In commercial real estate brokerage, your cold calling systems should be coordinated to a plan and a process. Over time you can then improve your actions as the plan requires.
Cold calling is a very specific process of agent actions tracked to results; monitor the things that you are doing and watch what is working for you. When you know that your telephone calls are getting meeting conversions, then you improve them further; if meetings are hard to achieve then skill enhancement is required.
What systems do you have?
So what are the key factors to help you in coordinating and improving your prospecting model and cold call activities? Try some of these:
- Why should someone listen to you? – There has to be a central message to your call process. Have a basic strategy to the call that is useful to the person you are calling. Don’t make calls based on your needs, but focus on them; talk about the other person’s property and how something you are offering will be of use. That could be a special report, perhaps an update on recent sales or leasing’s, or even a chart of property market trends that you can send them.
- Don’t push the other person – Too many agents push a conversation in cold calling. That generally doesn’t work. Polite professional telephone conversations get more results over time. The important thing is that you have something of relevance to talk about.
- Understand your ratios with call conversations and outbound prospecting – When you track your numbers you can see what outcomes you are getting, and if they are fruitful. Whilst everyone will have a different set of numbers to work at over time, those numbers should be improving; that is why you should be making regular cold calls and watching the ratios.
- Create a pipeline of contact – When you connect with a person across the telephone in a positive way, they should then advance up the pipeline of marketing and ongoing contact. Over a period of time you then connect with ever more people in a positive and relevant way.
You can take these simple strategies and merge them into your prospecting and cold calling model. Understand why someone should listen to you and provide relevance around that fact. Grow your skills in cold calling so that your results improve and grow over time. I go back to the point that you should track your ratios.
Do you know what targets and goals are all about? In commercial real estate brokerage the targets and goals that you set should energise you to take even more action and refine your processes for better results.
Why is that? It takes time for an agent to establish market share and listing dominance; the only way that consolidation of market share will happen quickly is through taking ever more action on the things that matter. Understanding the important things to work on can be a bit daunting initially but soon you recognise your individual strengths and weaknesses as an agent and then you can work with them.
Progress Every Day
When you track your targets you can see how you are progressing each day and each week. At the end of each month your key performance indicators in listings, commissions, and time on market can be assessed for progress.
So there are ‘big targets’ and ‘little targets’ to work to in commercial real estate brokerage. The little targets feed the bigger ones, and everything is based on action every day.
Don’t Make This Mistake
A real estate broker recently said to me that he was struggling with routine and doing the things that really mattered to his business. When he started each working day he was letting the pressures of clients and listings dictate what he was to do first up in the day. That then meant over time that he was overlooking any factors of growth and new business creation. Inevitably he was struggling with new business and any exclusive listings were few and far between.
Energise Your Real Estate Business
So let’s set some rules for energising your real estate business:
- A full one third of every working day should be set aside for new business generation. That ratio is non-negotiable; it simply must happen.
- The morning first thing when you get to the office is the best time to do some cold calls and telephone contact to prospects.
- Track the calls that you make outbound in number so that you can understand progress in connections and conversations.
- When a telephone call converts to a meeting, understand why that is so and attend the meeting with a reason or target in mind. Perhaps that target may be to win a listing or stay in touch with that person for the longer term when they need professional real estate help.
- Don’t chase after unqualified prospects or any listings that are of low quality. Ask all the relevant questions possible to get to the real reasons that you can help someone with investment, tenant mix, property performance, or locating new property locations. If you are in any doubt about a client or a listing, it is better to move on and let someone else waste their time.
Progress is everything in commercial real estate brokerage. Any top agent will tell you that they are very selective on what they do and who they talk to every day. They closely control their time and tasks. Can you do the same?
Need help in commercial real estate brokerage prospecting? You can get many more tips in our e-course right here.
When you work in commercial real estate brokerage today, you have quite a few choices when it comes to your establishing your career as an agent. You can be like most other agents and take what comes along in clients and property listings, or you can strive to build a great real estate business. Important choices must be made from the very start of any real estate career.
If you want to amount to ‘something significant’ in your time in the industry, then you will need a plan and a process to move ahead. Luck only has a small role to play in where you will head as a specialist property agent. In fact, if you rely on ‘luck’ to get you somewhere, then the industry can be very unforgiving, difficult and slow.
Depending on your speciality in the local area, your property focus will be on a variation or combination of the following:
- Investment sales
- Investment leasing
- Project sales and or leasing
- Property development
- Vacant land
- Tenant advocacy
- Buyers agent
- Property management
- Retail management and leasing
Many will ask about what category is better from a career perspective. The reality is that they are all quite good for both listings and commissions; that is on the understanding that you get back in results what you put in by way of effort. That is why a plan of approach is really important for all brokers and agents.
Here are some tips to help you shift up a gear and get some real momentum in your commercial real estate brokerage and territory. You can add to the list based on your location and property type.
- Existing listings – You can and should work with your existing listings to achieve better results. Condition the clients that you are working with today to the prevailing market conditions and the current levels of enquiry. An existing listing can be repackaged, refreshed, and marketed differently. It is a matter of understanding the focus of the client and helping them see the correct adjustments to move ahead.
- Track and measure – Any quality listing should be tracked and measured when it comes to current levels of enquiry and inspections. If you are not getting the results you require, then refresh and repackage the listing for better results. Don’t wait too long in your marketing process to tell the client that he or she has a problem; a listing can become stale quite soon, so help the client with marketing facts and decisions.
- Other Agents listings – Look at the other agent’s listings in your local area; assess the time on market in each case. You can use those listings as valid reasons to talk to other investors and property owners in the area. It is quite possible that other local property owners would like to compete with nearby listings held with other agencies. You can offer them that facility and then package their property with great care and attention to the current levels of enquiry locally.
- Signboard Activity – Through your area or listing territory, monitor the number of signboards for each agency and within each property type; you can do that on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Differentiate between open listings and exclusive listings in tracking the numbers. Look at the time on market in each case and determine the best methods of sale or lease for today’s property conditions. As a general rule, every quality listing and exclusive listing should have a special signboard designed and erected as part of the marketing campaign. A good signboard will help with the local market enquiry and the levels of inspections generated early in the campaign.
- Internet listings – Track the number of Internet listings for your area and do so by property type. In doing that you can identify the methods of online marketing that seem to be more effective than others. You can also track the time on market for each listing with a particular focus on exclusivity.
These four simple things will get you into the local real estate market with greater focus and direction. Soon you will see the clients and the properties creating the best levels of interest; that can help and boost your career as a commercial real estate agent. You can learn a lot by watching the activities of other top agents and the quality listings available today in your town or city.
In commercial real estate agency, the property investors that you know well and connect with regularly will provide you with lots of opportunists in sales and leasing activity. That being said you really do need to know their focus and priorities when it comes to property ownership and overall performance.
The property market changes frequently and so will the plans of the people and clients that you serve. A lease transaction today can be a sales transaction tomorrow. The same extended business opportunity can occur from a lease deal to a property management appointment. Understanding the client will help you find the right opportunities and leads.
Here are some questions to ask your clients and prospects. Adjust the questions and concepts to suit the property type and local market that you control.
- What type of property do they prefer to own and in what location? They may relate more to industrial, office or retail property. Their preference will have an impact on your prospecting activity.
- What do they own now and how long do they intend to hold that investment property? There are strategic differences between holding a property for the short term (5 years) versus longer. Any leases that are negotiated in a property will be established with due regard for the investment holding period, the cash flow required from the investment, and any renovation or relocation needs.
- The income that you set for a property will be relative to the market rental in the property type. What do they know about gross and net rent today? What impact will incentives and vacancy factors have in the leasing process and returns over coming months and years?
- Will the property need renovation soon? Some older properties will reach the end of their useful life as tenants look for better property improvements and locations. A repositioning or renovation process will need to occur with older properties. Many property investors do not know how to position current lease negotiations for that. Renovation and relocation clauses can be inserted into current lease negotiations with due regard for the upcoming property changes. In such cases, the strategy of leasing really becomes very important.
- How are outgoings and expenses running for the property? Are they comparable to the other properties locally of similar type? Keep your clients property suitably positioned in a competitive way so that any lease can be attractive and viable for new tenants considering occupation.
Simple concepts like these will help you serve your clients professionally when it comes to tenant mix and leasing. When you get the balance right, the income for the property can grow and the vacancy rates can fall.
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:
- 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.
- 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’.
- 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.
- 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.
- Offer special marketing solutions that are unique and relevant. These marketing solutions will help you when it comes to presenting and pitching your services.
- 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.
- Referral business will be available when you connect with the clients and contacts that you have served well in sales and leasing.
- 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.