in any other properties nearby. If any local business owners or property investors are thinking of selling or leasing, the best time to do so would be coinciding with nearby properties marketed with other agencies. The process of competition will help you convince those business owners or property investors to list and market their property today.
- Time on market will be a factor that relates to both sales and leasing. Some properties will take longer to shift than others. There will be reasons behind the delay in achieving a successful transaction with any property. In some cases, the reasons may be regional, or maybe even attributable to the particular listing agent. Interpretation and observation is really important to help you get on top of the market trends. You can talk about time on market and levels of enquiry locally to help convert more listings your way.
- Methods of marketing will vary from property to property and location to location. Importantly, the best method of marketing should be chosen for the particular property type and the prevailing market conditions. When you observe the other agents listings, you can see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to marketing. This information can be leverage for you when it comes to your sales presentations and pitching for further listings.
- There is a distinct cycle of property change that relates to commercial property sales and leasing. Whilst this may vary on a location basis, you can usually pick the cycle averages from previous sales and previous leasing regionally. For this reason, you should go back in history looking at all the property sales and property leasing activity with all the other agencies. Commercial and retail property sales usually happen about every 5 to 7 years. At around about that time the property owner is either looking for property change or expansion of their property portfolio. Over that period of 5 to 7 years, there will usually be sufficient capital gain for a successful property change or property acquisition. The same timing factor can be said regards leasing activity although for different reasons. Many commercial and retail leases are timed to initial terms of 3 to 7 years. The tenant and or the landlord in any lease are likely to be looking for property assistance as part of that lease cycle timing.
There is no doubt that significant opportunity exists for you today in monitoring the activities and listings of your competing agents. That being said, it is not the only thing that you should do as part of your prospecting model, although it will help you significantly if approached in the correct way.