Here are some more topics for commercial real estate brokers and agents around the world. In today’s program we cover 1. Common problems with real estate websites, 2. Some effective territory farming activities and ideas, 3. Using marketing postcards in prospecting and networking. These are commercial real estate coaching programs by John Highman.
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.
You can get more commercial real estate training tips in our newsletter right here.
In commercial real estate agency it is wise to plan your prospecting efforts and actions. On an average working day many different things will put pressure on your prospecting. Unfortunately many agents will drop the prospecting activity for the slightest reason. Over time that single choice will have a major impact on the way they grow their business and market share.
So you have some choices here:
- You can grow your real estate business and market share through directed effort each day on a client, property, and street by street basis, or
- You can randomly make calls and contacts if and when time permits.
The comfort zone is a big challenge for many agents and it will slow their listing chances and commissions given half a chance. When time gets tough, keep prospecting and stick to your plan.
To solve all of these issues it is best to have the prospecting plan that gets you in front of more property investors and business owners. It has to be specific and relevant to your property market and sales or leasing territory.
Not everyone that you talk to will want to do business with you or even discuss property issues; that is quite OK as you really should not waste you valuable time on people that do not have a need or and interest. Talk to more people and build your skill in doing so. Over time that one single fact will help you in so many ways to become a top real estate agent.
Many new brokers and agents to the industry struggle with finding clients and prospects to talk to as part of prospecting. The soon know that growing market share and commissions depends on one thing only and that is prospecting; when they get focused on it they also soon know that prospecting is a complex and dedicated process.
Here is a prospecting plan for you. Expect it to be a challenge to your diary and daily activities.
- Get to know the streets and businesses in your primary sales and leasing territory. On a street by street basis, identify the property owners and the businesses in occupancy. Talk to both. Find out what they are doing in property now and in the future.
- Review the other listings in the area that are listed with other agents. Use those listings as reasons to talk to other property owners and businesses in the same street and general location.
- Check out the old sale records for your region. Find those property owners that purchased property about 3 or 4 years ago. On average those property owners are going to be the next to come back into the market in some form or another. Connect with them for that process.
- Every property listing that you have on your books will be an excuse to talk to other businesses and investors. Use your quality listings in this way. Over time your current listings will give you more leads and information to act on.
- Walk the streets in your property precinct. You will find and see information that you can work with. Take plenty of business cards with you to leave at the reception desks, and with the business owners that you see or drop into.
- Use the telephone to make plenty of cold and warm calls to your market and business owners. Track your progress and your calls with a good database.
Prospecting in commercial real estate does not need to be hard but it does need to be systemised. In that way you can steadily improve your market share.
You can get more commercial real estate training tips in our Newsletter right here.
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.
Today your efforts as a top commercial real estate agent just have to grab the attention of the market. You must prospect with system and effort. In this way you can build more opportunity around you in listings and clients.
There is no point in being the best local agent if the market knows nothing about you. You might be the specialist that everyone needs today, but the message has to get out to the people that need you. Your personal marketing plan has to do this. It is an ongoing process and effort, but the rewards are there for the agents that work hard at it.
Here are some prospecting tools and systems that will help you in commercial and retail real estate agency today.
- Previous sales in the area are a great source of opportunity today. What you do here is to go back in time to about 3 years ago. Look for the sales and lease deals beyond that point. They are going to be (on average) the next transactions to come into the market. Commercial real estate is built on a cycle of ownership and leasing. Work out what the cycle of time is and prospect in front of the cycle.
- Other agent’s boards give you the opportunity to talk to local property owners in the immediate vicinity of that board. They may like to compete with the current listing. They are more likely to do that with a competing agent such as you.
- Your signboards will build profile across the market. Make sure that your name and contact details are on as many boards as possible. Ensure that all your exclusive listings have special signboards of high quality. Standard signboards should only be used on open listings.
- Business owners locally know more about the area than you do. Get to talk to them and see what their property needs are. Ask them about the business and property changes locally.
- For sale by owners are always targets for us. In most cases these owners should be left to struggle for some time until they feel the pressure of the market. The fact of the matter is that most buyers and tenants would prefer to deal with an agent as part of any negotiation on a property.
- Cold calling and door knocking is a daily requirement in our industry. Make sure that you devote 3 hours to the process every day. I will say that many agents hate it for a variety of reasons; this makes it better for the people that can do it.
- Use a good database software program to capture your contact activity and plan your email newsletters and ongoing call contact.
All of this takes systems on the part of the salesperson. When you get these things under control, the property market starts to open up for you.
In many respects, you as the local commercial real estate agent will have some geographical territory and property type in which you specialise. When you specialise, you can provide much more value to the client with comprehensive local market information. It also helps you greatly when it comes to pricing and marketing solutions. Here are some tips from our Agents Newsletter.
To help you here, you can create a property inspection report process to be used for many different reasons and client requirements. The report can become a checklist around which you can base your recommendations and marketing strategies.
Here are some categories that can be merged into your property inspection report. Add to the list based on your specialist property type. Also add the geographical factors that may have an impact on any listing.
- The ownership of the property will need to be completely checked against the information provided by the client. Make sure that you’re dealing with the right people and decision makers.
- Review the description of the property and the title. Check out any encumbrances and rights of way that may have some impact on the title, the tenants, and the property ownership.
- You will sometimes find that there are issues relating to neighbouring properties and the local precinct that are not detailed on the title. Boundaries are a good example of that situation. Ask the client for an update regards any current outstanding issues that need to be resolved prior to the commencement of any listing and or marketing. Take notes in this process given that the information can have significant impact on future negotiations, or leases, and contracts.
- If the property contains tenants, you will need to review the leases comprehensively. Each lease can have strengths and weaknesses that can apply to the income stream and the property ownership. When looking at a property with a number of leases and tenants, take the time to go through the tenancy mix report, the tenancy schedule, and the lease profiles. You will need original lease documentation to do that, and expect that the process will take many hours if not days.
- Review the services and amenities that apply to the property and the current condition. Add to that the details of property improvements, strengths and weaknesses, zoning, and rates and taxes. It is worthwhile checking that the permitted use of the asset complies with the local zoning and approved development plans.
- Review the income stream for the property both in gross rental, and net rental. Review the outgoings for the property that apply on an annual basis. Check those outgoings against similar properties in the same area today. You need to know that your property is competitive when it comes to gross and net income. The net income will have an impact on the potential price that you may achieve a sale.
- Ask questions about the history of the property and the improvements over time. The landlord, the tenants, and the neighbouring property owners will have some value in this process.
All of these things lead to a solid set of recommendations that can be made towards the property marketing program in today’s economic climate. All of these things will give you relevant ideas to help in the promotional marketing activity.
You can get more tips like this in your Agents Newsletter.