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Talking Shop with Commercial Real Estate Leasing Brokers

In commercial real estate today, the leasing process is a significant opportunity for brokerage fees and commissions.  That being said, leasing opportunity can be optimised through understanding the market and the requirements of tenants today.

A good leasing agent will maintain significant ongoing contact with the business community, tenants in occupancy, and landlords.  A professional leasing specialist will usually have several hundred tenants in their database.  Over time the ongoing contact with those tenants will help with leasing opportunity.  A good database of tenants will give you leverage when it comes to attracting landlords with quality properties to lease.

So the basic strategy behind attracting a lease transaction will be for you to work with available property activity including the following variables:

  • The needs of expansion for particular tenancies
  • The needs of contraction for local businesses
  • Relocation requirements relating to business activity
  • That need to reduce or control occupancy costs
  • Tenants that find it difficult to work with the landlords
  • An upgrade of property type to provide a better business image
  • A tenant looking for the benefits of a new lease incentive as part of changing premises
  • Landlords looking to resolve upcoming vacancies
  • Landlords undertaking a property expansion and change process
  • New properties coming into the market providing project leasing opportunities
  • Sale and leaseback opportunities with existing businesses

It should be said that quality vacant listings will always attract solid leasing enquiry.  That assumes that the rental and being asked is in line with prevailing market conditions.  Any rent that is negotiated today can be shaped and improved over time through a well-structured lease document.  Lease terms and conditions can be improved through the negotiation process on behalf of your client.

To encourage a lease transaction, the overall package of rental, occupancy costs, and lease terms need to be well considered and structured.  As the local leasing specialist, take the time to understand the changes in the market, the requirements of tenants, and the supply of available space.  A successful transaction is a reflection of all three factors.  You can be the facilitator of a successful property transaction.

It should be remembered that a successful leasing transaction can always open the door to a property management appointment or a future sale opportunity.  Asking the right questions and staying in contact with the right people will help with those matters.

If you have chosen this segment of the market as your speciality, there are some basic rules to be remembered.  Here are some of the most important ones:

  1. Quality properties will always lease faster than average ones.  For that reason, your prospecting activities should be focused on the best properties in the region.
  2. Ongoing tenant and landlord contact will be a daily requirement.  Spend at least 3 hours per day talking to tenants and landlords in the market.  You can get a significant volume of market intelligence through this process.  Tenants will usually know more about the local market than you do.  They will know about those other businesses that are looking to change and move.
  3. The tenant advocacy process offers significant leasing opportunity.  That being said, it is best to focus on quality tenants with established businesses.  You can also focus on the larger properties as part of that process so that the fees generated will be significant for the amount of work involved and the area under lease.  Small properties and small tenancies can be a large amount of work when it comes to finding a tenant, and closing on a deal.  Recognise the opportunity of working with better properties and larger areas.
  4. Look at the rentals that apply to the average lease transactions within your town or city.  Rentals are usually quite high when it comes to retail property.  Office property rental will usually be reasonably high for the volume of area leased.  At the bottom end of the scale, industrial property will offer a lower rental per unit of area.  On that basis the fees can be similarly low unless you are leasing a very large industrial property.  So you have some choices to make when it comes to your choice of property to lease.  You should also select the best regions to focus your leasing activity within.

There are always good properties to lease in most towns or cities.  Balance the rental to the prevailing market conditions, and the needs of your client, be they the landlord or the tenant.  You can certainly build a good career in the property industry focusing on leasing opportunities.

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Robotic Listing and Selling in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

In commercial real estate brokerage the listing and selling process can almost be ‘robotic’ if you follow the rules and use a plan to move people through your ‘pipeline’.  I am not inferring that the ‘robotic’ approach is negative; it is actually a great way to help your contact pipeline feed the listings to you and over time that means more market share.  Here are some notes from our Newsletter this week.

Listing and selling commercial real estate today is really just simple communication.  It is a matter of how ‘good’ you are at the stages and levels of interaction.

Let’s simplify the ‘pipeline’ for you.  It works this way:

  1. Property and prospect research – this is in knowing how to find the right properties and people to work with.  Research the market every night so you can get traction in better clients and listings.
  2. Prospecting activity – this is a regular daily requirement.  There is no other faster way to build your market share.  Put your prospecting time in your diary and implement the process each morning.
  3. Qualifying clients and prospects – some people that you talk to will be open and honest when it comes to their property requirements. Others may be less so open.  Ask the right questions to get to the real facts of every property need or transaction.
  4. Meetings and presentations – they should occur every day as a direct result or prospecting new people.  Target 2 new meetings per day.
  5. Listings – converting listings can be a special process. You must stand out from the competitors in your market.
  6. Marketing – this should be focused on the target market for the property and the region.
  7. Handling objections and negotiating – every property is different so be prepared for every negotiation.
  8. Documentation – accuracy is critical to help a deal move ahead
  9. Follow through on closed deals – don’t let a deal slow or get diverted due to inattention.
  10. Long term relationships – they will bring you the leads over time.

They are the simple things in commercial real estate that are all as important as each other.  One stage leads to the next stage.  It directly follows that you should be very good at all of the stages if you want to generate some quality listings and the better deals that go with that.  If you are not doing so currently, then practice and personal improvement is required.

So the ‘robotic’ approach starts to appear when you have all of the stages working well and integrated into the other stages.  When you look at the commercial property industry overall and in most locations, you can improve so many listings and commission opportunities when the separate parts of the process are ‘optimised’.

You can get more tips like this in our Newsletter right here.

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Excellent Commercial Property Management Handover Tips

In commercial and retail property management today, you should have a very definite handover process that you can implement simply and effectively.  This can be a significant strategy to capture the required information relating to the property, the client, and the location.  In this way you can move ahead accurately to protect the income and the tenancy mix for the client.

Any new property coming into your portfolio can be complex.  There can be issues within the property that are hidden from any general overview.  That is where the checklist will help you drill down into possibilities and challenges.

Here are some issues that you can merge into your checklist process.  You can add to the list based on the location of the property, your town or city, and the improvements.  It should also be noted that separate checklists should apply to office, industrial, and retail property types.  Each property type will have differences in levels of focus and questioning.

  1. Inspect the property comprehensively before you get into any analysis and questioning process.  You need to understand the property physically including the tenancy mix, the location, and the neighbouring properties.  Look for any issues that could have an impact on property function.
  2. Check out the zoning relating to the property and its location.  Look at the local development plans as they apply to the region.
  3. Assess the factors of supply and demand that apply locally to the property type.
  4. Understand how people get to the property and move through it.  That will require an analysis of transport and road usage.  This factor is quite important when it comes to larger properties and shopping centres.  The customers and the tenants to the property will access it in different ways.  Understand how that occurs.
  5. As part of the initial property inspection, take plenty of photographs.  That will help you remember the key issues and the layout as they apply to the tenancy mix and the building structure.
  6. Understand the local regional property demographic.  There may be other properties of similar size and type locally.  Those other investments are likely to place pressures on your vacancy factors and tenancy mix.
  7. Assess the tenancy mix for its activity today and any threats to income and occupancy.  Look at the critical date factors that apply in each case and with each lease.  Any upcoming critical dates will need to be responded to efficiently and in a timely way.
  8. Ask the landlord about any tenancy matters and outstanding disputes.  Get copies of correspondence that relate to those things.  Seek instructions from the landlord accordingly.
  9. Undertaking a full lease review.  All lease documentation should be checked against the current rental invoices and the tenancy schedule.  Look for any discrepancies or changes.
  10. Ask questions about the risks and liabilities that could occur with the property as a physical structure.  There may be issues relating to property usage, maintenance, access, and tenant occupancy.  It may be necessary to get a building report undertaken by engineers and specialist consultants.
  11. Meet with the maintenance contractor’s to the building.  Find out about current repairs and outstanding issues.
  12. Review the maintenance budget and the income and expenditure budget that exists for the property today.  Check that it is accurate.  Understand how the actual income is tracking towards budget.  Look for any discrepancies in the cash flow.
  13. Look at the vacancy factors in the property today, and understand the strategies behind vacancy marketing and leasing.  It may be necessary to undertake a fresh tenant mix approach with the pending vacancies.
  14. Check out any existing fit out works that apply to occupancy or building renovation.  Ensure that you have the necessary planning approvals and approved drawings.  There may also be a need for property re-survey as a result of building modification.

So this is just the start to the commercial property handover process.  As you can see, there is a real need here for a checklist so that you can stay on track accurately and efficiently.  Ask questions at every opportunity, and document the answers that you get from contractors, tenants, and the landlord.

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What to Know About Signboard Strategies in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Signboards in commercial real estate are a critical part of branding for both the brokerage and also for the agent.  The greater number of signs you have in your territory the easier it is for you to build your listing opportunities.

Most of the clients that use our services don’t want to list their property with a ‘secret agent’.  They want the agent with the best exposure to the market that can attract the enquiry fast and efficiently.  Signboards help with that.

I should qualify this further and say that ‘exclusive listings’ are better for your signboard profile and exposure.  On that basis every sales pitch and presentation should be centred on converting a listing in that way.  Top agents dominate the market with ‘exclusives’.  When you control the listing stock, the market has to come to you.  That assumes that you have listed the property correctly and at a market rent or price.

So let’s go back to the matter of ‘signs’.  Here are some tips to using this marketing tool effectively for building your profile individually and for the brokerage.

  1. Do a ‘sign count’ each weekend so you know exactly your position in the market with listings and board visibility.  This monitoring process also gets you into your territory on a regular basis so it helps with market awareness.  The best time to do the ‘count’ is on a weekend when traffic and access is easy.  For some brokers this is first thing on Sunday morning.
  2. Understand the regulations that apply to the placement and approval of boards on properties.  Some local councils or municipalities will have regulations that set some rules to stick to.
  3. Have a contractor check your signs weekly for vandalism or weather damage.  Nothing detracts more from a listing than a damaged sign.
  4. On any quality listing and particularly any exclusive listing, the board cost should be covered by the vendor paid marketing fees.  On that basis the board should be specially created for the listing and the location.
  5. Use ‘dot points’ on the sign so the features of the property are easily read and captured by passing traffic.
  6. Put a reference of the property on the board so the person reading the information can call you and quote a reference number to take you immediately to the listing information.  Be prepared to take telephone enquiries about a property at any time (that includes weekends).
  7. Size does matter in this type of property marketing.  Understand the best legal size for the board and its placement strategy.  Face the board to the passing traffic.
  8. When you place a board on a property, directly contact all surrounding businesses and property owners.  A new listing is an excuse to talk to many people in the area.

Respect the opportunity in marketing that this sign strategy offers you.  It is silent and yet so effective.   All quality listings should feature a great signage marketing solution.

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Top Things to Do in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Sales

Every day there will be plenty of things to do in your commercial real estate brokerage.  The choices that you make in that regard will have significant impact on the results that you achieve.  The key message here is that you should control your day and only do the things that are really important to growth of market share and commissions.  Everything else needs to wait to the end of the day when the pressure is off.

Here are some things to consider and action on a daily basis to help you with your career in the industry.

  1. Check out the new property developments coming into the market.  Go to the local planning and building approvals office at least once per month to check the new developments under consideration.  The planning approvals of today will be the buildings of tomorrow.  You can make a lot of commission working on a major new development for sale or for lease.  When you locate the potential development, connect with the property developer or the property owner as required.  Identify the trigger points that will help you convert a new project to a listing.
  2. Check the number of listings in the market today by doing a weekly count of signboards and Internet advertisements.  Split those numbers into brokerages and agencies.  Pay particular attention to the shifts in market share.  Also look for the dominance of particular agents or brokers.  Track the time on market for those listings.  Look for the expiry dates of exclusive listings.
  3. You will find some listings that are being marketed by the relative property owners.  In many respects, you will find that those properties for sale or for lease will stay on the market for a long time.  Those property owners generally do not have the marketing skills or the resources to generate enquiry.  That being said, their reason for the self-marketing is usually that they don’t want to pay commission.  If you approach them for a listing, they will usually load their price or rental for the commission to be paid.  This can be counterproductive and produce an overpriced listing; the property would have already been on the market for some time anyway.  If you are going to work with property owners in this way, be prepared to push strongly for the rent and the price that the market will provide.  You can walk away from the listing if the price or rental is unrealistic.  In many respects, it is better to do that and waste your valuable resources and tarnish your image as a top agent.

So there are plenty of things to do when it comes to consolidating your market share.  Keep a close eye on the market activity and track the results that you achieve.  Top agents progressively grow their market share through diligent and directed action.  That is why you should track your ratios and numbers.

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Proven and Effective Commercial Real Estate Prospecting Tips

In commercial real estate brokerage, you will have plenty of challenges when it comes to finding quality listings and good clients.  In most locations, towns and cities, the competition is fierce when it comes to commercial real estate agents.  On that basis you really do need to have an effective prospecting model to implement at an individual level.

It should be said that most brokers and agents don’t do this very well.  On that basis the opportunities are significant if you can create and stick to a good prospecting model.  Create a habit around prospecting.

Here are some proven and highly effective prospecting and networking tips when it comes to agents or brokers winning new clients in commercial real estate today.  Compare these to your current strategies:

  1. Stick to a defined area when it comes to targeting properties and clients.  On a street by street basis you can move through the region and research the necessary property ownership details and business proprietors.  Don’t spread yourself too thinly when it comes to large areas and diverse property types.  Specialization will help you with finding listings and growing property knowledge.
  2. Devote 3 hours per day to the prospecting process.  The cold calling process should occur first thing every morning prior to any meetings or property inspections.  Make a priority to get your cold calls done prior to 11 am.  Your meetings and property inspections can occur after that time.
  3. Split your prospecting time into two distinct segments.  The first segment will be those people that you have spoken to before.  Regular contact here will allow you to tap into the opportunity when those people are ready to make a sale or a lease transaction.  The second group that you should speak to will be those that are totally new to your database.  Feed your database with fresh contacts and opportunities with new people.
  4. Track the results that you get from all of your prospecting activities.  Understand how your ratios are improving between outbound calls, meetings created, presentations made, and listings converted.
  5. Understand the differences between open and exclusive listings.  As a general priority, you should be targeting exclusive listings at every opportunity.  On that basis, track the numbers of listings in each case.  Show the client the differences in time on market when it comes to open listings and exclusive listings.
  6. Any property that is converted to a listing should be packaged for the current market conditions.  As you get results and feedback from inspections, you can make clear recommendations to the client regards pricing and marketing.  Over a period of weeks, the repackaging of a listing can increase inspection and negotiation opportunity.

So there are some very definite things that can be done to improve your listing conversions and commission opportunities.  The secret to making all of this work is to create a personal system of prospecting that you stick to every day.  Refine your activities to the current market conditions, and soon you will see the conversions you require.

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Technology Tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokers Today

Every commercial real estate broker or agent today should have a technology plan to help them build market share, and customer contact.  We have so many great tools available to assist with the process.

The essential focus here is to allow technology to simplify your business life and grow your market share.  Certainly it can do that, as long as you establish the plan and a process.  Make commercial real estate easier for yourself in so many ways.

Here are some specialized tips relating to technology and marketplace communication today:

  1. Every opportunity in all your conversations and meetings, capture the e-mail information and the mobile telephone information from the prospects and the clients that you talk to.  Get their approval and consent for ongoing contact.  Remember that in any client or prospect today is likely to bring the value over time.  It simply a matter of remaining in contact for the correct and well-timed opportunity.
  2. Understand the challenges that apply to e-mail marketing and e-mail communication.  Ensure that you do not breach the spam legislation that applies in each case.  You must have the consent of the person that you are connecting with.  You also need to allow them to easily opt out of the process if they choose to do so.  It is worthwhile noting here that a professional approach to communication will usually minimize the loss of people.
  3. You should have a plan that relates to cold calling and prospecting.  The telephone numbers that you use should comply with the local communication laws and the do not call register.  Understand the differences in laws that apply between telephoning a business, and telephoning an individual.
  4. You can get a wide variety of auto responders on the Internet today to help with your management of your database and your newsletter.  All of the auto responders are very user friendly and relatively cheap to use.  You can create a banner for the newsletter so that your branding is consistent to the image that you wish to spread.
  5. Establish your blogging platform so that you can write articles and provide information relative to the local property market and the industry trends.  As part of that process, you can obtain a domain name that can be pointed to your blogging platform.  Choose a domain name that is either relative to you individually, or relative to the property speciality and location.  A well-chosen domain name will help people find you.  On your blog, make sure that you have an entry point to your database and auto responder.  Write a blog so regularly so that the search engines start to notice your relevance and experience.
  6. Get involved with social media and use a number of platforms to do so.  Choose two or three platforms that can work for you.  Link your blogs back to your social media activity.  You can also link your quality listings back to your social media activity.  Every prospect or client should be invited to join your social media group.  Update your social sites regularly with meaningful and interesting information.

So there are many things here for you to do when it comes to technology and commercial real estate brokerage.  Use the technology to market yourself personally to the people that you can serve.

You can get more tips for commercial real estate brokers in our Newsletter.

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The Top 7 Tips for Staying Ahead of Your Game in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

In commercial real estate brokerage, it is very easy to get swamped with daily events and reactive issues.  Many people will want a slice of your time.  If uncontrolled, this can lead to a downturn in listings and market share.  In simple terms, you need to implement a system that allows you to stay ‘ahead of your game’ in commercial real estate.

The rewards in the industry are many, providing you stay on track and implement the correct system.  It is a personal process that cannot be delegated.  Here are my top seven tips to help you stay ahead of your game as a top agent or broker.

  1. Start the day with focus.  Each evening you should be preparing for the following day by planning your time and the key issues that need to be done.  Identify the four or five key issues that will have maximum impact on your client base, listings, and market share.  Those things should be a high priority in your daily action plan.  Get all of those things done before you do anything else.  When you feel in control, you get more things done.  On that basis, control your diary at an obsessive level.
  2. Understand the high value of prospecting and growing your database.  Devote approximately 2 or 3 hours to prospecting and client contact.  Split that time equally between new contacts and established contacts.  Track all of the conversations, the meetings, and the presentations that you make, so that you can see when your ratios and numbers are improving.
  3. As a general rule, focus on exclusive listings more than anything else.  The exclusive listings will allow you to build market share, focus your inspections and negotiations, and service the client comprehensively.  The agents that struggle in the marketplace are typically those that have difficulty with converting exclusive listings.  You simply must control the listing stock.
  4. There is a big difference between being proactive and reactive in the industry.  At least 40% of your day needs to be proactive and in that case should be directed towards prospecting, marketing, and client contact.  Unfortunately you cannot remove the reactive element of the industry given that you will be working with many different people who will impose on your time.  That being said, take the necessary steps to control the impact and limit the exposure that you have to other people’s priorities.  Manage your time accordingly.
  5. Every listing can be extensively promoted, and then adjusted to the market conditions.  When you have sufficient marketing feedback on a particular listing, you can make the recommendations to the client that will shift the enquiry rate and the inspection results.  Don’t take too long to get to the point of repositioning.
  6. Review all of the listing stock locally including those listings that belong to your competitors.  When they place a signboard on a property, make contact with all the other businesses and property owners in the region surrounding it.  They may like to compete with the other listing in the same street.
  7. In your town or city, you will find that commercial property ownership is typically for a period of 5 to 10 years.  At or during that time, the property owner is likely to expand their portfolio, or replace the property asset with another larger property.  When you track the cycles of sales from the region, you can identify the best clients to work with for upcoming property activity.

 

When you look at a list like this, there are plenty of issues to action and matters to get under control.  I go back to the point that you really do need to be proactive and not reactive in this industry.  Spend at least 40% of your day getting involved in proactive issues and strategies.  Soon the commercial real estate market will open up with opportunity in both listings and future clients.  Stay on track to your plan.

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Sales Questions to Ask Prospects in Commercial Real Estate

In commercial real estate brokerage, the questions that you ask will help build listing opportunity.  You may only have one chance to connect with a person or prospect.  Tap into their property needs effectively and efficiently with better questions; then it is simply a matter of tracking the matter with a good database and follow-up.

Top agents and brokers match people to property situations.  That is a great strategy in today’s market.  So how many people should you know in this market?  Whilst the number varies with property type and location, it is essential to connect with all the ‘players’ including the following:

  • Property investors that own quality property currently
  • New property owners that have entered the area
  • Business owners looking for relocation or purchase
  • Business owners looking for a sale and lease back opportunity
  • Property developers (yes, I know they come and go from the market)
  • Solicitors and accountants with property clients

When you look at the list it is easy to see that the questioning process is critical in each of the segments.  Better questions set the scene for property action and opportunity.

Here are some rules that apply to connecting and questioning your prospects today:

  1. Understand that you are talking with a decision maker for the business or the property.  When you are connecting with local businesses you will find middle management quite frustrating and time wasting.
  2. Look for leads and referrals through the people that you know now.  They are the easiest business opportunities to convert.  One good client is likely to know 3 or 4 other people of relevance to what you do.
  3. Find out what the current property situation is for the client or prospect today.  In an ideal world how would they move ahead in investment or business decisions?  What would be the timing of that?
  4. One answer to a good question about property ownership or use can be ‘drilled down’ on further, and in doing so you can get to get to the important catalysts of change.  There is nothing more frustrating than seeing another agent or broker come into your client relationship and take or convert a listing away from your control.
  5. Recognise that when you ask good questions, you control the conversation.  If the client is asking too many questions, you are not in control.
  6. Understand the differences in closed versus open questions on property ownership and use.  There are many variations of issues to explore and investigate.  One good response can lead to a contact call at a later time.

Top agents and brokers ask great questions.  They then watch the total response so they can tap into the needs of the prospect or client.  Control your commercial real estate market through great questions.

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Set New Standards in Commercial Property Management Services

In commercial property management it is easy to fall into the same basic management model with all of your properties and clients.  That can be the wrong thing to do, given that most properties have differences and challenges that all need to be adjusted to.

To get a reasonable management fee and keep the client and the property in your brokerage portfolio for a long period of time, it is necessary to produce a high quality service.  Set new standards for your brokerage; get known as the ‘brokerage of choice’ when it comes to managing difficult and diverse properties.

Remember these facts:

  • Most clients don’t do a very good job themselves in property management, so they need help.  They have not got the systems and support tools that most other quality brokerages have.
  • Many other property managers are a bit ordinary when it comes to skills and commitment to the task.  You can usually do a better job.
  • Every negotiated sale or lease is an opportunity for a property management proposal.

To attract new clients and better properties to manage here are some ideas to help you set new standards:

  1. Understand the client before you do anything else.  They don’t just want the property managed; they want it formulated to a plan or a strategy that matches their intentions of holding the property.
  2. Check out the tenant mix and the leases so you can relate to the strengths and weaknesses in each.  The weaknesses will need resolve or removal.  Given that some leases can go for some time if not years, you will need a tenant retention plan to help you decide what tenants are going and what are staying.
  3. Understand the critical dates in the property with all of the leases.  Act early on the dates so you are not creating a weakness in the property or income base.
  4. Vacancies and arrears can be challenging issues.  Both require strong and sensible management or resolve.  It pays in many cases initially not to remove a tenant because of arrears.  Usually the arrears can be managed through hence avoiding a vacancy and loss of rent.
  5. Understand the income profiles and factors for the property.  Match the expenditure trends to the cash flow and the requirements of the landlord.  It is not so much that the bills need to be paid on time; but rather that the expenditure needs to be planned.

A good property management system will be supported by a checklist and forward planning model.  Every client is different so take the time to understand the client before you do anything else.  Help them with their property needs.