The marketing process in commercial real estate brokerage should never be ‘generic’ with perhaps one exception and that is in the promotion of ‘open’ listings. ‘Open’ listings generally waste everyone’s time, and will usually only sell or lease through some factor of ‘luck’. You can’t base your commercial real estate brokerage business on ‘luck’.
How Are Listings for You?
Some agents and brokers will claim that they must list ‘openly’ because ‘that is the way the market is for them’ and the only way they can get new listings. Whilst I accept that fact initially for those agents that are very new to the industry, I will say that the best agents avoid ‘open listings’. They grow their profile and market share consistently over time so that the new clients and prospects locally will come to them to list properties for sale and lease. That is when it is really easy to demand ‘exclusivity’.
If the client really wants the best agent then they must accept the terms of engagement that the agent is offering. They are then your terms! Are you ready to package your professionalism and sell it?
Are You the Expert?
If you have a comprehensive and specialised personal brand as a local property ‘expert’, then it stands to reason that people will want to list their property with you rather than some other ‘random’ agent or groups of agents. Take a serious look at your personal marketing processes.
Taking this point further, your market share and listing conversions of an exclusive nature will largely depend on your ability to establish your brand as the ‘go to agent’ for your location and property speciality. You can and should invest more time in building your real estate image and speciality.
Here are some rules to help you do that:
- Your Listings – Understanding the point that I made earlier about ‘exclusivity’, make the marketing process very special and deep with all of those high quality listings that you are bringing in. It is difficult for other property owners and investors to ignore the activities of any agent with the best properties and the best marketing ideas.
- Other Agent Listings – If you are stuck for current listing stock, use other agent’s listings in a location to talk to local property owners and tenants nearby to any listing. Some simple questions and conversations will help you find the next listing in the same street or perhaps a business owner looking to relocate.
- High end marketing campaigns – Get some traction with your marketing by seeking and converting vendor paid funds. If your advertising efforts on any quality property are of a higher professional level than that of your competitors, you should be attracting the new business leads and enquiries very easily.
- The personal approach – You are the marketer of your business. You sell your services well then people will choose the agent that they trust and believe has the better business and market coverage. Is that you?
Simple marketing rules like these help you consolidate market share and listings as an agent or broker in commercial real estate. Follow the rules and grow your real estate business.
You can get more commercial real estate brokerage marketing tips in our ‘Snapshot’ eCourse right here.
When you know what is going on in the commercial real estate market, you can adjust your business efforts into the things that show opportunity. You can also avoid the parts of the property market that are slowing and time wasting.
The best property agents focus on the best parts of the market; that’s the rule. By monitoring a few categories of activity you can see your place and efforts in the bigger picture. If you are a sales agent, that process is really important.
Look for these things
Here are some property factors to chase and monitor in your local town or city:
- Signboard counts – It is a valuable process to add up all the signboards on properties locally on a monthly basis. Differentiate between ‘open’ and ‘exclusive’ listings when you do that as there is a real difference between each from a market share perspective.
- Internet listings – Go through the internet listings each month on the same basis as the signboards. Understand how many listings there are for each brokerage and agent. Soon you will know exactly who the top agent is for the area from an ‘exclusivity’ perspective.
- Vacancy factors – The level of vacant property locally will be a good ‘barometer’ of business sentiment. Understand what is happening in the local business community as that will impact property ownership and occupancy.
- Time on market – How long does it take to shift a listing with a sale? Some listings are better than others so you will need to differentiate on quality of property as you assess these numbers.
- Prices per unit of area – When something sells, understand the price from the perspective of property type, location, and unit of area. From those numbers you can compare transactions across your region. Soon you will see the active and popular locations for investment and business occupation.
- Enquiry rates – It is always good to know what people are looking for when it comes to local property. Are the levels of property enquiry going up or are they falling? You can also relate that question to property types and locations. When a person enquires about a property, find out how they located you and what they are looking for by way of property.
- Best marketing methods – Some marketing methods are more successful than others. When you do a monthly marketing assessment from inbound enquiry you can determine exactly how you should market new listings and for what reasons.
- Best methods of sale – Understand the best sale methods for attracting buyers and creating inspections. It is likely that any quality property should be directed to a time based sale method such as auction, or tender. Put a bit of ‘urgency’ in the method of sale so that the buyers that are interested actually have to make a decision and take action by a close off date.
Do there are some good things that you can do here with tracking sales activity locally in commercial real estate. When you know what is happening in the property market, you will be able to take action on the most rewarding parts of the property market.
In commercial real estate brokerage, growth is good in so many ways. If you want to move ahead in your property market then developing a ‘lust for growth’ is a good thing. There are many ways you can grow your business and property opportunities.
To get things started, understand just where you are today in your market and what changes are occurring locally that could indicate a different business focus. I like to move from sales to leasing and then back again as opportunities allow. From a lease you can create the foundations for a sale of the property when the investor is ready to make a move in that direction.
So let’s look at some of the opportunities for you now and what factors of the market that you can grow:
- Personal level – some agents fail to grow much at a personal level. By that I mean in skills, and knowledge relating to your property market. The greater the value that we are to the clients that we serve, the larger the chances are that we can convert more listings and improve our presentation outcomes. Clients want to work with the best agents that really know what they are doing and are highly skilled in doing so. There is absolutely no point in being ‘generic’ as an agent today.
- Signboards – getting more signboards into your market is a good thing. The traditional signboard will create more enquiries for you. By this I am referring to the signs placed on ‘exclusive listings’. To get more signs on the quality local properties you should look at your prospecting model and escalate it to the next level of activity and specialisation.
- Listings – to build your commission opportunities it pays to work on a certain number of exclusive listings at any one time. Generally you will not have time to service more than 15 listings like this. Keep your listing numbers down but spend a good level of focus in doing so. Take every quality property to the market in a comprehensive way. Use the listings to get people talking and to share their property situation.
- Internet profile – we all use the internet to market properties. That being said you can have a blog on the internet at a personal level that lets you talk about property activity and industry changes in your local area. Today it is really essential that we go beyond property marketing and take our own profile to the online world. Use the blog to show the market place just how relevant and knowledgeable you are as a top property specialist. If you blog regularly (at least 3 times per week), the search engines will soon see your blog as something that they should link to and watch.
- Database – your database will bring you leads and opportunities if you follow the rules. Every day your database should be expanded and updated through personal effort. To do this effectively you can and should make the start of everyday a process of prospecting for new people.
These four simple growth factors will help you greatly as a real estate agent. Create the action and focus in each of the segments of ‘growth potential’. Soon the market will see your activities and give you more leads.
In commercial real estate brokerage, it is very easy to get swamped with daily events and reactive issues. Many people will want a slice of your time. If uncontrolled, this can lead to a downturn in listings and market share. In simple terms, you need to implement a system that allows you to stay ‘ahead of your game’ in commercial real estate.
The rewards in the industry are many, providing you stay on track and implement the correct system. It is a personal process that cannot be delegated. Here are my top seven tips to help you stay ahead of your game as a top agent or broker.
- Start the day with focus. Each evening you should be preparing for the following day by planning your time and the key issues that need to be done. Identify the four or five key issues that will have maximum impact on your client base, listings, and market share. Those things should be a high priority in your daily action plan. Get all of those things done before you do anything else. When you feel in control, you get more things done. On that basis, control your diary at an obsessive level.
- Understand the high value of prospecting and growing your database. Devote approximately 2 or 3 hours to prospecting and client contact. Split that time equally between new contacts and established contacts. Track all of the conversations, the meetings, and the presentations that you make, so that you can see when your ratios and numbers are improving.
- As a general rule, focus on exclusive listings more than anything else. The exclusive listings will allow you to build market share, focus your inspections and negotiations, and service the client comprehensively. The agents that struggle in the marketplace are typically those that have difficulty with converting exclusive listings. You simply must control the listing stock.
- There is a big difference between being proactive and reactive in the industry. At least 40% of your day needs to be proactive and in that case should be directed towards prospecting, marketing, and client contact. Unfortunately you cannot remove the reactive element of the industry given that you will be working with many different people who will impose on your time. That being said, take the necessary steps to control the impact and limit the exposure that you have to other people’s priorities. Manage your time accordingly.
- Every listing can be extensively promoted, and then adjusted to the market conditions. When you have sufficient marketing feedback on a particular listing, you can make the recommendations to the client that will shift the enquiry rate and the inspection results. Don’t take too long to get to the point of repositioning.
- Review all of the listing stock locally including those listings that belong to your competitors. When they place a signboard on a property, make contact with all the other businesses and property owners in the region surrounding it. They may like to compete with the other listing in the same street.
- In your town or city, you will find that commercial property ownership is typically for a period of 5 to 10 years. At or during that time, the property owner is likely to expand their portfolio, or replace the property asset with another larger property. When you track the cycles of sales from the region, you can identify the best clients to work with for upcoming property activity.
When you look at a list like this, there are plenty of issues to action and matters to get under control. I go back to the point that you really do need to be proactive and not reactive in this industry. Spend at least 40% of your day getting involved in proactive issues and strategies. Soon the commercial real estate market will open up with opportunity in both listings and future clients. Stay on track to your plan.
In commercial real estate agency, you need to be the agent of choice relative to the local area and the property type. The clients that we serve need to understand that they are working with experts.
Top agents build their profile continually through a prospecting and networking process. You need to do the same. About 1/3 your business day needs to be devoted to this prospecting activity.
So let’s say that you have connected with a client and you can see a potential listing available for conversion. Give the client some real reasons to choose you as the best agent of choice. Here are some ideas to help with that:
- Meet the client at the property to inspect it together and prior to you creating any proposal or listing presentation. This will allow you to question the client on the history of the property and the current challenges. You can also identify any concerns that they may have when it comes to achieving a sale or a lease in the current market. From all of this information you can construct a very well-targeted property proposal.
- Use a checklist for the property type when it comes to the client interview and the property walk through. The checklist will help you with important and relevant questions, and also show your professionalism to the client when it comes to the potential listing.
- Your personal profile on the Internet relative to the local area and the property speciality needs to be well established. The client is likely to check your name and or your agency online as part of making their final choice of agent. For this reason, you should have a business related blog that relates to your market and the current property trends. The blogging process only takes a small amount of time. You can write a blog two or three times a week about the local area and particular property activities. You can then link your blog to your social media activities and profiles. You can also link your blog to your newsletter e-mail activities.
- Grow your database at every opportunity. Over time this accurate and up to date database can be a clear advantage and give you leverage when it comes to winning a listing. Show the client the size of your database and its relevance to their property listing. You may even choose to short list a number of people from the database to take to the property as soon as the listing is approved.
- Get plenty of signboards into your local area. Signboard presence is still a tool of leverage when it comes to winning a listing.
A successful commercial real estate agent will take simple steps like these each and every day as part of their business building activity. The systems that you create will help you move ahead to a greater and more successful market share.
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