of the process can be improved so that the overall package can be regarded as highly relevant to the clients that we work with.
This strategy of process optimization will allow you to get traction and momentum in your market. It is interesting to note that many of your fellow competing agents will be rather ordinary when it comes to the various parts of the agency process. That is an advantage in itself.
Here are some other factors that can be structured into your professional services and improved to give you the competitive edge as a commercial real estate agent:
- When it comes to listing a property, the right information has to be gathered and checked. As you specialize within the industry, your value as an expert becomes real and relevant. Complex properties require top agents that understand the intricacies of the property package. Promote yourself as the expert relative to a particular property type; get to know all of the variables and factors that make a property attractive. Make sure that there are sufficient listings in the local area within the property type to allow you to gain market share.
- The listing of a property can take many hours if not days. The size of the property, the tenancy mix, the lease details, and the financial performance will all require investigation. The property improvements will require description and qualification. The legal identity and function of the property will need to be checked prior to any marketing commencing. I go back to the point that property specialization will help you with the experience and the profile of a top agent. The clients that we serve like to work with top agents that understand the property and the area comprehensively. Property marketing is not an experiment.
- Given the pressures of today’s property market, you cannot and should not take a generic marketing approach when it comes to a quality listing. A quality property should be exclusively listed. The exclusive listing should be matched to the market and the best method of sale or lease as the case may be. When those decisions have been made, the marketing package can be designed to reach into the property owners and business proprietors that may have an interest. Get personally involved with all of your marketing campaigns. Use each quality listing to talk to other property investors and business owners.
- Understand the local property market when it comes to the seasonal activity in both sales and leasing. Some properties are best released to the market at certain times of the year. The larger and more complex the asset, the greater the amount of care that needs to be taken when it comes to the structuring of the marketing campaign and its release to the local area. Track all of your marketing efforts so that you can understand the things that are working when it comes to attracting enquiries. Repeat the things that work so that every property enquiry is optimized on every exclusive listing.
These four things will give you the best traction when it comes to attracting buyers and tenants. If you are advertising or marketing the property today and simply cannot get the enquiries in the door, then something is wrong. Review your marketing campaign and adjust it to build momentum.
Keep a database relative to all the contacts and people that you talk to. Over time the database will build more momentum and opportunity for you. Keep talking to the people in the market. That is how you find the opportunities and clients to work with.
In commercial real estate agency, you can learn a lot from those lost deals and listing transactions. It is a fact that you will not win all the listings that you pitch for. It is well known that most agents will probably convert approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the listings that they pitch for. The ratio improves when you improve your skills as an agent and top performer. Practice can help you here.
It is important that we learn from both the good and bad things that happen as part of a commercial real estate career. Some things will be beyond your control; however others will be controllable at least in part.
Here are some ideas and questions to raise with clients as part of the business review process from lost deals and lost listings:
- In the case of a lost listing, understand where the weakness occurred. Sometimes it is a matter of a clash of personalities or poor service. Both of those things can be rectified before they become a problem. A top real estate agent should adjust to the requirements of the client and help them with the prevailing market conditions.
- Poor service in commercial real estate can happen for a number of different reasons. Sometimes it is because the agent is excessively busy, and at other times it is because the agent fails to connect with the client sufficiently and correctly. If you have an exclusive listing, the level of connection with the client should be escalated to the highest possible level. You should be talking to the client at least every two days if not daily. In the case of an open listing, the marketing and communication process with the client is far more random and discretionary. If the client has chosen the open listing process, then they should understand that they will only hear from you when an opportunity exists.
- If you are part of a competitive listing presentation, and you have lost a listing, you should ask the client to give you an overview of how that occurred and why your presentation was not up to standard. If you do not win the listing, it is largely because your strategies, recommendations, and presentation process was not up to scratch.
- Understand what you could have done better. Ask the questions of the client. What did the other agents do that were of attraction to the client.
- Look at the differences between agencies to understand if the winning agent was part of a busier agency or had a better market profile. Most clients will choose an agency that has a strong market presence and a comprehensive way of connecting with the right target audience.
- All too often we see that the presentation or proposal decision is usually made on the strength of client’s confidence in the sales person concerned. The final decision is not really about the size of your proposal for the comprehensive nature of the document. Many proposals are very similar. Take a serious look at the people involved in the sales presentation and how they connected with the client. Did you have a strong and substantial relationship with the client before the presentation? The other competing agents may have had that advantage.
In commercial real estate agency today, you will win some of the listings that you pitch on. Other listings you will lose for many different reasons. Try to investigate each process so that you can adjust your presentation strategy.
In commercial real estate agency today there are too many ‘myths and rumours’ around generated by agents that are the ‘poor performers’. They are usually the agents that are looking for excuses for their inaction or poor outcomes in listings or commissions. The market is the market, and we cannot change that; we can however take the right action to suit the situation.
Today’s commercial property market is something that requires understanding and adjustment certainly, but good commissions can be had by active and professional commercial real estate agents. You need to know what to look for and how to tap into it. Action it then required.
So what is it about all those ‘myths’ that we keep hearing about? I guess you would have heard some of these comments from your fellow salespeople and competing agents:
- There are no buyers around to purchase
- The client will not listen
- Tenants don’t want to move
- Property listings are hard to get
- There is no enquiry coming in from advertising
- The client wants too much money
- Other agents are taking my listings
- Business is slow
- It’s time to take a holiday
The property market changes and on that basis we need to change. Every year there will be challenges with prices, rents, enquiry, listings, and clients. The fact of the matter is that poor agents without a good database of clients and prospects to talk to will struggle.
Those agents that have continually built a great group of contacts will always have fresh business. Certainly client conditioning will be required as the market changes condition, but today is an ‘agent’s market’ and on that basis we need to act.
Find those good listings and tap into them. Quality listings will always create better enquiries in any market. If you are not getting enquiries coming in, then take a look at your listings. If you have poor listings then have a look at your prospecting efforts. Everything is linked.
It is a fact that top agents attract the business in all markets. The quality listings will go to them most of the time. So how did they reach this level of success and listing attraction? They did the ‘hard work’ with prospecting and connecting with fresh people that are interested in commercial real estate.
The property cycle in commercial real estate is quite long. It takes months if not years for some clients to act on a property issue. This then suggests that you need to be building the right client relationships from the very start and keep the ‘door of contact’ open with the prospect. That’s how you become a top agent. Work hard and the business will come. Forget about those ‘myths’ that low quality agents like to circulate to support their inadequacies. Make your mark on the commercial property market.
When you work in commercial real estate agency, you should start your day strongly and with focus. Get as much done as you can before other disruptions start to take over (and they will).
It is a fact that things in commercial real estate agency will happen daily that you do not expect. That being said, there are still key things that you need to do every day to improve your market share and client connections. If you overlook these things, you will soon have less commission coming in and you will also be missing on the quality listing stock.
So to start strong every day, you need a plan and a process. Action is everything in our industry and directed action can allow you to form habits. It is the habits that will take you forward as a professional in our industry.
Here are some ideas to help you with effectiveness and focus as a commercial real estate agent.
- It is easier to control the start of the day than it is to control the whole day. If you can control 1/3 your day, you can be quite successful and effective as an agent. Plan your activities so that your working day can and will be under your control from 7 am. to 11 am. Don’t let others change or modify your diary before 11 am.
- Prospect every morning from 8 am to 10 am. Get your outbound cold calls done then. That one single process will be critical to your market share. It is interesting to note that most top agents do this. Struggling agents overlook the process or avoid it.
- Talk to your clients from 10 am to 11 am. After 11 am the pressures of the day can take over so get to your important clients on key issues early. You can do the same thing at the end of the day and in the evening.
- Look after your database yourself. Only you have the information that should go into it, and only you are going to benefit from it being correctly used. If you go into your database every day you can shape the information and use it to your advantage. Ongoing contact and trust in our industry is a really big thing.
- As you move through the day and the week, track your numbers and ratios relating to calls out, meetings, presentations, listings, inspections, and deals closed. You should also track your exclusive listings as they will do more for your market share than open listings.
So you can see that the key thing here is control. When you are in control you can get more of the right things done. That is how you move up in the industry.
In commercial real estate today, you have to set some rules in time management and then stick to them. Your time is the greatest resource that can help you move ahead.
It is a fact that many agents struggle with the whole time and control process. They give in to the pressures of clients, peers, listings, and the office. Exactly who is in control here anyway?
So why do you need to control your time? For one simple reason; everyone around you will want some of your time, and at the end of the working day you could have achieved very little that is important to your business growth as an agent.
So here are some time management tips:
- You will know that there are 3 things that really matter as an agent. They are your prospecting, your clients and your listings. Everything else revolves around those 3 things. Setting priorities in your working day is therefore really important.
- Create key habits that can allow you to get to the 3 things mentioned earlier. Habits are critical to taking you forward; it is the things that you do every day that will change your business outlook and market share.
- The circadian cycle or biological clock says that you are most effective between 7 am and 11 am. There is also a second window of time between 3pm and 6 pm that is useful. How do you use your resources in these windows of time? Quite clearly you should be doing your prospecting during the early part of the day.
- When you start something you are good for about 2 hours before you will want a break. Build short breaks into your working day so you can keep up the momentum.
- When you get into something new, it takes about 20 minutes to lock into the issue and get some momentum. If someone interrupts you, the clock resets. This is the single most common reason for lack of focus in a busy real estate office; people are distracting each other most of the day. They then cannot get the traction and focus on important things.
- A computer based diary is convenient, but a written daily diary is essential if you want to focus your efforts. It is a fact that people need to write things down to figure out a way of doing them. A daily dairy will help you do that.
- Prioritize everything that you do. Only do the important stuff first. Don’t let small and convenient things take you away from the issues that matter.
So how are you going to do all of this? With focus and diligence you can get there. It’s all up to you.