In commercial real estate there are unlimited opportunities for real estate agents to earn good income and grow market share. In saying that, the results achieved are all driven by personal effort.
There are 3 separate skill bases or services to the market and each are quite specialised. Decide what you like do and what will give you the most reward (physical and financial). There is no point in attempting to do something that you do not understand or like; that will be too personally restricting.
So the 3 skill bases are:
- Commercial and investment property sales
- Investment property leasing
- Commercial and retail property management
Some agents will choose to work on both sales and leasing. That is a good thing as the skill bases are similar and they are linked when it comes to working with clients. A leasing client today is likely to be a sale or purchase client in the future.
The skills required to be a property manager are a bit different, and the long term target when working with property management clients is that of providing professional service, and not just a single deal (as in sales and leasing). Property managers for that reason are ‘deal oriented’ but ‘service strong’. Building relationships over the long term is really what professional property management is all about.
If you have chosen commercial real estate as a career for yourself, then understand your character and its best ‘fit’ for the tasks at hand. You can work in any or all of these 3 segments or sections of the market within your agency. Choose the section of the industry that is best for your skills, knowledge and business style.
To move ahead in our industry it is best to prepare a set of goals and a small personal business plan. That strategy will help you with progress and adjustment during the year. Here are some more tips to strengthen your push and direction as a real estate agent:
- Motivation – You may have heard a lot about motivation and its requirement in any career. In our industry it is a very personal thing. Self-belief is a good thing, but action taking is far more important. Every day you will need to do specific things that can be a challenge. On that basis your levels of personal motivation must be significant; no other person can make things happen for you.
- Goals and targets – When you know the section of the market that you are working in together with your location, your goals can be set based on not just the personal performance that you are capable of, but also the ability of the market to give you opportunities. It directly follows that you will need to know your market and its growth factors and possibilities. Research is required to understand the history of local sales, leasing, and property management (depending on your skill base). Make sure that your town or city has the growth possibilities that you are looking for at a personal level. Ensure that you know how you will be tapping into those possibilities.
- Putting your plan in motion – As with any plan certain actions will be required. Every day you will be required to focus on new business, new people, and new properties. That is in addition to everything else that happens with current clients and properties. The most successful people in our industry are those that spend a good part of every day focusing on prospecting for new business. From the earliest stages of your career, set this rule in motion. Watch how results come back to you and track your results. Make adjustments in your prospecting and cold calling so you are growing your business in any property market and at any time.
These three factors are perhaps the most important to help you get traction and market share as a broker or agent. Look at what you are doing today and make adjustments where necessary. Strive to improve on a daily basis in commercial real estate agency.
They say that a person can change a career a few times in their working life. In commercial real estate that doesn’t need to be the case. There are so many options within the industry that you can easily move around within property types and specialities; variety and opportunities are always available to those that look for them. A good career can be obtained by those that are prepared to learn and work hard.
Here are some tips and ideas to help you with your business activities and focus in the industry:
- Market knowledge – You will be tested by property owners, business leaders, and others as part of prospecting and networking. Local property market knowledge will be valuable leverage in connecting with more people. Most people and the prospects that we work with don’t have the exposure to the market; they need good real estate agents to tell them what is going on in sales, leasing, and new property developments. Build your knowledge so that you can be of real value to the people you talk to.
- Observe and interpret – Observe the market intelligently and completely. Look at the relationships between prices, rents, and investment. There are reasons for your clients and prospects to transact a sale or a lease. Look for those reasons. Look for distressed properties, changing of use, lease pressures, vacancy factors, and returns on investment. Those issues will all offer opportunities for new business and listing activity.
- Practice – I cannot understate the importance of practice. Our industry is one of professionalism across key skills such as listing, prospecting, inspecting, negotiating, and marketing. Each of those factors requires regular practice if you want to accelerate results.
- Prospecting – Connecting with new people and particularly those looking for property opportunity or change should occur every day. Most agents struggle with the disciplines to do that. For those agents that devote the time to prospecting and networking for new business, the market can be very rewarding in so many ways.
- Systems – The actions that you take each day will be boosted by systems that can be monitored and improved at a personal level. Have a careful look at your systems and activities in prospecting and marketing. Both of those issues are so critical to growing market share. Your database will be part of that process of growth and change.
- Client collateral – Your clients are the lifeblood of the market that you work in. Over time look to grow your client relationships and services. Improve your value by specialising in certain segments of the market.
So these 6 simple things are so vital to opportunity in commercial real estate agency. They are the foundations or ‘corner stones’ of a successful commercial real estate career. Now might be a good time to look at any weaknesses in these factors that can be improved on or modified for better personal performance.
When it comes to getting a job in commercial real estate brokerage, you need to understand a few things about the market, the brokerage itself, and the client base. Some brokerages only serve a particular marketplace or customer type. Make sure that the match is clear and precise to your property type and market segment.
Here are some tips to help you with securing a rewarding job in commercial real estate today:
- If the brokerage is part of a broader franchise structure or if they have many salespeople within the one team, you will need to know how business is shared between offices or members of the team. Ensure that you have the flexibility to work the right areas and the property types that you can relate to. Also ensure that the rules of fairness apply to listing distribution and commission breakdowns.
- There are many systems and costs associated with commercial real estate today. One of the most important systems will be that of the database. As you grow your market share and client contact process, the database will grow. Ask questions about the ownership of the data and what will happen if you leave the business in the future. Can you take that data with you?
- Given that you will be talking to a lot of clients and prospects on a regular basis, opportunities will arise in sales, leasing, and property management. Every new client that you introduce to the brokerage should give you the opportunity of a trailing commission if the client converts to using any services of the office and any of the specialised staff. On that basis understand the referral fees and commission bases.
- Will you be offered the support of any of the administrative staff within the office? There are a lot of things to do when it comes to marketing, client administration, listing processes, and deal documentation. Some of those things will require your involvement; administrative support will be of high value to you as a broker or agent. Will you be expected to pay for that administrative support? Will the cost be taken from your commission in some way? Ask questions about the support structure within the office.
- Commission structures within a real estate office can be varied and a reflection of the skills and achievements to date of each individual. This means that some salespeople will be on different commission rates based on results achieved and personal skills. Your commission rates will depend on the value that you bring to the business currently and into the future. Seek out a sliding scale of commission that increasingly rewards you over time as you achieve better rates of client contact, exclusive listings, and closed transactions.
- The zone or the territory that you work within may have some limitations. Make sure that you get the necessary flexibility to attract new business in the property type that you understand and know. There are differences between office property, retail property, and industrial property. What properties can you work on and within what geographical zone? If you are required to share a listing with another broker or agent within your team, how will the commissions be split? These ratios of commission will need to be negotiated at the beginning of your employment.
So some of these questions can help you establish your market share and grow your real estate business. Don’t jump into a new employment arrangement with the new brokerage without due care and regard for the terms and conditions of employment. All the hard work and the prospecting that you are about to do should be rewarded fairly from the deals created.
Look for the fairness in the benchmarks that are applied across different agents and different brokers. Make sure that you can achieve the results and the targets that are to be set for you as a professional in the industry. Understand that the marketplace can provide you with the new business opportunities providing you work hard and with systemised focus. That’s what top agents do all the time.