They say that ‘curiosity killed the cat’, however that is not the case in commercial real estate brokerage. Curiosity is a good thing for any agent or broker to develop, and will encourage the right information that helps with results in prospecting and marketing efforts. Are you ready for the ‘curiosity’ challenge?
So it is a fact, being ‘curious’ should be a core skill to develop for any property agent or broker. Asking questions in a professional way will help you get to the right facts of the market, and the best people looking to do something with local property.
In a sensible and professional way, questions well-crafted will help you find listings and client opportunity. An agent or broker that cannot or does not ask lots of questions will not succeed as a top agent, and will struggle to find market share.
Here are some basic ‘sample’ questions to explore as part of that process of questioning and establishing professional agent curiosity:
Owner Occupier Buyers
- What property types do you prefer?
- How did you find this property?
- What have you looked at recently?
- Do you need to sell another property to make this work for you?
- When is the right time for you to buy?
- What improvements do you need on your short list of requirements?
- What budget do you have?
- What services and amenities will you need in the property?
Owner Occupier Sellers
- When is the right time for you to sell given your current property use?
- Why will you need to move?
- What strengths and weaknesses do you see in the property?
- Will you need to relocate and have you found something else?
- Given the property market today, what expectations do you have of the sale process?
- What are the outgoings for the property today?
- How much space do you need?
- What’s your rental budget?
- What have you looked at locally?
- What improvements do you need?
- What staff access and amenities will you require?
- How does car parking and customer access impact your property selection?
- How long will you be holding the property?
- Is your priority centred on income or capital gain?
- What priorities will you have in tenant mix and lease tenure?
- Is redevelopment a consideration in your purchase?
- Have you explored financing options today?
- Is this a ‘blue chip’ single investment for you or part of a portfolio balance?
- Is this purchase a part of a portfolio strategy?
- How will you be using the property?
- What are the critical improvements and fitout configurations that you must have?
- When is the ideal time of property changeover for you?
- Are you moving from another location?
- Who are the decision makers when you finally find the right property?
- What have you looked at elsewhere?
- What have you liked about where you are now?
- How do raw materials, customers, or end user markets impact your property decisions?
Are you ready to ask some good questions? I hope so; the best property agents do it all the time.
A successful commercial real estate agent has the ability to tap into a few perks that come with the job. That being said, the perks only apply to those good agents that are successful in their business activities. Hard work is required to break through a few ‘barriers’ of sales performance.
Any agent that doesn’t put in the required hours and the focus to their career will find the industry very unkind; the new business doesn’t just walk in the door, you have to go out and find it. The perks and the results only come to those that work to a definite plan and improve their skills as part of the process. I guess it’s the same in any sales related career; however the commissions in commercial real estate can be very large per transaction, and on that basis it can be a very rewarding career choice.
So when you focus on the right property types and sizes, the commissions per transaction are very good. Also if you focus on the high quality properties and get known as the ‘go to’ industry specialist in that property segment, then your real estate business starts to get some traction. That being said, personal improvement and skill development are really important factors in career development in commercial real estate brokerage; you will never really know too much or have all the skills you need to be a top agent. Constant improvement is required. Practice is a good business process.
So what can be the perks of the job? Try some of these for starters:
- Flexibility in working hours
- Autonomy in activities
- Good commissions or earnings
- Technology toys
- Upmarket motor vehicle
- Overseas trips or holidays
- Lifestyle and living
- Early retirement (?)
So all of this is quite attractive, correct? I go back to the point that hard work is required to get anywhere in our industry; but you would expect that wouldn’t you?
The good things in commercial real estate brokerage only come to those that really push themselves on a daily basis and improve their core skills. What are some of those core skills that help things come together? Try these:
- Communication and conversation – it is just so important to be able to talk to lots of people every day in a relevant way; that’s how you grow your market share. As part of that you should have your database of contacts, VIP clients, prospecting programs, and marketing systems all active at the same time.
- Local property knowledge – the property market is always changing, so keep up to date with property prices, rents, yields, returns, supply and demand, and redevelopment needs or property redundancy.
- Negotiation – some of the people that we get involved with in a sale or a lease will present very challenging situations of sale or lease. Good negotiation skills underpin most property deals, be they in sale or leasing. The only way you can negotiate with confidence is to understand the property market in all respects. Practice your negotiation skills regularly. Be prepared for the common problems of the industry today and how to negotiate through them.
- Marketing – the processes of promoting a property and for that matter yourself are quite special. Technology today helps us with the marketing process. Newsletters, emails, direct mail, telephone calls, social media, plus signboards, websites, print media, brochures, and blogs are all part of the marketing process. Good agents know how to use all of these tools and do so regularly to a particular system. When it comes to marketing it is really important to track the things that work and repeat the process as often as possible.
So, the message here is that the perks of a career in commercial real estate brokerage come to those that work with real focus and consistency, whilst improving their skills and market knowledge. Are you ready? They say that ‘the sky is the limit’.
It is difficult in commercial real estate brokerage today to stay on track in building your business at a personal level. Many things occur every day that will divert your efforts and activities. The only way to achieve results will be through consistent effort on dedicated and important tasks. To achieve that, you should make a list.
You may see this as a fundamental fact of time management; however most agents and brokers really do not practice the process. Many agents and brokers struggle with the disciplines to grow market share, attract more listings, and convert clients. This is the ‘zone’ or the categories of activities where all the opportunities will occur. The front end of the commercial real estate business is really important given that you will find fresh commission and listing opportunities in this way.
Here are some tips to help you with list management and task control as a commercial real estate broker:
- Determine the three or four things that are most important to your real estate business. Those things will need to occur every day and preferably first thing in the morning. They should be merged into your diary. Nothing should divert you from getting those things done.
- It is a well-known fact of process control and time management that the written list process will help you get more focus and attention at a personal level on the things that really matter. In these days of mobile phone technology and computerized diaries, the written list still remains the most effective time management tool in business.
- The list process can also apply to business planning and also the goals and targets you have set for this year. For a commercial real estate agent the goals and targets usually relate to growth of exclusive listings, growth of commission per transaction, shorter time on market, and improved results in both sales and leasing.
This strategy can be used in many different ways. You can create a list of important tasks at the beginning of the day or at the beginning of the week. Either way the list will help you focus on the things that really matter.
Luck does not have a role to play when it comes to the performance of top agents in the commercial real estate market today. They have deliberately chosen to rise to the top of the industry based on their activities, market share, and results. The planning process that they set for themselves will include many lists and task processes. Get our free tips and real estate course here.
Here are some ideas to help you improve your cold calling activities in commercial real estate brokerage today. Contact property owners, tenants, and business owners using this approach. Get Commercial real estate training by John Highman at our website http://commercial-realestate-training.com/
There are many different characters in a successful commercial real estate sales team. That being said, the characters all require management and direction. Rarely will you find a good sales team without its challenges. It is the job of the sales manager or agency principal to bring the best performance out of the team given the characters and the skills of the individuals.
A healthy sales team can be built around the following strategies:
- Make sure that you have a good mix of skills in the team relating to your local area and property type. Certain properties require particular skills across sales, leasing, and property management.
- Every sales team will have its strengths and weaknesses. Understand what they are and work with them or through them.
- The sharing of skills between individuals will be helpful. It is a good process to introduce trainee cadets or sales cadets into the team structure. The top performing agents can then be the benchmark or the learning leverage to help new people get into the industry and move ahead.
- Your sales territory, town, or city is likely to have specific requirements of property knowledge, negotiation, marketing, and documentation. Merge a training process into the weekly sales team meeting so that everyone can learn the critical skills and strategies needed to put successful sales or lease transactions together.
- Practice helps everyone improve. Role playing and team discussions will help everyone understand the pressures of the market and the changes to enquiries. Nothing remains the same in our industry. Throughout the year there will be plenty of changes to adjust to when it comes to rentals, prices, documentation, methods of sale, and methods of lease. The right choices and training will help the team achieve more success from the local area.
- Accountability is a big issue in commercial real estate today. Top agents take action and understand the need for accountability. Every member of the sales team should be held to task when it comes to things needing to be done, and information to be shared. A top sales team is one that works together and wins together.
- Personal budgets and performance plans are part of the commercial real estate process. Every agent within the team should have a realistic budget set within their area and skill base. Every month the performance budget should be checked against the actual results. When any weaknesses exist in the team they can then be quickly addressed; don’t let poor performance exist for too long without taking action to fix the problem.
- Head off any conflicts and disputes in the team early. A poorly performing agent or uncooperative agent can soon disrupt team performance. A degree of competition and achievement between the sales agents is always useful, but lack of cooperation and respect is not needed.
- Leadership is a big issue when it comes to the performance of the team in commercial property today. The leader of the team should have a complete understanding of property market conditions, negotiation standards, business processes, and team performance. There must be a good degree of respect in both directions when it comes to the team leader and the members of the sales team.
- Any individual sales agent or broker, they should be tracking results in commissions, listings, meetings, and prospecting. They should also be defining the ideal client and customer to focus on. Over time the quality of listing will allow market share to improve. Ask questions of every member of the team to ensure that they have the right targets and results in mind.
- Administrative activities in commercial real estate today can be quite demanding and intense. On that basis it is wise to have administrative support people to back up the sales team. In that way the successful salesperson can get into the market more effectively and find more leads and opportunities.
- Time management is something that all agents should personally control. Every day should be effective and optimized for find new listings, and creating client contact.
Given all of these things, there are plenty of things to do in helping a property sales team improve over time. Commercial real estate today is a changing and evolving market with the pressures and opportunities across sales, leasing, and property management. Help your sales team to develop the skills and penetrate the market at a high level.
One very important part of the commercial real estate process is to do everything possible to get the telephone to ring with fresh and valuable property enquiry. Quality properties create more customer enquiry, as an agent you should be focusing on identifying and creating good quality listings within your brokerage.
It is a fact that a few good listing campaigns comprehensively marketed into your local area will create many leads and opportunities into the future. That being said, it is necessary to track and measure the entire enquiry coming to you across all of the listings; you will see the strengths and weaknesses of every campaign. That is where your database will be valuable and integral to tracking the marketing processes you adopt.
When you track and measure the inbound enquiry coming to you or your office, you can understand the factors of marketing that are working in today’s property conditions. Some methods of sale and methods of lease are far more effective than others when it comes to the local area and the property type.
Here are some ideas to help you with strengthening the customer enquiry for your brokerage:
- Refresh the listing – During the average promotional campaign you will find that the levels of enquiry will improve when you refresh the listing and or adjust the price and the marketing campaign. On that basis every listing should be reviewed every 14 days for both refreshing and rewording. Condition your clients to accept price adjustments on a monthly basis.
- Attract inbound enquiry – You will see that particular methods of marketing are far more effective than others in your town or city; adopt the marketing methods that work and drop those that are low in converting enquiry.
- How did they reach you? – Find out how a person has reached you and what triggered that connection. It could be a particular listing or your market share that attracts the enquiry. Over the longer term you should see a lift in personal profile and inbound enquiry based on that.
- Use professional photographs – Every exclusive listing should be enhanced with quality photographs. There is a cost to the process and that cost should be vendor paid. You can see and reap the benefits of quality photographs in your property marketing campaigns.
- Use 3 different advertising formats – When promoting a single property, have 3 different versions of advertising that can be placed on different industry portals and brokerage websites. Different advertising copy and different layouts will be valuable in broadening the enquiries that you get from the target market.
- Use success letters – When you have listed or sold a local property, use the success letter process to spread the word to local businesses and property owners. The success letter process is most effective when you cover the properties in the immediate vicinity of the subject listing.
- Write Property Editorials – Whilst newspapers have limited promotional value today in property marketing (given the impact of the internet), the newspapers still need good quality editorial to support and drive readership. With every exclusive listing write and submit editorials to the local newspapers. Support the editorials with high quality photographs.
So there are plenty of things to do here with building customer interaction. Effort should be applied to exclusively listed properties where you can see results and enquiry growth potential.