As part of your commercial real estate activity, you should research your property market at least quarterly and preferably monthly. On that basis you can project what sale and leasing activity is currently underway and what will occur over the coming foreseeable future. Essentially you are looking for listing opportunity, growth of commission, and new business. You are also looking to reduce any threats from industry downturn or change.
It really doesn’t matter whether you are working as an individual sales agent, or as part of a commercial real estate team. The same rules and processes apply when it comes to researching your market. You need to know what’s going on and you do need to set some specific strategies in place to help you capture the right levels of new business.
Here are some ideas to merge into your commercial real estate market research. After gathering the information, you can apply the findings to your personal business plan.
- Determine the geographic zone where you will get most of your new business from. That will be an area where you can focus almost all of your marketing and prospecting. It can also be an area which allows you to survey and research current activity. This then becomes your primary area of focus that should produce 75% of your listing and commission income opportunity. The other 25% of business will come from outside of the zone, or alternatively referral and repeat business.
- Given that you know where the business is now going to be coming from, determine the best customer demographics set that will apply to your prospecting model. Normally you will be focusing on local business proprietors, property investors, and industry professionals. On a street by street and property by property basis, it is necessary to research these people and make the direct contact. The direct contact will involve cold calling, door knocking, and direct mail.
- Research the history of sales and leasing activity in your local area. The critical zone of activity will be over the last five years. Create a graph from the numbers that you identify. Look for the peaks and troughs when it comes to seasonal sales and leasing activity. Determine if there are any opportunities and changes on the horizon.
- Review the supply and demand projections for commercial, industrial, and retail property in your target area over the coming three years. As part of that process you can visit the local planning office and regularly update yourself with changes to the development plan and or new projects coming up. Look for those changes that could impact the market. Seize on the opportunities early before other agents find them.
- Do a competitor analysis throughout your region. Some agencies will be better than others when it comes to results and market share.. Some agents will be more effective than others. Look for the differences with the successful people, and then determine how they have achieved their market share and dominance. Successful agents leave clues as to process and system. This can be replicated.
- Do an Internet advertising count of all the listings currently available for sale or for lease with your competitors. This should be on an agency and or salesperson basis.
- Do a signboards count all the listings currently available for sale or for lease. This should again be on an agency and salesperson basis.
- Assess the factors of time on market when it comes to those properties that remain outstanding, unsold, or vacant.
- Look at the factors of marketing that apply to current listings in your local area. Look at the differences across all agencies in marketing when it comes to open listings and exclusive listings. Can you do anything more effectively and differently than the other agents?
Given your local property market, and property specialty, you may very well be able to add something to the list. You can now see the importance of understanding what is going on currently in your local area and how it can impact your future promotional activity.
Systems in commercial real estate agency set you free and help you build your career. Without systems you will struggle as an agent. So you cannot be ‘out of control’ if you want to improve as an agent.
It is the regular things that you do every day that build habits and those habits help you build market share. Top agents are those that work in a controlled and focused way. You can do the same.
If you believe you are out of control in your career today, take a look at the things you should be doing and what you are actually doing now. Therein lies the answers that you need to resolve market share and productivity problems.
Here are some facts and systems that you can merge into your business model.
- Researching new prospects should be done every day; you need fresh people to talk to. The best time to do that research is in the evening when the pressure is off. We can all use the internet and use it as a prospecting and research tool. It is likely that you can access your database from home as well. Use remote technology to your advantage.
- Prospecting should happen at the same time each day. Given that most people get distracted as the day progresses, prospecting is best done in the morning first thing. Avoid morning meetings for this very purpose (I know this will upset some agency principals). Long morning meetings are a terrible waste of time.
- Presentations for listings should be practiced. Hopefully you are a specialist agent in a local area and property type. This will make your presentations a bit easier and you can refine them accordingly.
- Marketing campaigns should be focused on the needs of the property and the client. Given that there are so many unsold and vacant properties on the market today, it is critical that you make every marketing campaign a good one. Be specific in the way you are reaching your target audience. Get personally involved in your marketing efforts.
- Property inspections should occur only after the prospect has been qualified. Make sure that they are the right people for the property before you take them to it. Develop a system of property inspection that features the listing correctly and comprehensively. Make every property inspection great with the right preparation.
- Negotiations and client connection go hand in hand. Keep the client up to date with all property events, marketing, inspections and negotiations. An informed client is much better to work with. It is notable that top clients should be served by exclusive listings.
- Database systems should support your ongoing growth of market share. You cannot delegate that process. It is a personal one that you should take ownership of.
So now you can see how important systems are to a commercial real estate agent. If you want to succeed in this industry, take a look at your systems (or lack of them) and make them better.
When you work in commercial real estate agency, you should start your day strongly and with focus. Get as much done as you can before other disruptions start to take over (and they will).
It is a fact that things in commercial real estate agency will happen daily that you do not expect. That being said, there are still key things that you need to do every day to improve your market share and client connections. If you overlook these things, you will soon have less commission coming in and you will also be missing on the quality listing stock.
So to start strong every day, you need a plan and a process. Action is everything in our industry and directed action can allow you to form habits. It is the habits that will take you forward as a professional in our industry.
Here are some ideas to help you with effectiveness and focus as a commercial real estate agent.
- It is easier to control the start of the day than it is to control the whole day. If you can control 1/3 your day, you can be quite successful and effective as an agent. Plan your activities so that your working day can and will be under your control from 7 am. to 11 am. Don’t let others change or modify your diary before 11 am.
- Prospect every morning from 8 am to 10 am. Get your outbound cold calls done then. That one single process will be critical to your market share. It is interesting to note that most top agents do this. Struggling agents overlook the process or avoid it.
- Talk to your clients from 10 am to 11 am. After 11 am the pressures of the day can take over so get to your important clients on key issues early. You can do the same thing at the end of the day and in the evening.
- Look after your database yourself. Only you have the information that should go into it, and only you are going to benefit from it being correctly used. If you go into your database every day you can shape the information and use it to your advantage. Ongoing contact and trust in our industry is a really big thing.
- As you move through the day and the week, track your numbers and ratios relating to calls out, meetings, presentations, listings, inspections, and deals closed. You should also track your exclusive listings as they will do more for your market share than open listings.
So you can see that the key thing here is control. When you are in control you can get more of the right things done. That is how you move up in the industry.
In commercial real estate today, you have to set some rules in time management and then stick to them. Your time is the greatest resource that can help you move ahead.
It is a fact that many agents struggle with the whole time and control process. They give in to the pressures of clients, peers, listings, and the office. Exactly who is in control here anyway?
So why do you need to control your time? For one simple reason; everyone around you will want some of your time, and at the end of the working day you could have achieved very little that is important to your business growth as an agent.
So here are some time management tips:
- You will know that there are 3 things that really matter as an agent. They are your prospecting, your clients and your listings. Everything else revolves around those 3 things. Setting priorities in your working day is therefore really important.
- Create key habits that can allow you to get to the 3 things mentioned earlier. Habits are critical to taking you forward; it is the things that you do every day that will change your business outlook and market share.
- The circadian cycle or biological clock says that you are most effective between 7 am and 11 am. There is also a second window of time between 3pm and 6 pm that is useful. How do you use your resources in these windows of time? Quite clearly you should be doing your prospecting during the early part of the day.
- When you start something you are good for about 2 hours before you will want a break. Build short breaks into your working day so you can keep up the momentum.
- When you get into something new, it takes about 20 minutes to lock into the issue and get some momentum. If someone interrupts you, the clock resets. This is the single most common reason for lack of focus in a busy real estate office; people are distracting each other most of the day. They then cannot get the traction and focus on important things.
- A computer based diary is convenient, but a written daily diary is essential if you want to focus your efforts. It is a fact that people need to write things down to figure out a way of doing them. A daily dairy will help you do that.
- Prioritize everything that you do. Only do the important stuff first. Don’t let small and convenient things take you away from the issues that matter.
So how are you going to do all of this? With focus and diligence you can get there. It’s all up to you.
In commercial real estate agency today, the cold calling process is critical to the market share that you require and commissions that you create. You cannot avoid the process if you want to rise to the top of the market.
That being said, it is interesting to note that the cold calling process is something that many agents avoid with a great passion. Call reluctance is a real problem in the industry.
Top agents that work in the industry know that you have to make the calls to get the business. The strength and size of your database is fundamentally important to the commissions that you create. Each day you should be phoning into your database to make contact with the right people. You should also be creating new contacts and leads to help that database grow.
Here are some tips to help you in establishing a cold call prospecting system as part of your commercial real estate career.
- From the very start of the process, you will have some mental hurdles to address and overcome. Call reluctance is a big problem until such time as you see results and momentum from your efforts. It takes about three or four weeks of hard work to break through this barrier. Creating a habit to the call process is quite important. Only a habit will take you through the barrier of call reluctance.
- Determine the ideal property type and geographical area in which you should centre your prospecting efforts. Each night you will need to do the necessary research to find new people to call the next day. Don’t waste your precious calling time on research. The research can be done the night before. Keep up your momentum with calls and avoid in any distraction or diversion. In a period of 2 or 3 hours you should be making 50 outbound calls. You will not get through to 50 people as part of that process, but you should get through to about 20 or so people. From that rate of connection you should create 2 meetings with people that have a genuine interest in commercial real estate agency activity.
- Track your ratios of calls to connections, connections to meetings, and meetings to business opportunity. The ratios are really important to keep you on track and also to show you what is working. When something starts to get traction, you improve the process through practice.
- Confidence and dialogue are two important parts of making the calls. Both of those factors are personally controlled and can be improved. What you can do here is practice your call conversations and scripts as part of rising each morning and in preparation for the working day. Over a period of a few weeks, the call conversation and connection will significantly improve.
- Use a database program that has significant flexibility to capture the information that you come across. That will include a property type, location, price ranges, contact details, ongoing meetings and connection results, and future needs. Make sure that the database program can integrate with an e-mail newsletter and also a direct mail merge.
- Your confidence in making the calls will be significantly boosted if you choose to stand up as part of the calling process. It is a known fact that the conversational ability of people improves greatly when you are standing on two feet and moving around. Use this advantage to help you improve your call connections.
For an agent to be successful in commercial real estate, they need to be focused on growing their market share and their database. Use some of these factors above to help you get the momentum and traction that you require from direct call contact. Over time you can improve these things to a system that works for you.