How to Improve Listening Skills in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

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.

3 Negotiation Strategies to Improve a Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Business Today

To be successful in commercial real estate brokerage you have to know how to negotiate through the challenges that you strike in prospecting, marketing, pitching, presenting, inspecting, and closing on your specialty property types.

It stands to reason that your negotiation skills are really important in what you do every day.  You have to ‘think on your feet’ as you hear about the other person’s concerns and perceptions in selling, leasing, or managing property.

Special Challenges

Some clients and prospects will present you with unique challenges as you move a property campaign or issue forward.  What you can do here to lift your conversions is prepare and practice your responses with the most common challenges.

Each week the entire sales or brokerage team can practice their responses to the common problems and issues that they find and strike each week.  They can share the issues that they find as part of client interaction and prospecting activity.  The team can learn from each other.  Through practice and sharing within the team, negotiation skills can improve.

Negotiation Skill Development

Here are some ideas to help you lift your negotiation skills as a team or as an individual:

  1. LOCAL PRESSURES: Be prepared to adjust your skills based on the pressures and the facts from today’s property market. Understand what’s happening with enquiry, current supply, and future occupancy predictions.  Look at the property and the local property market from the perspective of a tenant, an investor, and a landlord.  Assess the challenges in each case.  You can then do a swot analysis based on the challenges that you see today.  Share those challenges and your responses within the team.
  2. HOT TOPICS: There will be certain hot issues that are always rising to the top of a typical property negotiation. Those hot issues will be a negotiation practice priority when you are considering your skill development personally and within the team.  Issues can be specially considered such as the over pricing of a property, the failure to accept market conditions, or unrealistic expectations of the client or prospect from a negotiation.  When you look within the disciplines of commercial sales, leasing, and property management, there are always common issues that you strike in a regular and ongoing way.
  3. FEE SOLUTIONS: The fees that you learn and the commissions that you charge are also important factors of negotiation priority. Be prepared to pitch and sell your services in a comprehensive way and at a reasonable fee; that will involve negotiation practice and improvement.  Can you support and argue the value that you bring to a client from a fee perspective?  Ultimately the client just wants a good result in a timely way and they don’t want to pay too much for it.  Your fee argument and commitment should be built around an expectation of results.  As we all know, the cheaper services offered by less professional agents in the industry are ultimately counterproductive and time wasting for the client.

The message here is that you can do a lot for yourself and within the team when you practice your negotiation skills in a regular and ongoing way.  Take into account the existing factors of the property market and the pressures that you experience with your clients and prospects.  Practice your professional negotiation skills based on the challenges of the commercial property industry today.

You can get more negotiation tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokerage in our ‘Snapshot’ eCourse right here.

Why Confidence is so Important in Commercial Property Management

The clients that we work with in commercial property management expect experience and confidence in the managers that they use.  Those clients like to know that the person chosen to manage their property can handle the variables of income, expenditure, tenant mix, and lease negotiations.

So why worry too much? The experience and confidence in any property manager will be important to the client service process and also to the brokerage fees charged for services rendered.

Inexperience is Dangerous

An inexperienced property manager can be a costly and concerning problem in property performance for any investor.  Invariably that is the time when errors and omissions occur with the critical factors and tenancy activities.

So the property manager needs the confidence, knowledge, and experience to know how to look for upcoming concerning issues in the leases and with occupancy, and how to position the property for better results in investment outcomes.

Every landlord and property owner will have certain unique targets to merge into that property performance equation, so the balance becomes a bit tricky.  That is where the right property manager for the asset and the client should be considered.

The complexity of many office and retail properties requires specific experience and knowledge to help the property stay on track from an investment perspective.  Errors or omissions create problems with any property and its performance.

Critical Confidence Factors

Here are some ideas to help you with this.  Any property manager should be specifically familiar with the following topics as they apply to the location, the client, and the property type:

  1. Income – The levels of income in any property will be impacted by local vacancy factors, current market rentals, and business sentiment. If a property is to grow its income base with rentals that are market aligned, the property manager really does need to have advanced skills with tenant management and property leasing.  Remembering that many leases exist for a number of years, the property manager is the person responsible for qualifying the tenant, then establishing and growing the cash flow.
  2. Expenditure – Rarely will property expenditure decline and that is why a specific budget is required to keep property expenditure under control. Energy costs, operational costs, and property usage place pressures on expenditure each year.  Operational costs within most properties are escalating.  There are seasonal factors to look into as well including climate conditions, and the associated energy consumptions.
  3. Tenant placements – When you have a number of tenants within the same Investment Property, you will have challenges when it comes to positioning, occupancy, and property use. Some tenants have an impact on other tenants around them.  As part of any lease negotiation, specifically choose the right tenants for the right location and then control them within the existing lease documentation.  Understand the businesses in each case and the types of people that will be accessing the tenant and or the property.  What pressures will happen as a direct result of tenant existence and occupation?  You may need to put certain controls within the lease document to keep things on track within the tenancy mix.
  4. Lease negotiations – Every lease negotiation should be looked at in balance allowing for current market conditions, vacancy levels, market rentals, and the locations of other tenants within the property. Some leases will come to an end within the same property at a particular point in time.  Most owners cannot afford to have escalating vacancy factors across a large percentage of the property.  Negotiate your leases so that the cash flow of rental is not overly impacted by lease expiry dates.
  5. Vacancy strategies – Like it or not vacancies will happen in any property. The impact of those vacancies can be lessened through finding new tenants, moving tenants around, and modifying the property use.
  6. Maintenance strategies and costs – During the year things will happen in any managed property. You will have maintenance issues occurring for all types of reasons, and some of those repairs will be timed whilst others will be unexpected.  You need response systems for all levels of maintenance including emergency responses.

Are you ready to improve your confidence and knowledge in commercial property management?  A successful property management division in any brokerage will bring many advantages to the business over time.

You can get more commercial property management tips in our Snapshot eCourse right here.

The Cold Hard Facts of Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Today

Many people think that the life of a commercial real estate broker is easy.  Perhaps some people even join the industry assuming that is the case.  The reality of the industry is far and away from those assumptions.  The top agents in the market work really hard and do so to a definite plan or system.

When you put in the effort individually, you will get results.  The efforts applied should be specific to the property type and the location; in other words you do need to do the right things each and every day and systemise the process.  That is exactly what the top agents do.

Here are some cold hard facts regards the industry:

  1. Commissions – looked at in isolation, the commissions that we earn can be quite large.  For most property transactions and listings however real strategy and effort is required to attract a successful outcome in any sale or lease.  As large as the commissions may seem, they don’t come easily.  If you want significant income, you need to work hard.
  2. Hours of work – the hours of work are variable and sometimes quite long.  It is not unusual to be negotiating a contract or a lease later into the evening, across the weekend, or early one morning.  The business is out there to be done providing you are flexible enough to do the work of any time of day.
  3. Property knowledge – property knowledge will have a big impact on your inspections and negotiations.  It will also help you significantly when it comes to the listing process.  On that basis you will really need to know a lot about the local area, the property type, and the current levels of enquiry.
  4. Personal marketing – whilst you may work for a well-known brokerage or agency, you must market yourself each and every day to the right people in the right way.  On that basis every agent or broker should have a specific prospecting and networking program underway.
  5. Prospecting – it should be said quite clearly that prospecting is not easy.  It is required business skill that takes practice and improvement.  Simply lifting the telephone or door knocking on the business will not be very successful without the necessary practice factors.  Build some prospecting practice into your business day prior to getting into the office.
  6. Negotiation – negotiation skills are something you learn over time.  Every landlord, seller, buyer, and tenant will have different factors of leverage and requirements when it comes to property negotiation.  As the agent or the broker to the deal, your advantage will be in seeing those factors of leverage and the requirements that can be satisfied.  That is how a good negotiator works.
  7. Inspection – the inspection of a property will happen for a number of reasons and preparation is required.  Every listing will have strengths and weaknesses impacting the inspection process.  Your job is to use them or work through them to achieve the best result.  That is where property knowledge and local market information will be of high value.
  8. Documentation – some property lease and sales situations are very complex.  Expert information and assistance will be required when it comes to complex transactions.  Make sure that every contract or lease that you create is correctly designed for the property and the client’s situation.
  9. Database – your database will be the most important business tool that you have available.  Spend time every day connecting with people within the database and adding new people to the process.  Over time the database will give you plenty of leads, and referral opportunities.  From the database you can create a specialised list of VIP clients and prospects.

Looking at all of these things, you can see how important the commitment and the skills of the agent will be to their progress in the industry.  They say that nothing really comes easy; certainly that is the case in commercial real estate brokerage.  Be prepared to put in the hours and improve your skills over time.  That is how you can be a very successful agent in the industry.