In commercial real estate agency, the sales team can be a powerful force in the market if the team works together. The disciplines of sales, leasing, and property management all require special people with special skills. As the properties that you work on become more complex, the team involvement process will help all your presentations and sales pitches.
So you can have either of these situations in your real estate agency:
- You can have a group of top salespeople that all do their own thing in marketing, prospecting, and listing.
- You can have a group of top salespeople and agency staff that are industry and property specialists and that pull together on the bigger listings to strengthen the service and coverage.
If I was a commercial real estate client today I know what I would prefer from the agency, and on that basis I would choose the second approach in granting an agent the listing. If you focus on quality listings, the property may just be so special and unique that you cannot do everything on your own. Bring other team members around you to help the sales pitch and the listing conversion.
Here are a few things that can help the team approach:
- A leasing opportunity is a reason to get your top property managers involved to review and address blow outs in property operational costs, lease documents, or tenancy mix. Over time this extra service will help you convert a property management listing.
- A leasing opportunity will help you with the client relationship and open the door on a potential sale at the right time.
- Property management appointments will create new business leads and deals in leasing and sales. Over time, the services and staff in your property management division should be of the highest quality to preserve and protect the future sale or lease requirements. Choose your property management staff wisely so they can protect this portion of your agency business. Use your property management staff as part of every pitch on quality property locally.
- Whilst you may be seeking just a sales listing appointment for your property, have your ‘marketing coordinators’ from your agency attend the listing presentation to give specialist comment on just how the marketing will work and where the enquiry is coming from today. Use graphs of response levels shown in the current promotional categories of website, internet, email, direct marketing, signboards, flyers, and cold calling. Use your database as leverage in the discussion.
It is not hard to win a commercial or retail real estate listing if you work as a team and use the skills of each person as the specialists that they are. Get your best people involved in your presentations.
In commercial and retail property, a top leasing agent will make a lot of commissions. That is because they specialise. They know the local businesses that are looking to move over the coming years and they work towards putting the right deals together.
In reality, landlords need the top leasing agents to help them that really understand the local area. Those top agents will have their market covered in a comprehensive database of tenant movement, lease strategies, rent alternatives, and marketing ideas. Finding the right tenant for the right property is a real skill.
Landlords do not need an agent that just knows how to lease. Anyone can put a sign on a property and list it on the internet. When you are a ‘top agent’ you will have the market coming to you because of that intense and relevant market knowledge. You will also know who are soon to be moving and for what reason. Market intelligence is invaluable in our market today as businesses change location and seek better leasing deals.
These are the skills and knowledge factors of a top leasing agent today:
- They have a comprehensive awareness of what all the local tenants are doing in their current leases. They know when those leases will expire and will work towards helping those tenants in the last year of their lease to find something of better value or relevance to the business.
- They know where the successful businesses are that will need property change. They look for tenants in pressured occupation. Expansion or contraction factors are major triggers when it comes to property leasing.
- Top agents know the landlords of the area and the best properties that create the major interest. When you can relate to those properties and the existing tenant mix, you will soon see property change and opportunity in each.
- Rentals will change from property to property and location to location. To a great degree, the rentals in any location are driven by the rate of tenant enquiry and the supply and demand for leasing space. As part of that equation it is wise to keep a close eye on the upcoming property developments in the local area. It takes about 2 years from approval to completion when it comes to getting a new investment property established. That being said, the property developer will be offering some very real incentives to attract tenants even before the property comes out of the ground.
- Lease terms and conditions are sometimes standard to a property or landlord, but they will also be influenced by the rate and type of local property enquiry. A lease that is offered for a vacant space should be matched to the prevailing market conditions and current lease enquiry. You may need to create incentives to attract that lease enquiry.
- Franchise tenants are a good source of lease enquiry. Top agents work the franchise groups to find the right properties that suit them. Those franchise groups will have a priority in location and lease terms. Get to know what the franchise groups want.
To be the best leasing agent, you can dominate your market when you know what the tenants, the landlords, and the properties are doing. Isn’t that what we should do anyway?
Many commercial real estate agents find the cold calling process very frustrating. They generally have a lot of reluctance to the entire concept and will avoid it at every opportunity. The fact of the matter is that cold calling really works; it does however require personal skill and correct focus.
If you can develop a cold calling process that works for you as a commercial agent, you will find more prospects and better quality listings in the local area. Generally you will find them faster and more effectively than the competitors and other agents in your area. Isn’t that what the industry is all about?
To beat the cold call reluctance problem, there are a number of key factors to help you get the system underway. Here are some tips to help you establish your prospecting model using the telephone:
- Perhaps the biggest single issue to get under control is that of creating a new habit. The cold calling process has to be a new habit in your daily diary. After many years of doing business in a different way, you now need to change processes to ensure that cold call prospecting features in your business system. This single factor can take some weeks to achieve. Habits take time to modify and improve.
- The successful prospecting process is actually built on a conversation; it should not be built on the pitch. There is no point in pitching for something unless you know there is a need. Given that most calls made will be to people who have not spoken to before, you will really not know if they have a need or a requirement in commercial real estate. Questions are the key to creating a conversation. The conversation is the key to understanding future opportunity.
- Many salespeople make the common error of driving the conversation from the first point of contact and talking about what they do. The conversation, if you can call it that, quickly becomes single sided. The people that you are approaching over the telephone soon understand that they are being subjected to a poorly skilled salesperson. The general result is that the call will be terminated within the first minute. The successful mindset of the call contact concept is that of questioning to see if the other person has a requirement.
- Some of the best agents are great conversationalists. They don’t pitch. They know that the conversation correctly formulated, will open the door for future opportunity.
- Define your territory and property type so you can focus your efforts in prospecting. When you do this, you methodically move through the streets and the businesses to identify commercial real estate opportunity and intentions. Some of the people you talk to will be tenants in occupation, whilst other people may own the property outright. Either way you can help them at the right time.
Generally speaking, the prospecting process is not that hard. It is just a mindset that holds back salespeople from attempting the skill development required. Challenge yourself, change your mindset, and improve your client contact system.