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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)

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Finding Robust Market Conditions in Commercial Real Estate

The commercial property market is always changing, and the shifts and swings each year will move from buying to selling, as well as owning to renting.  Property developments also come and go from the market based on expected growth in a location.

Somewhere in those changes you will find property opportunity to work with the right clients and prospects.  The foundation of your real estate business will come from your database and the people that you are connecting with on a regular way.

(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)

Some clients are very active on property matters for the long term, whilst others are irregularly moving in and out of the industry.  Have you categorized your clients and prospects?  Who are the clients that will be doing things soon?  When you know the answers to these questions, you can take some direct action and move on some leads and property requirements.  Timing is everything in our industry ‘game’ so understand just where your clients and prospects sit in the timing cycle of change and activity.

Check your client list

So let’s look at your database and location now.  How well do you know your property market now?   Where are the next opportunities arising?  Have a think about these questions and answers:

 

  1. Where is the vacant land currently that could be the subject of a new development in the future? Whilst property development will come and go from the momentum of the market, future demand will eventually ignite a new building or property complex.  Watch for the zoning changes that could lead to a property release and new development.
  2. What are the classes of property that seem to be creating the most inquiry now and into the future? A regional assessment will help you pick a few property classes that seem to have most of the interest from the market.
  3. What can you do with investors to open up some buying and selling activity? Some investors are very aware of the need to grow or shift certain property holdings in their respective portfolios.  You can achieve some real momentum in knowing what these owners are thinking and planning for.
  4. What are the local businesses looking for when it comes to property occupation? There will be parts of your town or city where businesses like to occupy premises.  Look at the trends and pick those areas.

 

These 4 simple facts allow you to optimize market conditions in commercial property.  Stay close to the transaction momentum and the current listings in your territory.  Listen to what people are saying and identify what they are thinking; pay special attention to investors and local business people.  Within those groups you will find the future property deals that you are looking for.

(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)

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3 Negotiation Strategies to Improve a Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Business Today

To be successful in commercial real estate brokerage you have to know how to negotiate through the challenges that you strike in prospecting, marketing, pitching, presenting, inspecting, and closing on your specialty property types.

It stands to reason that your negotiation skills are really important in what you do every day.  You have to ‘think on your feet’ as you hear about the other person’s concerns and perceptions in selling, leasing, or managing property.

Special Challenges

Some clients and prospects will present you with unique challenges as you move a property campaign or issue forward.  What you can do here to lift your conversions is prepare and practice your responses with the most common challenges.

Each week the entire sales or brokerage team can practice their responses to the common problems and issues that they find and strike each week.  They can share the issues that they find as part of client interaction and prospecting activity.  The team can learn from each other.  Through practice and sharing within the team, negotiation skills can improve.

Negotiation Skill Development

Here are some ideas to help you lift your negotiation skills as a team or as an individual:

  1. LOCAL PRESSURES: Be prepared to adjust your skills based on the pressures and the facts from today’s property market. Understand what’s happening with enquiry, current supply, and future occupancy predictions.  Look at the property and the local property market from the perspective of a tenant, an investor, and a landlord.  Assess the challenges in each case.  You can then do a swot analysis based on the challenges that you see today.  Share those challenges and your responses within the team.
  2. HOT TOPICS: There will be certain hot issues that are always rising to the top of a typical property negotiation. Those hot issues will be a negotiation practice priority when you are considering your skill development personally and within the team.  Issues can be specially considered such as the over pricing of a property, the failure to accept market conditions, or unrealistic expectations of the client or prospect from a negotiation.  When you look within the disciplines of commercial sales, leasing, and property management, there are always common issues that you strike in a regular and ongoing way.
  3. FEE SOLUTIONS: The fees that you learn and the commissions that you charge are also important factors of negotiation priority. Be prepared to pitch and sell your services in a comprehensive way and at a reasonable fee; that will involve negotiation practice and improvement.  Can you support and argue the value that you bring to a client from a fee perspective?  Ultimately the client just wants a good result in a timely way and they don’t want to pay too much for it.  Your fee argument and commitment should be built around an expectation of results.  As we all know, the cheaper services offered by less professional agents in the industry are ultimately counterproductive and time wasting for the client.

The message here is that you can do a lot for yourself and within the team when you practice your negotiation skills in a regular and ongoing way.  Take into account the existing factors of the property market and the pressures that you experience with your clients and prospects.  Practice your professional negotiation skills based on the challenges of the commercial property industry today.

You can get more negotiation tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokerage in our ‘Snapshot’ eCourse right here.

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Commercial Real Estate Brokerage – A Blueprint for Finding and Retaining Top Sales Agents

In commercial real estate brokerage there is always a degree of movement when it comes to sales agents.  Some don’t last in the role, some move to other brokerages for perceived better ‘deals’, and others stay for the long haul.  If you are managing a brokerage team, you will know what I mean.  Staff volatility can be quite high within the industry.  Unfortunately the success of a commercial real estate brokerage this largely geared to the balance between the sales activity, leasing, and property management.  You need good people in each of the rules to make the brokerage a success.

Strive for Stability

Ultimately you need some stability in the brokerage with agents; the property market will change in many ways, and the agents working for you have to adjust and work through those changes whilst bringing in the new business.  It is a fine balance to work with.  The very character of a sales agent is sometimes a real challenge to manage at the best of times, and even more so within the team.

Successful sales agents are usually a mixture of egos, knowledge, skills, and motivations.  In a large sales team, the individual agents must be balanced, encouraged, and rewarded.  Without those three particular attributes being active within the brokerage, an agent will usually leave for ‘greener pastures’ when the time is right.  That can then expose the brokerage to a significant loss or shift in income. Volatility within the team can also be a problem.

The Facts to Remember

So you want your brokerage business to be successful.  Here are the basic facts to remember and work with in any commercial real estate team:

  • You will lose agents for reasons that you cannot control, so prepare to find others. You can do that through a number of different strategies including personal contact, career nights, advertising, and team development.
  • Education and training will help your retained agents grow their skill base and performance. Understand the difference skill needs of the people within your team.  Assess their strengths and weaknesses on a regular basis.
  • The management of a sales team is totally different to that of a property management team. Each team should work autonomously but the business opportunities should feed between each.
  • Other competing brokerages in your location will be looking to attract your good people away from your business. Be aware of the competitive commission packages and salary opportunities offered to top performing agents.  Adjust your commission and marketing packages to retain your best people.
  • The changes within the property market throughout the year will present challenges and different requirements in property skills and knowledge. Be prepared to train your people in an ongoing way.

Given all of these facts, you will need an ongoing plan of staff attraction and staff retention.  The success of the commercial property business will generally hinge on the performance of the team and also that of the individual agents or brokers.  Individuals will be motivated in different ways.

You can get more tips in commercial real estate brokerage sales right here in our Snapshot eCourse.

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Commercial Real Estate Brokerage – Start Now to Be Effective as an Agent

In commercial real estate brokerage it is far too easy to procrastinate and get diverted in time wasting activities.  Your peers and clients will all ask for some of your time and then you still have demanding tasks to get to on a personal basis.  As you get more listings, things get busier in all respects.

Realistically there are only a small number of things that should really matter when it comes to broker focus and business planning.  Those particular issues are simply summarised as:

  • Prospecting for new listings
  • Listing documentation and marketing
  • Personal marketing through the location and the precinct
  • Client contact and service
  • Deal negotiation and documentation
  • Database management and follow-up

If you focus your efforts daily at a personal level into these six simple factors of activity, your property market results will take a sharp turn upward and allow you to improve your listings and commission conversions.

Simple messages

So the message here is that you can change your focus immediately and start working on these six factors to improve your market share.  In saying that, don’t procrastinate and certainly do not divert away from the new business opportunities that exist in your property market.  Be prepared to do the challenging and difficult things every day and stretch your ‘comfort zone’ and reduce any skill limitations.

There are far too many agents and brokers in the commercial property marketplace that consistently achieve only average results and struggle a lot of the time when it comes to database growth and income.  The best agents comprise the top 10% of the property market, and control 75% of the quality listings.  There is a message in those numbers.

Changing your commercial real estate career focus

So what can you do here?  To change the momentum in your commercial real estate career, the first stage involves a change of thinking at a personal level; the second stage involves action in a managed and directed way.  Understand what is happening with the activities of local property investors and business owners in your town or city.

Look for the zones or the precincts through your town or city that have plenty of property activity and enquiry.  Also look for the property types and the new property developments attracting enquiry.  Specialisation will help you dominate market share.

Exclusivity is really important

From all of this information you can move into an exclusive listing focus across those segments.  Exclusivity is the key element of market domination, listing conversions, and a professional Top-Agent-Focus.  When you list properties exclusively, you control the client, the listing, the enquiry, the inspections, and the negotiations.  Conversely, the open listing process gives you little if any control at all.

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Commercial Real Estate Brokers – Your Goals and Targets Should Energise You

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.

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Commercial Real Estate Agent Opportunity – The Makings of a Great Brokerage

There are always opportunities to be found in commercial real estate brokerage.  To get the best results in your business and brokerage locally you should create a plan and strategy to take you forward.  A successful commercial real estate brokerage will usually be the

At any time of year the property market will offer opportunity in sales, leasing, and property management; the trick is to find it.  The strategy that you use helps you find that opportunity.  So let’s consider some resources that you can put into your plan.

  1. The register of property owners for your location – Using the register you can identify people and companies that own local property.
  2. The business telephone book – Always remember that the local businesses will occupy or own the property in which they are located. Asking the right questions will get you to the ownership facts that you require.
  3. The internet – Using your computer you can search down opportunities in business types, companies, and other listings. Look for activities and changes.  Find out the names of the leaders of each business and approach them directly for a property related discussion.
  4. Websites and industry portals – Always track the listings coming and going from the industry portals. In tracking that information you can understand the time on market factors and the best ways to advertise quality listings.  You can also determine just what seems to be selling or leasing and why that is the case.
  5. A street directory of your location and city – Simple street maps of the area will keep your attention focused in streets and precincts. You can use a highlighter pen to track the streets and areas that you are focusing in or have been in as part of your prospecting and door knocking model.
  6. Blog strategies – Blogs are wonderful business tools. The great news here is that they are essentially free and the only thing you require to get one going is time.  You can write things and you can show photos of your local town or city.  The main idea behind a blog is that it is designed to be helpful and informational.  Search engines like information and that is why blog strategies work.
  7. Social media – You should create a few social media strategies to use. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ are all good tools to use in commercial real estate brokerage.  There are others that you may know about, but don’t use some obscure social media platform that others have not heard about before.  To encourage people to join your online social media efforts, use a platform that people understand.
  8. Your database program – A great database program will help you stay on track with new leads and clients. Most of the listings that you find will come from your database and the efforts you apply to making calls and contacts.  If you want a lot of leads and listings, your database and how you work it will be the indicator and tool of success.  How many people do you have in your database now?  How often do you talk to those people?  Good questions require specific answers; be honest with yourself.
  9. Your telephone – Technology today supports us comprehensively in so many ways. Get the best telephone deal possible so you can make many calls to your contacts and clients.  Integrate SMS, email, and social media tools into your telephone.  If your database is cloud based, then integrate the database into your smartphone.
  10. Your business card – Whilst this may be the last item on the list, it is the most important. If you give your business card out every day to new people, opportunities will come to you over time.  Most people keep business cards.  It is a simple and effective way of connecting with local people and building your relevance as an agent.  How many business cards can you give out each day?  How many business cards did you give out yesterday?  Develop a strategy to get your business cards into the local area.

I am going to suggest here that as an agent or broker you do not need to have any other resources to find new business.  Everything that you require as an agent or broker can be found by using these resources effectively and directly.

You can get more tips for commercial real estate agents here in our bulletin.

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Doing Your Market Research in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Relevant market data in commercial real estate can help you with property presentations, prospecting activities, and negotiations.  As the real estate agent or broker in your local area property knowledge and information will help you close more listings and facilitate more transactions.

Whilst most clients think that they own a high quality property commanding a good price or rental, the facts of the matter can be far from the truth.  Local property market information will help you position the client’s property for better levels of enquiry and negotiation.

Here are some facts that will help you stay ahead of local property market activity:

  1. Track the number of sales occurring in the local area by property type.  Focus on the local area and your property specialty.  Determine the averages that apply to sale prices per square metre or per square foot.  That information will be helpful when it comes to pricing other listings.
  2. Watch the trends that apply to leasing and renting commercial and retail property.  Industrial property may also feature as part of that analysis.  Leasing strategies and rental levels provide the basis for property investment today.  The ratios between net rent and property value provide a yield or capitalization factor.  That number will change throughout the year based on the supply and demand locally and within property types.  Oversupply will typically see prices fall against rental income.  That will improve the yield ratio to encourage any sale.  In undersupply situation, prices typically rise against passing income and rental.  That then produces a lower yield for the property investor.  It directly follows that you should track supply and demand factors that exist within your property type and within your town or city.
  3. Market rentals will shift and change throughout the year.  Over an extended period of time you will soon see patterns to any rental growth and leasing incentives.  In any oversupply of vacant space you will see that the incentive levels will grow to attract more tenants to a property.  The levels of incentive will conversely fall away as the vacancy levels decrease in the local area.  Look at the patterns that apply to market rent within the property type and your specialty.  Understand the reasons why tenants lease a property today locally.
  4. There will be changes to the business community regionally and locally.  Those changes will have impact on business sentiment and occupancy costs.  Some segments of the business community will be more active and successful when it comes to levels of trade and sales.  When you can identify a successful business segment, focus your prospecting efforts within that segment and with those businesses.  Any successful business over time will require relocation or expansion to other property.  Get to know the local business owners for this very reason.
  5. New property developments come and go from the market.  The ratio between supply and demand, together with the availability of vacant land locally will activate some property developers to consider new projects.  A property developer will only consider a new project or building construction when they can see that the demand exceeds future supply.  They will also look for reasonable levels of profit from the project based on expectations of rental and price.

So you can see the reason why it is necessary to stay ahead of market activity in commercial and retail real estate.  Property trends in rentals and prices will help you see new business leads and clients to serve.  One other key factor to remember in gathering property information is that of specialization.  As an individual agent you cannot serve every market and every type of client.  Specialize personally within a segment of property and within a location so that you can become a top agent.

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Cold Calling Adrenaline Rush in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

You can get a big adrenaline rush with cold calling in commercial real estate brokerage especially when you score a few meetings with prospects and new people.  That is what the call process is all about; meeting new people and establishing ongoing contact.  That’s how commercial real estate really works.

The telephone is a massive source of opportunity for brokers and agents.  Use it well and you will find that all of the following are quite possible:

  • Reaching out to local property owners and business leaders that may have a current and future property need.
  • Talk to others about local listings, prices and rents.  Many people like to know about industry changes and property listing changes in the local area.
  • Every current listing is a good chance to ask others about what they are doing currently with their property and how things may be changing for them.
  • Following up on people that you have spoken to before as part of property marketing and listing activity.
  • Establishing a core group of ‘VIP’ prospects and clients that you should be remaining in contact with continually.

Simple things like this will help you find the sales and leasing opportunities.  If you are struggling now with commission income or exclusive listings, start making more telephone calls and put your prospecting model back on track.  It’s quite a simple equation; talk to more people in a relevant way.  Ask the questions and track the responses.

Here are some rules that will help you with all of this:

  1. If you are going to make a lot of calls in ‘one sitting’, stand up during the call contact process.  It will help you with voice, dialogue, and confidence.
  2. Find a quiet room to make the calls.  This is really important when you are prospecting.  There is nothing more distracting to the other person on the line than hearing conversations and distractions in the background; they soon know that they are being called by one of a number of salespeople as part of cold calling.  The immediate response is then to decline the call or end the conversation quickly.
  3. Get a headset so you can be ‘hands free’ as you make the calls.  Soon you will be using your hands as an extension of conversation and that will also help the call conversions.
  4. Every morning when you first arise, spend 20 minutes or so giving your voice some verbal flexibility and tonality practice.  You can do that by reading a book aloud.  This simple tactic will help you a lot for cold calls later in the morning.

These four simple things will help you a lot when starting a telephone canvassing and cold calling program in commercial real estate.  They will help with the momentum and focus that you require.

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Proven and Effective Commercial Real Estate Prospecting Tips

In commercial real estate brokerage, you will have plenty of challenges when it comes to finding quality listings and good clients.  In most locations, towns and cities, the competition is fierce when it comes to commercial real estate agents.  On that basis you really do need to have an effective prospecting model to implement at an individual level.

It should be said that most brokers and agents don’t do this very well.  On that basis the opportunities are significant if you can create and stick to a good prospecting model.  Create a habit around prospecting.

Here are some proven and highly effective prospecting and networking tips when it comes to agents or brokers winning new clients in commercial real estate today.  Compare these to your current strategies:

  1. Stick to a defined area when it comes to targeting properties and clients.  On a street by street basis you can move through the region and research the necessary property ownership details and business proprietors.  Don’t spread yourself too thinly when it comes to large areas and diverse property types.  Specialization will help you with finding listings and growing property knowledge.
  2. Devote 3 hours per day to the prospecting process.  The cold calling process should occur first thing every morning prior to any meetings or property inspections.  Make a priority to get your cold calls done prior to 11 am.  Your meetings and property inspections can occur after that time.
  3. Split your prospecting time into two distinct segments.  The first segment will be those people that you have spoken to before.  Regular contact here will allow you to tap into the opportunity when those people are ready to make a sale or a lease transaction.  The second group that you should speak to will be those that are totally new to your database.  Feed your database with fresh contacts and opportunities with new people.
  4. Track the results that you get from all of your prospecting activities.  Understand how your ratios are improving between outbound calls, meetings created, presentations made, and listings converted.
  5. Understand the differences between open and exclusive listings.  As a general priority, you should be targeting exclusive listings at every opportunity.  On that basis, track the numbers of listings in each case.  Show the client the differences in time on market when it comes to open listings and exclusive listings.
  6. Any property that is converted to a listing should be packaged for the current market conditions.  As you get results and feedback from inspections, you can make clear recommendations to the client regards pricing and marketing.  Over a period of weeks, the repackaging of a listing can increase inspection and negotiation opportunity.

So there are some very definite things that can be done to improve your listing conversions and commission opportunities.  The secret to making all of this work is to create a personal system of prospecting that you stick to every day.  Refine your activities to the current market conditions, and soon you will see the conversions you require.