In commercial real estate brokerage, growth is good in so many ways. If you want to move ahead in your property market then developing a ‘lust for growth’ is a good thing. There are many ways you can grow your business and property opportunities.
To get things started, understand just where you are today in your market and what changes are occurring locally that could indicate a different business focus. I like to move from sales to leasing and then back again as opportunities allow. From a lease you can create the foundations for a sale of the property when the investor is ready to make a move in that direction.
So let’s look at some of the opportunities for you now and what factors of the market that you can grow:
- Personal level – some agents fail to grow much at a personal level. By that I mean in skills, and knowledge relating to your property market. The greater the value that we are to the clients that we serve, the larger the chances are that we can convert more listings and improve our presentation outcomes. Clients want to work with the best agents that really know what they are doing and are highly skilled in doing so. There is absolutely no point in being ‘generic’ as an agent today.
- Signboards – getting more signboards into your market is a good thing. The traditional signboard will create more enquiries for you. By this I am referring to the signs placed on ‘exclusive listings’. To get more signs on the quality local properties you should look at your prospecting model and escalate it to the next level of activity and specialisation.
- Listings – to build your commission opportunities it pays to work on a certain number of exclusive listings at any one time. Generally you will not have time to service more than 15 listings like this. Keep your listing numbers down but spend a good level of focus in doing so. Take every quality property to the market in a comprehensive way. Use the listings to get people talking and to share their property situation.
- Internet profile – we all use the internet to market properties. That being said you can have a blog on the internet at a personal level that lets you talk about property activity and industry changes in your local area. Today it is really essential that we go beyond property marketing and take our own profile to the online world. Use the blog to show the market place just how relevant and knowledgeable you are as a top property specialist. If you blog regularly (at least 3 times per week), the search engines will soon see your blog as something that they should link to and watch.
- Database – your database will bring you leads and opportunities if you follow the rules. Every day your database should be expanded and updated through personal effort. To do this effectively you can and should make the start of everyday a process of prospecting for new people.
These four simple growth factors will help you greatly as a real estate agent. Create the action and focus in each of the segments of ‘growth potential’. Soon the market will see your activities and give you more leads.
When you work as a real estate broker in industrial property, there will be plenty of situations where you are helping a business owner or tenant in selecting an industrial property or warehouse. In sales or leasing situations the criteria for property selection are quite similar in many respects.
To help with the process you can create a checklist of key industrial issues and occupancy factors that apply to your area, town or city.
Here is a list to help you get started in this checklist process:
- Ask questions about the business seeking relocation so you can understand the ‘business dynamics’ across issues related to customers, staff, manufacturing, storage, loading, deliveries, office integration, and warehousing needs etc.
- Location – there will be reasons for a business seeking a particular area to locate their business. It may have something to do with raw materials, transport, customer base, access, and regional markets.
- Size and Shape – the property should have the size and shape to accommodate business activities and operations. Some manufacturing businesses have seasonal pressures on output and deliveries. It may be that a high priority is placed on loading, and hardstand storage for that very reason. The same can be said for internal warehouse storage.
- Permitted use – the property and its intended use should comply with the local property zoning as well as the configuration of the improvements. You can visit the current premises occupied by a business to see the dynamics of daily operations, staff or department interaction, and customer interaction.
- Adaptability – how flexible or adaptable does a property need to be to satisfy the seasonal business pressures as well as expansion and contraction of trade?
- Lease terms – the lease terms that a landlord requires should be identified early in the vacancy marketing process so you can make a clear match to industrial tenants and their needs. How flexible will your landlord client be to tenant demands, levels of rent, incentives, and changes to lease terms?
- Traffic and Congestion – some businesses create significant pressure on property function with deliveries, manufacturing, customer access, transport, and extended hours of trade. If an industrial tenant is likely to put pressure on a property then special lease terms and conditions should be drafted to protect the landlord in case of property damage and high levels of maintenance.
- Priority placement – what is the one single ‘must have’ factor of property occupancy that an industrial business requires to be satisfied in property selection? Identify that early in your property review process. Target your listings accordingly.
From these simple questions you can move into short listing a property or listing for inspection. Don’t show the prospect too many properties initially as it is likely to confuse their perspective on property choice.
When it comes to getting a job in commercial real estate brokerage, you need to understand a few things about the market, the brokerage itself, and the client base. Some brokerages only serve a particular marketplace or customer type. Make sure that the match is clear and precise to your property type and market segment.
Here are some tips to help you with securing a rewarding job in commercial real estate today:
- If the brokerage is part of a broader franchise structure or if they have many salespeople within the one team, you will need to know how business is shared between offices or members of the team. Ensure that you have the flexibility to work the right areas and the property types that you can relate to. Also ensure that the rules of fairness apply to listing distribution and commission breakdowns.
- There are many systems and costs associated with commercial real estate today. One of the most important systems will be that of the database. As you grow your market share and client contact process, the database will grow. Ask questions about the ownership of the data and what will happen if you leave the business in the future. Can you take that data with you?
- Given that you will be talking to a lot of clients and prospects on a regular basis, opportunities will arise in sales, leasing, and property management. Every new client that you introduce to the brokerage should give you the opportunity of a trailing commission if the client converts to using any services of the office and any of the specialised staff. On that basis understand the referral fees and commission bases.
- Will you be offered the support of any of the administrative staff within the office? There are a lot of things to do when it comes to marketing, client administration, listing processes, and deal documentation. Some of those things will require your involvement; administrative support will be of high value to you as a broker or agent. Will you be expected to pay for that administrative support? Will the cost be taken from your commission in some way? Ask questions about the support structure within the office.
- Commission structures within a real estate office can be varied and a reflection of the skills and achievements to date of each individual. This means that some salespeople will be on different commission rates based on results achieved and personal skills. Your commission rates will depend on the value that you bring to the business currently and into the future. Seek out a sliding scale of commission that increasingly rewards you over time as you achieve better rates of client contact, exclusive listings, and closed transactions.
- The zone or the territory that you work within may have some limitations. Make sure that you get the necessary flexibility to attract new business in the property type that you understand and know. There are differences between office property, retail property, and industrial property. What properties can you work on and within what geographical zone? If you are required to share a listing with another broker or agent within your team, how will the commissions be split? These ratios of commission will need to be negotiated at the beginning of your employment.
So some of these questions can help you establish your market share and grow your real estate business. Don’t jump into a new employment arrangement with the new brokerage without due care and regard for the terms and conditions of employment. All the hard work and the prospecting that you are about to do should be rewarded fairly from the deals created.
Look for the fairness in the benchmarks that are applied across different agents and different brokers. Make sure that you can achieve the results and the targets that are to be set for you as a professional in the industry. Understand that the marketplace can provide you with the new business opportunities providing you work hard and with systemised focus. That’s what top agents do all the time.