Improving Sales Team Performance in Commercial Real Estate Agency

In commercial real estate, and most particularly with the property agents and brokers, sales team performance should be optimised throughout the year to adjust for the changes in property activity and regional demographics.  In any period of 12 months, the market will change and on that basis similar changes will need to occur with prospecting, listing, negotiating, and marketing.

It is wise to have a process of tracking the key indicators in your property market.  When you consider an average period of 12 months, most property markets have only 10 months of real activity in sales, leasing, and property management.  Seasonal changes and market conditions will take up the other two months of downtime.  Team performance needs to be suitably handled and adjusted within the agency to get the best results from 10 months of hard work.

Here are some ideas to help you improve your agency sales team performance:

  1. Top agents and brokers specialise in particular market segments.  The segments may be geographical, or set by property type.  Either way, specialisation is recommended.  Specialisation process helps you cover the quality properties, key clients, and pockets of high level activity.
  2. Establish a prospecting model within the agency that can be tracked on an agent by agent basis.  That will help you identify any weak links within the team.  Some agents need help when it comes to prospecting, presenting, or negotiating.  The tracking process will help you see those weaknesses and implement the necessary training and education programmes.
  3. Establish budgets that can apply to each agent or broker.  The budget should be split into key indicators.  Those indicators will normally be cold calling, meetings, door knocking, presentations, listings, exclusive listings, inspections, and closed transactions.
  4. Track the results that you get from every marketing campaign.  The results that you get from an exclusive listing will be very relevant to your business activity.  Open listings are not easily assessed in the same way given that the marketing of an open listing is random at best.
  5. At the end of each week, have the agency team provide a summary of activity including call numbers, meetings, listings, and inspections.  You will soon see the differences between the members of the team and how effective they are when it comes to building their business.

When you track all of these numbers, you can see where the priorities lie when it comes to each agent and each broker in the team.  Given that the property market changes throughout the year, adjustments will always be necessary at an individual level to ensure that quality listing stock is attracted to your business.

So what type of listings should you chase and attract?  Quality listings create better levels of enquiry and will sell or lease faster.  Over time that will improve your agency market share and commission opportunity.

Should you walk away from a low quality property listing?  The answer is yes, if it will take you away from the other good properties in your area and sales or leasing territory.  Commercial real estate marketing is a specific process needing effort and focus.  Don’t waste your time.

It is Worth Training a New Commercial Property Manager in Your Agency

If you have a need for a new commercial property manager or perhaps a retail shopping center manager, is the training process of a junior person worth it or should you employ an experienced person for the required role?  You can go either way but the strategy is different and your choice will have to do with the demands of the portfolio and your existing property management clients.

Here are some basic facts to be considered:

  • Some clients require special attention and information.  The property that they own may be very complex or demanding.  A junior property manager will struggle and over time can threaten the stability of your agency appointment.  They can also make costly mistakes and involve the agency or brokerage in a litigation claim.
  • A complex and large property will have high workload demands; on that basis the fee for management should be suitably high to reflect the time and task input by the brokerage and property manager.
  • The landlords that you serve will have special reporting and communication requirements.  Every property manager should understand the financial reporting systems as well as the tenant and lease management systems to help with the reporting to clients.  Each day the systems will need to be accessed to see if any critical dates or lease events are happening.  Early implementation of critical dates will keep things under control.

In saying all of these things it is worthwhile noting that experienced property managers will ‘short circuit’ and ‘fast track’ any new property portfolio appointment; they will know what to do and how to get the job done.  So there is a balance here between the salary costs of an experienced person for the role, versus training a new person.

The tasks controlled by a good property manager are complex; they are best described as including these bigger issues:

  1. Understanding the focus of the client is high on the list.  When you understand the client you can adjust the strategies associated with income and expenditure.  The same will apply with leasing and tenant management.  The client will have needs of cash flow and plans for the property that should be understood.  The reports that are prepared for your clients will be specialised to the property and the client.
  2. Strong and positive tenant relationships will help a property perform financially and physically.  The property manager needs to stay in touch with all tenants in a positive and ongoing way.   It is not an easy task and requires good communication skills on the part of the property manager.
  3. The leases for the property underpin the income and expenditure performance.  For this reason the property manager must keep a close eye on the leases and the tenant mix.  Stay ahead of critical dates with rent reviews, options, renovations, and other special lease terms.
  4. The maintenance of the property will have an impact on the tenants, vacancies, customers, and landlord cash flow.  The property manager should monitor those things and make the right recommendations.


Should you employ an experienced property manager to your team?  The answer is always ‘yes’, so you can get the professionalism into your management systems and client relationships.  When you have a couple of highly qualified property managers you can consider training juniors to rise up through the ranks.

You can get more commercial real estate training tips like this in our Newsletter right here.

How to be the Commercial Real Estate Agent of Choice

In commercial real estate agency, you need to be the agent of choice relative to the local area and the property type.  The clients that we serve need to understand that they are working with experts.

Top agents build their profile continually through a prospecting and networking process.  You need to do the same.  About 1/3 your business day needs to be devoted to this prospecting activity.

So let’s say that you have connected with a client and you can see a potential listing available for conversion.  Give the client some real reasons to choose you as the best agent of choice.  Here are some ideas to help with that:

  1. Meet the client at the property to inspect it together and prior to you creating any proposal or listing presentation.  This will allow you to question the client on the history of the property and the current challenges.  You can also identify any concerns that they may have when it comes to achieving a sale or a lease in the current market.  From all of this information you can construct a very well-targeted property proposal.
  2. Use a checklist for the property type when it comes to the client interview and the property walk through.  The checklist will help you with important and relevant questions, and also show your professionalism to the client when it comes to the potential listing.
  3. Your personal profile on the Internet relative to the local area and the property speciality needs to be well established.  The client is likely to check your name and or your agency online as part of making their final choice of agent.  For this reason, you should have a business related blog that relates to your market and the current property trends.  The blogging process only takes a small amount of time.  You can write a blog two or three times a week about the local area and particular property activities.  You can then link your blog to your social media activities and profiles.  You can also link your blog to your newsletter e-mail activities.
  4. Grow your database at every opportunity.  Over time this accurate and up to date database can be a clear advantage and give you leverage when it comes to winning a listing.  Show the client the size of your database and its relevance to their property listing.  You may even choose to short list a number of people from the database to take to the property as soon as the listing is approved.
  5. Get plenty of signboards into your local area.  Signboard presence is still a tool of leverage when it comes to winning a listing.

A successful commercial real estate agent will take simple steps like these each and every day as part of their business building activity.  The systems that you create will help you move ahead to a greater and more successful market share.

You can get more commercial real estate training tips in our newsletter right here.

Planning Your Commercial Real Estate Prospecting Has These Advantages

In commercial real estate agency it is wise to plan your prospecting efforts and actions.  On an average working day many different things will put pressure on your prospecting.  Unfortunately many agents will drop the prospecting activity for the slightest reason.  Over time that single choice will have a major impact on the way they grow their business and market share.

So you have some choices here:

  • You can grow your real estate business and market share through directed effort each day on a client, property, and street by street basis, or
  • You can randomly make calls and contacts if and when time permits.

The comfort zone is a big challenge for many agents and it will slow their listing chances and commissions given half a chance. When time gets tough, keep prospecting and stick to your plan.

To solve all of these issues it is best to have the prospecting plan that gets you in front of more property investors and business owners.  It has to be specific and relevant to your property market and sales or leasing territory.

Not everyone that you talk to will want to do business with you or even discuss property issues; that is quite OK as you really should not waste you valuable time on people that do not have a need or and interest.  Talk to more people and build your skill in doing so.  Over time that one single fact will help you in so many ways to become a top real estate agent.

Many new brokers and agents to the industry struggle with finding clients and prospects to talk to as part of prospecting.  The soon know that growing market share and commissions depends on one thing only and that is prospecting; when they get focused on it they also soon know that prospecting is a complex and dedicated process.

Here is a prospecting plan for you.  Expect it to be a challenge to your diary and daily activities.

  1. Get to know the streets and businesses in your primary sales and leasing territory.  On a street by street basis, identify the property owners and the businesses in occupancy.  Talk to both.  Find out what they are doing in property now and in the future.
  2. Review the other listings in the area that are listed with other agents.  Use those listings as reasons to talk to other property owners and businesses in the same street and general location.
  3. Check out the old sale records for your region.  Find those property owners that purchased property about 3 or 4 years ago.  On average those property owners are going to be the next to come back into the market in some form or another.  Connect with them for that process.
  4. Every property listing that you have on your books will be an excuse to talk to other businesses and investors. Use your quality listings in this way. Over time your current listings will give you more leads and information to act on.
  5. Walk the streets in your property precinct.  You will find and see information that you can work with.  Take plenty of business cards with you to leave at the reception desks, and with the business owners that you see or drop into.
  6. Use the telephone to make plenty of cold and warm calls to your market and business owners.  Track your progress and your calls with a good database.

Prospecting in commercial real estate does not need to be hard but it does need to be systemised.  In that way you can steadily improve your market share.

You can get more commercial real estate training tips in our Newsletter right here.

How to Be a Better Commercial Property Manager

In commercial property management it is easy for a manager to get tied up in the daily events of the property and the client.  Quite soon they are just doing a job rather than providing a professional service.  The pressures of the job soon take over and the ‘bigger’ picture of property performance gets lost in the events of the property.

Quality property performance and control involves a forward looking approach to the asset given the market conditions, tenant mix, and property improvements.  Strategy and timing are everything in the services to be provided.  The property manager must have the discipline and the skills to do the job well; that involves a good fee and the right person for the job.

So many local property brokerages and agencies claim to be the ‘best’ at what they do in managing a client’s commercial or retail property.   If that is the case then they should be able to prove that they are indeed the ‘real deal’ when it comes to quality property management services.  Quality and accuracy are key components of the services to be provided.  There are real differences between the services provided in office, retail, and industrial properties.  The property manager should understand each and be proficient in one or more based on experience.

Why do I say this?  It is a fact that many commercial and retail property managers are overwhelmed with daily work due to the demands of the client, the size of their portfolio, and an imbalance in fees for service.  Many agencies set lower management fees just to get the appointment to the property.  Those fees then have little relationship to the requirements of the client and the increasing demands of the property and tenant mix.

So the ‘golden rule’ in pitching for a property management is to understand the package of services that will best suit the client and the property.  If you apply your fee assessment on an ‘industry standard fee’ as a percentage of passing income, then track that back to the work required and the size of the property and tenant mix.

Here are some other facts to add to the assessment:

  1. Client focus in the future of the property
  2. Property performance challenges from the leases and the tenants
  3. Vacancy profiles and upcoming leasing challenges
  4. Long term plans for the property including renovation and refurbishments
  5. Tenant mix changes and lease critical dates
  6. Cash flow requirements from the rental and the outgoings
  7. Property improvements and maintenance
  8. Targets in rent, operational challenges, leases, maintenance, and reporting
  9. Business plans and tenant retention
  10. Tenant lease negotiations

There are some real facts and issues to be managed here.  A good property manager chosen for the property type will understand how to do that.  Balance your client’s fee for service against the time required in management and the challenges of the property.

You can get more tips like this in our weekly newsletter right here.

8 Ways to Get More Clients in Commercial Real Estate Agency

In commercial real estate it is easy to spend too much time with current clients or prospects, and little time in finding new ones.  When this happens your leads and listings tend to slow and will eventually stall.  For this reason you must have some systems on the go that will help you find more new clients.

There are always new people to connect with in our industry.  The ways to tap into them are simple and yet systemised.  Here are some tips to help you with that ‘client growth’ requirement:

  1. Look for pressure points within the market.  Some property owners will be experiencing tenant changes, higher vacancies, renovation pressures, and financial changes.  The list goes on and will change during the year.  Look for the clients that need help in adjusting to prevailing market conditions.
  2. Track the other real estate agent boards for both sales and leasing.  When they put a new board up on a property, you should contact the owners around it and in the same general area.  There is likely to be another property owner nearby that would like to compete with the existing listing.  You can help them with that ‘competition’.
  3. Do a street by street canvass through your territory.  Meet the business owners and track down the property owners.  This does take an organised process but the rewards are many when you stay fixed to a system of contact.
  4. List quality properties as a general rule.  The quality properties will give you better rates of enquiry from buyers and tenants.  When you control the listings you control the enquiry.
  5. Offer special marketing solutions that are unique and relevant.  These marketing solutions will help you when it comes to presenting and pitching your services.
  6. Build a database of relevance.  It is very hard for a client to ignore your database if it is strong and large.  Use your database as leverage in your presentation to the client.  Show the client the size of the database and give them an indicative ‘short list’ of potential people you would like to quote their property to when the listing is signed.
  7. Referral business will be available when you connect with the clients and contacts that you have served well in sales and leasing.
  8. Ask for property management business from those clients, buyers, and landlords that are involved with sales and leasing activity.  A great sales or leasing outcome is a reason to quote your property management services.

There are always new ways to get clients. Some will work for you and others will not.  Decide what you can do in that regard and adopt a daily process to build your database of clients.

The Best Ways to Work as a Buyers Agent in Commercial Real Estate Agency

Commercial real estate agents can be quite successful if they choose to work as a buyer’s agent.  That being said, the agents success in this process will be based on the commitment of the buyer to a valid agency appointment, and the size of the property that they require.

As a general rule, don’t work as a buyer’s agent with buyers that fail to sign an agency appointment.  A buyer’s agent will be paid the commission by the buyer when a successful and satisfactory property has been found and negotiated on a contract.

The buyer’s agent process works when you focus only on the high end of the property marketplace, and the larger businesses and corporations that require specific property solutions.  They are normally the only groups that are prepared to pay the required commission to their agent when a property has been found.  The smaller and more common buyers in the marketplace are always shopping around for generic and local properties; they will approach many agents as part of that property selection process.

The agent that controls the listing will control the enquiry.  You can waste a lot of time chasing around the market place for a buyer that is being less than honest and open with you.   Check out the buyer before you get active and look for properties.  The key message here is that you should mainly focus on quality listings rather than small buyers that have little or no allegiance or commitment to an agent.

If you are to include high end property buyers as part of your prospecting efforts, then only focus on the buyers at the top end of the industry and the local property market.  I go back to the point that when you control the listing, you control the enquiry and you then will have many buyers coming to you anyway.

The listing of quality local property will always produce better enquiries and inspections.  That’s how you find the smaller buyers and the smaller tenants seeking property relocations.  When you control the listing, they need to connect with you as part of the inspection and negotiation process.  The same can be said for other agents that may have suitable buyers for your property listings.

So here are some rules to help you work as a buyer’s agent in today’s commercial real estate market place:

  1. Qualify the buyer before you spend too much time assessing their property needs.  Given that you are acting for the buyer as their agent, they will need to be totally honest and open with you when it comes to property needs and requirements.
  2. A buyer of substance should be of a corporate nature or large property investor.  The property that they are looking for should be quite specific in location, type, cash flow, and improvements.  Is this buyer prepared to pay your commission?  If not, walk away.
  3. Ensure that the buyer commits to you as the agent to service them in this property requirement.  The only way to get the commitment is on a valid agency appointment to act.  That appointment should be signed before you spend any time looking around the marketplace.  Don’t work with in any property buyer that tells you they will pay your commission when you find a property.  Many agents have lost commissions in that process.
  4. If the buyer is of a corporate nature and is seeking a specific property for business and manufacturing needs, inspect their current property location and operations.  Get to know how they currently operate or trade when it comes to manufacturing, staff interaction, customers, and the provision of goods and services.
  5. Identify the ‘must have’ requirements that will make or break the momentum in any property choice and decision.
  6. Understand who the decision makers are within the buyer business structure and corporate identity.  If you are dealing with a board of directors, you will need to understand how decisions will be made and how long those decisions will take.  Understand the delays that could occur for your clients between the time of contract and settlement.
  7. You will need to establish a short list when it comes to satisfactory properties that may satisfy the clients need.  Question them as to their previous activity in the marketplace, and if they have inspected any properties with any other agents previously.
  8. Establish the requirements for due diligence as part of selecting the right property for your property buyer.  Recommend that they appoint an experienced property solicitor as part of the due diligence and contract process.
  9. If the property is of a special or specific nature, the buyer may require investigations from experts on their behalf, such as engineers, architects, and surveyors.
  10. Question the buyer as to the ideal timing of property acquisition and settlement.
  11. You will be negotiating the contract on behalf of the buyer.  Understand their budget when it comes to property pricing, documentation, property investigations, finance, and settlement.
  12. Make sure they have the necessary finance and or finance approval capability to move ahead on a contract when a property has been found.

Some commercial real estate agents are quite successful when working in this part of the market.  That being said, it is a special process and does require a specific buyer focus.