In commercial real estate agency the clients that we serve are a critical part of the market share that we build. The relationships that we create with those clients should be growing within a system and strengthened with relative property market content. This is a very personal process for each and every salesperson or agent.
The cycle of commercial real estate activity is relatively long. It can be some time between lease or sale requirements for the average client. This then says that a client contact cycle and system should be ongoing to a plan and a process. It could be months or years before the client is ready to make or take the next action steps in a property transaction. Over that time the relationship you have with that client or prospect needs to be nurtured and strengthened.
To be a top agent your clients must understand and respect your skills; you must be the ‘go to person’ when it comes to getting a result with a sale or lease situation. When you specialise in a property type and location, this is relatively easy.
Here are five action steps to structure a client contact program in your agency structure:
- Review the clients account history, their property needs, and the potential new business potentially coming from them in the future. As part of the review, consider the variations between sales, leasing, and property management needs. You can also obtain fees from project leasing, tenant retention planning, special lease reviews, and renovation or refurbishment strategies. You will need full and complete details relative to the clients property ownership portfolio, and the lifecycle relative to property holding. Understand the pressures that apply to the portfolio including property age, tenant volatility, income potential, and lease expiry. All of these things can lead to professional service requirements and extra fees.
- Given the previous point, determine the reasons for ongoing contact based on the clients requirements and the fee potential. Every contact call, meeting, and direct mail piece should be consistently focusing on the biggest need that you believe applies to the client and their portfolio. Create consistency in your contact plan by including this determined need factor.
- At a minimum or basic frequency, you should be contacting all of your clients or prospects at least once every 90 days. When you know that the person is moving to some property activity the contact cycle should shorten and be much more specific. It is a known fact that the ongoing contact made to a single client in this way will build agency relevance and immediacy. After the second or third contact to the client, you are likely to get better conversions to new business activity. The organisation behind this process should involve a database with suitable flexibility.
- The client contacting process or system that you create should involve dialogue practice. Call contact and meeting activity will be a daily process. You can improve your conversions in both of these situations through prospecting and dialogue practice. Determine the weaknesses that you have when it comes to dialogue and presentations, then take some steps to improve those weaknesses given the prevailing market conditions.
- Gather some up to date market information relating to the local area and particular property types. Display that information in various ways including charts, market trends, photographs, and benchmarking. This information will give you substance and confidence when it comes to connecting with your clients and prospects.
A client contact strategy in commercial real estate is a very specific process. If requires planning and consistency. Over time you will find that the process will help you establish a stronger market share and generate many more quality listings.