In commercial real estate brokerage, you will hopefully have many prospects and a number of good clients. Over time those numbers do need to grow and compound opportunities in referrals, leads, and listings. All of these things will occur when you know your clients very well and similarly so their property needs and or situation.
Here are some tips for turning a prospect contact into a future client for your commercial real estate brokerage:
- In many respects you do need to know the client better than they know themselves. Whilst they may have a particular property challenge or need, they probably do not know enough about the local market opportunities to identify exactly what they require to allow them to improve their property performance or outcome. Look for opportunities within prices, rentals, refurbishments, relocations, marketing systems, and income and property expenditure. You can also work within tenancy mix changes and tenant retention plans to improve the tenant profile of the building.
- Understand the factors of compatibility between yourself, the client, and your brokerage. Are you providing the specialized services that match the future needs of your clients and prospects? There is no point specializing in something that is under supported or under resourced within your brokerage. As a case in point, retail shopping center sales and leasing require specialist retail knowledge and unique skills. In that case the brokerage would need to have or acquire the right people and resources to do the job well.
- Establish a regular dialogue with your clients where you can provide up to date specialized market information for their property type. That can be through a newsletter, industry briefing, and local area updates relating to sales and leasing activity, new development updates, and changes within property zonings or building codes.
- Many clients will take time to open up with complete and full information relating to their property portfolio and asset performance. Trust and loyalty established over time will encourage them to share that information.
- Give more to the market than you get back. It is a simple statement that suggests that you should give freely of your knowledge and resources to help the client relationship grow. Establish a group of VIP clients within your database where this can be done. Most top agents will have a database of between three hundred and six hundred well qualified prospects. Within that group, your VIP prospects should number between 50 and 100. They will be the people that can offer higher value and repeat business over time. Connect with that group in a different way and in a deeper level.
Client relationships are at the center of everything when it comes to commercial real estate brokerage and agency. You may choose to be a specialist in sales, leasing, and or property management. Without the client connection and marketing process, you will struggle with market share. Use some of these points mentioned to build solid foundations of client loyalty and trust.
In commercial real estate brokerage there are plenty of clients to choose from when it comes to sales, leasing, and property management activity. In saying that, it is important to understand the ideal client profile for your brokerage business. Some clients are better than others. Understanding the differences will help you focus your prospecting efforts in the correct way.
The suggestion here is that you should be selective when it comes to working with some clients. Understand the ideal client profile that will help you grow your listings and commission opportunities.
Here are some ideas to adopt in this process. You can add to the list based on your property location and your property speciality:
- Review your area and your sales territory so you understand exactly how many properties exist within your target market. There will be differences in numbers between office property, industrial property, and retail property. Some of your target properties will be widely spread and will therefore require complete understanding when it comes to prices and rental variations.
- Look at the history of the area to see what has been selling and leasing over the last two or three years. You can add to that assessment the factors of supply and demand as they relate to your area and your city. Is your market segment growing or contracting? How can you adjust to these fluctuations? What levels of commission are available for future sales and leasing activity? Focus your prospecting on quality clients and quality properties.
- The best customers to work for are those that can bring you repeat business over time. That business can be in sales, leasing, and property management activity. Some of the best clients to work for include established property investors, larger companies and corporations, and franchise groups. Get to know the right people within each targeted segment. Understand who the decision makers are when it comes to each investor, company, and location.
- The suggestion here is that you treat your customers and prospects differently. Those high value customers that you have identified for future business should be entered into a special segment of your database. They should receive special treatment when it comes to contact and service. You will also be approaching them more frequently with relevant market updates and changes within the industry.
- Some clients will require particular property types and improvements. Special understanding is needed when it comes to identifying the right properties for them to purchase or lease. The same can be said when it comes to the timing of an acquisition or relocation.
So there are plenty of things to do here when it comes to for client connection and prospecting. The choices that you make of it comes to each client in your segment of the market will help you greatly with future leasing and sales opportunity.
Get to know exactly what the client requires and tap into that opportunity over time. When you do this correctly, many of the transactions you create will occur off market and away from the pressures of agency competition.
A good client in commercial real estate can be a massive opportunity in commissions and repeat business over time. Finding the good clients to work with can take time, but the process is necessary and should be done on an individual basis by all agents.
The agents that struggle in any commercial property market are invariably those that do not do enough prospecting on a daily basis and therefore do not have a good source of clients and contacts. It is a simple equation but it does require personal effort.
When you know what a client can do for you, the process of ongoing contact becomes a logical process. Here are some ideas to help you:
- A prospect may not be a client today, but they may certainly have all the attributes of a good client in the future. Comprehensively cover all the possibilities in sales, leasing, and property management. Be prepared to talk across all disciplines. A leasing opportunity today can be a sale or a property management appointment tomorrow or in the future.
- Some property developers and property owners have a number of properties across their portfolio so investment needs can be quite diverse. When they own more than one property, the challenge of keeping up with rents, vacancies, rent reviews, new tenants, and options can be daunting. Market your services to their broader property requirements and challenges.
- When you consider a property with multiple tenants or available premises, the tenant mix analysis and strategy can be quite special. The facts are very apparent with retail property and shopping centre performance. If you provide property leasing services, take the time to understand the strategies behind tenant placement, leasing and clustering. Any tenant that you choose for a property should be well selected given the requirements of income, profile, permitted use, compatibility to the property and the other tenants; consider the long term occupancy potential. Your leasing services should be quite special taking into account these unique factors. Show the client some real reasons as to why you are a top leasing agent.
- A good client will have certain future property needs and targets. On that basis you can seek to satisfy those requirements with some planned ‘off market’ transactions and targeted solutions. Help the client with where they want to head with the right property types and income growth. Remove the pressure from the client’s investment strategy. Show the client what they need to do to stay ahead of the market today and in the future.
Seek to understand your property clients in all respects. A good client relationship may take months to nurture. Trust and respect has to be there before the larger clients will work with you.