As commercial property agents, we cannot manage time but we can manage ourselves. When it comes to succeeding in the industry, you really do need a solid system of control when it comes to your business day. When you get this right, you will drive better business for yourself in any market.
If you think any local property market decline is removing your market share and not giving you leads, take a look at what you are doing on a daily basis when it comes to networking and prospecting. Top agents prospect every day and in any market, and they do it well. Top agents do not suffer the same pressures as ordinary agents and the reason for that is their prospecting model and database.
Systems will take you forward, and will help you connect with the right people in the right way. It all comes down to what you do with your time each and every day. Many agents struggle with the pressures of the day and the market. They have no system to ‘stick to’ and consequently cannot improve their market share. Without consistent market share, your listing leads will decline as will your commission.
So if this sounds like you may I suggest that a solid ‘dose’ of prospecting will help get you back on track? To get things going, here are some ideas.
- Review your market to see what is active and what is slow when it comes to property types and locations. Look at all the listings on the market now and determine what marketing and agency strategies are applied in each case. You will soon see that ordinary marketing does not produce results when the property market is sluggish and tougher. Direct personal market is far more effective when general advertising and market fails.
- Let’s set some rules for direct marketing. Focus on getting out of your office for at least two thirds of the day. The other third of the day can be spent in the office with cold calls. Paper work can happen after hours. Similarly you can talk to clients at the end of the day when you have more time. Property inspections occur in the afternoon on most days as required. Prospecting occurs in the mornings. As you can see, this is a routine. Perhaps you can design a variation of this to help you in your market; importantly however, the system that you create must give you a solid focus on prospecting outside of the office.
- Keep in contact will all previously established leads and prospects, however make sure that you are adding new ones every day. That is why cold calling is so important to your business model.
Top agents get frustrated when people impose on their time and waste it; generally they will not let others destroy their focus and momentum when it comes to a daily plan of action. You should be the same and protect your business time in all cases and situations. Devote time to the things that are really important. This will help you consolidate your listings and new business leads.
Retail leasing is a special part of the property industry. With the right knowledge and skills it can offer you as an agent, real opportunity in listings and commissions. Even in the tougher times when retail trade is under some pressure, good commissions are still to be had by retail leasing specialists.
The fact of the matter is that retail leasing is so specialised that only some agents have the knowledge or the focus to do it well. Shopping centres do not disappear when retail shopping is under pressure; they just change the tenant mix and market their tenant offering more specifically and aggressively.
So what can you do to lift your focus and become a good retail leasing expert? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Research all of the shopping centres in your region. Assess each property with due regard for age, customer type, tenant mix, market rental, and vacancy factors. You will soon see some standards and trends that apply to a successful retail property.
- Local business owners will be a very good source of opportunity and leads. Talk to all the retail tenants in other properties to see what they are doing by way of opportunity and how they view the current retail trading conditions. Some of those business owners will be looking to relocate or expand premises.
- Review the standards that apply to the tenant mix in all the local shopping centres. You will soon see the successful tenants in the mix standing out for unique offering and marketing. It is those tenants that will thrive in most economic cycles. Talk to those tenants about current retail trade and what they may be looking for by way of a new business location.
- Get to know the principles of ‘clustering’ as they apply to retail shopping centre tenant mix and strategy. Well designed retail tenant ‘clusters’ are a part of a tenant retention plan and tenant mix strategy in any shopping centre.
- Rent types will change from property type to property type and location to location. Get to know the trends of market rentals that apply to retail properties through your region and compare those rents across different properties. As part of that process, include factors of outgoing and tenant operating costs in retail shopping centres. You will soon see how tenants must trade to be successful.
- Marketing trends in a shopping centre are both at a tenant level and also at a shopping centre level. The retail message has to be consistently spread around the shopping community and region. Look at the marketing efforts that apply to retail tenants and shopping centres. Good marketing will help the profile and trade of any shopping centre.
- Incentives will shift and change for new tenants in retail premises. Any new development project will offer new and high incentives to attract tenants to their premises. Monitor the retail developments coming up in your region.
- Retail shopping centre owners and shopping centre managers will need the assistance of a retail leasing expert from time to time. It is important to know that these people know what a retail property is all about and they will expect the same from the leasing people that help them with any upcoming vacancies. Make sure you know your facts, market, and tenant mix before you talk to these people.
- Franchise groups will move around the retail properties and region. Get to know the retail franchise groups for the lease needs they may have. As part of that process you will need to know their standard terms of occupancy and property requirements.
Retail leasing is a very special part of the property industry. For those of us that want to specialise in retail, the rewards are many.
When it comes to your career in commercial real estate, nothing will fast track your results faster than a good prospecting model. This then says that a prospecting model should be established into your daily business activities.
Prospecting for new business is quite a specific task and very specialized. It should be regarded as something that requires practice and directed effort. It takes about 2 or 3 hours each and every day to develop a good solid prospecting model.
This should also say that prospecting should be undertaken before anything else is done within the commercial real estate office. If all salespeople within a commercial real estate agency did this, the volume of listings and the quality of enquiry would be far higher in just about all cases. That will make the market share for the office more significant.
Quality listings and quality properties produce good enquiry. It’s in tougher markets like this that we have today that we need a solid enquiry base coming from qualified prospects. This is where your database will become highly important as part of your business activities.
Here are some ideas to help you with your prospecting activities and system.
- Determine a specific territory of prospecting. That will contain the necessary numbers of properties and businesses that will produce the required commission that you want. Make sure that the historic activity in the area has been significant and will remain so into the known future.
- Get to know all the local property owners of significant and important properties in your territory. It does take time to identify property ownership structures and particular property owners; that being said, it still needs to be done and should be merged into your prospecting model. Tackling property owner at a time is a good strategy to adopt in growing this market share as part of your prospecting system.
- The local businesses and business community will provide a significant volume of enquiry for you. They will tell you so much about the local area and also of their property requirements. In many cases they may own the property in which they are located. They could also be tenants and on that basis they will require further leasing assistance at a later time. Currently they may provide you with details of the landlord for any direct enquiry and networking.
- Go through the old sales records in your local region. On average, most commercial and retail property will change hands in every 5 to 7 years. That being said, the cycle can be a good source of future listing opportunity. You simply need to identify the right people who have purchased or sold commercial real estate about four or five years ago. They will again be entering the property industry in some way or form quite soon.
- Older lease transactions may still be current with business tenants. They will however soon be reaching the end of the lease and require assistance in locating another property. Every business in your local area should be entered into your database for the opportunity that it provides. That being said, the tenants of today are also requiring local property market information. You can be the expert to provide that.
To make your prospecting model work, a process of constant contact should occur. The commercial real estate industry is built around trust and personal connection.
The first approach to a prospect, property investor, or business proprietor should be the simple beginning of a long-term relationship. Over time you should be establishing meetings with those people and opening the door with property assistance at the right time. Those being said do not forget about property referrals and referral relationships that exist with people that you already know. Top agents do this all the time.
When it comes to the marketing of commercial property today, the focus that you create through the campaign will help you build the enquiry rate and the inspection profile. It directly follows that a well-constructed campaign will give you a lot of leads and opportunities, regardless of the current and existing property market.
The fact of the matter is that far too many commercial properties are generically promoted and advertised. The features of each and every property should be identified and optimized in each marketing campaign. Those features should consistently flow through all elements of the marketing campaign.
Here are some tips to help the strategy behind your next marketing effort and property listing.
- What are the best days of the week to advertise commercial property locally? To some degree, the answer will depend on the attributes of the property and the target market. Commonly it is found that property marketing is more effective between the days of Wednesday to Saturday on a weekly basis. The fact of the matter is that you should know what days are better for your property promotion activity.
- Defining the target market will help you with the layout of the advertising campaign, the features to be promoted, and the channels of media that you want to use. In most cases, the Internet will be high on the list of marketing alternatives. It is both convenient and economical to use the Internet as part of the campaign; to gain maximum penetration on Internet based adverts use keywords associated with the property type and location. You can get these keywords from search engine research on a weekly or monthly basis. In that way you will stay ahead of the enquiry trends to the search engines and utilise the correct words as part of your advertising format. Most people enquiring regards properties for sale or for lease will go to the Internet first before they lift the telephone and talk to local property agent. Keyword optimization will help you with your enquiry rates from each property listed on the Internet.
- Professional photographs are critical when it comes to property promotion. If you want your advertisement to stand out efficiently and effectively, devote part of the vendor paid advertising campaign to professional photographs. Professional photographers know when to take the photographs, and how to make the property features stand out.
- Inspection feedback to the property owner should occur after every property inspection. This is both a conditioning process and also a communication advantage when it comes to helping the client see the trends of the local property market today, and how they will need to adjust their thoughts on price or rent as the case may be. This naturally assumes that you are getting inspections from your advertising. If this is not the case, have a serious look at your property promotional strategy and revisit the plan for any modifications that can occur. There are reasons why enquiries do not come to you. Resolve those reasons quickly and effectively at the earliest possible time in any property promotion.
- Test and measure every marketing campaign on a twice weekly basis. This will normally be on a Wednesday and a Friday. Observe the results that you get from every media channel and property advertisement. Test and measure the layouts together with the placement of media. In your location, some promotional processes will be more effective than others when it comes to commercial and retail property. Make the right choices, and the enquiry will come to you regularly and directly.
When the property market is slow and tough, the marketing process becomes even more critical. Every property listing that is exclusively promoted should be subjected to scrutiny and strategy throughout the entire campaign. In this way you will be a top agent producing the best results from every listing on your books.
In commercial and retail property today, a tenant retention plan should be part of the services provided by specialist commercial leasing agents and property managers. The retention plan can be a value-add service for the clients that we work for.
It is no secret that the commercial and retail property investment market is under some strain. That is all due to the pressures on the local business community. This will change and improve over time. Up until then, we need to approach the property market with system and focus to help the clients that we work for. The tenant retention plan is one way of doing that.
That’s presume you have a good property to work with and the client to assist when it comes to tenant retention. Here are some tips to help you build the program and the system of retention.
- Review the property comprehensively to determine which tenants are more important to the future of the property. Those high priority tenants should receive special treatment when it comes to lease renegotiation and occupancy. The other tenants in the property may be retained although some form of priority needs to be determined.
- Review all the leases relative to all tenancies. Those leases will contain critical dates and terms and conditions that will have impact on the property function and tenancy mix. Ensure that those dates and factors are allowed for when it comes to tenant negotiation and tenant planning.
- Keep in close contact with all tenants within the building to ensure that any needs of expansion or contraction are fully understood. If you do not do this, it is quite likely that the tenant will look elsewhere to other agencies for assistance and relocation. Before long you will have a vacancy to deal with which could have been avoided?
- To formulate a good retention plan, you need a strategy of rental and lease documentation. The rents for the property can be either gross or net and should be determined based on the trends of the local property industry and the age of the property. The rents should assist the landlord to recover property operational costs (also known as outgoings). Any rent reviews applied to the leases will be based on the rental type and lease term. Strategy is everything with rental choices, so make sure you have the right information to help you with the correct rental choices.
- Lease incentives will vary throughout the year from property to property and with relevance to any new property developments coming up. Incentives will potentially attract your tenants to move elsewhere. For this very reason, your client, the property owner, needs to be quite flexible when it comes to the setting of lease incentives for existing sitting tenants. Failure to provide an incentive to a sitting tenant may very well see them move elsewhere. The cost of a vacancy in a property is significant and most inconvenient at most times.
- As part of the retention plan, review the local area with due regard for competing properties. They will have an impact on your tenancy mix and also market rental. Some of those competing properties will be influencing your tenants to move elsewhere. Be careful and respectful of these competing properties.
So these are some tips and ideas that can apply to the tenant retention program. As a specialized leasing agent, you can establish some real strategy here to help the landlord with their property momentum and property focus. When the property market is slow or tough, the value of a retention program is high. You simply need to structure your fee for service into the appropriate appointment to act.