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.
In commercial real estate brokerage, your cold calling systems should be coordinated to a plan and a process. Over time you can then improve your actions as the plan requires.
Cold calling is a very specific process of agent actions tracked to results; monitor the things that you are doing and watch what is working for you. When you know that your telephone calls are getting meeting conversions, then you improve them further; if meetings are hard to achieve then skill enhancement is required.
What systems do you have?
So what are the key factors to help you in coordinating and improving your prospecting model and cold call activities? Try some of these:
- Why should someone listen to you? – There has to be a central message to your call process. Have a basic strategy to the call that is useful to the person you are calling. Don’t make calls based on your needs, but focus on them; talk about the other person’s property and how something you are offering will be of use. That could be a special report, perhaps an update on recent sales or leasing’s, or even a chart of property market trends that you can send them.
- Don’t push the other person – Too many agents push a conversation in cold calling. That generally doesn’t work. Polite professional telephone conversations get more results over time. The important thing is that you have something of relevance to talk about.
- Understand your ratios with call conversations and outbound prospecting – When you track your numbers you can see what outcomes you are getting, and if they are fruitful. Whilst everyone will have a different set of numbers to work at over time, those numbers should be improving; that is why you should be making regular cold calls and watching the ratios.
- Create a pipeline of contact – When you connect with a person across the telephone in a positive way, they should then advance up the pipeline of marketing and ongoing contact. Over a period of time you then connect with ever more people in a positive and relevant way.
You can take these simple strategies and merge them into your prospecting and cold calling model. Understand why someone should listen to you and provide relevance around that fact. Grow your skills in cold calling so that your results improve and grow over time. I go back to the point that you should track your ratios.
The commercial property market is a challenge at the best of times. There are plenty of things to do when it comes to commercial brokerage and agency. Each and every day a certain number of hours should be devoted to the prospecting process. That activity will be at a personal level for any agent or broker.
It stands to reason that a good broker will have a successful prospecting model to encourage new clients and listings in a regular way. The earlier that agents and brokers move towards this planning process and its implementation, the faster they move up the ranks of the market with listings and commissions.
Here are some tips to help you with the prospecting process that should be applied to office, industrial, or retail property. Given your local market conditions, you can add to the list as appropriate:
- Understand the activities of the market over the last two or three years. As the market been attracting activity or has it been contracting? It is best to work within a market that has growth and opportunity. It is best to work with property types that have a future.
- Many brokerages employ agents on the assumption that the agents will bring in the required new sales and leasing business. Certainly that is the case to a degree; it should however be observed that a good real estate brokerage will have generic marketing strategies and material to help the agents with their daily prospecting activities. An agent or a broker with little or no support from their principal will struggle.
- It is critical that a broker or an agent get signboards into their territory as soon as possible. Those signboards should be on exclusive listings. Signboard presence will always help local market profile and encourage inbound telephone calls. On that basis you can build your database.
- The Internet today offers significant opportunity when it comes to business profile and property marketing. Every brokerage or agency should have a substantial business website to promote sales and leasing listings. The brokerage should always be updating the website with the latest technology tools to capture inbound enquiries. A database portal is part of that process.
- Set aside 2 hours per day to contact new people through the local area. The easiest way to do that is through a consistent and professional cold calling process. When you have connected with a number of people across the telephone, you can move out into the marketplace and door knock a number of businesses and property owners. Personal contact in our market today is really important.
- Every new property listing will give you an opportunity to talk to many other property owners and businesses in the same location. Every successful transaction will give you further reasons to connect with the market place. Use your existing listings and exclusive listings to connect with the property market.
In looking at these activities, it is easy to see that the involvement of the agent or broker at a personal level is critical. Momentum is required every day to establish a good prospecting model to convert more listings and commissions.
In commercial real estate brokerage, you will have plenty of challenges when it comes to finding quality listings and good clients. In most locations, towns and cities, the competition is fierce when it comes to commercial real estate agents. On that basis you really do need to have an effective prospecting model to implement at an individual level.
It should be said that most brokers and agents don’t do this very well. On that basis the opportunities are significant if you can create and stick to a good prospecting model. Create a habit around prospecting.
Here are some proven and highly effective prospecting and networking tips when it comes to agents or brokers winning new clients in commercial real estate today. Compare these to your current strategies:
- Stick to a defined area when it comes to targeting properties and clients. On a street by street basis you can move through the region and research the necessary property ownership details and business proprietors. Don’t spread yourself too thinly when it comes to large areas and diverse property types. Specialization will help you with finding listings and growing property knowledge.
- Devote 3 hours per day to the prospecting process. The cold calling process should occur first thing every morning prior to any meetings or property inspections. Make a priority to get your cold calls done prior to 11 am. Your meetings and property inspections can occur after that time.
- Split your prospecting time into two distinct segments. The first segment will be those people that you have spoken to before. Regular contact here will allow you to tap into the opportunity when those people are ready to make a sale or a lease transaction. The second group that you should speak to will be those that are totally new to your database. Feed your database with fresh contacts and opportunities with new people.
- Track the results that you get from all of your prospecting activities. Understand how your ratios are improving between outbound calls, meetings created, presentations made, and listings converted.
- Understand the differences between open and exclusive listings. As a general priority, you should be targeting exclusive listings at every opportunity. On that basis, track the numbers of listings in each case. Show the client the differences in time on market when it comes to open listings and exclusive listings.
- Any property that is converted to a listing should be packaged for the current market conditions. As you get results and feedback from inspections, you can make clear recommendations to the client regards pricing and marketing. Over a period of weeks, the repackaging of a listing can increase inspection and negotiation opportunity.
So there are some very definite things that can be done to improve your listing conversions and commission opportunities. The secret to making all of this work is to create a personal system of prospecting that you stick to every day. Refine your activities to the current market conditions, and soon you will see the conversions you require.
In commercial real estate prospecting you will get lots of ‘push-backs’ as part of talking to new people. Some call it the ‘rejection factor’. Many agents take the rejection and use it as a reason to stop prospecting.
Show me an agent that doesn’t make the cold calls and prospect every day, and I will show you someone with low income and poor listings. Get the message?
If you have chosen a career in commercial real estate, then be prepared to work hard at prospecting. The requirement will never disappear; in fact, it will increase in importance. Rise to the challenge and connect with more people. That’s what prospecting is all about. That is how you become a top agent.
So the message here is clear. Understand that rejection is a part of connecting with new people and in finding new clients. Some will not want to talk to you or meet with you, yet others will. You need to find the right people that want to do something with property or are happy to stay in contact with you for the day that they need property help.
To make all of this work you have to create a solid and effective prospecting system that you do for 2 or 3 hours every day. That’s the rule that you must stick to. Over a period of 3 months your skills in the process will improve and your conversions will rise. Soon you will have quality listings and the majority of them will be ‘exclusive’. When you control your listing stock, the market has to come to you. That is why ‘exclusive’ listings are so important to commercial real estate agents.
So what do people say to you when you prospect? What are the standard ‘push-backs’? Try some of these:
- Not today thanks
- Send me something
- Call me back next week
- We already use someone else
- Too busy to talk right now
- We are just fine at the moment
You can most likely add to this list. There are so many variations that you strike. Most clients and prospects will ‘push-back’ at least twice in a prospecting or cold call situation. You will hear versions of the above statements.
So what should you do? You should be prepared for the rejection. Practice your responses so you can keep the conversation moving ahead. The advantage that you have is that you are the person that made the call; you can be totally prepared to connect in a professional way.
It should be said that your call should be made on the basis of a conversation and not a pitch. Find out what the other person is doing now with property and what they could require in the future. Make the calls and the ‘door-knocking’ work for you in that way.
In commercial real estate agency, you really do need to understand what is going on in the marketplace and then make some solid choices at a personal level to improve your prospecting and deal activity. Everything comes down to a personal level and process in our industry. Success has little to do with the agency that you work for.
Outsiders and new agents to the industry are tempted to think that commissions and listings come easily. Nothing could be further from the truth. The quality and the growth of your business will come from personal focus and momentum. The choices that you make on a daily basis, and the actions that you take in prospecting and marketing will drive your business forward. The agents that struggle in the industry are those that have little or no system when it comes to business generation and market share.
Here are some strategies to help you initiate a business plan as a commercial real estate agent. Consistency in focus and the actions that you take every day are the keys to getting momentum and traction with your market share. Here are the ideas to help you:
- Understand the condition of the market today in deal activity, competing agents, and future growth. Look for the opportunities in sales leasing and property management activity. Understand where you fit when it comes to those three distinct disciplines.
- Choose the property type that you understand and can relate to. That may be in office, industrial, or retail property. The clients that we work for require specific expertise when it comes to resolving a problem with a quality property. The marketing and inspection process with any listing is not an experiment. It requires specific knowledge and expertise to tap into the right target market.
- Determine the cycles of the local property market when it comes to leasing and sales turnover. You can do that by reviewing the history transactions through the region. In most markets, a commercial or retail investment property will change hands or be upgraded at least once every seven years. It takes that long for the appropriate capital gain to occur or the client to reach the next stage of portfolio change and growth. Be sensitive to the cycles, and start prospecting the right people inside their property cycles.
- Start prospecting on a daily basis ensuring that you’re talking to new people as well as current contacts. The whole process should take you about 2 or 3 hours per day every working day. In a very short period of time you will find some new business opportunity. When that occurs, keep the prospecting process underway. That’s how top agents grow market share.
- When a competing agent puts a signboard on a property, it is an opportunity for you to talk to the property owners and business proprietors in the immediate and adjacent vicinity. This then says that the marketing processes of a competing agent give you leverage when it comes to building your market share. It is a fact that nearby property owners and business proprietors like to compete rather than cooperate with a nearby property sale or lease transaction.
- When you list a property, personally market the details of the property to the local region of property investors and business owners. This involves door knocking and telephone calls. From this process you will identify other opportunities to work on in the future. Pay particular attention to the immediate property location and the streets around the subject listing. Walk the streets and knock on the door’s to introduce yourself and the upcoming listing. Ask questions and talk to more people; it is amazing how much information you will extract from the market when you do this.
Building your market share in commercial real estate agency is a simple and yet ongoing process. You should have three or four solid strategies underway such as those above to help you connect with the right people and build the right relationships.
In commercial real estate agency, your sales pitch and presentation should be of the highest quality. It should be practiced regularly on different property types and in different property situations so you can attract the right listings to your agency.
Here are some facts to remember:
- Quality property listings will attract a greater level of direct enquiry from the market, and therefore you will have more inspections to work with.
- Average listings take a lot longer to move due to the lack of enquiry or poor interest from the market.
Given these facts, your presentation has to attract and convert the best listings. That’s how top agents get the results from the market; they focus on listing quality before anything else. Even if a quality listing is overpriced, it will still attract greater enquiry and that will give you something to work with for the client.
Most of the listings and clients that you target will be chased by other agents locally. Rarely will you have the opportunity to pitch for a listing entirely on your own. Your sales pitch needs to be well planned and staged. Here are some ideas to help you do that:
- First impressions are really important. Take pride in how you dress, appear and carry yourself when meeting a commercial real estate client or prospect for the first time. It takes about 1 minute for a person to assess you visually and form an opinion on your relevance. The commercial real estate industry is one of professionalism and on that basis a ‘business image’ is required.
- Be aware of the age and experience level of the people that you are connecting or working with; they may be far more experienced in business than you are. They may have expectations that are high and demanding.
- The client expects you to be skilful in the issues that they want resolved. On that basis you should have a ‘professional selling attitude’ that they appreciate and know will help with their property challenge. Confidence should show in what you say and do.
- Practice your dialogue and speech so you are ready to show confidence in every client or prospect situation. If this is difficult for you now, make ‘role playing’ a part of your weekly sales meeting. Create a quality in what you say and how you do it. Let the client see that you can handle any property negotiation or debate professionally. Master the right words for the right situation.
- Ask the right questions in any contact situation. It helps if you have a checklist relative to your property type and marketing situation.
- Show that you have a real knowledge of the property situation and task ahead for the client. Give them some confidence that you are indeed the ‘real deal’ when it comes to moving through their property challenge.
Your presentation or sales pitch in commercial real estate will get a lot easier when you follow these simple and yet effective rules.
In commercial real estate agency today, develop some personal strategies to help build market share. Most of the successes created in the industry are personally generated. Your employer and real estate agency has little to do with the process. It’s all up to you.
Many salespeople join the industry thinking that the apparent opportunity for listings and good commissions will help them rise to the top of the market fairly quickly. Reality sinks in after two or three months; the industry can be quite a challenge for new agents; prospecting and networking is required each and every day. It takes deliberate effort and hard work at a personal level to rise to the top of the industry. That’s what all top agents do. You can do the same, however it is your choice to proceed in a systemized and deliberate way.
Here are some strategies to help you establish a solid market share as a real estate agent, and grow the opportunity for further commissions and listings.
- Understand the growth potential of the market. Your local property market should be defined geographically so you know exactly where you can focus your prospecting efforts. Within that geographical zone, research the necessary growth segments of the market to focus on. There is no point in you specializing in something that has little growth potential.
- Check out your property precinct to see what is working when it comes to sales and leasing activity. Certain methods of sale and certain methods of leasing will be much more successful than others in today’s property market. Understand what works, and then merge those strategies into every listing presentation and sales pitch that you do.
- Check out the competing properties in the local area to see how long they had been on the market. Understand why that is so, and avoid the errors of those other agents and those other properties. Top agents know how to promote and market properties efficiently and effectively. They don’t like to waste time.
- Observe and track all of the good agents in your local area. Find those top agents that seem to be dominating market share and see what they are doing as part of that process. You can learn a lot from other top agents simply by watching their activities when it comes to prospecting, marketing, client selection, and promotional activities.
- Signboard presence through the local area will help you personally when it comes to market share. You should have plenty of signs in the local area on quality listings. There is a real difference to be noted here, and that is the difference between open listings and exclusive listings. Open listings are generally a waste of time, and the same can be said for putting your signboard on any openly listed property with many other agent signboards. The signboards that will create a strong personal brand and professional image are those that are placed on exclusive listings. Sell your services on the basis of an exclusive listing that you can control for a number of months. Then devote the required effort on creating enquiry and getting inspections underway.
- Most of the listings that you pursue will be done so on the basis of a competitive sales pitch and presentation. There will be plenty of other agents chasing the same listings. That being said, your presentational strategy and relevance has to be finely tuned and of the highest quality. Approaching a listing generically usually results in an open listing if any listing at all. When you specifically focus on a listing and provide real and relevant strategies to the client, they cannot help but seriously consider your commercial real estate services and potentially take an exclusive listing with you. A client that wants the best agent will need to take an exclusive listing with that agent. The promotion of property today is not an experiment. Good results come from top agents taking an exclusive listing over a quality property. They then apply all of their efforts into the marketing campaign and inspection strategy.
Success in the commercial real estate market is not a random event. It is generally well planned and facilitated through deliberate systems and actions on the part of each and every agent. Only the best agents rise to the top of the market and that will be only through their personal processes and strategies. You can do the same. The market opportunity awaits you action.
In commercial real estate agency today there are too many ‘myths and rumours’ around generated by agents that are the ‘poor performers’. They are usually the agents that are looking for excuses for their inaction or poor outcomes in listings or commissions. The market is the market, and we cannot change that; we can however take the right action to suit the situation.
Today’s commercial property market is something that requires understanding and adjustment certainly, but good commissions can be had by active and professional commercial real estate agents. You need to know what to look for and how to tap into it. Action it then required.
So what is it about all those ‘myths’ that we keep hearing about? I guess you would have heard some of these comments from your fellow salespeople and competing agents:
- There are no buyers around to purchase
- The client will not listen
- Tenants don’t want to move
- Property listings are hard to get
- There is no enquiry coming in from advertising
- The client wants too much money
- Other agents are taking my listings
- Business is slow
- It’s time to take a holiday
The property market changes and on that basis we need to change. Every year there will be challenges with prices, rents, enquiry, listings, and clients. The fact of the matter is that poor agents without a good database of clients and prospects to talk to will struggle.
Those agents that have continually built a great group of contacts will always have fresh business. Certainly client conditioning will be required as the market changes condition, but today is an ‘agent’s market’ and on that basis we need to act.
Find those good listings and tap into them. Quality listings will always create better enquiries in any market. If you are not getting enquiries coming in, then take a look at your listings. If you have poor listings then have a look at your prospecting efforts. Everything is linked.
It is a fact that top agents attract the business in all markets. The quality listings will go to them most of the time. So how did they reach this level of success and listing attraction? They did the ‘hard work’ with prospecting and connecting with fresh people that are interested in commercial real estate.
The property cycle in commercial real estate is quite long. It takes months if not years for some clients to act on a property issue. This then suggests that you need to be building the right client relationships from the very start and keep the ‘door of contact’ open with the prospect. That’s how you become a top agent. Work hard and the business will come. Forget about those ‘myths’ that low quality agents like to circulate to support their inadequacies. Make your mark on the commercial property market.
Systems in commercial real estate agency set you free and help you build your career. Without systems you will struggle as an agent. So you cannot be ‘out of control’ if you want to improve as an agent.
It is the regular things that you do every day that build habits and those habits help you build market share. Top agents are those that work in a controlled and focused way. You can do the same.
If you believe you are out of control in your career today, take a look at the things you should be doing and what you are actually doing now. Therein lies the answers that you need to resolve market share and productivity problems.
Here are some facts and systems that you can merge into your business model.
- Researching new prospects should be done every day; you need fresh people to talk to. The best time to do that research is in the evening when the pressure is off. We can all use the internet and use it as a prospecting and research tool. It is likely that you can access your database from home as well. Use remote technology to your advantage.
- Prospecting should happen at the same time each day. Given that most people get distracted as the day progresses, prospecting is best done in the morning first thing. Avoid morning meetings for this very purpose (I know this will upset some agency principals). Long morning meetings are a terrible waste of time.
- Presentations for listings should be practiced. Hopefully you are a specialist agent in a local area and property type. This will make your presentations a bit easier and you can refine them accordingly.
- Marketing campaigns should be focused on the needs of the property and the client. Given that there are so many unsold and vacant properties on the market today, it is critical that you make every marketing campaign a good one. Be specific in the way you are reaching your target audience. Get personally involved in your marketing efforts.
- Property inspections should occur only after the prospect has been qualified. Make sure that they are the right people for the property before you take them to it. Develop a system of property inspection that features the listing correctly and comprehensively. Make every property inspection great with the right preparation.
- Negotiations and client connection go hand in hand. Keep the client up to date with all property events, marketing, inspections and negotiations. An informed client is much better to work with. It is notable that top clients should be served by exclusive listings.
- Database systems should support your ongoing growth of market share. You cannot delegate that process. It is a personal one that you should take ownership of.
So now you can see how important systems are to a commercial real estate agent. If you want to succeed in this industry, take a look at your systems (or lack of them) and make them better.