When you work in commercial or retail property leasing, you need a rich source of tenants and business leads. There are a number of resources that you can use for that purpose, and on that basis it is simply a matter of selecting the ones that work for you and your property market. Develop your leasing strategies.
Here are some of the best leasing sources of business names and tenant identities:
- Check out all of the major buildings in your leasing territory. When it comes to buildings that contain multiple tenants, it is a matter of taking down or capturing the details from the directory board that is located in the property. The easiest way to do that is to take a photograph of the directory board on your mobile telephone. You can process and review the photograph later.
- From the details that you get in the previous ‘directory board’ step, it is a matter of telephoning down all the businesses in the particular buildings to discuss future leasing and occupation needs. Leases come to an end at some stage for all types of reasons. Some tenants prefer to move when that occurs, and on that basis you can be the source of market information and relocation opportunity.
- Get a copy of the local business telephone book as it applies to your location, town and city. It is preferable to use the telephone book in hardcopy rather than online. That is simply because the telephone book can be logically processed and marked off with a colored pen or highlighters as you proceed through it. Starting at the beginning of the telephone book work through every business name to find those businesses that are located in your priority suburbs and leasing territory. Whilst this process may seem tedious, it is simply a matter of reviewing one or two pages of telephone numbers each night in preparation for your prospecting processes the next day. One telephone book can take you an entire year to move through. You will however see that the system is quite easy to implement and soon you will be covering 5 to 10 pages a day as part of that process. One page of the telephone book should give you two or three numbers to call; cold calls lead to information and potential meetings with the right tenants. You may wish to choose a greater number of businesses given the filtering process and the criteria of targeted tenants locally.
- You can also get some good leads and opportunities from using the Internet methodically and specifically. In your town or city, there will be a business ‘Yellow Pages’ telephone book online that you can use for this very purpose. In most cases you can search the ‘Yellow pages’ based on targeted business types and by suburbs. From that search process you can get specific names of businesses and tenants to put into your prospecting activities and cold calling systems.
So these four strategies are quite simple. You can see why things need to be methodical and systemized.
When you create a large list of local businesses and tenants, and then take the time to understand their occupation needs from a leasing perspective, you are of high value to the landlords that you serve. Use your database as leverage in this way when it comes to winning a property leasing appointment. Tell the landlord about your database and how accurate and up to date it is. They will find it difficult to ignore an agent with a comprehensive and up to date database of tenants.
The commercial real estate market can be very competitive at the best of times. Many agents and brokers will be chasing the same listing and attempting to influence the client towards their marketing solution and property package. For this reason you may only have one chance to attract new business and the client to your brokerage. Your sales pitch or presentation needs to be of the highest quality.
So here are five effective ways to improve the client connection and potentially win the listing. Compare these strategies to what you are doing currently. Small improvements can bring big results.
- Clients today know when they are talking to a top agent that dominates the market segment or the location. Every presentation or sales pitch should be designed around those facts. If you miss out on a listing, it can largely be due to the fact that you have not sufficiently convinced the client of your relevance for the property and their marketing situation. A client or a prospective client will not turn their back on the recommendations of a top agent. It really doesn’t matter what relationships exist between the client and your competitors. If you specifically sell your marketing package at a high level, the relevance and the recommendations are hard for the client to avoid or overlook.
- When you present to the client, be totally absorbed in the strategies recommended and the requirements of the client. Every sales or leasing situation can be quite unique. Drill down into the facts of price and rent as the case may be. If you provide any recommendation around the price or the rental, show clear market evidence to support those facts. Also comment regards the best way forward for the client given the current market conditions.
- Show the client exactly what you will be doing to help them with their property challenge. Also show them the stages required to move ahead. You can do that through a simple Gantt chart that itemizes the marketing preparation, marketing campaign, inspection strategy, and negotiation approach. The visual approach of a Gantt chart will help you significantly with any sales pitch or presentation for the listing.
- When any of your competitors put a signboard on a property in your local area, canvass the surrounding property owners and business proprietors. It has been proven many times over that some nearby property investors and business owners are likely to compete when it comes to dealing with their property challenges. You can be the agent or broker to help them with the process of competing; you can list their property. The momentum gained from the nearby competitors listing will give you leverage in packaging your property listing. You can adjust your methods of sale or lease accordingly, together with the necessary pricing package to attract better levels of enquiry.
- Put yourself into the promotion of any exclusive listing. Any exclusive listing should be secured for a reasonable period of time together with vendor paid marketing. As part of that process, you can then commit to the marketing effort by canvassing local business owners and property investors. It directly follows that any quality property listing will give you many reasons to talk to others.
The commercial real estate brokerage process doesn’t need to be hard or difficult. It does however need to be simplified and direct. Get involved with your clients and your property listings so that you can attract more enquiries and create more inspections. Over time those two factors will help you build market share and potentially dominate your market.
Many people think that the life of a commercial real estate broker is easy. Perhaps some people even join the industry assuming that is the case. The reality of the industry is far and away from those assumptions. The top agents in the market work really hard and do so to a definite plan or system.
When you put in the effort individually, you will get results. The efforts applied should be specific to the property type and the location; in other words you do need to do the right things each and every day and systemise the process. That is exactly what the top agents do.
Here are some cold hard facts regards the industry:
- Commissions – looked at in isolation, the commissions that we earn can be quite large. For most property transactions and listings however real strategy and effort is required to attract a successful outcome in any sale or lease. As large as the commissions may seem, they don’t come easily. If you want significant income, you need to work hard.
- Hours of work – the hours of work are variable and sometimes quite long. It is not unusual to be negotiating a contract or a lease later into the evening, across the weekend, or early one morning. The business is out there to be done providing you are flexible enough to do the work of any time of day.
- Property knowledge – property knowledge will have a big impact on your inspections and negotiations. It will also help you significantly when it comes to the listing process. On that basis you will really need to know a lot about the local area, the property type, and the current levels of enquiry.
- Personal marketing – whilst you may work for a well-known brokerage or agency, you must market yourself each and every day to the right people in the right way. On that basis every agent or broker should have a specific prospecting and networking program underway.
- Prospecting – it should be said quite clearly that prospecting is not easy. It is required business skill that takes practice and improvement. Simply lifting the telephone or door knocking on the business will not be very successful without the necessary practice factors. Build some prospecting practice into your business day prior to getting into the office.
- Negotiation – negotiation skills are something you learn over time. Every landlord, seller, buyer, and tenant will have different factors of leverage and requirements when it comes to property negotiation. As the agent or the broker to the deal, your advantage will be in seeing those factors of leverage and the requirements that can be satisfied. That is how a good negotiator works.
- Inspection – the inspection of a property will happen for a number of reasons and preparation is required. Every listing will have strengths and weaknesses impacting the inspection process. Your job is to use them or work through them to achieve the best result. That is where property knowledge and local market information will be of high value.
- Documentation – some property lease and sales situations are very complex. Expert information and assistance will be required when it comes to complex transactions. Make sure that every contract or lease that you create is correctly designed for the property and the client’s situation.
- Database – your database will be the most important business tool that you have available. Spend time every day connecting with people within the database and adding new people to the process. Over time the database will give you plenty of leads, and referral opportunities. From the database you can create a specialised list of VIP clients and prospects.
Looking at all of these things, you can see how important the commitment and the skills of the agent will be to their progress in the industry. They say that nothing really comes easy; certainly that is the case in commercial real estate brokerage. Be prepared to put in the hours and improve your skills over time. That is how you can be a very successful agent in the industry.
When it comes to selling or leasing any commercial, industrial, or retail property, the more specific that you are to the location and property the easier it is to attract attention and negotiate. To do something with this you need property specific data. It is very difficult for the negotiating party to refute or dispute valid information from the local market.
So, the message here is quite clear that you will need to create and maintain relevant property information that you can use in any negotiation locally. Here are some ideas to help you with that:
- Track the activity of prices within your property speciality. The prices can be related to land, improvements, and location. Take those numbers and trend them over a period of time using a simple line or bar graph. The visual approach can be very powerful when it comes to any client or prospect presentation.
- When it comes to selling any property, there will be a preferable method of sale. That sale method will be based on industry results and activity, the property type, and demand. Select the best preferable method of sale when it comes to every property presentation and sales pitch. Ensure that the client clearly understands your reasons for that particular choice. Use graphs and charts to show them how one method of sale is proving to be more successful than others.
- Given the previous point, you can and should track the levels of rental that apply within the property type. Rental variations can be and usually are a bit more challenging from the analysis point of view. You will need to address and assess the rental types such as gross rental, net rental, incentives, and market rentals. Understand what is leasing and for what reason. Business sentiment in the local area and your town or city will have a lot to do with leasing enquiry and lease conversions. What types of leases are being negotiated today and for what reason?
- Understand the supply and demand for investment property and business premises. To track that activity you can monitor the new planning approvals being processed at your municipal council. Also look for any changes to property zoning and property use.
- The supply of vacant land will have an impact on the creation of new property developments. New property developments are considered when the population and the business demographic are within a growth phase. In some towns and cities, the supply of vacant land is restricted. On that basis a change of property use and redevelopment will be more likely. Staying close contact with property developers and the business community to identify any future needs and changes within property demand.
The property promotion process is quite specific if you want to win an exclusive listing. You can show the client quite clearly how specific that is when it comes to their property challenge with any sale or leasing. Use local market information and comparable evidence through charts, graphs, and historic trends to help prove your point.
When you specialise within a property type, this information display is quite important. The specific approach to the property type in any listing presentation will help you greatly in conversions.
You can get a big adrenaline rush with cold calling in commercial real estate brokerage especially when you score a few meetings with prospects and new people. That is what the call process is all about; meeting new people and establishing ongoing contact. That’s how commercial real estate really works.
The telephone is a massive source of opportunity for brokers and agents. Use it well and you will find that all of the following are quite possible:
- Reaching out to local property owners and business leaders that may have a current and future property need.
- Talk to others about local listings, prices and rents. Many people like to know about industry changes and property listing changes in the local area.
- Every current listing is a good chance to ask others about what they are doing currently with their property and how things may be changing for them.
- Following up on people that you have spoken to before as part of property marketing and listing activity.
- Establishing a core group of ‘VIP’ prospects and clients that you should be remaining in contact with continually.
Simple things like this will help you find the sales and leasing opportunities. If you are struggling now with commission income or exclusive listings, start making more telephone calls and put your prospecting model back on track. It’s quite a simple equation; talk to more people in a relevant way. Ask the questions and track the responses.
Here are some rules that will help you with all of this:
- If you are going to make a lot of calls in ‘one sitting’, stand up during the call contact process. It will help you with voice, dialogue, and confidence.
- Find a quiet room to make the calls. This is really important when you are prospecting. There is nothing more distracting to the other person on the line than hearing conversations and distractions in the background; they soon know that they are being called by one of a number of salespeople as part of cold calling. The immediate response is then to decline the call or end the conversation quickly.
- Get a headset so you can be ‘hands free’ as you make the calls. Soon you will be using your hands as an extension of conversation and that will also help the call conversions.
- Every morning when you first arise, spend 20 minutes or so giving your voice some verbal flexibility and tonality practice. You can do that by reading a book aloud. This simple tactic will help you a lot for cold calls later in the morning.
These four simple things will help you a lot when starting a telephone canvassing and cold calling program in commercial real estate. They will help with the momentum and focus that you require.
In commercial real estate brokerage, you will hopefully have many prospects and a number of good clients. Over time those numbers do need to grow and compound opportunities in referrals, leads, and listings. All of these things will occur when you know your clients very well and similarly so their property needs and or situation.
Here are some tips for turning a prospect contact into a future client for your commercial real estate brokerage:
- In many respects you do need to know the client better than they know themselves. Whilst they may have a particular property challenge or need, they probably do not know enough about the local market opportunities to identify exactly what they require to allow them to improve their property performance or outcome. Look for opportunities within prices, rentals, refurbishments, relocations, marketing systems, and income and property expenditure. You can also work within tenancy mix changes and tenant retention plans to improve the tenant profile of the building.
- Understand the factors of compatibility between yourself, the client, and your brokerage. Are you providing the specialized services that match the future needs of your clients and prospects? There is no point specializing in something that is under supported or under resourced within your brokerage. As a case in point, retail shopping center sales and leasing require specialist retail knowledge and unique skills. In that case the brokerage would need to have or acquire the right people and resources to do the job well.
- Establish a regular dialogue with your clients where you can provide up to date specialized market information for their property type. That can be through a newsletter, industry briefing, and local area updates relating to sales and leasing activity, new development updates, and changes within property zonings or building codes.
- Many clients will take time to open up with complete and full information relating to their property portfolio and asset performance. Trust and loyalty established over time will encourage them to share that information.
- Give more to the market than you get back. It is a simple statement that suggests that you should give freely of your knowledge and resources to help the client relationship grow. Establish a group of VIP clients within your database where this can be done. Most top agents will have a database of between three hundred and six hundred well qualified prospects. Within that group, your VIP prospects should number between 50 and 100. They will be the people that can offer higher value and repeat business over time. Connect with that group in a different way and in a deeper level.
Client relationships are at the center of everything when it comes to commercial real estate brokerage and agency. You may choose to be a specialist in sales, leasing, and or property management. Without the client connection and marketing process, you will struggle with market share. Use some of these points mentioned to build solid foundations of client loyalty and trust.
Personal branding in commercial real estate is quite important. At a personal level you can be a ‘cool brand’, and that by definition is someone that is good to know and an expert in their field of real estate and in the location. On that basis clients and prospects will seek you out at the ‘go to person’ for solving property problems. You could say that you then have real ‘market attraction’.
This image will help you with listings and growth of market share. Are you up to the challenge? Let’s look at this a bit more.
So how do you create this very special image as a top agent and expert in your field? Prospecting will help you a lot, but in saying that you can add some rules and processes to the prospecting process. There is no point in being ordinary in our industry as you will just fade into the already large group of other brokers and agents; every listing pitch will then be a competitive event. Consider these alternatives:
- Ideas person – many properties and clients will be unique and challenging. For that reason you can be an ‘ideas’ person to help solve the complex property situation facing the client. Every exclusive listing should be handled with a high degree of creativity in marketing and promotion.
- Great negotiator – some properties are challenging as to the complexity of the sales contract or property lease. Make sure you have enough knowledge to build the negotiation momentum for your client. Any hurdles to the marketing of the property should have been resolved early in the property listing process. Preparation is the key to resolving negotiation issues.
- Solution provider – some of your competitors will be quite ‘generic’ when it comes to marketing a property and establishing a campaign. Your solutions must be better than all the other agents; that’s how you can convert exclusive listings much more effectively.
- Stand out in a crowded market – to help you stand out in your area and sales territory get plenty of sign boards into your zone. As a priority make sure your signs are more effective in placement and detail. That will mean some vendor paid funds to take the listing to the market.
- Commitment to task – many clients will talk of ‘agents that have failed them’. The fact of the matter is that the generic support for clients with their property today will be of little benefit in converting a sale or lease. If a property is special then you should provide special ideas and momentum to the promotion process. You can only do that when the client has given you an exclusive listing. Can you convert more exclusive listings? If not, why not? Set yourself a challenge to list only exclusive listings of a quality nature.
When you review these points, apply them to your own personal marketing profile. How do you match the image? Can you do better?