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Commercial Real Estate Brokerage – Property Developments are High Opportunity Listings

In commercial real estate brokerage, there will always be plenty of new business to convert locally when it comes to upcoming and current property development approvals.  Part of your prospecting model as a broker or agent should incorporate that focus on new developments, incorporating a real strategy and approach to the right people.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

What’s coming up?

When you tap into a new or upcoming local property development, the business that you achieve can be ongoing and the listings can be numerous.  A property development can incorporate a number of stages and premises to be marketed.  That being said the ‘front end’ work to a property development can be extensive and take time, so be prepared for that ‘down time’.  It is the longer term and bigger focus on the development outcome that is important; understand just how many listings and or commissions will come from the final project when it is active.  Is the project for you?

As a base strategy to get this concept underway, you will need to regularly visit the local planning office to understand where current and new property developments are being considered and will be located.  You can then inspect the property location and approach the property owner and or developer accordingly.  Get in early on any upcoming property development.

Local Planning Office

Visit the local planning office at least once per month to review the minutes of the planning committee or planning approvals board.  Understand how planning approvals are processed in your town or city, how long they take, and how the approvals documentation can lead you towards future listing opportunity.

Relevance is the key to converting leads and opportunities from and with property developers.  A property developer will be inclined to use the services of the top agent who can prove that they dominate the market segment, and achieve the best results in a timely way.  Is that you?  How can you display that?

Here are some ideas to help.  Remember the motivations behind any new property development and consider the following factors:

  • Time on market will be a factor of concern for any property developer. They will need to know how the time on market can be shortened whilst they are still achieving the best levels of enquiry for the new property development and or premises.  Show them how you will do that.
  • Vacant land in the local area will always be a good source of property development opportunities providing there is a relevant demand in the local area and the zoning for the property is suitable. Merge vacant land ownerships into your prospecting model.  Determine how long it takes to create a new property development, what could be involved, and how you can help the process and outcome for your investors and or developer clients.
  • Redundancy in local investment properties will happen at any time in any city or town. Some properties reach the end of their serviceable use, and you can work with that.  Businesses tend to move away from the older properties over time, and you can work with that.  Those older properties can become renovation opportunities or redevelopment sites.  Tap into the redundancy issues in your location.
  • Change of use and zoning use will occur locally. Look for the decisions and the changes of property zoning as they apply in your town or city.  A change of property zoning will usually create future property churn be it as a sale or leasing opportunity.
  • Business migration and change are factors that we can always tap into. Look for the segments of the business community that are under pressure and change.  Pressure factors can include business growth, expansion, contraction, or relocation.  Connect with the local business community to understand where those opportunities will be occurring next and what those businesses will need to do.
  • Property developers can be matched to local investors. You can be the creator of future of development business and property opportunity.  You can find the parcel of land, the appropriate developer, and the business investor to take this project forward.  Any new property development and redevelopment change will usually take two or three years to complete.  You can be the catalyst of matching the three main elements to create that project opportunity.  Work with the local property investors to understand where they are focusing and what they are looking for.  Find investors (with the funds backing) that can work with those property developers and then locate the parcel of land to suit.

You can attract property development business in commercial real estate brokerage.  Understand what is happening locally and then drill into the market segment.  Talk to the right people to open up the enquiry and leads for new property projects.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

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Commercial Real Estate Brokers – How to Amplify Your Commissions with a Good Database

The database system that you choose in commercial real estate will help you drive new business opportunity.  If you are looking for more listings and commissions as part of your business plan, then the database creation and nurturing process should be part of the plan.

Most agents and brokers struggle with the process of client contact and database creation.  They simply do not spend enough time on growing their business in this way.  When the property market gets slow or becomes tougher, a good database is the only way to move through challenging economic conditions and any market slowdown.

Who do you know?

You simply need to know a lot of people in a relevant and ongoing way, and a contact management system will help you interact with your clients are the right time with relevance.  They need to trust you as the expert of choice, and remember you at the right time when it comes to property help and assistance.

Here are some specific rules to help you establish your contact management system in your real estate brokerage:

  1. The correct information – the information that feeds into your database needs to be correct in every way. When the information is captured, that is the start of the contact management system, and you will be connecting with the same person in a number of different ways over time.  Accuracy and regularity feature as part of a professional contact management.
  2. Segment your database – given that you will be working with a number of different clients and prospects, you do need to segment the database into the various levels of opportunity and also within property types and locations. The contact management system that you choose should offer you that flexibility in a simple and direct way.
  3. Cloud based storage – you must be able to get to your information at any time, and then use your database from a number of different computer platforms. Cloud based storage and access will give you the flexibility that you need in commercial real estate brokerage.  Make sure that the storage and access points for the database are reliable and secure.  Given that the data you collate and collect over time will be growing significantly in frequency and volume, you should be using the software platform that is well proven and reliable.
  4. Determine how you will be connecting – there are many ways to keep in contact with clients and prospects today. As part of your connection pipeline, establish some rules and systems of contact.  Every stage or step within the pipeline process will be a professional advancement on the last point of contact.  Understand how you can use social media, emails, telephone calls, and meetings as part of regular ongoing contact.  Relevance will be important to help you connect with your clients professionally.  What can you do or add to the contact process that will help with this relevance?  How can you connect with more people every day?  What can you do or provide as part of the contact process to build the client relationship over time?

If you’re looking to improve your commercial real estate business both as an agent and within the brokerage, then have a solid and direct look at your database activities and systems.  If you are not connecting with a lot of people in a new and relevant way, then you have a few problems to address.  Build a database system that works for you and keep the process going in every way possible.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

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Commercial Real Estate Brokerage – A Custom Designed Strategy to Work with Commercial Property Investors

Every commercial property is unique and on that basis every property investor will have special challenges to work with their asset.  In every property location there will be special factors to consider and challenges to resolve.  You can be the specialist for the location to help investors through the challenges that they experience.  The value that you can offer through a set of comprehensive property services needs to be carefully considered and promoted.

Know the facts locally

To successfully work with commercial property investors, it is simply a matter of understanding what they are experiencing in the local property market and how you can be the solution that they need.  With particular clients you can drill down into the unique challenges of a single property, its ownership, and its location.

So how can you do this?  You can do an analysis of property performance and property opportunity.  You can provide a real property performance plan based on solid recommendations supported by strategy and opportunity.

What can you do?

As the local property specialist, you can add considerable value to the services that you provide your investor clients.  Specialise completely and thoroughly within your location and within a small number of property types.  That specialisation will be of great value to the clients that you serve.

Here are some of the most common challenges that you will strike with property investors today.  These particular issues all require solutions:

  • Timing – Many property decisions will be based around factors of timing. Time will impact property cash flow, rental, tenancy mix, and occupancy.  Ultimately over time there will be property based issues that will flow through to changes in capital value.  Understand the timing factors for your location when it comes to selling, leasing, and property upgrade.  When it comes to selling or leasing a property, you can show your clients the best strategies of timing matched to the challenges within the asset.
  • Financing – Some investors will need to change financing strategies and structures during the ownership cycle for a property. There will also be the need for property valuations to support mortgage funds.  Understand the duration of financing applies to the clients that you serve.  You will need to strengthen the tenancy mix and the rental income to improve and enhance the financing position.  The loan value ratio between advanced funds and property value is a ratio to watch.
  • Cash flow – The leases within the tenancy mix will support the rental cash flow. Can add cash flow be improved?  How does the rental cash flow matched to the prevailing market rentals?  You can do a rental assessment and compare the results of the assessment to other properties in the location.
  • Portfolio performance – When you delve into the factors of property performance for your client, you can cover off on matters of income enhancement, maintenance management, expenditure controls, tenancy changes, and lease changes. All of these things each year will flow to the end result of property performance.
  • Vacancy factors – How can you improve the occupancy rates within the property? How can you find the best tenants to strengthen the tenancy profiles and lease covenants?  A good property will be strengthened by the tenants in the mix.  Look at how you can encourage and shape the tenant occupancy over time.
  • Property maintenance – You cannot own an investment property without spending money. You can however develop a strategy of timing that takes into account known expenditure and the performance of the asset.  You can set a budget in place incorporating rates and taxes, repairs and maintenance, capital expenditure, and property renovations.  Understand the future of the asset and the maintenance that will be required to improve it over time.

There are some good things here that can be tracked and managed for your investment clients.  You can provide some stability and controls to enhance property performance over time.

Understand the asset for what it is, and look at how you can bring change and opportunity to the tenancy mix, rental strategy, lease documentation, and property value.  Your clients will appreciate the real strategies that you bring to the process of property ownership and investment.

Get the Snapshot eCourse

You can get more commercial real estate brokerage ideas in our Snapshot eCourse right here.

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Commercial Real Estate Leasing Agents – Taking Effective Tenant Enquiry is Easy to Do

In commercial real estate brokerage, the tenant prospecting process is a good part of the leasing business where you can create plenty of leads and listing ‘churn’.  Tenants will tell you so much about their property occupation, the landlord, and the neighbouring properties and businesses.  Talk to tenants every day and you will find lots of new business leads and listing potential just waiting to be acted upon.

Local Source of Information

So it is a fact that tenants are very valuable to the commissions that you earn and attract as a broker or agent.  They are a huge source of market intelligence and business opportunity.  You can track them in your database.

As part of connecting with those tenants you really should have a thorough and complete questioning process that gets to all the key facts of their property occupation and any upcoming change requirements.  You can do that directly and effectively.  It’s easy when you know what to say and do.  You can develop a checklist to the process.

Get to all the tenant facts

Here are some of the main rules to the process:

  1. WHO ARE THEY?: Understand who they are from the outset of the initial approach or enquiry. Ask plenty of questions so that you know who you’re talking to and how to contact them again in the future.  If they will not provide you with the appropriate contact information, then limit what you tell them about the listing and or the property market.  Your information is valuable, and they should trust you from the outset of any conversation.  A tenant that does not trust you is likely to be concealing a few problems and or issues.  They are also likely to be talking to a number of agents in the location.  Spend time with the tenants that are open and honest in their conversations and communications.
  2. WHAT’S UP?: What do they have now? Understand where they are located currently as a business and what they may be looking for in the future.  Drill down on the facts of occupation including occupied area, business function, staffing needs, customer profile, lease terms and conditions, and landlord problems.  From some very simple questions you can understand where you can take the leasing enquiry and create the conversion that you need.
  3. TIMING?: When do they need to make the change? There will be some critical time frames that apply to the leasing and property occupation process.  Some businesses have a timeline to property change.  That timeline can be impacted by annual business cycles, industry trends, and financial cycles.
  4. SHOW ME THE MONEY!: Understand the budgetary constraints applying to the tenant and within the property type that they are targeting. Some tenants have very little idea about recent rental activity and lease occupancy within a location.  They may have high expectations when it comes to changing premises, but little understanding about the rental budgets applying to occupancy in the particular precinct or location.  Don’t forget to include in your review the appropriate levels of outgoings that apply to lease occupancy in addition to any rental strategy or budget.  The total amount of money will be something that the tenant should fully understand and comprehend before they start looking at properties.  Make sure they can afford the property that they are seeking.
  5. THE IMPORTANT THINGS?: Question the tenant about any specific property needs and conditions. Certain businesses have particular requirements relating to property use, security, communications, staffing, and customer interaction.  When you fully understand those specific and special needs, you can match the property more effectively.
  6. WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN?: Appreciate what property the tenant has looked at previously and currently. It is quite likely that they have been working with or talking to other agents and brokers in your town or city.  They will have seen other property listings and developed an opinion of the property market from that process.  Depending on what they have seen and when, you will need to adjust your property short list and inspection processes.

From these simple and yet valuable rules, you can take any tenant enquiry directly and effectively.  It is easy to do and when successfully undertaken will help you shortlist the required properties in the required locations.

You can get more tips for taking tenant enquiries in our eCourse Snapshot right here.

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3 Negotiation Strategies to Improve a Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Business Today

To be successful in commercial real estate brokerage you have to know how to negotiate through the challenges that you strike in prospecting, marketing, pitching, presenting, inspecting, and closing on your specialty property types.

It stands to reason that your negotiation skills are really important in what you do every day.  You have to ‘think on your feet’ as you hear about the other person’s concerns and perceptions in selling, leasing, or managing property.

Special Challenges

Some clients and prospects will present you with unique challenges as you move a property campaign or issue forward.  What you can do here to lift your conversions is prepare and practice your responses with the most common challenges.

Each week the entire sales or brokerage team can practice their responses to the common problems and issues that they find and strike each week.  They can share the issues that they find as part of client interaction and prospecting activity.  The team can learn from each other.  Through practice and sharing within the team, negotiation skills can improve.

Negotiation Skill Development

Here are some ideas to help you lift your negotiation skills as a team or as an individual:

  1. LOCAL PRESSURES: Be prepared to adjust your skills based on the pressures and the facts from today’s property market. Understand what’s happening with enquiry, current supply, and future occupancy predictions.  Look at the property and the local property market from the perspective of a tenant, an investor, and a landlord.  Assess the challenges in each case.  You can then do a swot analysis based on the challenges that you see today.  Share those challenges and your responses within the team.
  2. HOT TOPICS: There will be certain hot issues that are always rising to the top of a typical property negotiation. Those hot issues will be a negotiation practice priority when you are considering your skill development personally and within the team.  Issues can be specially considered such as the over pricing of a property, the failure to accept market conditions, or unrealistic expectations of the client or prospect from a negotiation.  When you look within the disciplines of commercial sales, leasing, and property management, there are always common issues that you strike in a regular and ongoing way.
  3. FEE SOLUTIONS: The fees that you learn and the commissions that you charge are also important factors of negotiation priority. Be prepared to pitch and sell your services in a comprehensive way and at a reasonable fee; that will involve negotiation practice and improvement.  Can you support and argue the value that you bring to a client from a fee perspective?  Ultimately the client just wants a good result in a timely way and they don’t want to pay too much for it.  Your fee argument and commitment should be built around an expectation of results.  As we all know, the cheaper services offered by less professional agents in the industry are ultimately counterproductive and time wasting for the client.

The message here is that you can do a lot for yourself and within the team when you practice your negotiation skills in a regular and ongoing way.  Take into account the existing factors of the property market and the pressures that you experience with your clients and prospects.  Practice your professional negotiation skills based on the challenges of the commercial property industry today.

You can get more negotiation tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokerage in our ‘Snapshot’ eCourse right here.

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Commercial Real Estate Brokerage – A Blueprint for Finding and Retaining Top Sales Agents

In commercial real estate brokerage there is always a degree of movement when it comes to sales agents.  Some don’t last in the role, some move to other brokerages for perceived better ‘deals’, and others stay for the long haul.  If you are managing a brokerage team, you will know what I mean.  Staff volatility can be quite high within the industry.  Unfortunately the success of a commercial real estate brokerage this largely geared to the balance between the sales activity, leasing, and property management.  You need good people in each of the rules to make the brokerage a success.

Strive for Stability

Ultimately you need some stability in the brokerage with agents; the property market will change in many ways, and the agents working for you have to adjust and work through those changes whilst bringing in the new business.  It is a fine balance to work with.  The very character of a sales agent is sometimes a real challenge to manage at the best of times, and even more so within the team.

Successful sales agents are usually a mixture of egos, knowledge, skills, and motivations.  In a large sales team, the individual agents must be balanced, encouraged, and rewarded.  Without those three particular attributes being active within the brokerage, an agent will usually leave for ‘greener pastures’ when the time is right.  That can then expose the brokerage to a significant loss or shift in income. Volatility within the team can also be a problem.

The Facts to Remember

So you want your brokerage business to be successful.  Here are the basic facts to remember and work with in any commercial real estate team:

  • You will lose agents for reasons that you cannot control, so prepare to find others. You can do that through a number of different strategies including personal contact, career nights, advertising, and team development.
  • Education and training will help your retained agents grow their skill base and performance. Understand the difference skill needs of the people within your team.  Assess their strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis.
  • The management of a sales team is totally different to that of a property management team. Each team should work autonomously but the business opportunities should feed between each.
  • Other competing brokerages in your location will be looking to attract your good people away from your business. Be aware of the competitive commission packages and salary opportunities offered to top performing agents.  Adjust your commission and marketing packages to retain your best people.
  • The changes within the property market throughout the year will present challenges and different requirements in property skills and knowledge. Be prepared to train your people in an ongoing way.

Given all of these facts, you will need an ongoing plan of staff attraction and staff retention.  The success of the commercial property business will generally hinge on the performance of the team and also that of the individual agents or brokers.  Individuals will be motivated in different ways.

You can get more tips in commercial real estate brokerage sales right here in our Snapshot eCourse.

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Shopping Center Managers – How to Reposition and Improve a Retail Shopping Center

Any shopping centre today can be a challenging asset from a performance perspective.  There are many challenges to track, balance, and manage.  The skills of the property manager and or leasing manager applied to the task will be critical to asset performance.

Fees for services

It should also be said that the fees to manage any retail property are also usually higher than the fees charged within industrial or office property management.  The skills of the people deployed on the property will reflect on the asset outcomes, so you must employ the right people for the task.

People Costs

Good quality people with the retail experience will cost more from a salary perspective.  The property outgoings should (subject to local retail leasing laws and regulations) be structured through the leases for management fees and staff salary recovery.

Taking on a new property?

If you are taking on the management of a shopping centre from a previous owner or previous property manager, there are many things to look at immediately and specifically.  Getting things under control quickly should be a priority with a retail asset.  You can use a checklist for that process.  Here are 4 specific ideas to help you get started:

  1. Arrears – Let’s start at the money or rental end of property performance. Understand where the rental arrears are and why they are happening.  Separate strategies will be required to get those things controlled.
  2. Vacancies – What and where are the vacancies now in the property and how are they impacting customer and tenant outcomes? Look at filling the vacancies quickly even if you must do short term rentals at lower base rents.
  3. Tenants and tenant mix – Assess the tenants in the property for current issues and volatility. A weak tenant mix will drag down property performance.  Talk to the tenants and ask about customer sales and customer requirements.  It is very likely that the tenants will know what is needed in a retail property to resolve shop placement and mix problems.
  4. Income and expenditureReview the cash flow results for the property over the last 12 months. You will see the timing factors from high cost issues such as rates and taxes, as well as capital expense items.  Then look at current rental levels, vacancy factors, and upcoming rent reviews.  From these things you can create a budget for the property.  The object here is for you to comprehensively control the money coming into the property and flowing out to the various stakeholders.  You can then shape the financial factors of the property in a controlled way into the future.

These 4 factors will lead to greater property understanding and control.  When you can see what is happening in the retail property or shopping center, you have something that you can base your future strategies around.

You can get more tips about Shopping Center Management and Leasing in our eCourse right here.

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Commercial Real Estate Brokers – Why You Should Learn From Mistakes

In commercial real estate brokerage you will make plenty of mistakes on the road to progress. In sales, leasing, and property management, there will be issues, challenges and mistakes.  Every day there will be issues to work through and potential diversions to disrupt your efforts.

Let’s face it; the industry can be complex and competitive.  You will not win every client or listing that you chase, although you should win more times than you lose.  There will be challenges in your career and sometimes you will make the wrong choices (or no choices at all).  The key message here in commercial real estate is that you can learn a lot from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.  You can make adjustments to your efforts; that is how you progress.

A Real Broker Mistake

Let’s take a broker story as a case in point.  You will learn from this story just how easy it is to divert and take the wrong directions in our industry.

This is a 2014 story of real ‘mistakes’ of a real estate person working an inner capital city suburb in industrial property sales and leasing.  Here are the facts of the market to set the scene:

  • The sales and leasing season for a calendar year in the location was typically mid-February to late November in each year. That means most listing business generated could be derived during that time.  The property market always declined significantly between December and early February.
  • Around the change of financial year in June to July, things usually slowed for a few weeks in both business and investment. After that time the activity ramped up again for the balance of the year.
  • In the location things were generally active and ordinary. In other words the sales and leasing deals could be completed with specific brokerage and agent effort.  Some businesses and investors generally were looking to move or invest, so there were things that could be achieved locally.  The opportunities were there for those brokers and agents that could focus on prospecting, and stay on task.

So let’s look at the story about this agent.  For the purpose of the story I will call the person ‘Rex’ (name changed for obvious reasons).  Here are some facts about ‘Rex’ and what happened to him in 2014.

  • Rex is not what I would call a highly experienced agent. He still has a lot to learn about commercial, industrial, and retail property.  He had graduated into the commercial segment following many years in residential.  He did what most real estate people in such situations do; he had started to work industrial segment given that it is not overly complex and yet it is reasonably active as a segment.
  • After a couple of very slow years trying to make things work, he changed brokerage again and started a new location. He had a good start to the year between March and July 2014 due primarily to his prospecting activities including growing his market share in a particular location.  He had learnt how to prospect and had taken steps to deliberately grow his market share through database creation and direct marketing.  He was talking to a lot of people in a regular and ongoing way.  Soon his database was growing and enquiries were coming in.
  • Before I go too far here, I will go back to the point that Rex still had a lot to learn about certain market segments and property types. Commercial real estate is like that; there are many things to learn, and personal experience will usually be the only way to achieve the learning curve and local knowledge.  So Rex was still an ‘ordinary’ agent learning about the commercial, industrial, and retail segments.
  • In early 2104 his prospecting activities had created some positive results. Given that personal level of success and momentum, he had converted a few good investment listings in a location where investors liked to purchase property.  He took his new listings to the market using the auction method of sale.  It was the middle of 2014, and the right time to do property auctions.
  • So the auction campaigns started. He had created some reasonable levels of enquiry from each campaign given that he had a few good listings to market in a comprehensive way (quality listings will always create that marketing advantage when it comes to property enquiry).
  • Whilst the auction campaigns were underway, Rex did very little direct prospecting and new business generation. He simply focused on his new listings (that was a bad move).
  • So back on the listings he had, whilst there were not a lot of buyers active on each property at that time, there were still a few good and interested buyers, and that was really all that was required to get the listings locked away on successful contracts.
  • He had sufficient enquiry to convert and close on the sales of all three listings at around two million dollars each in sale price. Rex had achieved a reasonable level of personal income through commissions.  It should be said that this was the first reasonable income Rex had achieved for quite some years and that income was only as a direct result of his prospecting and personal effort.
  • With the commissions created, Rex started (falsely) to think that he was a ‘top agent’ and the ‘go to man’ for the location (this type of self-belief can be a real problem, and in this case was). After his recent sales, he took a short break from the business with a brief holiday, and forgot about prospecting entirely for the rest of the year.  This was in September 2014.  Essentially he did not prospect for new business between September and Christmas in that year; he was still living off the enjoyment of his recent sale commissions.  His ‘ego and attitude’ were however still quite high at the end of 2014. That is what you call a ‘false belief’ leading to ‘real shortcomings’.
  • When January 2015 arrived, Rex had no listing momentum and flow, no new stock, and no commissions in the pipeline. This is where the problems started to occur.  He was running out of money and had no momentum in the marketplace.  He was starting to consider family and lifestyle problems that would soon evolve.
  • To cut a long story short, at the start of 2105 Rex knew that he had to find another segment of the property market in which to start afresh. Whilst he still had plenty of self-belief, he had little self-process; he had to start rebuilding his momentum, career and market share.  He had let himself down when it comes to property activity, diligence, focus, and action.

When you look at the facts from the story, Rex knew exactly what to do, but consistently failed to take the required action.  His inflated ‘ego’ from the July sales in 2014 had shifted his focus away from the things that matter (prospecting).  The market soon moved away from him and the good listings went elsewhere.  There are always plenty of competing agents ready to take up on the mistakes of others and that was exactly what happened to Rex.

The moral of the story

This is a real story from the property market (Rex is not the person’s real name).  We can learn from this.

We will all make mistakes in the industry, and Rex is not unique or special.  He failed to see what was happening and then failed to do something about it.  He should have adjusted his focus and activities earlier rather than later.  He should have kept his ‘ego’ in check.  Confidence is a good thing; ‘ego’ is not.  Develop plenty of confidence in our industry from the deals that you dot, but keep the ‘ego’ out of the equation as it will not attract the clients or transactions.

There will always be ‘peaks and valleys’ in our business.  When you are at the top of your game, still focus on the small things and the important things.  Build your confidence.

Commercial real estate is an industry where the rewards are large and generous for those that take correct actions in a regular and ongoing way.  We should all learn from our mistakes and adjust our actions accordingly.  Look for the mistakes and resolve them.  We can all learn something from Rex.

This year

So let’s fast track the full six months now to the middle of 2015.  Rex is still struggling in the marketplace to gain any traction and listing activity of consequence; he is not a prospecting directly, logically, and effectively into the location.  He is losing ground.

He is now trying to take any shortcuts possible.  He has become desperate and disorganised.  He has failed to understand that he was and still is the problem to his current situation.  Unless he changes his personal actions and focus, nothing will improve.  It is quite likely that Rex will soon be slipping out of the industry.

The central message

There is one fundamental message that flows from the story.  You can learn from the mistakes of others in the industry, and you can also learn from your own mistakes.  The important thing here is that you do quickly see where the mistakes are happening, you learn from them, and you adjust your efforts specifically and consistently.  Make the adjustments sooner rather than later and track your progress.  That is how you can succeed in commercial real estate brokerage.

You can get more tips and ideas to help with commercial real estate brokerage in our eCourse ‘Snapshot’ right here.

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How to Choose the Right Commercial Property Management Software Solution

In commercial real estate brokerage today the property management division of your business will need a dedicated and specialised property management software program to control asset performance for the clients that you serve.  There are many different software packages around, some of which are of the highest quality, whilst others are very average.

Quality is important

If you plan to provide a professional property management service across the best buildings in your town or city, then you will need a high quality software program that can comprehensively cover the needs of the clients and the challenges of the properties.  There are significant and different management requirements across industrial, office, and retail property types.

In saying that you do need to choose the right software program, there are costs associated with all of the specialised solutions available.  Most of the high quality programmes are reasonably costly although they can be easily funded by the correct management fee structure and a good size property management portfolio.

Understand the reporting solutions

If you want to attract the best clients to your professional property management services, you will need a good software solution to support your activities.  You need something that is well proven and cost efficient, and yet something that is easily able to produce the reports that the clients require.  An informed client is more readily able to make the best decisions in a timely way.

Know what you must control

Understand the informational needs of the clients that you serve across an array of activities.  Consider some of the most common challenges that you strike on a regular daily basis, including:

  • The lease documentation and updates
  • Tenancy mix details and variations
  • Expenditure activity across the various cost codes
  • Arrears controls and reporting
  • Regular tenancy correspondence and communication
  • The landlord reporting requirements and report formats
  • Property maintenance records
  • Risk management and documentation
  • Energy management and tracking
  • Environmental issues and controls
  • Income controls and optimisation
  • Rental strategies and budget expectations
  • Property budgeting for both income and expenditure
  • Premises and area detail
  • Tenant contact, correspondents, and records
  • Outgoings activity and performance
  • Cash flow projections

So these are some of the most common requirements in most commercial property management activities.  At a minimum, the software solutions that you use need to cover these and other issues effectively and directly.

The Categories?

You can see from the list that some of the matters are financially orientated, whilst others are linked to documentation, and also tenancy mix occupancy.  One software package has to cover all of the issues in an accurate way.

Choose the best commercial property management software package that suits your typical client profiles, property types, and property portfolios.  Understand the factors of growth that will occur with your property portfolio so that the selected property management solution you choose can give you the best ongoing support into the future as the portfolio grows and building complexity increases.

You can get more commercial property management tips in our eCourse ‘Snapshot’ right here.

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How to Set up a Customer Service Desk in a Retail Shopping Center

As part of the property management strategy for any sizeable retail shopping centre, you can and should develop a customer service station function and service within the property.  I say ‘sizeable’ because you need plenty of tenants in the tenant mix to pay for the customer service strategy.  The cost for operating a service desk can be quite reasonable.

So what’s the idea here with a customer service station in a shopping centre?  Try some of these:

  • It will help customers find what they want
  • It will help control problems and challenges with customers
  • You can use it as a marketing point for competitions and sale campaigns

The station should be located where it will be of the greatest use to the customers within the property and in the common area.  There are many benefits to be had by all with an effective customer service point.

It should be noted that the customer service station is a cost factor for the property that should be allowed for in building operational costs and be potentially funded from property marketing.  There will be salaries to account for and costs associated with the operations of the customer service desk.

Set the Rules

So here are some rules to the process of establishing a customer service station and operations point within any medium to large retail shopping centre:

  1. Integrate security services into the customer service location. There will be many ongoing security issues evolving from both customers and tenants.  There will also be specific factors to consider such as lost children, lost goods, injury, risk management, and personal safety.  The evacuation of the property may involve the people in the customer service or operations desk.  So the desk or customer service point will have a number of roles to fill.
  2. The people manning the service desk will need to be suitably trained and skilled with risk management and injury issues. They may also need to be trained in crowd control, customer service, first aid and safety matters.  The insurance company carrying the risk for the property will have significant interest in risk management controls and safety registers all of which will normally happen from or in conjunction with the service desk and the personnel manning it.
  3. Understand the property and common safety responses and possible risk events. Look at how customers move through the property and into the tenancies.  Special considerations will be needed when it comes to access points, car parking, common areas, and amenities.  How will customers find the customer service desk and or communicate with it in an emergency?  There should be a crisis management plan active that allows for the movement of customers, the activities of tenants, and the management personnel on site.  It is quite likely that the customer service point will be involved in that process.
  4. Lost and found services should be controlled at the customer desk. Registers of lost and found goods should be kept.  In larger shopping centres the amount of lost and found goods on a daily basis is quite high.
  5. The help desk can also guide people in the right direction when it comes to finding tenancies and the common amenities. In large shopping centres that can be a valuable service. A map of the property including all shops should be available at the desk for handing to customers as they seek to find certain tenancies and certain tenancy types.
  6. Some shopping centres incorporate gift wrapping services at the customer service points. When the seasonal sales are active, the strategy works quite well in supporting customers.
  7. Have a place at the service desk where people can lodge applications for casual employment at the shopping centre and with the tenancies.
  8. Gift certificates can be issued from the service desk. Competitions can also be promoted from that location with competition applications being lodged and collected at that point.
  9. Public announcements could occur from the service desk.
  10. A mail drop off point or parcel delivery service can be incorporated into the customer counter.
  11. A directory board should be in close proximity to the service desk. There should be a map of the property incorporated into the directory board layout.
  12. Wireless Internet Services can be made available in close proximity to the service desk. That then is a service for some customers.
  13. Wheelchairs, child prams, and motorised mobility chairs could be hired from the customer service desk.

So the idea here is that the customer service desk is a convenience factor, a communication point, and customer service in many different ways.

Understand the costs of the operations desk or customer service point and the services to be offered.  Build those costs into the marketing budget for the property.  The marketing costs should also be structured and costed into the tenancy leases as a contribution from all tenants across the property.

Tenants and customers will benefit from the establishment of a customer service desk in a shopping centre.

You can get more tips about Shopping Center Management and Leasing in our ‘Snapshot’ eCourse right here.