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5 Action Steps to Client Contact in Commercial Real Estate Agency

In commercial real estate agency the clients that we serve are a critical part of the market share that we build.  The relationships that we create with those clients should be growing within a system and strengthened with relative property market content.  This is a very personal process for each and every salesperson or agent.

The cycle of commercial real estate activity is relatively long.  It can be some time between lease or sale requirements for the average client.  This then says that a client contact cycle and system should be ongoing to a plan and a process.  It could be months or years before the client is ready to make or take the next action steps in a property transaction.  Over that time the relationship you have with that client or prospect needs to be nurtured and strengthened.

To be a top agent your clients must understand and respect your skills; you must be the ‘go to person’ when it comes to getting a result with a sale or lease situation.  When you specialise in a property type and location, this is relatively easy.

Here are five action steps to structure a client contact program in your agency structure:

  1. Review the clients account history, their property needs, and the potential new business potentially coming from them in the future.  As part of the review, consider the variations between sales, leasing, and property management needs.  You can also obtain fees from project leasing, tenant retention planning, special lease reviews, and renovation or refurbishment strategies.  You will need full and complete details relative to the clients property ownership portfolio, and the lifecycle relative to property holding.  Understand the pressures that apply to the portfolio including property age, tenant volatility, income potential, and lease expiry.  All of these things can lead to professional service requirements and extra fees.
  2. Given the previous point, determine the reasons for ongoing contact based on the clients requirements and the fee potential.  Every contact call, meeting, and direct mail piece should be consistently focusing on the biggest need that you believe applies to the client and their portfolio.  Create consistency in your contact plan by including this determined need factor.
  3. At a minimum or basic frequency, you should be contacting all of your clients or prospects at least once every 90 days.  When you know that the person is moving to some property activity the contact cycle should shorten and be much more specific.  It is a known fact that the ongoing contact made to a single client in this way will build agency relevance and immediacy.  After the second or third contact to the client, you are likely to get better conversions to new business activity.  The organisation behind this process should involve a database with suitable flexibility.
  4. The client contacting process or system that you create should involve dialogue practice.  Call contact and meeting activity will be a daily process.  You can improve your conversions in both of these situations through prospecting and dialogue practice.  Determine the weaknesses that you have when it comes to dialogue and presentations, then take some steps to improve those weaknesses given the prevailing market conditions.
  5. Gather some up to date market information relating to the local area and particular property types.  Display that information in various ways including charts, market trends, photographs, and benchmarking.  This information will give you substance and confidence when it comes to connecting with your clients and prospects.

A client contact strategy in commercial real estate is a very specific process.  If requires planning and consistency.  Over time you will find that the process will help you establish a stronger market share and generate many more quality listings.

 

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Commercial Real Estate Agents – 6 Tips to Improve Your Sales and Leasing Documentation

When it comes to strengthening your commission and listing opportunity in commercial real estate agency, you really do need to establish systems and processes that can support client contact and transaction accuracy.  Attention to detail will be part of that process.  Your knowledge of property type, documentation, fiduciary obligations, and client services are all critical to building your business professionally as a top agent.

It is interesting to note that many agents have been and will be sued due to negligence, documentary omissions, and poor professional services.  There is really no place in the industry for poor quality agents with below standard business practices and knowledge.  Over time their shortcomings in skills and knowledge will unravel their market share and can have an impact on future business for the agency.

So let’s say that you do have some shortcomings at the moment when it comes to documentation and professional services.  If that is the case, you do need to consider how your knowledge can be improved and skills developed.  In this industry, we never stop learning.  Over time you come across so many new and unique issues that require personal development.  Every property type can be regarded as unique when it comes to skill requirements.  Build your knowledge wherever you can through relationships and education.

Here are some rules to help you with strengthening your property transactions and opportunities:

  1. Keep a paper trail that is accurate and up to date with every property transaction.  It is surprising how frequently people will misunderstand or forget what has occurred relative to a verbal conversation.  You do need to back up your actions and transactions with a solid and accurate paper trail.
  2. Any verbal instructions or agreements should be documented in writing.  Whether that be in a legal document, an e-mail, or a letter you will need to make the right choice for the circumstances required.
  3. The marketing of a property should be fully approved in accordance with the clients instructions prior to commencement.  Get all of the draft advertising material approved by the client prior to lodgement and activation.
  4. Before you act on any property listing on behalf of the client, ensure that you have a legally binding and correct listing appointment document.  Some agents will ‘bend the rules’ and get the listing appointment signed later on; they then find that the client will avoid paying commission at a later stage.  There are also some big questions that arise here when it comes to risk and liability when inspecting a property that you have no valid listing appointment over.  Without a valid listing appointment, you cannot quote a listing.
  5. Understand the clients instructions from the outset.  Follow their guidelines and their targets when it comes to pricing, rental, marketing, and inspections.  Keep the client fully up to date when it comes to the latest property activity and the status of any negotiation.
  6. Ultimately you will be moving a listing to a contract or lease situation.  Some properties are quite complex and the associated documentation will be similarly so.  That being said, you do need to understand the complexities of the document required; when in doubt involve the appropriate legal specialists to help with the documentation.  Every document created as part of a sale or leasing transaction should be valid and enforceable.  In that way you protect your commission and client relationships.

You can likely add to this list based on your property type and location.  The clear message here is that professionalism is a key component of your commercial real estate business.  Strengthen your skills and improve your processes.

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Being Adaptable as a Commercial Real Estate Agent Wins More Business

In commercial real estate agency, you should be adaptable to the challenges of the property market today, and the requirements of the client.  This is really easy to do when you are a specialist in a property type and a location.

As a specialist in a property type and location you will or should understand the factors of pricing, rentals, tenancy mix, time on market, marketing, and negotiation.  You are the specialist that can take over the clients property challenge and turn it into a successful property outcome.  Specialization is the key to the process.

The clients that we work for require the right information and strategically relevant skills on the part of their agent.  If you pitch and present your services correctly, your conversion to an exclusive listing will be quite easy.

Those agents today with an abundance of ‘open’ listings are those agents that have not sufficiently branded themselves as experts in the local area.  They have no real point of difference when it comes to pitching their services.  The clients they work with can see no real benefit in exclusive listing with a particular agent.  If you want more exclusive listings, you will need to solve that perception.  I go back to the point that specialization as a property agent is essential to the process.  Top agents win more exclusive listings and that is the rule not the exception.

To be adaptable as a specialist real estate agent means that you have the necessary skills and the information required to handle the following situations comfortably:

  1. A client requires a vacancy in a property to be leased efficiently and effectively.  The tenancy may have been vacant for some time.  The client therefore requires innovative solutions that apply to the leasing process.  They need that vacancy filled as soon as possible.
  2. A vacant property requires repositioning in the market so that it may be sold or leased.  The pressures of the prevailing market conditions and the zoning requirements set the guidelines for the target market and the efforts that you need to undertake.
  3. At commercial or retail property has reached the end of its economic life given its current and present usage.  On that basis the property needs to be subjected to a material change of use and redevelopment.  As part of that process you will need to consider the approvals and strategies behind local planning and development.
  4. The client’s property may be under-performing from an income perspective.  You should know how to review the tenancy mix, lease profiles, rental strategies, lease documentation, and outgoings recoveries.  On that basis you will soon see the discrepancies when it comes to income recovery and growth.  You can add to this assessment the rules and legalities that apply to rent review negotiations, lease option negotiations, tenancy relocations, and redevelopment alternatives.
  5. The client’s property today may be a future sales opportunity.  In leading to that sales situation, they may have challenges that apply to the tenancy mix and the income profile.  Over time you can help them with income modification and capital growth.

You can look at a property from a number of different perspectives.  It may be vacant, unimproved, leased, or vacant.  The value for the property can also be determined in a number of ways based on the identified potential and the prevailing market conditions.  To assess the value of the property, you can cross reference two or three methods of valuation or appraisal to see what will work when it comes to any future listing price and marketing opportunity.

The top agents in a commercial real estate agency today are very adaptable.  They understand how to move across the requirements and changes of the market.  They know how to match the client and their property to the prevailing market conditions.  You can do the same.  Get to know your market and how it is changing and growing.