In commercial and retail property management, you should have a process and a system to help you attract new property management clients. Over time the income from the management portfolio will support the agency and provide stability when sales and leasing activity is low. Here are some tips from our Newsletter.
There are a number of different ways to attract these clients to your business, with some processes being more successful than others. Here are some ideas to help:
- The best way to attract new business of this nature will be through and at the time of the completion of a successful sale or lease transaction. The property owners are primed for the discussion. It will be a matter of showing them why a professional management service will be of value to them. Perhaps you could save them time, money, or remove the frustration from the tasks involved.
- Some clients manage their own properties, and on that basis they will be targets for new business. That being said, they will typically not have the necessary systems to do the job properly. The larger the property, the more difficult it will be when it comes to tracking income, managing expenditure, and invoicing tenants. You can add to those requirements the other issues of lease management, risk controls, and tenant mix optimisation. All of these things require skill and knowledge. You can market your brokerage around the specialized services in each case.
- Review the properties currently being managed by your competitors. It should be fairly easy to understand and identify those properties that are being poorly managed. In most cases you will see evidence of that underperformance when you inspect the property and talk to the tenants. The skills of the manager will reflect in the quality of the management. Get in contact with the owners of those distressed or difficult properties, and offer a no obligation proposal to take over the property.
- Understand the leases that apply to the tenants within a property. You may find that the management fees are a recoverable item within the outgoings categories of the leases. This then says that the fees that you charge to manage will not be a financial burden to the property owner. They will simply be a recoverable item in the outgoing structure and invoicing process. Providing the property has a suitable level of outgoings when compared to other local properties, your fee recovery should be quite simple and achievable.
- The larger the property, the more complex the management process. That being said, you can provide specialised services when it comes to the tenancy mix, vacancy management, and outgoings control. All of these factors will give you leverage when it comes to winning the property management appointment.
So the message is quite clear. There will be some new business to win when it comes to managing quality properties and quality clients. The best strategy to achieve that is to identify the right time in the property cycle, and the right services to offer your clients.
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In commercial real estate brokerage you need a good database. When I say ‘good’ I am not referring to the complexity or brand of database. What I am referring to is that of the accuracy and volume of data that you have collected.
There is no point running a database unless you keep the information up to date and accurate. So many brokers struggle with that requirement. You may have heard the saying, ‘rubbish in and rubbish out’? That rule certainly applies in this case. Keep your contact information up to date and accurate.
If you want to dominate your market, then you will need to contact plenty of new people each day. If you prospect for 3 hours per working day (the recommended average), then half of that time should be devoted to new contacts, and the other half of the time should be devoted to current contacts. Over time the pipeline of contact that you establish will help you with sales and leasing opportunities.
Over time your prospects and clients will be contacted many times; that is how you build market share and opportunities. On that basis your customer contact system has to be flexible and accurate. It also requires the personal involvement and accuracy of the agent or broker.
Here are some rules to help you with your prospecting and client contact systems:
- Split your prospecting time 50/50 between current contacts and new people. That is how you will build new business.
- Focus on the process of ongoing contact. That will mean telephone calls and emails to the people that you know in an ongoing way. Record the results of your last points of contact so you can refer to earlier client situations and discussions.
- Get email addresses and the consent of the people that you are talking to about ongoing contact through email. You can then set up an ‘auto responder’ for that process. Not only is it economical, but also very convenient. It will save you a lot of time.
- Build ‘trust’ over time with your clients and prospects by providing valuable local market information. You can do that with listing sheets and sale or leasing updates.
- The ideal contact frequency to use with all of your clients and prospects will be your choice, however it has been proven that you will need to make valuable personal contact (telephone or meeting) at least once every 90 days.
So there are some key things to do here. Establish your prospecting system efficiently so you can get results in your market and with the property owners or business proprietors that really do need your service.
Better commercial real estate listings and clients are frequently ‘just one step away’ when it comes to growing your opportunities in commercial real estate brokerage. That one step involves prospecting and questioning.
The last step to take will be the difference between a top agency and ordinary brokerage; however it is the step that is the hardest to take for many salespeople. Without a prospecting and contact model, many agents struggle between the peaks and valleys of listing performance and commission income.
It takes about 3 months of effort to break into a new level or cycle of listing activity and market share. Three months can be a long time for some brokers to focus and drive the prospecting model ahead. From a ‘competitive’ position that can be an advantage to those agents and brokers that can get organised and stay focused.
So the last step to take is always ‘prospecting’ and that will be ‘getting in front of the right people at the right time’. For that purpose, every agent or broker should have a solid system of client and prospect contact; that will help them stay on track on a daily basis. The outcomes to a good contact system are usually better commissions, more clients, and quality listings.
When you reach out to talk to a new person about their property needs and they decline your services, remember that the listings are just one step away. I go back to the point that extra step is there and it can involve:
- Staying with the contact over a period of time
- Asking the extra questions about sales, leasing, or property management
- Checking out the adjacent properties and businesses in the area around a listing
- Understanding the pressures of property performance, income, and lease management
- Providing a ‘repositioning’ strategy behind the property issues and challenges
- Knowing that other agents or brokers may be under-servicing the client
- ‘For sale by owner’ listings can be a real headache for some clients
Many agents and brokers don’t win listings easily because they do not take the ‘extra step’.
To tap into this ‘pipeline of opportunity’, it is best to have a good database where you can track the information and the leads. Every time you go back to a person for ongoing contact, make sure that you know what happened and what was discussed at the last point of contact. The client or prospect will remember those facts and will be impressed by your diligence in process and understanding.
You can get more tips like this at our main website here on commercial real estate training.
In commercial real estate brokerage, you will need to change your sales strategy from time to time as the market adjusts to economic pressures and financial activity. In any period of 12 months, your market share and property type activity will fluctuate between sales, leasing, and property management. For this reason, the sales team needs to adjust strategically with the presentations and proposals that they put forward.
Make no mistake, the new business opportunities are always out there in commercial real estate. It is just a matter of understanding how to reach into the market and identify the right people to work with. Certainly the proposal or pitch in your team will need to change from time to time based on market conditions.
Your success as a commercial real estate agent or broker depends on your flexibility to adjust to prevailing market circumstances. Here are some ideas to help with that:
- Be aware of the brand impact that you have in the market. The brand will be both for the brokerage itself, and also the agents individually. Can the brand be improved? How does it compare to the existing competitors in the local area?
- In an ideal world, you will be looking for increasingly activity across sales, leasing and property management. The quality of activity needs to be assessed from time to time. Good listings will give you better results and improve your market share. It should also be said that the exclusive listings should be part of that process. The agency team needs to be prepared for pitching their services at an exclusive listing strategy.
- Review the quality of the listings that you are working with. Quality does not need to necessarily reflect in price, but rather it should be the quality that attracts enquiry. The quality listings attract the buyers and the tenants that can act in these market conditions. Generally speaking the quality of the property will be in cash flow, size, location, current usage, and future usage.
- The best methods of sale and lease that apply throughout the year will change. Ensure that the brokerage team is working with the most appropriate marketing solutions for the clients that they serve.
- There will be the opportunity for repeat business and referral business from the customers that you have served over the years. There should be a VIP customer program within your business that encourages referral opportunities.
- Understand and promote the linkage between sales results, and leasing and property management opportunities. One thing can lead to another. When one transaction has been completed, prepare for the next property challenge that the client may be heading towards.
- Some clients have factors of investment focus and targeted portfolios. They need certain property types, cash flow, tenants, and locations to make their investments work correctly. Your top agents should be working with a select group of VIP clients to ensure that their property needs are well served within your brokerage.
In looking at all of these factors, review the last two years of listing and commission performance. Look for the market segments that have worked for your brokerage and identify any trends that could be shifting or changing. Will you need to change your property focus or staff profiles and activities? Be prepared for the change when you see it.
Identify the strengths and weaknesses that will need to be addressed as part of ongoing business operations. A successful commercial real estate agency or brokerage is usually one that is highly aware of and flexible to the trends in the market. They make the adjustments quickly and effectively. Tracking your business on a weekly and monthly basis across all business segments will be required.
Every commercial real estate agent will have some ‘housework’ and mundane activities to track and keep under control. When this is correctly undertaken, they will understand where the property market is heading and how they can tap into the opportunity.
The ‘housework’ process involves tracking and measuring activity across a number of benchmarks and indicators. In any given period of 12 months, there will be plenty of changes when it comes to property enquiries, the listings, methods of sale or lease, marketing, and business sentiment. Here are some ideas to help you with that ‘housework’ monitoring and adjustment process:
- As a general rule, you should be tracking the numbers of inbound enquiries coming to you each day through the office, and via the telephone. Understand what those people and prospects are looking for in both property type, and location. Shifts in the economy, the availability of finance, and local business sentiment will have an impact on property changes and availability.
- Understand the listings that you have on your books at the moment. Track the time on market as it applies to each of your exclusive listings. All of those controlled listings should be tracked for activity, inspections, and negotiations. Those listings should also be taken through a price adjustment process where necessary, supported by a marketing shift. A listed property today can become quite ‘stale’ relatively quickly. Keep the exclusive listing fresh through shifts in marketing, advertising description, pricing strategy, and promotional activity.
- When it comes to promoting a listing and attracting enquiry, understand the things that are more effective than others when it comes to the various marketing alternatives available. Make each advertising process special and unique. Understand the target audience and apply a strategy to reach into them. Get away from generic marketing. Obtain vendor paid marketing funds as part of every exclusive listing.
- Track the numbers of signs in your local area with each agency. Add to that process the time on market for each of those listings.
- Track the number of properties listed on the websites of your competitors. Observe how they advertise property and determine whether that process is effective or poorly handled.
- When you look at any listing in the marketplace today, understand the differences and the success rates that apply to each method of sale and each method of lease. Some of those methods will be more successful than others.
- Stay in touch with your existing database and client base. Over time, there will be opportunities for referral business and repeat business. Remaining in contact for the long term will help you tap into the source of opportunity.
- Make plenty of prospecting calls every day to new people. An ongoing prospecting process will help you fill your ‘pipeline’ in any market and at any time. The consistent contact process will help you build market share providing you seek for and obtaining exclusive listings rather than open listings.
Be prepared to do the hard work and the ‘mundane work’ as part of your agency activities and business. Lot of this can be done at the end of the day out of your core prospecting time and client activity. The commercial property industry is very lucrative for those that put in the necessary work and the required focus.
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In commercial real estate today, you will find that the competition and the market can become quite frustrating unless you are taking sustained and consistent action each and every day. The agents that rise to the top of the market are those that have an action plan and a business strategy.
It stands to reason that the best commercial agents and brokers have the best business plan. Certainly that is the case; however their business plan is supported by business activity and consistent focus.
Here are some strategies to help you with establishing your market share and business activity. You can modify the list or add to it as appropriate given your sales territory and brokerage brand:
- Don’t spread yourself too thinly in the marketplace. Concentrate your prospecting on a zone by zone basis. Each zone can contain approximately 100 properties.
- Track and measure all of your activities with particular attention being paid to prospecting and cold calling. Every day ensure that you are reaching out to new people as part of your growth of customer base.
- Determine exactly who the key clients are that you should be working with. You will need to identify them and find them. That research can take time, so each night you should be researching the calls and the contacts to make the next day.
- Check out all of the listings in the local sales territory or focus area. Understand the listings that are creating the most interest today. Look for the listing opportunities within the most commonly attractive property types and locations.
- Some properties will be offered for sale or for lease by owners. In most cases, those owners will not have the market penetration or the skills required to develop significant levels of enquiry. On that basis you can merge these property owners into your prospecting system. It is interesting to note that their motivation for self-marketing is usually to save on commission. When they list with an agency or broker, they tend to load the price accordingly so that the net price or rent result is the same. If you are going to work with these property owners, condition them to the prevailing market conditions, and be prepared to walk away from an overly inflated price or rental structure.
- Connect with the clients that you have acted for previously to understand their needs and requirements for property in the future. Ask for referral business where possible.
To be effective in this market place as a top agent, you do need to track and measure your activities on a daily basis. In this way you can see what is working for you and the things that are wasting your time. Refine your skills and your actions accordingly. Directed habits towards successful actions will take you to the top of the market with quality listings and good clients.
In commercial real estate agency and brokerage, cold calling is an essential part of the business building process. Every agent and every broker should undertake a number of cold calls every day to build their market share with new people and new prospects.
In any property market and at any time, there will be new people to approach regards the professional services that you can provide in sales, leasing, or property management. At least 25 new calls should be made every day to new people that you have not spoken to before. It will take you 2 hours to make those calls. From doing that, you will nearly always reach approximately 10 or 12 people in one sitting and from that you can get one or two new meetings. That is how you get the new relationships started.
So you need to establish your cold calling process to take your business forward as an agent or broker. You should also practice your dialogue. Here are some ideas to help you with that:
- It is hard to get traction in the cold calling process without practice. This means that you will need to refine your dialogue and improve it over time. This can be done each morning as part of your preparation for the working day. You can practice call conversations as you drive to work. Without any other person in the motor vehicle, you have the opportunity to refine your scripts and your conversational ability for the cold calls that need to be done.
- Each evening you can prepare a list of 25 people to call and approach the next day. Given that we work with mainly property investors and business owners, it is really quite easy to establish a list of contacts to call. The business telephone book will give you plenty of telephone numbers. In addition to that, you can research one or two property owners each day to add to the list.
- Split your prospecting territory up into zones. That will allow you to focus your call processes to particular streets and business types. As a general rule, you should be travelling through the streets of your territory each day to identify any opportunities that you can see.
- It is best to get the calls done first thing at the start of the day. In that way nothing can interfere with your progress and prospecting system. Avoid making or attending meetings at the start of the day so that you can get your prospecting done efficiently and effectively.
- Track your call progress in a database that you personally maintain. Where possible, use a computer for this process, and have a telephone and the computer in front of you as part of making the cold calls. You can then enter the results of calls into the database immediately.
- Purchase a headset to use as part of the call prospecting system. The immediate advantage here is that you will have your hands free to record the results of the conversation. One other clear advantage is that you can stand up as part of the calling process. It is well known that call conversations made from a standing position are far more effective and connecting than those from a sitting position at a desk.
- Understand the rules that apply to the do not call register in your area. Ensure that you are adhering to those rules in making the calls.
- Track and measure your call activity and meeting conversions. The primary object of making a call should be to create a meeting with people that have a future or current need in commercial property.
- Collect e-mail addresses and mobile telephone numbers as part of the prospecting activity. Get the permission of the person that you are speaking to for ongoing contact so you can send relevant property information and advise them of market activity.
The prospecting process does not need to be hard. The telephone can be a distinct advantage when it comes to building better market share and growing your database. That being said, it does require a diligent focus and ongoing activity. That is a personal skill and a personal process.
In commercial real estate agency, you do need to create a successful sales plan for yourself personally. In that way you can reach your target audience and create the market share that you require. There will always be a lot of listings to attract and clients to serve. It is just a matter of finding them.
So what will be your special market? Will it be sales, leasing, property management or projects? Some of these things cross over to others so versatility is required.
A sales plan for an agent is quite a specific thing. It allows you to focus your efforts on a daily basis into the target market of property owners and property investors. Whilst there are different ways to approach the matter, here are some tips to help you.
- Define your market location on a map. Use geographical boundaries and freeways to establish the area in which you will focus all of your prospecting. There will be certain pockets of activity that will be of high priority within that zone. Look for the areas of growth where the properties and the tenants are desirable and active.
- Determine the type of property that will be your property specialty. Ensure that there are plenty of listings available in that segment as well as future growth opportunities and property churn. To understand those numbers, you may need to access the history of property activity in sales and leasing over recent years.
- Look at the local development plans and intended changes to the zoning of investment property in the business segments of the town or city. Can you see pockets of growth supported by council or planning approval action? On a monthly basis visit the local planning office to see what is happening with new developments and the release of land for new developments.
- Understand the ideal clients that you will serve. Are they property investors? Are they the local businesses and tenants in your town or city? When you can clearly define the segments of clients that you act for, the prospecting model becomes much more specific.
- Certain properties and certain property owners will be of high priority to you locally given the level of activity that they create. These clients will become a key focus in your prospecting model. Establish contact with these groups of people and keep the contact going.
- Some clients and prospects will be of a low value to you over time. You will need to determine the ‘cutoff point’ when it comes to ongoing interaction and service with a prospect. Don’t spend too much time with lower value people that cannot use your services effectively and professionally. Respect your time and your fees for service.
Track and measure your prospecting activity through the region. Understand just how your efforts compare to that of your competitors. Practice your dialogue and improve your prospecting model. Over time you will then find more people to serve.
When you simplify commercial real estate brokerage, the results that you get come down to a small list of specific things. It stands to reason that if you get these things under control, you can generate more business, commissions, and good listings for yourself.
Working your sales territory will be one of those things that can help you with results. Many agents look at their territory too generically and therefore miss the point of how to win the business. Specific focus is required.
Here are some ideas to get you started with this:
- Set your boundaries so that you know where to focus your efforts. If you work a large territory, break it up into smaller segments and zones. Create a map of the area and segment the territory into zones that can be colored for priority and focus. Each zone should cover approximately 500 properties and or businesses.
- Understand the clients by type and size that you should be connecting with. They may own or occupy quality properties within your territory. Make a list of the clients and the properties, and highlight those properties or companies on your territory map. Prioritise those clients for the business opportunity and profile they can provide you with.
- Systematically work the streets within each territory zone. That will mean visiting the businesses to introduce yourself and leave your business card. You can also contact the property owners directly by telephone or cold calling as part of that process. The important issue here is that you remain organised and focused in the process. Up
- If you have any property listings at this point in time, those listings will give you an excuse to talk to the other property owners and businesses in the same general location. Some adjacent or nearby property owners may be wishing to relocate, expand, or contract. Your current listings will help you identify those nearby clients and prospects that are looking to change.
- Look for the listings that are currently being marketed by your competitors. You can market your services to the adjacent property owners and business proprietors. Use your competitor’s listings productively in your prospecting and networking system.
To be successful in commercial real estate brokerage an agency, you simply need to understand your territory and work it methodically and systematically. Most agents struggle with the discipline required. Get that fact under control; your commercial real estate market share and listing potential can rise significantly.
In commercial real estate today a sales plan will help you stay on track with listings and clients. It will also help you with market share and personal profile. The best agents in the industry have a personal marketing plan that integrates into their sales plan.
It is interesting to note that the agents without a plan of this type usually struggle with commissions and income. Their earnings then fluctuate enormously during the year. Soon you see that the ‘peaks and valleys’ of personal performance then become all too frequent; many agents struggle rather than consolidate and grow. Eventually they run out of time and money to establish their market share. Get to the top of your market and stay there through deliberate effort and focus.
Here are five reasons why you should have a plan of this type:
- A pipeline of opportunity will be built around your property specialty and location.
- It will help you tap into new prospects and leads on a regular basis.
- The clients that you have served over time will be opportunities for the future with referral business.
- The quality of your listings will escalate as will the quality of properties that you take to the market.
- Other agents will come to you as you will have the listings that generate the enquiry.
It is easy to see that the sales plan can have a significant impact on your listings and commissions over time. In that way you can establish yourself as a top agent in your location and with your property type.
What does a good sales plan look like? What are the objects of the process? Here are some ideas to help you:
- The object of the process is to put you in front of relevant people that may need your professional service in the future. The cycle of commercial real estate is quite long and for that reason you need to be prepared for the establishment of long-term relationships.
- Many of the people that you talk to today will not need your services currently. They may however need your services over time and that can be some months if not years away. Be prepared to build the relationships with the people that matter when it comes to business activity and property ownership.
- When you are connecting with more people on a regular basis, you will need points of relevance and information to use in the process. That will include newsletters, social media, e-mail marketing, telephone calls, direct mail, and brochures.
- Understand the quality properties in the local area that should be the targets for your prospecting. Identify the property owners behind each of those properties and establish an ongoing contact program with those people. Getting in front of relevant property owners should be the first step to establishing ongoing contact.
- You will find that some of the people in the marketplace are or could be wasting your time. Be selective with whom you relate to and why you do so. In some respects, you build a filter of contact into your database and prospecting model. Remove the people from the list that are wasting your time.
- Track and measure your contact systems so that you know when your prospecting model is improving. You can and should improve your dialogue to help the ongoing contact process over time. Practice will be required.
- A system of this type requires an action plan and consistent effort. Many agents struggle with consistency. The habits that you develop will help you build your market share. Without habits, the whole thing is quite pointless.
A successful sales plan in commercial real estate agency and brokerage is quite a specific thing. Your plan may be difficult to establish and different than the others in your office. The point is, it must be successful and it must be implemented. Understand what works for you and get the whole thing started.