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.
In commercial real estate agency you will find that you will constantly be up against many agents in the presentation and pitch process. The question is can you present and pitch your services for a listing at a better level or in a better way than your competitors? Can you show why you are the better agent for the job?
Sure, things are competitive in our industry but with a little self-development you can expand your strengths and make them even stronger for any sales pitch you make on a listing. When you know that you are a ‘top agent’ and that you have all the relevant skills that a client or the property requires, then you can convert more listings. Confidence will get you ‘across the line’ when it comes to your pitching and presenting.
Here are some tips to help you with your presentation and client connection processes today. See how these things match your current skills and approach to attracting more listings.
- Know what you are good at when it comes to selling, leasing, or managing commercial property. Build that relevance into your presentation with stories that attract the attention from the client. Most clients like to know that they are not the only ones struggling with sales and leasing challenges. Show them the solutions as you see them. Give them the ideas of just how they can fast track the marketing and results process given the prevailing market conditions. Put yourself into the property marketing and promotional process; if the client then wants to get the results as you see them, they will need you to do that. Top agents sell themselves very well.
- Find out what people are looking for in solving their current property challenge. Ask them questions about what they have done to date in marketing the property in case you are taking on something that has been taken to the market unsuccessfully before.
- Review the skills of the competition so you understand what the competitors will be saying in their presentation to the client. How can you be better than the others that the client may be meeting?
- Start practicing on your good skills so they get even better. Every day when you first arise, read a business or sales related book aloud for some 20 minutes or so; it helps you with verbal flexibility and confidence that is just so important in our industry. Just about everything that you do and negotiate on in property sales and leasing will hinge on your ability to communicate. The words that you use and the way you deliver them will be strengthened by this voice practice process.
Are you ready to win new commercial real estate clients and listings? Now is the time to build on your strengths as part of starting that process.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
In commercial real estate today many agents will say that the property market has changed, and indeed it has. The fact of the matter is that it is always changing and we as agents must live with that change. If we want to earn good commissions and find more listings, we have to use that property market change change and do something productive with it.
In any working year and selling season you will find common fluctuations in all of the following:
- Lack of tenants to fill the existing vacancies
- Slow deals and decisions when it comes to property sales or leases
- Lack of buyers coming to you from the marketing efforts and advertising
- No developments coming up to put more space into the market
- High vacancy factors in existing properties
- Low grade stock and nothing of quality available to rent or buy
- Too many properties on the market in either sales or leasing
The real issue here is that these things happen all the time. If any of these things are frustrating you now in your commercial real estate agency, then have a good look at your prospecting efforts and just how many people you talk to every day. It is quite likely that you have a poor or non-existent prospecting model.
Most agents that struggle with the changes in the property market are those that do not have a solid database of qualified prospects and contacts. Those agents live from day to day on the results that they get from ever new listing and the advertising that follows. They lack new people and established contacts to talk to. They generally have not created the pipeline of contact that is so important in our industry.
It is a fact that the cycle of property activity in commercial real estate is quite long. It can be months if not years for some of our prospects to take action or deal with a property matter. Your success in the industry will be strengthened by the number of people that you know and the frequency of direct contact that you make with them.
When you look at a list like that mentioned above, you can turn every market ‘negative’ into a ‘positive’. For example:
- You can specialize in finding tenants when they are few and not overly active.
- You can improve your negotiation and marketing skills to put urgency into the average property transaction.
- You can get to know lots of local business owners and property investors so you have people to talk to when a quality listing comes onto the market.
- You can become a specialist in selling or leasing a good property ‘off market’ when other agents are struggling with the traditional way of finding buyers and tenants.
You can turn every negative market situation into a positive one if you work at it as a specialized commercial real estate agent.
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.