When you start your career in commercial real estate brokerage, there are many things to consider and action. The first six months of personal activity and learning will be really important to setting the foundations for better listings and market share.
One thing needs to be said here; most of the valuable listing and commission business will only come to you from personal effort and actions on a daily basis. Very little comes to you from the agency that you work for. It’s a personal thing.
So what is the overall rule here? You must know a lot of ‘property related’ people and they must respect you as a top agent and skilled business person. From that point onwards you have something to work with.
To achieve this basic rule and strategy, a personal plan is required that you can keep to and use as a basis for growing market share. Here are some tips to help you get started in your career as a broker or real estate agent:
- The first six months of your career must be planned so you can get to know your market in all ways possible. The best people in the industry are skilled and specialised. Focus your efforts into a property type and a precinct.
- Review your area comprehensively. Look for information and trends about sales, leasing, prices, rents, new developments, and property owners. Check out the properties that are selling and leasing and the results that they are achieving.
- At the earliest possible time, start prospecting and talking to new people. It will be difficult at first, but practice and action will help you improve in many ways.
- Some properties and precincts will have more activity than others. It is useful to understand where the property deals are happening and why that is so. Soon you will see the types of properties that are likely to produce better deals and commissions over time.
- Computer technology and online tools today can help us a lot when it comes to communicating and tracking what we do. Use a variety of tools that can keep you organised and detailed on things that matter.
- Set some targets that you can track. What are your expectations regards commission income, listings, clients, meetings, and market share? To know those things you will really have to research the local area and understand exactly who and what you are up against. Your competitors will be doing things now that may attract the deals and the clients their way. If you are going to compete, a strategy should be built from ‘current market conditions’.
Given all of these things, do you know what your ideal client looks like, and where they will be coming from? Do you understand how you will attract those clients to use your services? Build your skills in all ways possible. You will find that the top agents of the market have exceptional skills in certain things. Decide what you will need to do to reach that level of domination.
In commercial real estate brokerage you will hear many people refer to the opportunities gained with attending networking events. Certainly that is the case.
So what are the best networking events that could you attend in your town or city? Here are some ideas to help you:
- Get involved with the local franchise council so that you connect work with franchise groups, franchisors, and franchisees. They may have potential needs when it comes to property relocation, or leasing.
- Solicitors and accountants are good sources of new business opportunity over time. Most of these successful professional people have plenty of clients with property challenges and needs. That being said, these solicitors and the accountants need to trust you and know your relevance as a top agent in the local area. Relationships take time to build with these people but they can be very rewarding over the longer term.
- The local property council or industry group will have networking events on a regular basis. That being said, just about every one of your competitors will be at the same event passing out business cards. All the more reason for you to be present and active on the day.
- Get involved with the local municipal council and know the relative councillors, mayor, and planning officers. They can tell you a lot about the local area when it comes to property changes and future activities.
- The local small business community will have meetings and gatherings from time to time. Understand the role that you can play as a local property specialist and how you can provide quality information to that small business community. On a regular basis you can speak to them about property trends, prices, and rentals. Small business owners invariably need a property to operate from as part of the business function. They may also need knowledge and information relating to property purchase and leasing alternatives at a local level.
So the networking process is quite useful and is part of a strategic process for brokers and agents.
Take your local property knowledge and information to every networking event and opportunity. Share information regards recent sales and leasing activity so that others may benefit from the trends of the market. Soon you will see that others will come to you for help and guidance.
The longer that you work as a commercial real estate agent or broker, you will soon understand the priorities of property choice and performance when it comes to certain clients and prospects. With that knowledge, you can match clients to properties and create transactions off market.
So every client will have certain priorities when it comes to property choice and investment performance.
Consider the following factors and opportunities:
- The income from a property may have allowances for growth given the rent review profiles within each lease document. Some leases are better than others. Some rent review strategies are also more effective than others when it comes to rental income performance. Understand the differences between the available rent review strategies and how they can be shaped within a lease negotiation.
- A new lease today with a lower rental start point can be shaped into a substantial income cash flow over time; that is providing you choose the right tenants and the appropriate rent review strategies. A good lease negotiator will understand the important factors of rental positioning and growth at the time of lease negotiation.
- Diversification can be an advantage when it comes to property portfolio ownership. If the client focus for a portfolio is too much within the same property type, the client can open themselves up to income instability when the market changes. The threat of a vacancy can be a real problem when the market shifts and changes. So there are different property types to choose from including office, retail, and industrial property. There are also different locations within a town or a city all of which can provide alternatives and opportunities as the market changes. Look at how you can provide your client with portfolio stability through property diversification.
- Review your area for properties going through change in lifecycle due to age and redundancy. The older properties may soon need a refurbishment and or material change of use. That can then lead to a variety of redevelopment, leasing, and sales opportunities.
- You can sometimes match the right people to the right circumstances; as an example you can bring a property developer together with a property investor. You can add to that equation a local financier with appropriate funds. You then simply need to add a suitable property to the relationship, and you will have the recipe for a potential property development and major project. Multiple sales and leasing opportunities can then follow.
- Some clients are very skilled when it comes to property improvement and repositioning. They understand how to take a difficult property and turn it into something that is more successful and highly marketable. It is not unusual for a client in that situation to turn a property around and resell it within a period of 5 to 7 years.
A top agent tends to work with clients and prospects in different ways. To do this, it is simply a matter of understanding the needs of the client, the opportunities of the market, and the different strategies that can be applied to bring a deal together.
There is nothing more rewarding than to put a deal together off market away from the pressures of the competition and the scrutiny of other agents. When you announce the deal to the world through an editorial or press release, the other agents are soon recognising that you are the top agent with all of the contacts.
It is a fact that the commercial real estate market today is under some pressure and is also highly competitive. For you to be successful in your career in the industry, you will need a plan of action and a tracking mechanism to understand what’s working and what needs to change in your business model. Notice I said ‘your business model’? Most agents and brokers don’t have one! They simply let the days pass with little focus and random action. That is a recipe for losing business over time.
The commercial property industry is not all that different from city to city, state to state, and country to country. The property problems are all similar and simply need understanding. Taking direct action in your market every day will help you see the opportunities to work on and the clients to serve.
Having worked in the industry for some time, I have seen three distinct mistakes made by the majority of brokers and agents in the industry. Some of those agents eventually adjust and resolve their mistakes, whilst others overlook them to the detriment of their market share.
So what exactly what are these three all too common mistakes? How can you deal with them? Here are some ideas:
- The most common mistake made by all brokers and agents centres on prospecting. They simply fail to develop a prospecting plan that they can work to every day in a consistent way. They let the pressures of the day overtake their diary and business activities. Soon prospecting becomes item number 8 in a list of 10 issues. Inevitably the broker or agent never gets to the prospecting process in a regular way. If you want to rise to the top of your industry and generate reasonable market share, you will need a prospecting process that you can work to every day. Prospecting should be item 1 in your diary.
- Success in the industry is largely built on established relationships with key people. Whilst a prospecting model as mentioned earlier can drive more new people towards you, you do need to establish ongoing contact in a consistent and relevant way. When you first connect with new property owners and property investors, most of them will not have an immediate need for selling or leasing. That will however change over time, and you need to be there for the moment where experience and property expertise will be needed. Most top agents in the industry win the new business due to establish relationships built over many years.
- Marketing processes will vary from property to property and city to city. That being said, your marketing processes should be specific and special; they need to stand out around all the other agent generic advertising. When a client or prospect picks up the newspaper or reviews the Internet, they need to see your advertising and property listings as special and unique within the property type. A property listing that is well marketed will attract many other clients to you over time. Build your marketing skills to increase the brokerage profile with the property speciality. Improve your marketing skills to show the people in the industry of your relevance.
These three simple factors will have a lot to do with your success as an agent or a broker. Choose to improve each of them at each and every opportunity. Stand out as the top agent that you want to be. Be prepared to go that little bit further in all three of the categories.
The commercial property market is a challenge at the best of times. There are plenty of things to do when it comes to commercial brokerage and agency. Each and every day a certain number of hours should be devoted to the prospecting process. That activity will be at a personal level for any agent or broker.
It stands to reason that a good broker will have a successful prospecting model to encourage new clients and listings in a regular way. The earlier that agents and brokers move towards this planning process and its implementation, the faster they move up the ranks of the market with listings and commissions.
Here are some tips to help you with the prospecting process that should be applied to office, industrial, or retail property. Given your local market conditions, you can add to the list as appropriate:
- Understand the activities of the market over the last two or three years. As the market been attracting activity or has it been contracting? It is best to work within a market that has growth and opportunity. It is best to work with property types that have a future.
- Many brokerages employ agents on the assumption that the agents will bring in the required new sales and leasing business. Certainly that is the case to a degree; it should however be observed that a good real estate brokerage will have generic marketing strategies and material to help the agents with their daily prospecting activities. An agent or a broker with little or no support from their principal will struggle.
- It is critical that a broker or an agent get signboards into their territory as soon as possible. Those signboards should be on exclusive listings. Signboard presence will always help local market profile and encourage inbound telephone calls. On that basis you can build your database.
- The Internet today offers significant opportunity when it comes to business profile and property marketing. Every brokerage or agency should have a substantial business website to promote sales and leasing listings. The brokerage should always be updating the website with the latest technology tools to capture inbound enquiries. A database portal is part of that process.
- Set aside 2 hours per day to contact new people through the local area. The easiest way to do that is through a consistent and professional cold calling process. When you have connected with a number of people across the telephone, you can move out into the marketplace and door knock a number of businesses and property owners. Personal contact in our market today is really important.
- Every new property listing will give you an opportunity to talk to many other property owners and businesses in the same location. Every successful transaction will give you further reasons to connect with the market place. Use your existing listings and exclusive listings to connect with the property market.
In looking at these activities, it is easy to see that the involvement of the agent or broker at a personal level is critical. Momentum is required every day to establish a good prospecting model to convert more listings and commissions.