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.
Signboards in commercial real estate are a critical part of branding for both the brokerage and also for the agent. The greater number of signs you have in your territory the easier it is for you to build your listing opportunities.
Most of the clients that use our services don’t want to list their property with a ‘secret agent’. They want the agent with the best exposure to the market that can attract the enquiry fast and efficiently. Signboards help with that.
I should qualify this further and say that ‘exclusive listings’ are better for your signboard profile and exposure. On that basis every sales pitch and presentation should be centred on converting a listing in that way. Top agents dominate the market with ‘exclusives’. When you control the listing stock, the market has to come to you. That assumes that you have listed the property correctly and at a market rent or price.
So let’s go back to the matter of ‘signs’. Here are some tips to using this marketing tool effectively for building your profile individually and for the brokerage.
- Do a ‘sign count’ each weekend so you know exactly your position in the market with listings and board visibility. This monitoring process also gets you into your territory on a regular basis so it helps with market awareness. The best time to do the ‘count’ is on a weekend when traffic and access is easy. For some brokers this is first thing on Sunday morning.
- Understand the regulations that apply to the placement and approval of boards on properties. Some local councils or municipalities will have regulations that set some rules to stick to.
- Have a contractor check your signs weekly for vandalism or weather damage. Nothing detracts more from a listing than a damaged sign.
- On any quality listing and particularly any exclusive listing, the board cost should be covered by the vendor paid marketing fees. On that basis the board should be specially created for the listing and the location.
- Use ‘dot points’ on the sign so the features of the property are easily read and captured by passing traffic.
- Put a reference of the property on the board so the person reading the information can call you and quote a reference number to take you immediately to the listing information. Be prepared to take telephone enquiries about a property at any time (that includes weekends).
- Size does matter in this type of property marketing. Understand the best legal size for the board and its placement strategy. Face the board to the passing traffic.
- When you place a board on a property, directly contact all surrounding businesses and property owners. A new listing is an excuse to talk to many people in the area.
Respect the opportunity in marketing that this sign strategy offers you. It is silent and yet so effective. All quality listings should feature a great signage marketing solution.
In commercial real estate today, you will find that the competition and the market can become quite frustrating unless you are taking sustained and consistent action each and every day. The agents that rise to the top of the market are those that have an action plan and a business strategy.
It stands to reason that the best commercial agents and brokers have the best business plan. Certainly that is the case; however their business plan is supported by business activity and consistent focus.
Here are some strategies to help you with establishing your market share and business activity. You can modify the list or add to it as appropriate given your sales territory and brokerage brand:
- Don’t spread yourself too thinly in the marketplace. Concentrate your prospecting on a zone by zone basis. Each zone can contain approximately 100 properties.
- Track and measure all of your activities with particular attention being paid to prospecting and cold calling. Every day ensure that you are reaching out to new people as part of your growth of customer base.
- Determine exactly who the key clients are that you should be working with. You will need to identify them and find them. That research can take time, so each night you should be researching the calls and the contacts to make the next day.
- Check out all of the listings in the local sales territory or focus area. Understand the listings that are creating the most interest today. Look for the listing opportunities within the most commonly attractive property types and locations.
- Some properties will be offered for sale or for lease by owners. In most cases, those owners will not have the market penetration or the skills required to develop significant levels of enquiry. On that basis you can merge these property owners into your prospecting system. It is interesting to note that their motivation for self-marketing is usually to save on commission. When they list with an agency or broker, they tend to load the price accordingly so that the net price or rent result is the same. If you are going to work with these property owners, condition them to the prevailing market conditions, and be prepared to walk away from an overly inflated price or rental structure.
- Connect with the clients that you have acted for previously to understand their needs and requirements for property in the future. Ask for referral business where possible.
To be effective in this market place as a top agent, you do need to track and measure your activities on a daily basis. In this way you can see what is working for you and the things that are wasting your time. Refine your skills and your actions accordingly. Directed habits towards successful actions will take you to the top of the market with quality listings and good clients.
In commercial real estate agency and brokerage, cold calling is an essential part of the business building process. Every agent and every broker should undertake a number of cold calls every day to build their market share with new people and new prospects.
In any property market and at any time, there will be new people to approach regards the professional services that you can provide in sales, leasing, or property management. At least 25 new calls should be made every day to new people that you have not spoken to before. It will take you 2 hours to make those calls. From doing that, you will nearly always reach approximately 10 or 12 people in one sitting and from that you can get one or two new meetings. That is how you get the new relationships started.
So you need to establish your cold calling process to take your business forward as an agent or broker. You should also practice your dialogue. Here are some ideas to help you with that:
- It is hard to get traction in the cold calling process without practice. This means that you will need to refine your dialogue and improve it over time. This can be done each morning as part of your preparation for the working day. You can practice call conversations as you drive to work. Without any other person in the motor vehicle, you have the opportunity to refine your scripts and your conversational ability for the cold calls that need to be done.
- Each evening you can prepare a list of 25 people to call and approach the next day. Given that we work with mainly property investors and business owners, it is really quite easy to establish a list of contacts to call. The business telephone book will give you plenty of telephone numbers. In addition to that, you can research one or two property owners each day to add to the list.
- Split your prospecting territory up into zones. That will allow you to focus your call processes to particular streets and business types. As a general rule, you should be travelling through the streets of your territory each day to identify any opportunities that you can see.
- It is best to get the calls done first thing at the start of the day. In that way nothing can interfere with your progress and prospecting system. Avoid making or attending meetings at the start of the day so that you can get your prospecting done efficiently and effectively.
- Track your call progress in a database that you personally maintain. Where possible, use a computer for this process, and have a telephone and the computer in front of you as part of making the cold calls. You can then enter the results of calls into the database immediately.
- Purchase a headset to use as part of the call prospecting system. The immediate advantage here is that you will have your hands free to record the results of the conversation. One other clear advantage is that you can stand up as part of the calling process. It is well known that call conversations made from a standing position are far more effective and connecting than those from a sitting position at a desk.
- Understand the rules that apply to the do not call register in your area. Ensure that you are adhering to those rules in making the calls.
- Track and measure your call activity and meeting conversions. The primary object of making a call should be to create a meeting with people that have a future or current need in commercial property.
- Collect e-mail addresses and mobile telephone numbers as part of the prospecting activity. Get the permission of the person that you are speaking to for ongoing contact so you can send relevant property information and advise them of market activity.
The prospecting process does not need to be hard. The telephone can be a distinct advantage when it comes to building better market share and growing your database. That being said, it does require a diligent focus and ongoing activity. That is a personal skill and a personal process.
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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