It is very easy in commercial property management to forget about performance standards as part of serving the clients that you work for. In any working week, the activities of the day can get away from you and the job just ‘gets done’. Any standards that you are working towards can easily be forgotten.
It is the larger and more sophisticated property owners that require careful attention and for that reason, performance standards are really important. You have to track the processes and systems that you provide for all owners; some of them will have special procedures and standards that must be respected.
It is up to the property manager to understand the property and the client in ways that allow them to provide the performance and portfolio outcomes required. If the client is not happy then the property will suffer and the income will slide. It is for this very reason that the top management agencies have well qualified people employed in the property management division.
Top property managers cost money from an employment perspective; however they should be attracting and managing the best properties in the local area as part of their employment. Each managed property should be charged a reasonable fee for service. If you skimp on fees, then you skimp on people, and that is a ‘downward slope’ when it comes to servicing demanding and specialised property management clients. Over time you will lose these clients if they are not well catered for.
Here are some benchmarks that should apply to performance standards in commercial and retail property management today. A property manager and management agency should be judged on these things quarterly and annually.
- Vacancy rates in the property will be of concern to the property owner. Track the vacancies and make every effort to remove them with a well-constructed lease.
- Tenant management and relations can improve a property and its performance. The property manager should be connecting will all tenants regularly to ensure that any problems are well responded to and actioned in keeping with the landlord’s requirements or instructions.
- Income control will help the landlord in many different ways. Keep on top of income collection and arrears management.
- Expenditure management is quite important throughout the property financial year. For this very reason it pays to have a budget that was set with the approval of the landlord. During the year the property can be tracked to the timed budget and any shifts in performance can be responded to early.
- Business planning will help the property in many different ways. Creating a business plan for the property at the start of the year is very wise when it comes to complex tenant retention and lease management. The plan can remove any unexpected events.
- Lease management will always be a key component of your property management service. As part of that process, seek to minimise the threat of vacancies by implementing your tenant retention plan efficiently and directly with the landlord.
- Monthly reports and landlord communication will help the property service remain on track. All monthly events and outcomes should be incorporated into the report as a tracking tool for issues and property control.
A property manager and the agency should be judged on these issues. You can add to the list as your location or property type demands. These factors become the performance standards by which your property management service can be judged.
In commercial real estate, it is frequently necessary to create and submit proposals for the sale and lease of properties. Every property owner or potential client will have special needs and conditions to feed into the proposal structure. That being said, the proposal to sell or lease a commercial property should be quite specific and not generic.
Generic proposals are no more than an advertising document. They rarely win the business. Clients and property owners today require proposals that are quite specific to the trends of the current market and the needs of the particular property. Your competitors will be on the mark to attract the business, so your proposal must be very good in all respects.
Top commercial agents prepare proposals that are unique and special when it comes to resolving the particular property challenge of the client. Here are some tips to help the process.
- At the front of every proposal document, there should be an executive summary that clearly brings all the critical elements together in one short page of dot points. Simplicity is the key to converting any proposal to a successful transaction or listing appointment.
- In most cases, a proposal to sell or lease a commercial or retail property should be relatively short and specific. Bulky documents are to be discouraged. In the case of ordinary properties, most proposals will only need to be about 15 to 20 pages in length. That being said, it is interesting to note that many agents will create bulky documents of double that size simply to talk about generic property trends and their relevance as a local agent. The key to winning any proposal is to be specific in what you say and give solutions based with clear recommendations. At every opportunity, talk about the property and the solutions that are available.
- The proposal should specifically talk to the local property market today and the trends that are clear and apparent. Tell the client how those trends will have impact on the property marketing process and negotiation. This will have significant benefit at a later time when any potential prospect has been identified and commences negotiation on the property.
- In every proposal document, it is wise to clearly restate the client’s requirements of sale or lease so that any misunderstandings are removed from the presentation or pitch. This then aligns the agent to the intentions of the client and the requirements of the property. Clarity is important.
- The target market for the property should be defined and quantified. That target market will be the focus of the marketing campaign to be described in the document. The particular target market should be summarised in both the levels of current enquiry and types of enquiry. The particular property will have property improvements that may suit the marketing campaign and the target market. Those improvements should be featured as part of the marketing campaign.
- The marketing campaign that is documented in the proposal should have two or three alternatives and budgets. That will allow the client to formulate a decision based on expenditure and the recommendations of the agent. Invariably when the client has a choice regards marketing costs, they will usually choose the middle ground in each case.
- Every proposal to sell or lease a commercial or retail property should have a fee base that is competitive but not discounted. When it comes to selling or leasing commercial property, fees should be one of the last considerations when it comes to choice of agency. An experienced and qualified agent will add far more value to the sale or lease process than any discount that is offered as part of the proposal or sales pitch process. Top agents sell their skills and relevance as specialists to solve the concerns of the client. When this is done well, the requirements for any discount are well forgotten by the client.
- In some respects, and with certain large or special properties, it will be necessary to clearly define the experience of selected staff in the marketing of the property. This becomes quite important when you consider marketing larger and complex investment properties. Top agents have more experience and will usually feed that experience into every proposal document.
- As part of every proposal, it is wise to give the client some graphical display relating to the time line of sale or lease. There are many stages to move through before the property will achieve a successful outcome. Many clients do not understand those stages and the importance of them. When undertaken correctly, this graph or graphical display can show the client the clear relevance of your people and your agency in solving of the property pain.
So these are some of the main items that can apply in the creation of a proposal to sell or lease a commercial or retail property. You can add to these items based on locational factors and particular important issues attributable to the property.
A sales pitch in commercial real estate can be a challenging process especially when you are up against other agents competing for the same property when the market is saturated with listings or agents. You do not know what the competitors are doing or saying and how they will pitch for the listing.
The best way to do a commercial real estate presentation is to start from a base of information about the clients need as you see it, and then ask questions to get their opinion on key issues. In this way you have their attention and you can show them that you really do know what they need or what the market can do for them.
Here are some other ideas to feed into your sales pitch:
- Questions create momentum in your presentation. For this reason it pays to consider and prepare for the right questions that will have real relevance to the presentation. You could include in those questions what the client has done with the property over recent time and what their intentions may be to move ahead with it now. Ask them about their biggest challenge now in moving the property, and what they see as the best outcome. From this information you can open up the discussion about the local market and current levels of enquiry.
- Local market knowledge will give you confidence to move through challenges that may be presented to you by the client. In most cases the client will not know much about the current market and the results that have been coming out of it.
- Understand the customer and their current property problem. Let them see that you relate to their concerns and show them how you will move matters forward. Your pitch is not really about you and your skills; it is about them and their property pain. Identify the pain and then provide the relief with real strategy.
- Hone your critical skills and practice them regularly. If you have any weaknesses, deal with them in role play and personal improvement. Sometimes your greatest weakness as a salesperson is the only thing that is holding you back from a great leap forward in your business and market share.
- Do not close or negotiate too early in the pitch process. Far too many sales people do this. It sends the wrong message to the client. Desperation does not do well in a sales presentation today.
- Use the right resources and have them available at your fingertips. There is nothing worse that pitching for a listing and not having all of the right tools to take you forward.
Follow up all presentations professionally and efficiently. Some clients will not make a choice on agent for a few days. Make sure they see your professionalism in winning and losing a presentation. Brand yourself as the best agent in a professional way.