In commercial real estate today, we have to do more with less enquiry coming in. Every prospect that comes to us from a listing or a marketing campaign needs to be correctly qualified and then successfully directed to the right property. This takes skill. Every property enquiry should be optimised.
The property inspection process is therefore critical to moving the transaction ahead. We must ensure that the prospective buyer is comprehensively supported through the property inspection process so that we can get an offer that is fair and reasonable given the current market conditions.
Most property buyers today have little urgency to make a decision. They will look around the market, talk to other agents, and take some time to move to the stage of an offer on any property that they like. Our skills in this market today, are more important than previously.
So What Should You Do?
Qualifying a prospect should be undertaken as part of the initial inquiry. Find out what the prospect is looking for when it comes to property location, price or rental, and improvements. Ensure that they have the necessary financial backing to act in this property market today. Make sure that they have the ability to transact the property at the expected rental benchmark or price. Ask them about the other properties that they have seen and the other agents that they have spoken to. Hopefully they will give you a truthful answer!
Here are some tips to help the inspection process with your prospect:
- Ensure that you have all the facts about the property including income, expenditure, tenant mix, and improvements.
- If required, get the clients approval to undertake the inspection of the property at a particular time convenient to them and any tenants in the property.
- Before you take a prospect to the property (or hand over any information) have them sign a confidentiality agreement. You do not want information making its way to your competitors.
- Have a clear strategy to move people to and around the property. The features of the property should be comprehensively covered in the inspection.
- If the property involves tenants and a tenant mix, have the information at hand as well as the information relating to other competing properties, the supply and demand for space, and the market rentals in the area.
- Always be prepared to take an offer. That offer should be in writing in all cases. You have nothing to work with if the offer is verbal.
- Remember who your client is in the transaction. You are working for them when it comes to the offer, the inspection process, and the negotiation.
To help your inspection strategies when it comes to commercial and retail property, you can use a checklist that combines all the strategies that have worked for you on other properties locally. Be prepared and have your information ready.
When it comes to marketing a commercial property for sale or lease, you can improve the results that you get through some simple steps and strategies. Gone are the days of generic marketing. Every advertising dollar needs to be optimised. Property enquiry just has to be created for the best possible result.
Here are some tips that can be applied to the property marketing process in your area and by property type.
- Review all competing properties before you form an opinion on price, rent, or marketing method. There is no point in repeating problems or errors that others are making in property marketing. Check out those other properties for price, rent, and enquiry. Your marketing strategy needs to be better so decide what ‘better’ means from your new listing perspective.
- The first 3 weeks of your marketing effort are really important, so decide what will be done in that period of time and monitor the results. Use a ‘Gantt’ chart to establish your processes for the client. The chart will help them see what you will be doing and when.
- Keep the client fully briefed through each part of the marketing effort. You should have vendor paid funds for that property promotion, so spend the money as part of an agreed marketing and advertising effort.
- Every enquiry that you get should be qualified and then put into your database. Over time that database will be a key component of your business processes and networking.
- The internet is a really important part of every marketing effort today. Search out the ‘keywords’ on the search engines that are being used for property enquiry today.
- Local businesses should feature in the early stages of the campaign. A quality listing is a great excuse to talk to the local business people and see what they know or may be looking for when it comes to a property move or upgrade.
- A good signboard will help the property effort. Get the signboard onto the property as early as possible. When that occurs, talk the nearby property owners and investors. You will get a lot of market intelligence that way.
- A ‘high end’ property advertising campaign is something that builds brand and identity. Tops agents use ‘high end’ campaigns to create enquiry from the local and regional area. This then says that all of your campaigns will strengthen your identity as a good agent if you let the marketing set a solid benchmark of quality and relevance. ‘Ordinary’ is not a good word when it comes to property marketing.
Commercial real estate is a people based business. When you really understand that fact, you will know what you should do every day as part of building your momentum in property marketing.
In retail property performance, the trade of the shopping centre will be impacted by the marketing plan. For this reason you really do need to establish a marketing plan soon in the management and leasing of a property.
The marketing plan and effort should be structured into all of the leases that are applied to the negotiations with new tenants as they enter the property. In this way you can make marketing a component of occupancy for each tenant and impose a marketing levy that all tenants can contribute towards.
A well marketed retail property will produce more trade, and that is of benefit to the tenants and the landlord. The marketing plan for the property can be part of the annual business plan for the property.
Here are some factors that can be incorporated into the establishment of the marketing campaign and plan for your property.
- All the tenants in the property will benefit from the marketing effort. For this reason you should meet will all of the tenants in preparation for the plan creation and implementation. All of the tenants will have valuable input when it comes to marketing, trade and customer needs. In larger properties it pays to have a committee of tenants established to coordinate the tenant requirements and feedback.
- Ensure that the leases that apply to the tenants support the marketing effort in some way. Check all of the leases for each and every tenant. Some lease terms and conditions will have specific methods of handling the marketing efforts.
- Talk to the customers that visit the property. They will have valuable feedback as to what they would prefer in the tenant mix and how they see the property today. Any weaknesses can then be addressed in promoting the property and any leasing situations or changes that occur.
- The anchor tenant in the property has a special relationship to the other tenants and the landlord. A successful anchor tenant that is matched to the property and the local customer base, will help improve the market rental and the property performance. Keep in close contact with the anchor tenant to understand their trading pressures and customer findings. This information will help the design of your marketing campaign.
- Your local area will have factors of seasonal shopping. Those factors should be incorporated into the marketing plan. When you consider seasonal shopping, you can spread your marketing into special local festivities and holiday events. In this way a 12 month marketing budget can be structured.
- Have special regard for the transitional shoppers such as tourists and business people if that is a factor in your property performance today. What times of day or year do they visit your property, for what reason, and how should that be integrated into your marketing efforts?
When you establish a good marketing plan for your retail property, you have something to track and shape when it comes to improving sales and trade. In this way the market rental potential for the landlord is underpinned. The tenants will also be happy with the customer numbers that are coming to the property.
When it comes to marketing and selling a commercial or retail property today, you really do need to have a solid strategy to take the property forward and create the best enquiry. With less property enquiry and buyers around, you must have a focus of doing more with fewer enquiries that are coming in off the marketing efforts that you adopt.
It should be said that the best way to market a commercial or retail property today is through an exclusive listing process. In this way the agent can focus on creating the best enquiry for the property. Any client that wants to ‘open list’ their property is really wasting their time and yours (if you take the listing). Top agents do not take ‘open listings’ for this very reason.
Here are some rules that should be applied to the sales process for commercial and retail property today.
- Choose a method of sale that activates the market. A timed method of sale such as Auction or Tender may be the best way to go. In this way your enquiry will be optimised. This process also helps you build your database of leads.
- Vendor paid marketing will be part of the listing process today with almost all exclusive listings. The vendor should commit reasonable funds to the marketing effort. Top agents know how to sell ‘vendor paid campaigns’, so you should know how to do this too.
- When a property is marketed comprehensively into the local area you can capture other opportunity locally. One good property listing is a great excuse to talk to many other people and business leaders. Use your listings to open the door on other opportunity.
- Every listing will have a target market. The success of the marketing effort will be largely based on how you attract that target market to you. Given that the property market is so challenging at the moment in many locations, make your marketing effort stand out as unique and high profile. This will also help grow your list of qualified buyers.
- Local property investors are always on the look-out for good property to invest in. Purchase decisions depend on price. Ensure that you price your properties keenly with relevance to the prevailing market conditions.
- Local business owners are always interested in current properties for sale or rent. Every listing that you take to the market should be personally marketed to each local property investor. Send a brochure into the business community and follow it up with a personal telephone call.
- Time on market will change throughout the year. Make the time of property promotion part of your overall advertising effort and strategy.
A commercial property can sell at any time; the results that you get in any sale or advertising for sale come down to matters of pricing and promotion. If something is not selling, then take a serious look at how you are promoting the property and at what price.