Cold Calling is Not Dead in Commercial Real Estate Agency

If someone tells you that ‘cold calling is dead’ in commercial real estate they are misleading you.  They are ignoring the real evidence of the market.  Making regular prospecting cold calls is a key part of the business for any commercial real estate agent.  Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

So why do other people come up with this great prediction and revelation on the ‘dead nature’ of cold call prospecting?  They are selling a product and they are simply playing to the rejection factors and call reluctance problems that many salespeople struggle with.

Don’t make the mistake of ‘taking the easy way out’ when it comes to prospecting.  It is a fact that calling new and fresh people in your property market each day will help you build your listing market share faster than anything else.  There are lots of people to call so the process has to occur if you want to succeed as an agent.

Top agents know that they have to make the calls and that is a fact of the market.  Here are some proven call strategies to help you get your prospecting systems underway:

  1. Most agents will not be making lots of cold calls every day and each week, so on that basis you can have a distinct prospecting advantage when you get the process under control.
  2. The best times to make the calls are in the morning first up and later in the afternoon.  You will connect with more business owners and tenants at those times.
  3. Approach the process on the basis of seeing if the person you call has a need or an interest in local commercial and retail property.  If you research your market beforehand you can work your calls from a base of local business owners and operators.  That will quickly lead to other local property information and leads.
  4. Use a database that is flexible and convenient.  If you are going to make lots of calls you really must track your results.  From the outbound calls understand your contact ratios and conversions to meetings.  From 30 calls and 15 connections made you should get 2 meetings of consequence.  That can be a daily process.  How long does it take you to make the calls?  About 2 hours.  On that basis you must be prepared beforehand.
  5. The cycle of commercial real estate activity for many clients and business owners can be quite long (months and years).  On that basis you should keep in ongoing call contact every 90 days.

The next time you hear someone say that ‘cold calling is dead’, laugh at them and make more calls.  Your market share will be far bigger than theirs in commercial real estate as you make the calls and keep the process going.

6 Ways to Build Your Commercial Real Estate Agency Market Share

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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.

Tips for Finding and Working with More Clients in Commercial Real Estate

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Myths About Commercial Real Estate Agency

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.

Top Commercial Real Estate Agent Proposal – Laws of Attraction

In commercial real estate today, the proposal that you provide to the client is at least 50% of your business winning strategy.  The other 50% is your ability to connect and communicate the right message to the client about the property and the local property market.

This then says that your proposal structure should be carefully considered and crafted to suit the situation.  Generic proposals are really a waste of time.

You need to make your strategy and offering stand out as the best solution to the client given the challenges that they face today.

Here are some ideas to help your client proposal structure in sales, leasing, or property management.

  1. At the very front of the document you should have an executive summary.  That part of the document can only be inserted after the proposal has been put together, and after you have completed the necessary recommendations and strategies.  That being said, the executive summary is perhaps the most important part of the document to focus the client on your ideas and recommendations.  The summary should be no more than two pages in length and should be structured around clear dot points.  The executive summary can make your sales pitch and presentation far more effective and relevant.
  2. The length of a proposal document can vary depending on property complexity.  You should however give preference to simplicity in layout and a document that is easy to understand, read, and interpret.  Many clients will not read past the first few pages of the proposal document.  Most proposal documents should be no more than 25 pages in length.  Many will be less than 12 pages in length.
  3. It is important to clarify the facts about the property and the challenges that the client faces.  That should occur early in your document layout so the client understands that you are on their wavelength.
  4. Provide details of the local property market together with competing properties, prices, rentals, and time on market.  This information will give you a solid base to recommend marketing strategies and sales or leasing alternatives.
  5. Every client likes to make some choices and have some control.  For this reason your recommendations should have two or three alternative choices for the client to consider.  Invariably they will usually choose the middle recommendation that is neither too expensive nor poorly structured.
  6. Some clients will have definite concerns regards the local property market today, and where their property sits in relation to that.  Develop a question and answer process to insert into your proposal where you can handle those troubling factors that the client has raised with you.
  7. Provide a a graphing process to show the client the way you will take them as part of the marketing campaign.  A Gantt chart is the best graph to use.
  8. The fee structure will form an important part of the document and is usually placed towards the rear.  That being said, you should structure your fees competitively but also realistically for the amount of work involved in the listing or appointment.

There is always a basic structure to a proposal, but the main part of the document will always be focused on the property.  In this way you show relevance to the client as the top agent with the right skills to help them solve the property problem.

Databases Build Your Commercial Real Estate Agent Career Fast

In this commercial real estate market today you must have a database to capture all of the contact detail that you create each and every day.  Over time you will come to know or meet many hundreds of people.  The more of those that you know on a personal level the better it will be for you as a ‘top agent’.

Here are some tips from our Newsletter….

In saying all of this I am a great believer in the fact that the database that you use should be personally managed.  That means that you enter the data and access the database every time you have your meetings or make your calls.  The information that you collect and load about your contacts must be accurate and up to date.  This will only be achieved if you take ownership of the process.

Here are some tips to establishing the data about all of your contacts and clients:

  1. Constant contact is a very important part of the process.  Every person in the database should be contacted at least once every 90 days without fail.  For those people that are more active and relevant to the property market currently, you should be speaking to them every 30 days.  When you do your numbers and base it on your working hours in the office, you will soon see that commitment to the process must be systemised.
  2. Most of your data entry can occur as you talk on the telephone, whilst other information can be entered at the end of the day when you have more ‘free time’.
  3. Split all of your data into groups.  They will usually be vendors, purchasers, property investors, tenants, business owners, and property professionals.  Those groups will then need to be split into property needs, prices, rents, areas, and timing.  Not all software will do that for you; however choose the best package that you can afford.  Importantly the software should allow you to export your data in a common file form such as a CSV file.  You must be able to export your information to a common spread sheet easily whenever you want to.
  4. All of your contacts should be able to get an auto responder email from you.  Make sure that the software you use integrates with some auto responder email service. That process will save you a lot of time in sending the right information to the right people when a new or fresh listing comes onto the market.

If you keep a good database and make more calls every day to new people, you will find the market open up for you in many different ways.  It takes time, but you manage your time anyway; so you know where the secret is to agent success in this industry.  Good luck with your systems.

You can get more tips like this in our Newsletter.