Key Performance Indicators in Commercial Real Estate Leasing

The commercial real estate leasing market will change throughout the year based on business activity and sentiment.  For this reason you do need to set some performance indicators that will help you understand where the market is changing and what tenants are looking for.

A successful commercial real estate leasing executive will support the property management division and the sales division within the same business.  There should be a strong integration between the leasing activities of your top leasing people and the other divisions of your business.

Every property type is unique and special when it comes to leasing.  Special skills are required when it comes to the differences of property types including industrial, office, and retail property.  Specialization on the part of each individual leasing executive will help attract the clients to use your agency services.

Top leasing agents provide specialist leasing services and are known for that skill.  They help clients with strategies including the following:

  • Vacancy management
  • Tenant sourcing and selection
  • Lease terms and conditions
  • Tenant retention
  • Outgoings recoveries
  • Vacancy minimization
  • Project leasing
  • Renovation and relocation strategies
  • Tenant mix and tenant clustering
  • Rental strategies and rental types

So an expert leasing operative should understand all of these factors and provide specific solutions to the clients that they serve.  There is no point wasting this knowledge on a small and below average property; aim for the top of the market and the quality properties that need top servicing.

Some top agents choose to work with leasing understanding the opportunities that they will get in sales at a later time.  The strategy is wise and does have rewards over the long term.  The landlords of today with a leasing requirement will be the property owners of tomorrow seeking to sell their asset at a reasonable price.  That being said, the strategy behind every lease should be an enhancement to the physical function and sales opportunity for each property.

An average and generic lease will do nothing for the future sale of the property.  True commercial and retail leasing specialists really do understand how to structure a lease and make it attractive to the future of the property and of benefit to the property owner.

Leasing specialists should look to the market regularly to understand the opportunities coming from the business community and the property investment community.  These are the indicators to monitor:

  1. The supply and demand as it impacts particular property types
  2. The levels of market rental that are being achieved across the various categories of properties
  3. The time on market applying to vacancies locally
  4. The lease standards that are expected on the part of landlords when it comes to a new lease structure
  5. The incentives that are in the market today to attract new tenants
  6. New property developments that could have an impact on existing occupancy rates and tenant movement
  7. Vacancy rates that exist now in the market and the trend upward or downward
  8. Business sentiment as it relates to property occupancy costs and relocations
  9. The improvements, services, and amenities that tenants are looking for in a new lease

These indicators will help you with identifying and tracking future leasing opportunities.  Get to know all the businesses in your local area and you will soon see the relocation opportunities and leasing fees that exist.

Tips to Improve the Sales Process in Commercial Real Estate Agency

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Myths About Commercial Real Estate Agency

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.

Gain the Edge in Commercial Real Estate Agency – Start Strong

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Sales Team Strategies in Commercial Real Estate Agency

In commercial real estate agency, the sales team can be a powerful force in the market if the team works together.  The disciplines of sales, leasing, and property management all require special people with special skills.  As the properties that you work on become more complex, the team involvement process will help all your presentations and sales pitches.

So you can have either of these situations in your real estate agency:

  • You can have a group of top salespeople that all do their own thing in marketing, prospecting, and listing.
  • You can have a group of top salespeople and agency staff that are industry and property specialists and that pull together on the bigger listings to strengthen the service and coverage.

If I was a commercial real estate client today I know what I would prefer from the agency, and on that basis I would choose the second approach in granting an agent the listing.  If you focus on quality listings, the property may just be so special and unique that you cannot do everything on your own.  Bring other team members around you to help the sales pitch and the listing conversion.

Here are a few things that can help the team approach:

  1. A leasing opportunity is a reason to get your top property managers involved to review and address blow outs in property operational costs, lease documents, or tenancy mix.  Over time this extra service will help you convert a property management listing.
  2. A leasing opportunity will help you with the client relationship and open the door on a potential sale at the right time.
  3. Property management appointments will create new business leads and deals in leasing and sales.  Over time, the services and staff in your property management division should be of the highest quality to preserve and protect the future sale or lease requirements.  Choose your property management staff wisely so they can protect this portion of your agency business.  Use your property management staff as part of every pitch on quality property locally.
  4. Whilst you may be seeking just a sales listing appointment for your property, have your ‘marketing coordinators’ from your agency attend the listing presentation to give specialist comment on just how the marketing will work and where the enquiry is coming from today.  Use graphs of response levels shown in the current promotional categories of website, internet, email, direct marketing, signboards, flyers, and cold calling.  Use your database as leverage in the discussion.

It is not hard to win a commercial or retail real estate listing if you work as a team and use the skills of each person as the specialists that they are.  Get your best people involved in your presentations.

Avoid Dangerous Clients in Commercial Real Estate Agency

Are there dangerous clients in commercial real estate?  Absolutely; yes is the answer.  You will come across them all the time.  You must protect yourself from these clients that are out to manipulate the deal for themselves without true transparency.

Ethics in our industry is really important.  Poor quality clients can derail your listing integrity and commissions.  So the message is that you should keep to the rules in the industry that protect your actions and listing activities.  Clients that are less than honest can destroy your business in many different ways.

So here are some signs to look for when it comes to client selection and communication:

  1. Watch out for the clients that will not sign an agency appointment ‘until you find a buyer or tenant’.  The request happens all the time in our industry but you cannot and should not act outside of the laws of commercial real estate agency in your location.  You are bound to act legally and with integrity; if the client wants you to ‘bend the rules’, they are not a client to have and you simply cannot trust them.  In those circumstances walk away from the deal or the listing.   Let some other agent waste their own time and risk legal action.  It is not fun when legal claims are made against you.
  2. Some clients work with many agents.  Now this is just fine if all relationships are ethical and legal, but your listing and negotiation information should be protected by a valid appointment to act and an established client and agent relationship.  If you suspect that the client is sharing your ‘market intelligence’ with other agents, you could have a problem.
  3. If your client avoids giving you an exclusive listing, it can be a sign that you really do not have their commitment and trust.  They could also be working with many other agents at this very moment in trying to sell or lease the property.  Ask the questions and get to the real facts of the matter.
  4. A reluctance to give you full access to the property or comprehensive property detail is a sign that something is going on.  A similar problem is evident with the client not disclosing tenant and income detail for the property.  If the client is not being open and honest, step back from the deal until you know all the facts.  Get copy of all current property related documentation before you go to the market, negotiate, or talk to other people.  Understand the facts that are before you.
  5. Failing to put things in writing can be a big problem in our industry.  Many conversations across the telephone happen every day.  Always keep your notes of client and customer conversations and instructions.  Evidence the matter back to the other party in an email or similar written or electronic form.

Lastly something should be said regards confidentiality.  Know who your client is and what their instructions are.  Keep client agent discussions and instructions confidential.  Disclosure of privileged information can get you into a lot of trouble.

Marketing Strategies for Commercial Real Estate Agents Today

When you take a commercial property to the market today, the message about the property has to be clear and precise.  There are limited levels of enquiry coming from most marketing campaigns given the current economic climate.  This means that you have to do more with less.

It should be said that this is not a seller’s market, not a buyer’s market, but it is an agents market.  We as property agents are well placed to encourage enquiry and connect with the right people.  Your database is a key factor in this process.

We can produce the right momentum in marketing through developing a direct promotional strategy for each listing.  The days of generic marketing are well gone.  Specific campaigns create far more enquiry than the traditional generic approach.

When you take on a new listing, be very specific when it comes to structuring the marketing campaign and attracting the right target audience.  It should also be said that the exclusive listing process in this market is far more effective than an openly listed property.

If the client chooses to openly list their property, tell them about the weaknesses of the process and the longer ‘time on market’ factors that normally apply.  Most clients don’t like to be an ‘experiment’ when it comes to marketing; they want results and the exclusive listing process is the only way to do that with some control and reasonable success rate.

Here are some tips to help you with establishing a successful marketing campaign and correctly promoting a commercial property for sale or for lease.

  1. There is a significant difference between direct and indirect marketing today.  The generic approach involves indirect marketing and most particularly advertising in the newspapers, placing a signboard on the property, and listing it on the Internet.  This will only produce limited enquiry.  With commercial property you must take the direct approach in addition to the more traditional promotional processes.  The direct approach says that you need to get into the local area and take the listing to all of the property owners nearby, the local businesses, and the industry professionals.  In this way you will attract more leads and opportunities.  Talk to more people; that is the rule today and not the exception.
  2. The best method of sale or lease should be chosen for the property, the local area, and the target market.  The method that you choose should encourage enquiry, inspections, and negotiation.  Momentum is the key to getting a good result in commercial property marketing today.
  3. At the time of listing the property, undertake a comprehensive inspection with the client.  Move through the asset together so that you can identify strengths and weaknesses that will need to be addressed as part of the promotion and the advertising.  Any weaknesses should be carefully assessed and dealt with prior to the commencement of campaigning.

It is in property markets like that which we have today where the marketing process becomes more important than ever before.  Attracting enquiry and converting more inspections is central to attracting offers and closing negotiations.

If you want to be a top agent in this market, take a serious look at your marketing efforts, and your listing processes.  Everything needs to work in harmony.