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.
In commercial real estate agency, the sales team can be a powerful force in the market if the team works together. The disciplines of sales, leasing, and property management all require special people with special skills. As the properties that you work on become more complex, the team involvement process will help all your presentations and sales pitches.
So you can have either of these situations in your real estate agency:
- You can have a group of top salespeople that all do their own thing in marketing, prospecting, and listing.
- You can have a group of top salespeople and agency staff that are industry and property specialists and that pull together on the bigger listings to strengthen the service and coverage.
If I was a commercial real estate client today I know what I would prefer from the agency, and on that basis I would choose the second approach in granting an agent the listing. If you focus on quality listings, the property may just be so special and unique that you cannot do everything on your own. Bring other team members around you to help the sales pitch and the listing conversion.
Here are a few things that can help the team approach:
- A leasing opportunity is a reason to get your top property managers involved to review and address blow outs in property operational costs, lease documents, or tenancy mix. Over time this extra service will help you convert a property management listing.
- A leasing opportunity will help you with the client relationship and open the door on a potential sale at the right time.
- Property management appointments will create new business leads and deals in leasing and sales. Over time, the services and staff in your property management division should be of the highest quality to preserve and protect the future sale or lease requirements. Choose your property management staff wisely so they can protect this portion of your agency business. Use your property management staff as part of every pitch on quality property locally.
- Whilst you may be seeking just a sales listing appointment for your property, have your ‘marketing coordinators’ from your agency attend the listing presentation to give specialist comment on just how the marketing will work and where the enquiry is coming from today. Use graphs of response levels shown in the current promotional categories of website, internet, email, direct marketing, signboards, flyers, and cold calling. Use your database as leverage in the discussion.
It is not hard to win a commercial or retail real estate listing if you work as a team and use the skills of each person as the specialists that they are. Get your best people involved in your presentations.
As a commercial real estate agent today, you need to grab your share of the commercial real estate market and optimize it for listing and commission opportunity. The business is out there for those that work hard.
It is no secret that the competition with the other agents that you are up against will be significant and fierce. That being said, you need some solid processes to consolidate the market around you and provide you with quality leads and listings.
Here are some facts that you need to be aware of when it comes to working in commercial real estate agency today and building your market share around the competing agents.
- There are always plenty of people to talk to on a daily basis that need your services. Systems and discipline are part of the process when it comes to connecting with your local property market, and growing the database. Devote at least 2 or 3 hours each day to connecting with new people in your local area.
- It is very difficult to capture a share of the marketplace when you don’t specialize in a property type and location. There are far too many agents that are generic when it comes to property specialty and location; they will take on anything as a listing, and usually do only an average job with it. That is not how top agents perform; they develop a specialty relative to the location and the quality of property that they can relate to. They then build their brand around that specialty. That being said, you must ensure that your special property type has sufficient activity and listing opportunity over the long term for you to earn the commission that you require.
- It is a known fact that most (80%) salespeople in any industry are fairly average when it comes to performance and systemization. Commercial real estate is no different. That creates a massive opportunity for those commercial salespeople that are striving to rise to the top of the industry. Expect hard work as you proceed through the industry, and systemize what you do.
- When you look at your location and daily tasks, there will be two or three things that are really important to helping you build your client base and listing opportunity. Those two or three things should be done every day. Nothing should interfere with those key tasks to help you improve your market share. Most agents in the industry struggle through a series of peaks and valleys relating to performance, and that is simply because they have no sustained and consistent personal marketing system to stick to.
- Your local area and your property type will have special facts to understand and monitor. They will usually be rentals, prices, tenancy mix, inspections and negotiation processes, methods of marketing, prospecting, time on market, and methods of sale or lease. Each of these factors requires special attention. An average approach produces average results. There are far too many average agents in the industry.
Choose to develop the right processes to take your position at the head of the market. There is plenty of room for more agents at the top of the industry.
You can get more tips on this in our Newsletter for Commercial Real Estate Agents right here.
When it comes to advertising and marketing a commercial investment property for sale today, the message has to be conveyed with accuracy and timeliness. The limited number of buyers available for the given property promotion means that every marketing campaign has to be specific and focused.
As commercial real estate agents, it is our job to provide the specialized marketing activity that this property market requires. Gone are the days of generic property promotion. Top agents thrive in tough markets. They do the right things at the right level for the best result.
We have to do more with less when it comes to marketing property today. The enquiries that we get from the typical advertising activity are limited in quantity and quality. The client needs to be conditioned for negotiating with limited levels of offering.
It should also be said that most decisions to purchase the property take longer to negotiate and finalise. It is in this property market that our skills as specialist commercial real estate agents become more important than ever before.
We simply have to be at the top of our game across all the stages of listing, marketing, negotiating, and processing. Every sale and every negotiation needs to be nurtured across the line. Complacency has no place in this property market today.
The advertising strategies that we adopt will help us generate the best enquiries possible in the prevailing market conditions. Here are some ideas to help you with that marketing activity.
- Check out the subject property fully to understand the best target audience that you should attract as part of the marketing.
- Walk through the property yourself to understand the features of the property that should be incorporated into the property inspection.
- Review any competing properties in the local area that will have an impact on your marketing campaign. Inspect those properties from the street so you understand what they have to offer and how they are being marketed.
- Check out the time on market factors that apply to the listings in your local area. Determine why those properties have not sold, and upgrade your strategies to offset any problems that could exist.
- Do a keyword search on the Internet search engines. Refer to the property type and your location. You will get a list of keywords that are currently being used by people looking for property purchase. Those keywords should be entered into your advertising material to boost the Internet exposure and click rate.
- When you have listed the property for sale, see it as an excuse to talk to all of the local property owners and business proprietors. In this way you will get a lot of leads and opportunities coming back to you.
- Every marketing campaign should be staged using vendor paid advertising funds across a period of time. Each week you should be checking your progress from the campaign so that you know where the best enquiry is coming from.
- Stay in contact with the client at all times so they know how the marketing is progressing and what enquiry is coming in. The same rule applies when it comes to inspections from any prospective buyers. A client that is fully briefed during the marketing effort is inclined to accept your recommendations when it comes to negotiation at a later time.
Give your full focus to the marketing effort with every listing. Over time that will help you improve your market share and database.
Get more tips on commercial real estate in our Newsletter right here.
Have you ever come across a commercial real estate client that thinks their property is worth more than what the market will deliver? I would say just about 90% of clients fall into that category when first taking their property to the market.
It takes a while for reality to ‘kick in’ when it comes to property marketing. Unfortunately the first few weeks of any property marketing effort are the weeks of getting results and enquiry; if the property is priced too high during that time, the client (and you) can be wasting a lot of time and money.
The important thing is that you help them understand what is really going on out there and what they can do to work within it. It should also be said that you should not take the listing onto your books if the client will not listen to reason and the price is well away from market. You do not want to be known as the agent that lists and cannot sell or lease. Results are important in this industry.
Here are some facts:
- Property prices do not go up forever. They will sometimes slow, stagnate, decline, or reverse. The property market is based on a cycle of change and churn. Our opportunity is in serving clients and helping them with that change. As agents we need to know how to handle ‘change’ and help our clients do the same. Do not struggle with the changes in the industry; work with them. Know that they are a fact of the market and then design some solutions to help your clients through those changes when it comes to selling or leasing property today.
- New properties coming on the market will command more interest than older properties. For that very reason you must watch the other property developments that are coming up. Prices and rents offered will change the ‘game plan’ when it comes to existing properties today.
- Property enquiry will change during the year between the factors of property type, value, rent, time on market, and improvements. Every listing should be matched into the prevailing market conditions.
- Selling and leasing commercial and retail property can be quite seasonal. For this reason you can pick the best marketing solutions for the time of year. Marketing of commercial and retail property today is quite important; the tools that we have available are diverse and powerful. Choose the right tools to capture and grow the property enquiry. Drop the generic marketing campaigns. Be specific in how you promote your listings and make every marketing effort count.
So, all of this says that we should make sure at the very start of our services that we correctly guide and assist the clients that we work with. When you list at the right price, your chances of better enquiry and eventual sale are much higher. The client wants help in moving their property. Tell them how you can help them do that and give solid proof as to the prevailing market conditions. Give them the confidence and the reasons to use you as the preferred agent to take the listing on.
In commercial real estate today, it pays to undertake the necessary market study before you open the commercial real estate office for trading. Preparation will help you attract the right market of clients and prepare the right resources to drive your business forward. Your marketing plan should form part of your business plan.
A successful commercial real estate office will be built from a fine balance of resources, and the right people. Regrettably is somewhat hard to get good people to work in the industry at a high level for a long period of time. It is notable that there are fewer top agents in comparison to ordinary agents. The ratio is probably 2 in 10.
This leaves the opportunity wide open for ordinary agents to move to the top of the industry providing they establish solid performance systems. The proprietors of real estate agencies and businesses require top agents to give stability to the agency and grow the commission base. Whilst it sounds obvious, it is harder to achieve. The proprietors of commercial real estate agencies are always on the lookout for top agents or those people that can be shaped into that level of performance. It takes a person with a particular mindset and drive.
Here are some tips to establishing your marketing plan for your commercial real estate office:
- Determine the size of your market geographically. Ensure that the area is realistically comprised of quality properties and potential clients. Within that region, you can identify the history of transactions over the last few years. Ideally you will be looking for an area that is under change or expansion. Given that the commercial real estate industry is based around local business occupancy, you should also incorporate the review of local businesses into your initial market study. Look for an area that has a vibrant business identity and future. Look for an area that has an abundance of quality properties or vacant land to be so. Look for and area that is growing or active.
- Within your defined territory, identify the property types that will produce the necessary commission for your business. It may be that those properties require staff specialisation. That is certainly the case when it comes to retail property and retail leasing.
- It is somewhat easier to build a new commercial real estate office from a base of industrial property sales and leasing. That is simply because the property type is basic and straightforward. It is also easier for you to apply relatively inexperienced staff to that property type. Over time they can then graduate into Office Property and eventually Retail Property if that strategy seems suitable and the market opportunity exists.
- The size of local properties will dictate the size of commission. That being said, it is necessary to target the right quality listings in the right locations from the moment that you open your doors as an agency. Exclusive listings will produce better quality commissions over time. Initially you may find it hard to encourage exclusive listings, although the attempt should not be overlooked. Initially you will probably need to accept open listings and have your salespeople work on that general stock. When you eventually achieve greater market churn and success, it will be easier to convert exclusive listings given that you will then have a track record.
- Undertake a competitor analysis throughout the region. Some of those competitors will be more successful than others. Identify the reasons for that success and determine the points of difference relative to each agency and salesperson. How will your agency compete against those competitors? What can your agency do as part of attracting new business? How can you pitch for listings against the established local agencies?
So these are some key ideas that can be merged into your commercial real estate marketing plan. Other local area factors should also be considered and merged into the plan.
Before you open the doors of your new real estate office, ensure that you are fully aware of the strategy that needs to be implemented and the staff involved in the process. You can then create your staff attraction process to find the right people for the business.