How to Improve Listening Skills in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

In an average working week, as a broker or an agent, you will attend plenty of meetings with clients and prospects.  Your listening skills and meeting strategies will be tested; they should be refined and optimized for each situation that could evolve.

 

Improve your communications skills and your listening skills.  Strategically connect with ever more people in your location and with your property marketing activities.

 

Accurately listen as part of a property discussion or negotiation.  Watch what happens with all your conversations relating to commercial property, and know what is being said by the stakeholders. 

 

Take notes to support discussions and progress; send off an email soon after a discussion to detail the current position.  A full understanding will help you with your position of negotiation or the desired strategic outcome.

 

The Challenges of Negotiations and Clients

 

It is a fact that some clients will be more difficult than others when it comes to negotiation, listing, property documentation, and marketing.  The same levels of difficulty apply to prospects and the third parties to any transaction.

 

Through all stages of the property transaction, there will be issues to discuss and opportunities to create.  Improve your professional communications skills through practice and deliberation.  Set your communication systems in place to help you with prospecting, listing, and presenting properties.

 

Communication Rules

 

Here are some rules that can help you with all your listening skills, client connections, and negotiation opportunities:

 

  1. Where possible, choose the place and the time to meet with other parties as part of any property negotiation or inspection. Try to keep control of the discussion or negotiation through meeting location selection and timing.
  2. Check your property and listing information before you give it to others. Ensure that you have all the supporting documentation validated and ready to display or use in any inspection and or presentation.  Expect that you will get questions on property matters, so have your supporting information ready.
  3. Don’t just listen to the other person but watch what they say and observe how they do it as part of explaining their position or negotiating. The body language of the other party will give you some valuable indicators to work on progressing a transaction forward.
  4. Understand all the alternatives that can apply to the negotiation. Do the people or stakeholders in the transaction need to achieve an agreement, or can they walk away from the discussion?
  5. Take plenty of notes as part of a negotiation process and meeting or conversation. Your notes will help you in the future remember what was said and done or perhaps agreed.  Sometimes disputes occur between the parties in a property transaction, and your notes will be the only way to protect your position and recollection.
  6. Ask plenty of questions relating to a property and or client situation. When in any doubt, ask more questions. As you get the answers that you require, observe the other party in what they are saying and how they are saying it. Look for the problems of interpretation and message accuracy.
  7. Qualify any comments and restate the position of the other party. The stakeholders to a property transaction will have a position or belief so you will need to document that fact accurately and legally for the property and the client.  Don’t proceed with documentation until you know that all is correct.
  8. Any action that is agreed between the parties will need to be taken in a timely way. Timeliness is important and can sometimes be a ‘deal breaker’.  Know the legalities of the matter, and how you can document things accurately for the client’s position, their instructions, and the facts of the property.

 

Listen carefully and comprehensively as part of each property meeting and negotiation.  Establish your rules and your systems of communication control so that every negotiation can be directed and shaped towards the outcomes that the client requires.

Branding Solutions for Commercial Real Estate Leasing Agents and Brokers

In commercial real estate leasing you want the tenants and landlords to remember you as a leasing specialist, and thereby use you at the times when they have a leasing challenge.  On that basis you really should know lots of people locally that own or occupy investment properties. Your database should be the lifeblood of leasing commissions and vacancy opportunities. Your brand and your image should feature in your professional leasing marketing plan.

 

You want the tenants and the landlords in the local area to remember you as the industry specialist at the right time and in the right way. The best agents and brokers have a reputation for resolving leasing challenges effectively and directly. The understand how to shape the lease and rental transactions for the best outcomes possible for their clients.

 

Whats happening?

 

Consider the leasing market over the last 12 months. Think about how the rents have changed and the enquiry rates similarly so for the different property types. Somewhere within that change and churn you will have the opportunities for tenant placement and vacancy resolve.

 

The local leasing market will always be under change and churn, and the commissions can be found when you tap into the changes in the property market.  Rents will alter, as will the vacancy factors throughout the year.  An active leasing market will have plenty of opportunities for commission growth. Look for the tenants that need help when it comes to occupancy and premises expansion or change. Ask the right questions, and comprehensively talk to all of the tenants through your business zone or precinct.

 

Know the tenants

 

So the message here is that you can and should talk to plenty of tenants each and every day. Understand what the tenants are thinking and doing when it comes to lease occupancy and rental intentions. Some of those tenants will need to expand or relocate their business operations. Other tenants will be coming to the end of lease occupancy and will be looking for better value from a rental and occupancy cost perspective.

 

The agent or the broker with a comprehensive tenant database will be of great value to the landlords that they serve. Market your leasing services accordingly, using your database as part of your lease listing pitch.

 

Your database rules

 

A good leasing agent will have several thousand local businesses in their database, and that database will be fresh and up-to-date. All of the tenants and business owners in the list will be contacted in an ongoing and complete way. Their leasing status will be changing in the database over time.  Track and measure the changes and the challenges of local tenants.

 

Here are some other ideas to help you build your brand awareness with the tenants in the landlords in your investment leasing market:

 

  1. Comprehensively canvass all of the local businesses within your territory – take an organized approach to buildings, streets, precincts, and property types.
  2. Connect with all of the landlords within the region – some landlords will have a valuable portfolio of prime properties to lease. Work with the landlords that have or offer the most opportunity for you over time.
  3. Offer specialized vacancy resolution services – develop some unique and valuable leasing services to help resolve vacancy challenges and local leasing requirements fast and efficiently. Tenant retention plans, tenant advocacy services, and lease negotiation services are all valuable services to offer to the local area and the people therein.
  4. Provide tenant mix strategies and clustering solutions – office buildings and retail shopping centers have unique challenges when it comes to tenant mix strategy and clustering. The mix of tenants in the building can make or break the growth in market rental over time. The types of tenants can also strengthen or weaken the occupancy within the building over time.
  5. Understand how to improve the value of a lease – a long-term occupancy can improve property cash flow and values over time. The rental structure can include variations in rent reviews, outgoings recoveries, and option periods. Think about how you can negotiate leases with due regard for your client and their investment circumstances.

So you have five ways here to help improve the leasing services that you offer locally.  As a direct result, your personal brand can grow in the local area with tenants and landlords.  That is the best way to build your leasing business.

 

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

How to Deliver High End Marketing Solutions for Exclusive Listings in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

The quality and focus of your marketing campaigns in commercial real estate will attract volumes of clients and prospects over time, providing you build quality and target marketing into your promotional processes.  Build your brand through your current marketing processes with all of your listings.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

So the rule here is typically that ‘a quality focus in promotional activity generally attracts quality new business in local property’.  The best clients and investors locally like to work with the agents that have a market domination of the location and the property type.

Compare the competitors

Compare your marketing solutions to those used by your competitors:

  • Can you claim to be more relevant and real as an agent in your property activities?
  • Do your advertising efforts stand out as the best for the property type or the location?
  • Will people remember you at the right time?

Review and research your market position when it comes to your brokerage and your personal profile.  Examine where you are now in the order and ranking of local agents.  Drive a better profile.

Here are some ideas to help you stand out as a ‘go to agent’ for your location:

  1. Property and target market match – Always match your property to a target market before the campaign of promotion commences. Help the client understand the target market that you are chasing and why that is the case.
  2. Local area coverage and regional coverage – When you promote your listings, devote different strategies to the local area, versus the broader region. Vendor paid marketing funds should allow you to specialize your property coverage and penetration.
  3. Online marketing versus traditional marketing – You will need to mix and match your marketing to the online and offline media outlets and channels. Think about everything from the traditional signboard through to website coverage, and the industry portals.  Your exclusive listings should get special attention in that process.  Use the email marketing system as well as the more traditional approaches to listing distribution.
  4. Brochures and photographs – Some people like to review the local papers and or get a brochure in the mail, so photos and brochures are valuable in property marketing. Use them in directly marketing the listings that you have.  The direct marketing process has merit as long as you are taking the time to follow through with telephone calls and direct contact.  If you have spent the money in mail outs, then make the calls to see what others think of the listing and the brochure.
  5. Editorials – When you have a good quality listing coming to the market, get an editorial ready for release, and promote that editorial to the local papers and media outlets. If the property has a good history or local relevance, an editorial is a good strategy to use promotionally.
  6. Database – Use your database in your client and prospect discussions. Create a shortlist of people from your database to inspect a property as soon as it is released to the market for sale or lease.  It is hard for a client to overlook a relevant database of local contact.
  7. Feedback – Seek comments from the people that you take to your listed properties and hold inspections with. Allow their comments to shape your clients thinking and their perceptions of the property as it is being marketed.  This is called ‘third party conditioning’ and it is a valuable strategy in shaping a property for better listing and or negotiation outcomes.
  8. Reset and refresh your listing advertisements – Don’t let an advert for property remain unchanged for too long. Refresh your listing stock promotions with different promotional copy and feature points every 3 weeks or so.

These simple and yet direct strategies are valuable in delivering high quality property promotions.  They allow ‘high end’ coverage, and will attract better levels of inquiry.  Refine and revisit all of your commercial property promotions accordingly, with a real bias towards your exclusively listed assets.

Major Change Initiatives for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

Most years in commercial real estate will dish up a variety of market conditions.  You have to be versatile and driven as an agent or broker.  If something is not working for you, look for the signs and then implement change.  There are plenty of people to watch and use as role models.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

What are the signs?

Top agents leave a trail of skills and information that you can replicate.  Watch what they are doing with their listings and marketing, and then pick the best activities for your own implementation.  Apply your own twists to a property initiative; there is no point in being ordinary in commercial real estate today.  Learn how to stand out as the person that commands the market and the enquiry.

Don’t struggle

If you are struggling in the market place, then create some major changes in your business and marketing efforts.  So how do you do that?  Try some of these for starters:

  1. When you take a property type and specialize in it.  You can monitor key performance indicators and weave those indicators into your client presentations and marketing recommendations. Real facts will help you connect with the client.  Show that you are a critical part of the marketing process.  Tell the client exactly what you will do if the client appoints you as the agent to resolve their property issue.
  2. Look deeply into your client relationships. Some of those clients will be well placed to take action on a quality listing.  Keep your VIP clients fully briefed on the best listings as they come to market.  There is nothing wrong with holding an inspection early in the campaign with your preferred and qualified clients.
  3. The email marketing process today is something that is part of the business. That being said, you can do it generically, or you can do it with relevance.  Why not send your campaigns with some focus or property type in mind?  Don’t send out too many properties of different types to everyone that you know.  Be more specific in segmenting your Email marketing efforts to business owners, tenants, landlords, and investors.
  4. Don’t just market your listings online; market yourself. In saying that I mean creating some valuable online property based information in a regular way that can help people.  The best way to do that is through a blog and a series of resources and articles shared on that blog.  You can then link your social media back to the blog, in that way showing your clients that you are significantly better than the other agents locally.

So there are some good things that you can do here in creating major change in your property and marketing efforts.  Don’t be ordinary in commercial real estate brokerage; strive to be different and relevant.

(N.B. these ideas are also sent out to regularly to our friends in Commercial Real Estate Online Snapshot to help amplify brokerage results…. Get your access here)

230 Commercial Real Estate Online

Here are 5 topics for Commercial Real Estate Brokers around the World – 1. 4 Ways to Ramp-up Your Marketing Efforts, 2. How to do an Accurate and Valuable Tenant Mix Report, 3. A Blueprint for a Good Quality Commercial or Retail Property Management Budget. 4. How to Dislodge a Commercial Competitor, 5. The Tenant Mix Services that are Valuable Today. These are commercial real estate brokerage training programs by John Highman.
http://www.hipcast.com/playweb?audioid=Pc8fe0664c250c9dd537c8137b1e3ad7eZVh7QXpuY2F9Ww&buffer=5&fc=FFFFFF&pc=CCFF33&kc=FFCC33&bc=FFFFFF&brand=1&player=ap21

MP3 File

Why Confidence is so Important in Commercial Property Management

The clients that we work with in commercial property management expect experience and confidence in the managers that they use.  Those clients like to know that the person chosen to manage their property can handle the variables of income, expenditure, tenant mix, and lease negotiations.

So why worry too much? The experience and confidence in any property manager will be important to the client service process and also to the brokerage fees charged for services rendered.

Inexperience is Dangerous

An inexperienced property manager can be a costly and concerning problem in property performance for any investor.  Invariably that is the time when errors and omissions occur with the critical factors and tenancy activities.

So the property manager needs the confidence, knowledge, and experience to know how to look for upcoming concerning issues in the leases and with occupancy, and how to position the property for better results in investment outcomes.

Every landlord and property owner will have certain unique targets to merge into that property performance equation, so the balance becomes a bit tricky.  That is where the right property manager for the asset and the client should be considered.

The complexity of many office and retail properties requires specific experience and knowledge to help the property stay on track from an investment perspective.  Errors or omissions create problems with any property and its performance.

Critical Confidence Factors

Here are some ideas to help you with this.  Any property manager should be specifically familiar with the following topics as they apply to the location, the client, and the property type:

  1. Income – The levels of income in any property will be impacted by local vacancy factors, current market rentals, and business sentiment. If a property is to grow its income base with rentals that are market aligned, the property manager really does need to have advanced skills with tenant management and property leasing.  Remembering that many leases exist for a number of years, the property manager is the person responsible for qualifying the tenant, then establishing and growing the cash flow.
  2. Expenditure – Rarely will property expenditure decline and that is why a specific budget is required to keep property expenditure under control. Energy costs, operational costs, and property usage place pressures on expenditure each year.  Operational costs within most properties are escalating.  There are seasonal factors to look into as well including climate conditions, and the associated energy consumptions.
  3. Tenant placements – When you have a number of tenants within the same Investment Property, you will have challenges when it comes to positioning, occupancy, and property use. Some tenants have an impact on other tenants around them.  As part of any lease negotiation, specifically choose the right tenants for the right location and then control them within the existing lease documentation.  Understand the businesses in each case and the types of people that will be accessing the tenant and or the property.  What pressures will happen as a direct result of tenant existence and occupation?  You may need to put certain controls within the lease document to keep things on track within the tenancy mix.
  4. Lease negotiations – Every lease negotiation should be looked at in balance allowing for current market conditions, vacancy levels, market rentals, and the locations of other tenants within the property. Some leases will come to an end within the same property at a particular point in time.  Most owners cannot afford to have escalating vacancy factors across a large percentage of the property.  Negotiate your leases so that the cash flow of rental is not overly impacted by lease expiry dates.
  5. Vacancy strategies – Like it or not vacancies will happen in any property. The impact of those vacancies can be lessened through finding new tenants, moving tenants around, and modifying the property use.
  6. Maintenance strategies and costs – During the year things will happen in any managed property. You will have maintenance issues occurring for all types of reasons, and some of those repairs will be timed whilst others will be unexpected.  You need response systems for all levels of maintenance including emergency responses.

Are you ready to improve your confidence and knowledge in commercial property management?  A successful property management division in any brokerage will bring many advantages to the business over time.

You can get more commercial property management tips in our Snapshot eCourse right here.

A Proactive Approach to Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Sales and Leasing

In commercial real estate brokerage you have one or two directions to take.  You can let the property market come to you with any leads or opportunities, or you can go out there and find the new business that is available.  The latter is preferable.

Get involved with connecting with new people every day.  Put prospecting at the top of the list when it comes to new business activities in your daily diary.  Don’t let any person or career pressure divert your activities away from new business prospecting.

A common problem

All too often you see brokers and agents avoid the requirements of new business generation.  They soon lose market share and fail to convert commissions.  Here are some facts to be remembered about commercial real estate brokerage:

  • MOMENTUM: It takes about 3 to 6 months of dedicated prospecting activity to generate some listing churn and commission flow. Many agents and brokers struggle to maintain the required prospecting momentum and organisation.  That can be an amazing opportunity for the small segment of people that can keep things under control.
  • KEEP THINGS MOVING: When the new business starts to evolve, don’t stop prospecting. It is very easy to slip back into a situation where commissions and listings are hard to achieve.  Avoid the peaks and troughs of the industry by continually prospecting regardless of the business that you are currently generating.  Understand the lead times between prospecting, client contact, listing conversion, and negotiating.  I go back to the point that a time frame of about 3 to 6 months exists in the industry as an average business cycle.
  • CONTACT LIST: The database that you create is perhaps the most important business tool that you will use. Protect your database and its information.  Keep in regular contact with all the people within the database so that you know when they move to a point of action or challenge when it comes to local property.
  • IMPORTANT CONTACTS AND PEOPLE: The relationships that you strike with clients should be nurtured and encouraged in a relevant way. Provide local property information freely and directly to the clients and prospects that you have identified.  Free local property information will always be of interest to property investors, business owners, and industry professionals.

So the secret here is to develop a proactive approach to commercial real estate brokerage.  There are always plenty of opportunities to be found, nurtured, and converted.

Local property investors and business leaders are always on the lookout for assistance when it comes to leasing, sales, and property management activity.  Get involved with the people in your property community and maintain ongoing relevant contact so that you can build your database and grow your market share.

You can get more proactive tips and ideas in commercial real estate brokerage right here in our eCourse.