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Five Key Questions to Ask Your Clients in Commercial Real Estate Sales

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When you are about to meet a new client to discuss their property, prepare a list of questions beforehand to get to the facts of what the client is trying to achieve.   There are five key questions here that I always start with when meeting a sales client for the first time.   Preparation is the key to a productive sales marketing campaign.  The questions help with that.

Of course, there are always more questions that evolve from the first five questions, so be prepared to probe the client for information, and document the answers that you get.  Preparation is the key to getting to the real facts of the property and the client’s situation.  Note taking is then wise to protect yourself from misleading events or later disagreements.

Why ask all these questions?   Well, it is a known fact that some clients will hide or not disclose the full information about a property.  They tend to think that withholding the negative information at the start of marketing will give them a higher price or perhaps better enquiry.  The reality is that any hidden information will usually come out in the sale or due diligence process.

The buyers of commercial and retail real estate today are smart and informed. The earlier you can get all the facts about the property, the better it is for you and the client.  Explain to the client that they must disclose all that they know.

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Top Agent Systems in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

 

 

Watch for What Is Not Said in Listing or Sales Negotiations

As another note on this here, any hidden information will usually do a few things to your transaction including:

  • Stop the negotiations and any progress
  • Threaten the legality of the transaction
  • Jeopardise the ability to achieve a settlement
  • Risk the transaction being taken to court
  • Allow claims to be lodged against the property owner and agent for misrepresentation

Don’t allow yourself and or your client to be involved in these difficult situations.  Get to the full facts of every property transaction before you take it to the market; when in any doubt ask more questions.  Through all and any property enquiries, do not speculate about any information that you may not have available.

 

Key Sales Questions

Here are the key questions that I believe are the starting points for getting to all the client’s property issues.  These questions allow you to go further and deeper into issues identified:

  1. When and why did they purchase the property? This question allows you to understand the original motivations of the client in the first acquisition.  Perhaps they purchased the property for investment and or as a base for their business to operate.  When you know why they purchased the property, you can then judge whether the asset has satisfied their needs.
  2. What is the ownership structure of the property? Sometimes there are multiple owners and or decision makers to the sale and marketing of commercial or retail property.  Understand who they are, and more importantly, that you understand their motivations and agreement to proceed.
  3. What are the restrictions and limitations applicable to the property? Some properties will have issues of operation, compliance, legality, and function.  The best way to probe these things is to use a checklist of questions that you know would apply to property types in the location.
  4. Has the property been on the market recently? It is very possible that they have tried to sell the property recently.  If that is the case you must know about that activity and the results that evolved from the promotion.  Buyers locally will see the listing coming back into the market; you must have your answers ready.
  5. Why are they selling and what is their target price today? Perhaps these are quite direct questions, but the variety of answers that you get will help you with knowing the momentum that the client may have towards any sale and marketing process.

As mentioned, these questions allow you to go deeper into the client’s situation and their property as it appears to you today.  Be prepared to ask these questions and others as part of the listing meeting and before the property is released to potential buyer enquiry.

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Building a Healthy Sales Team in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

There are many different characters in a successful commercial real estate sales team.  That being said, the characters all require management and direction.  Rarely will you find a good sales team without its challenges.  It is the job of the sales manager or agency principal to bring the best performance out of the team given the characters and the skills of the individuals.

A healthy sales team can be built around the following strategies:

  1. Make sure that you have a good mix of skills in the team relating to your local area and property type.  Certain properties require particular skills across sales, leasing, and property management.
  2. Every sales team will have its strengths and weaknesses.  Understand what they are and work with them or through them.
  3. The sharing of skills between individuals will be helpful.  It is a good process to introduce trainee cadets or sales cadets into the team structure.  The top performing agents can then be the benchmark or the learning leverage to help new people get into the industry and move ahead.
  4. Your sales territory, town, or city is likely to have specific requirements of property knowledge, negotiation, marketing, and documentation.  Merge a training process into the weekly sales team meeting so that everyone can learn the critical skills and strategies needed to put successful sales or lease transactions together.
  5. Practice helps everyone improve.  Role playing and team discussions will help everyone understand the pressures of the market and the changes to enquiries.  Nothing remains the same in our industry.  Throughout the year there will be plenty of changes to adjust to when it comes to rentals, prices, documentation, methods of sale, and methods of lease.  The right choices and training will help the team achieve more success from the local area.
  6. Accountability is a big issue in commercial real estate today.  Top agents take action and understand the need for accountability.  Every member of the sales team should be held to task when it comes to things needing to be done, and information to be shared.  A top sales team is one that works together and wins together.
  7. Personal budgets and performance plans are part of the commercial real estate process.  Every agent within the team should have a realistic budget set within their area and skill base.  Every month the performance budget should be checked against the actual results.  When any weaknesses exist in the team they can then be quickly addressed; don’t let poor performance exist for too long without taking action to fix the problem.
  8. Head off any conflicts and disputes in the team early.  A poorly performing agent or uncooperative agent can soon disrupt team performance.  A degree of competition and achievement between the sales agents is always useful, but lack of cooperation and respect is not needed.
  9. Leadership is a big issue when it comes to the performance of the team in commercial property today.  The leader of the team should have a complete understanding of property market conditions, negotiation standards, business processes, and team performance.  There must be a good degree of respect in both directions when it comes to the team leader and the members of the sales team.
  10. Any individual sales agent or broker, they should be tracking results in commissions, listings, meetings, and prospecting.  They should also be defining the ideal client and customer to focus on.  Over time the quality of listing will allow market share to improve.  Ask questions of every member of the team to ensure that they have the right targets and results in mind.
  11. Administrative activities in commercial real estate today can be quite demanding and intense.  On that basis it is wise to have administrative support people to back up the sales team.  In that way the successful salesperson can get into the market more effectively and find more leads and opportunities.
  12. Time management is something that all agents should personally control.  Every day should be effective and optimized for find new listings, and creating client contact.

Given all of these things, there are plenty of things to do in helping a property sales team improve over time.  Commercial real estate today is a changing and evolving market with the pressures and opportunities across sales, leasing, and property management.  Help your sales team to develop the skills and penetrate the market at a high level.