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How to Improve Listening Skills in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

city buildings on harbour

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


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


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


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


The Challenges of Negotiations and Clients


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


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


Communication Rules


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


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


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

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Communication Skills in Commercial Real Estate Agency

In commercial real estate, questions form a big part of our interaction with clients and prospects.  Asking the right questions will help you move through the listing and marketing process with focus and momentum.

When you think about it there are a few phases to a commercial property process that are critical and that we are at the centre of.  Here are some of them:

  • Prospecting for new business and listings
  • Getting to know the right people for future property activity
  • Pitching and presenting your skills and services to the right people so you can attract the listings
  • Qualifying enquiries and people as they come to you for new business or a new property
  • Inspecting properties with the right people that have been vetted for relevance and ability to act
  • Negotiating and closing on sales and lease opportunities

All of these things involve some advanced questions and processes of communication.  You can never know too much about the process of communication.

It can be said that top agents are usually very good communicators.  They know what to say and do, and they practice their skills.

Your success in the commercial real estate industry depends on many things but two of the biggest are:

  • Your prospecting and networking strategy
  • Your rapport building skills and systems

Have you ever been involved with a salesperson that took your business but clearly did not want to have anything much to do with you?  They invariably leave a bad taste or experience, and you will usually spread the word at your disgust.

Salespeople with ‘stinking attitudes’ do not deserve business or customers; over time these salespeople do not survive.

Bad news will always be spread by clients and customers that did not like your attitude and or service.  They will do their upmost to tell others not to trust you and or you agency.

So let’s go back to the fact that questions are critical to rapport building and communication with your clients.  Here are my ‘rules of engagement’ when it comes to clients and customers.  Use questions to address these things:

  1. Seek to understand their needs fully before you offer suggestions of the market or the approach to sales or leasing.
  2. Get to know the property requirement in all respects before you give an opinion of marketing and target market.
  3. Get involved with the clients ‘thinking’ so you know how to help them.
  4. Offer real market suggestions given the local area and the competing properties
  5. Be a real strategist that can bring high relevance and momentum to a good property in a quality area.

Commercial real estate is not overly complex; it just requires salespeople that align to the client and the property.