Show Me the Value in Your Commercial Real Estate Agency Service

What is the value that you bring as an agent to a client in commercial property today?  It is an interesting question for a client to ask when it comes to an agent selling, leasing, or managing commercial real estate.

Most agents would say one or more of the following:

  • We know what we are doing
  • We have good people
  • We understand the property market
  • We have done some great deals recently
  • We sold (or leased) other properties like this recently
  • We know how to market the property

The sad fact of the matter is that when they have said these things, they go no further.  They do not back up their claims with detailed proof.

If you say anything to a client about your relevance or skill as a local commercial real estate agent, be prepared to expand on the issue and talk about it comprehensively and directly.  Show the client some proof of why your statement is so important to their property position or need.

Here are a couple of ideas to use when it comes to showing the client that you really are the right agent for the job of marketing the property:

  • Use a Gantt chart that shows the steps that you will be taking in marketing the property and converting the result that they need.  Have different Gantt charts for the process when it comes to sales, leasing, and property management (commercial or retail).
  • Define the target market in such a way that you are clear on exactly how you will connect with the right people and help them understand the property market.

When you pitch or present to a client, don’t discount your services and lower your marketing fees for the sake of attracting the client’s attention.  Offer real and relevant marketing solutions that are so good that the client cannot ignore you.  Sign them up on an exclusive listing.

Sales Pitch and Presentation Rules for Commercial Real Estate Agents

In commercial real estate agency, your sales pitch and presentation should be of the highest quality.  It should be practiced regularly on different property types and in different property situations so you can attract the right listings to your agency.

Here are some facts to remember:

  • Quality property listings will attract a greater level of direct enquiry from the market, and therefore you will have more inspections to work with.
  • Average listings take a lot longer to move due to the lack of enquiry or poor interest from the market.

Given these facts, your presentation has to attract and convert the best listings.  That’s how top agents get the results from the market; they focus on listing quality before anything else.  Even if a quality listing is overpriced, it will still attract greater enquiry and that will give you something to work with for the client.

Most of the listings and clients that you target will be chased by other agents locally.  Rarely will you have the opportunity to pitch for a listing entirely on your own.  Your sales pitch needs to be well planned and staged.  Here are some ideas to help you do that:

  1. First impressions are really important.  Take pride in how you dress, appear and carry yourself when meeting a commercial real estate client or prospect for the first time.  It takes about 1 minute for a person to assess you visually and form an opinion on your relevance.  The commercial real estate industry is one of professionalism and on that basis a ‘business image’ is required.
  2. Be aware of the age and experience level of the people that you are connecting or working with; they may be far more experienced in business than you are.  They may have expectations that are high and demanding.
  3. The client expects you to be skilful in the issues that they want resolved.  On that basis you should have a ‘professional selling attitude’ that they appreciate and know will help with their property challenge.  Confidence should show in what you say and do.
  4. Practice your dialogue and speech so you are ready to show confidence in every client or prospect situation.  If this is difficult for you now, make ‘role playing’ a part of your weekly sales meeting.  Create a quality in what you say and how you do it.  Let the client see that you can handle any property negotiation or debate professionally.  Master the right words for the right situation.
  5. Ask the right questions in any contact situation.  It helps if you have a checklist relative to your property type and marketing situation.
  6. Show that you have a real knowledge of the property situation and task ahead for the client.  Give them some confidence that you are indeed the ‘real deal’ when it comes to moving through their property challenge.

Your presentation or sales pitch in commercial real estate will get a lot easier when you follow these simple and yet effective rules.

Commercial Real Estate Agents – Control Your Tenants for Better Leasing Results

In a commercial or retail property today, it is the tenants that provide the backbone and the stability to income and rental performance.  On that basis, you really do need to keep your tenants well in control given the prevailing market conditions and the current tenancy mix.

It is notable that a retail property can be highly volatile when it comes to tenant interaction and occupancy.  Essentially all retail tenants are essentially small business people that rely on the success of the property and the overall tenancy mix to provide an opportunity for sales growth.

The tenants in a retail property will usually talk between each other on a regular basis.  They therefore share information and perceptions relating to the property, the property manager, and the landlord.  I go back to the point, that you must not let your tenants get out of control.  Encourage good communications and build solid relationships with all of your tenants.

Here are some rules to apply to the tenant communication and connection process in commercial and retail property today:

  1. The tenant will be assessing their business performance continually during the year and the lease term.  This then says that you should meet with your tenants on a monthly basis.  This will help you when it comes to understanding shifts and changes relating to their business, customer base, or sales.  If you identify any problems early, you can make the necessary adjustments to occupancy or leasing strategy.
  2. In a large property, it is likely that you will have one or more anchor tenants as part of the tenancy mix.  The anchor tenants will usually be in occupancy for the long term with a lease document that extends over a number of years; in most cases the lease for an anchor tenant will be in excess of 10 years and will have options for lengthy renewal terms.  Stay close to your anchor tenants so that you can understand how they are integrating into the overall property and any associated specialty tenants.  The success of the anchor tenant will have some flow through to the specialty tenants.
  3. Most leases will have provisions for rent reviews and options as part of occupancy.  The critical dates that apply to those lease situations should be carefully watched.  Any rent review or lease renewal inside the next 12 months should be negotiated as early as possible.  This then will remove the volatility from the property for the landlord.
  4. Every meeting or conversation with a tenant should be documented as quickly as possible.  Whilst a simple situation or discussion today with a tenant may seem unimportant, it is quite common to have more complex issues arise in the future that started from some simple discussion or telephone conversation.

Get to know your tenants as part of the services that you provide for your client the landlord.  In this way you can help the client understand the predictable changes that you can see with the tenancy mix and the lease profiles.

Being Adaptable as a Commercial Real Estate Agent Wins More Business

In commercial real estate agency, you should be adaptable to the challenges of the property market today, and the requirements of the client.  This is really easy to do when you are a specialist in a property type and a location.

As a specialist in a property type and location you will or should understand the factors of pricing, rentals, tenancy mix, time on market, marketing, and negotiation.  You are the specialist that can take over the clients property challenge and turn it into a successful property outcome.  Specialization is the key to the process.

The clients that we work for require the right information and strategically relevant skills on the part of their agent.  If you pitch and present your services correctly, your conversion to an exclusive listing will be quite easy.

Those agents today with an abundance of ‘open’ listings are those agents that have not sufficiently branded themselves as experts in the local area.  They have no real point of difference when it comes to pitching their services.  The clients they work with can see no real benefit in exclusive listing with a particular agent.  If you want more exclusive listings, you will need to solve that perception.  I go back to the point that specialization as a property agent is essential to the process.  Top agents win more exclusive listings and that is the rule not the exception.

To be adaptable as a specialist real estate agent means that you have the necessary skills and the information required to handle the following situations comfortably:

  1. A client requires a vacancy in a property to be leased efficiently and effectively.  The tenancy may have been vacant for some time.  The client therefore requires innovative solutions that apply to the leasing process.  They need that vacancy filled as soon as possible.
  2. A vacant property requires repositioning in the market so that it may be sold or leased.  The pressures of the prevailing market conditions and the zoning requirements set the guidelines for the target market and the efforts that you need to undertake.
  3. At commercial or retail property has reached the end of its economic life given its current and present usage.  On that basis the property needs to be subjected to a material change of use and redevelopment.  As part of that process you will need to consider the approvals and strategies behind local planning and development.
  4. The client’s property may be under-performing from an income perspective.  You should know how to review the tenancy mix, lease profiles, rental strategies, lease documentation, and outgoings recoveries.  On that basis you will soon see the discrepancies when it comes to income recovery and growth.  You can add to this assessment the rules and legalities that apply to rent review negotiations, lease option negotiations, tenancy relocations, and redevelopment alternatives.
  5. The client’s property today may be a future sales opportunity.  In leading to that sales situation, they may have challenges that apply to the tenancy mix and the income profile.  Over time you can help them with income modification and capital growth.

You can look at a property from a number of different perspectives.  It may be vacant, unimproved, leased, or vacant.  The value for the property can also be determined in a number of ways based on the identified potential and the prevailing market conditions.  To assess the value of the property, you can cross reference two or three methods of valuation or appraisal to see what will work when it comes to any future listing price and marketing opportunity.

The top agents in a commercial real estate agency today are very adaptable.  They understand how to move across the requirements and changes of the market.  They know how to match the client and their property to the prevailing market conditions.  You can do the same.  Get to know your market and how it is changing and growing.

Tips for Finding and Working with More Clients in Commercial Real Estate

A good client in commercial real estate can be a massive opportunity in commissions and repeat business over time.  Finding the good clients to work with can take time, but the process is necessary and should be done on an individual basis by all agents.

The agents that struggle in any commercial property market are invariably those that do not do enough prospecting on a daily basis and therefore do not have a good source of clients and contacts.  It is a simple equation but it does require personal effort.

When you know what a client can do for you, the process of ongoing contact becomes a logical process.  Here are some ideas to help you:

  1. A prospect may not be a client today, but they may certainly have all the attributes of a good client in the future.  Comprehensively cover all the possibilities in sales, leasing, and property management.  Be prepared to talk across all disciplines.   A leasing opportunity today can be a sale or a property management appointment tomorrow or in the future.
  2. Some property developers and property owners have a number of properties across their portfolio so investment needs can be quite diverse.  When they own more than one property, the challenge of keeping up with rents, vacancies, rent reviews, new tenants, and options can be daunting.  Market your services to their broader property requirements and challenges.
  3. When you consider a property with multiple tenants or available premises, the tenant mix analysis and strategy can be quite special.  The facts are very apparent with retail property and shopping centre performance.  If you provide property leasing services, take the time to understand the strategies behind tenant placement, leasing and clustering.  Any tenant that you choose for a property should be well selected given the requirements of income, profile, permitted use, compatibility to the property and the other tenants; consider the long term occupancy potential.  Your leasing services should be quite special taking into account these unique factors.  Show the client some real reasons as to why you are a top leasing agent.
  4. A good client will have certain future property needs and targets.  On that basis you can seek to satisfy those requirements with some planned ‘off market’ transactions and targeted solutions.  Help the client with where they want to head with the right property types and income growth.  Remove the pressure from the client’s investment strategy.  Show the client what they need to do to stay ahead of the market today and in the future.

Seek to understand your property clients in all respects.  A good client relationship may take months to nurture.  Trust and respect has to be there before the larger clients will work with you.