When you work in commercial or retail property leasing, you need a rich source of tenants and business leads. There are a number of resources that you can use for that purpose, and on that basis it is simply a matter of selecting the ones that work for you and your property market. Develop your leasing strategies.
Here are some of the best leasing sources of business names and tenant identities:
- Check out all of the major buildings in your leasing territory. When it comes to buildings that contain multiple tenants, it is a matter of taking down or capturing the details from the directory board that is located in the property. The easiest way to do that is to take a photograph of the directory board on your mobile telephone. You can process and review the photograph later.
- From the details that you get in the previous ‘directory board’ step, it is a matter of telephoning down all the businesses in the particular buildings to discuss future leasing and occupation needs. Leases come to an end at some stage for all types of reasons. Some tenants prefer to move when that occurs, and on that basis you can be the source of market information and relocation opportunity.
- Get a copy of the local business telephone book as it applies to your location, town and city. It is preferable to use the telephone book in hardcopy rather than online. That is simply because the telephone book can be logically processed and marked off with a colored pen or highlighters as you proceed through it. Starting at the beginning of the telephone book work through every business name to find those businesses that are located in your priority suburbs and leasing territory. Whilst this process may seem tedious, it is simply a matter of reviewing one or two pages of telephone numbers each night in preparation for your prospecting processes the next day. One telephone book can take you an entire year to move through. You will however see that the system is quite easy to implement and soon you will be covering 5 to 10 pages a day as part of that process. One page of the telephone book should give you two or three numbers to call; cold calls lead to information and potential meetings with the right tenants. You may wish to choose a greater number of businesses given the filtering process and the criteria of targeted tenants locally.
- You can also get some good leads and opportunities from using the Internet methodically and specifically. In your town or city, there will be a business ‘Yellow Pages’ telephone book online that you can use for this very purpose. In most cases you can search the ‘Yellow pages’ based on targeted business types and by suburbs. From that search process you can get specific names of businesses and tenants to put into your prospecting activities and cold calling systems.
So these four strategies are quite simple. You can see why things need to be methodical and systemized.
When you create a large list of local businesses and tenants, and then take the time to understand their occupation needs from a leasing perspective, you are of high value to the landlords that you serve. Use your database as leverage in this way when it comes to winning a property leasing appointment. Tell the landlord about your database and how accurate and up to date it is. They will find it difficult to ignore an agent with a comprehensive and up to date database of tenants.
When it comes to getting a job in commercial real estate brokerage, you need to understand a few things about the market, the brokerage itself, and the client base. Some brokerages only serve a particular marketplace or customer type. Make sure that the match is clear and precise to your property type and market segment.
Here are some tips to help you with securing a rewarding job in commercial real estate today:
- If the brokerage is part of a broader franchise structure or if they have many salespeople within the one team, you will need to know how business is shared between offices or members of the team. Ensure that you have the flexibility to work the right areas and the property types that you can relate to. Also ensure that the rules of fairness apply to listing distribution and commission breakdowns.
- There are many systems and costs associated with commercial real estate today. One of the most important systems will be that of the database. As you grow your market share and client contact process, the database will grow. Ask questions about the ownership of the data and what will happen if you leave the business in the future. Can you take that data with you?
- Given that you will be talking to a lot of clients and prospects on a regular basis, opportunities will arise in sales, leasing, and property management. Every new client that you introduce to the brokerage should give you the opportunity of a trailing commission if the client converts to using any services of the office and any of the specialised staff. On that basis understand the referral fees and commission bases.
- Will you be offered the support of any of the administrative staff within the office? There are a lot of things to do when it comes to marketing, client administration, listing processes, and deal documentation. Some of those things will require your involvement; administrative support will be of high value to you as a broker or agent. Will you be expected to pay for that administrative support? Will the cost be taken from your commission in some way? Ask questions about the support structure within the office.
- Commission structures within a real estate office can be varied and a reflection of the skills and achievements to date of each individual. This means that some salespeople will be on different commission rates based on results achieved and personal skills. Your commission rates will depend on the value that you bring to the business currently and into the future. Seek out a sliding scale of commission that increasingly rewards you over time as you achieve better rates of client contact, exclusive listings, and closed transactions.
- The zone or the territory that you work within may have some limitations. Make sure that you get the necessary flexibility to attract new business in the property type that you understand and know. There are differences between office property, retail property, and industrial property. What properties can you work on and within what geographical zone? If you are required to share a listing with another broker or agent within your team, how will the commissions be split? These ratios of commission will need to be negotiated at the beginning of your employment.
So some of these questions can help you establish your market share and grow your real estate business. Don’t jump into a new employment arrangement with the new brokerage without due care and regard for the terms and conditions of employment. All the hard work and the prospecting that you are about to do should be rewarded fairly from the deals created.
Look for the fairness in the benchmarks that are applied across different agents and different brokers. Make sure that you can achieve the results and the targets that are to be set for you as a professional in the industry. Understand that the marketplace can provide you with the new business opportunities providing you work hard and with systemised focus. That’s what top agents do all the time.
Signboards in commercial real estate are a critical part of branding for both the brokerage and also for the agent. The greater number of signs you have in your territory the easier it is for you to build your listing opportunities.
Most of the clients that use our services don’t want to list their property with a ‘secret agent’. They want the agent with the best exposure to the market that can attract the enquiry fast and efficiently. Signboards help with that.
I should qualify this further and say that ‘exclusive listings’ are better for your signboard profile and exposure. On that basis every sales pitch and presentation should be centred on converting a listing in that way. Top agents dominate the market with ‘exclusives’. When you control the listing stock, the market has to come to you. That assumes that you have listed the property correctly and at a market rent or price.
So let’s go back to the matter of ‘signs’. Here are some tips to using this marketing tool effectively for building your profile individually and for the brokerage.
- Do a ‘sign count’ each weekend so you know exactly your position in the market with listings and board visibility. This monitoring process also gets you into your territory on a regular basis so it helps with market awareness. The best time to do the ‘count’ is on a weekend when traffic and access is easy. For some brokers this is first thing on Sunday morning.
- Understand the regulations that apply to the placement and approval of boards on properties. Some local councils or municipalities will have regulations that set some rules to stick to.
- Have a contractor check your signs weekly for vandalism or weather damage. Nothing detracts more from a listing than a damaged sign.
- On any quality listing and particularly any exclusive listing, the board cost should be covered by the vendor paid marketing fees. On that basis the board should be specially created for the listing and the location.
- Use ‘dot points’ on the sign so the features of the property are easily read and captured by passing traffic.
- Put a reference of the property on the board so the person reading the information can call you and quote a reference number to take you immediately to the listing information. Be prepared to take telephone enquiries about a property at any time (that includes weekends).
- Size does matter in this type of property marketing. Understand the best legal size for the board and its placement strategy. Face the board to the passing traffic.
- When you place a board on a property, directly contact all surrounding businesses and property owners. A new listing is an excuse to talk to many people in the area.
Respect the opportunity in marketing that this sign strategy offers you. It is silent and yet so effective. All quality listings should feature a great signage marketing solution.
In commercial real estate agency, you will work with many different landlords. They will have tenant and rental challenges. You can be the leasing expert to help them.
Have you ever seen a landlord owner of a property that tries to lease the vacant premises themselves? They usually put a sign up in the window and drop a few adverts in the local paper; they then sit back and wait for a result. The vacancy then ‘eats its head off’ in lost rent and outgoings costs. The ‘hope’ process doesn’t work well in commercial and retail property leasing.
So let’s say that you are going to approach one of these landlords to see if you can list the property for lease. Only do so on the basis of an ‘exclusive listing’. If you don’t do that, the landlord is likely to market the property and the vacancy around you. Any tenants that show an interest may also try and get a lower rental from the landlord directly. Protect your efforts and your commissions with wise listing processes.
You have real value that you can bring to a landlord in this situation. As a leasing ‘expert’ you should have a comprehensive database of tenant contacts locally that you can refer the listing to. Your database is very valuable when you pitch for listings. Improve the value of your database by prospecting for tenants and buyers every day. Sell your leasing services around your database.
Why is it that agents take on ‘open listings’? It can be a method of quoting the property to your database if there is no other way of you getting a ‘foot in the door’. That is the only reason you should take on an open listing. Control your market with ‘exclusive listings’. That is how you dominate market share.
The leasing advice that you give landlords as part of listing a property (or pitching for a listing) should include these issues:
- Define the target market specifically for the vacancy. This will help you stand out as an agent of relevance.
- Show the landlord what is happening at the moment with rentals, incentives, leases and marketing.
- Get a list of competing properties together so the landlord knows what the asking rents are like locally.
- The time on market will vary from time to time during a business year. Track that trend so you can give the landlord some solid recommendations regards property promotion and marketing.
- Ask for marketing funds to use in the property promotion. Any landlord that is serious about marketing will participate in the request.
- Provide some marketing alternatives so the client can make some choices.
Your leasing recommendations should stand out as the best in the area. Use your database to show the landlord that you have a few tenants to take to the property as soon as it is listed.
of the process can be improved so that the overall package can be regarded as highly relevant to the clients that we work with.
This strategy of process optimization will allow you to get traction and momentum in your market. It is interesting to note that many of your fellow competing agents will be rather ordinary when it comes to the various parts of the agency process. That is an advantage in itself.
Here are some other factors that can be structured into your professional services and improved to give you the competitive edge as a commercial real estate agent:
- When it comes to listing a property, the right information has to be gathered and checked. As you specialize within the industry, your value as an expert becomes real and relevant. Complex properties require top agents that understand the intricacies of the property package. Promote yourself as the expert relative to a particular property type; get to know all of the variables and factors that make a property attractive. Make sure that there are sufficient listings in the local area within the property type to allow you to gain market share.
- The listing of a property can take many hours if not days. The size of the property, the tenancy mix, the lease details, and the financial performance will all require investigation. The property improvements will require description and qualification. The legal identity and function of the property will need to be checked prior to any marketing commencing. I go back to the point that property specialization will help you with the experience and the profile of a top agent. The clients that we serve like to work with top agents that understand the property and the area comprehensively. Property marketing is not an experiment.
- Given the pressures of today’s property market, you cannot and should not take a generic marketing approach when it comes to a quality listing. A quality property should be exclusively listed. The exclusive listing should be matched to the market and the best method of sale or lease as the case may be. When those decisions have been made, the marketing package can be designed to reach into the property owners and business proprietors that may have an interest. Get personally involved with all of your marketing campaigns. Use each quality listing to talk to other property investors and business owners.
- Understand the local property market when it comes to the seasonal activity in both sales and leasing. Some properties are best released to the market at certain times of the year. The larger and more complex the asset, the greater the amount of care that needs to be taken when it comes to the structuring of the marketing campaign and its release to the local area. Track all of your marketing efforts so that you can understand the things that are working when it comes to attracting enquiries. Repeat the things that work so that every property enquiry is optimized on every exclusive listing.
These four things will give you the best traction when it comes to attracting buyers and tenants. If you are advertising or marketing the property today and simply cannot get the enquiries in the door, then something is wrong. Review your marketing campaign and adjust it to build momentum.
Keep a database relative to all the contacts and people that you talk to. Over time the database will build more momentum and opportunity for you. Keep talking to the people in the market. That is how you find the opportunities and clients to work with.