Building a Healthy Sales Team in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

There are many different characters in a successful commercial real estate sales team.  That being said, the characters all require management and direction.  Rarely will you find a good sales team without its challenges.  It is the job of the sales manager or agency principal to bring the best performance out of the team given the characters and the skills of the individuals.

A healthy sales team can be built around the following strategies:

  1. Make sure that you have a good mix of skills in the team relating to your local area and property type.  Certain properties require particular skills across sales, leasing, and property management.
  2. Every sales team will have its strengths and weaknesses.  Understand what they are and work with them or through them.
  3. The sharing of skills between individuals will be helpful.  It is a good process to introduce trainee cadets or sales cadets into the team structure.  The top performing agents can then be the benchmark or the learning leverage to help new people get into the industry and move ahead.
  4. Your sales territory, town, or city is likely to have specific requirements of property knowledge, negotiation, marketing, and documentation.  Merge a training process into the weekly sales team meeting so that everyone can learn the critical skills and strategies needed to put successful sales or lease transactions together.
  5. Practice helps everyone improve.  Role playing and team discussions will help everyone understand the pressures of the market and the changes to enquiries.  Nothing remains the same in our industry.  Throughout the year there will be plenty of changes to adjust to when it comes to rentals, prices, documentation, methods of sale, and methods of lease.  The right choices and training will help the team achieve more success from the local area.
  6. Accountability is a big issue in commercial real estate today.  Top agents take action and understand the need for accountability.  Every member of the sales team should be held to task when it comes to things needing to be done, and information to be shared.  A top sales team is one that works together and wins together.
  7. Personal budgets and performance plans are part of the commercial real estate process.  Every agent within the team should have a realistic budget set within their area and skill base.  Every month the performance budget should be checked against the actual results.  When any weaknesses exist in the team they can then be quickly addressed; don’t let poor performance exist for too long without taking action to fix the problem.
  8. Head off any conflicts and disputes in the team early.  A poorly performing agent or uncooperative agent can soon disrupt team performance.  A degree of competition and achievement between the sales agents is always useful, but lack of cooperation and respect is not needed.
  9. Leadership is a big issue when it comes to the performance of the team in commercial property today.  The leader of the team should have a complete understanding of property market conditions, negotiation standards, business processes, and team performance.  There must be a good degree of respect in both directions when it comes to the team leader and the members of the sales team.
  10. Any individual sales agent or broker, they should be tracking results in commissions, listings, meetings, and prospecting.  They should also be defining the ideal client and customer to focus on.  Over time the quality of listing will allow market share to improve.  Ask questions of every member of the team to ensure that they have the right targets and results in mind.
  11. Administrative activities in commercial real estate today can be quite demanding and intense.  On that basis it is wise to have administrative support people to back up the sales team.  In that way the successful salesperson can get into the market more effectively and find more leads and opportunities.
  12. Time management is something that all agents should personally control.  Every day should be effective and optimized for find new listings, and creating client contact.

Given all of these things, there are plenty of things to do in helping a property sales team improve over time.  Commercial real estate today is a changing and evolving market with the pressures and opportunities across sales, leasing, and property management.  Help your sales team to develop the skills and penetrate the market at a high level.

How to Play the Numbers Game in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

In commercial real estate brokerage, most successful sales people must play the ‘numbers game’ when it comes to new business and market share.  Without an awareness of the right numbers and just where they are headed, any opportunity for growth can be overlooked or not captured by the agent.

So what are the numbers to be tracked?  Here are a few of the important ones:

  • The size of the real estate market – every sales person should understand just how big their market is and how they are positioned within it.  That assessment will include the numbers of properties, numbers of businesses, and the historic sales and leasing records over the last couple of years.  From those facts they can assess just how they can improve with more market share.
  • The number of competing agents and brokers – every town or city will have competing agents in differing segments.  Some of those agents will be better than others.  There will also be specialisation factors that make some agents dominant in a market segment.
  • Prices and rents – during the year there will be fluctuations in price and rent.  That will occur across property types and in zones within the town or city.  Every agent must know how the prices and rents for property deals are trending.
  • Current listings – the other local properties should be watched for time on market, marketing method, success or failure, and enquiry rates.  Some properties will be more ‘popular’ than others.  Quality properties will always attract more enquiries.  Exclusive listings will help you with market share; you should control your listing stock wherever possible.
  • Internet listings – a lot of enquiry today is generated from the internet.  On that basis it is necessary to track online listing numbers by agent and brokerage.  It is best to do that on a Saturday when other things are less pressing in time.  You can also visit those properties to see if they are of relevance to your market activities.
  • Commissions and conversions – all top sales people and brokers should be tracking their personal commissions and conversions.  They should understand how their market is improving or expanding.  Those numbers can be compared to the local averages and the other brokers.
  • Numbers of signboards – the traditional signboard is still highly effective as a marketing tool.  The greater number of boards that you have placed in your sales territory, the better your enquiry rates will be.  That fact being said, focus on signboards on exclusive listings at all times; control your stock and your market.

So this information will help a broker or agent with self-improvement and market development.  Some would say that it takes time to track these things, and they would be right, however progress in any sales role takes understanding and tracking.  That’s what this is all about.

Goal Setting Tips for Commercial Real Estate Agents

In commercial real estate agency the goal setting process is quite important to the new business, listings, and commissions that you must to create.  Without those goals and targets it is hard to know if you are improving individually, and or if that is applying across the team.  Rarely will an entire team all reach peak listing and commission performance at the same time.

Any real estate agency without a successful performance management system and established goal structure is an agency that is doomed to failure.  So many things happen given a seasonal listing and sales cycle that the trends and results from the market just have to be tracked; that tracking then should be related back to the performance of individual agents and salespeople.  A successful real estate agency is a team effort.

Every property market is different and the same can be said of competing agencies within a market.  The mix of property offering, listings available, and agency staff capability will all create challenges. Here are some rules to help you establish your goals and targets:

  1. Define the period and the market segment that will apply to the goals to be set.  At any one time there will be differences between office, industrial, and retail property. The same can be said for sales and leasing activity in each.  Assess your competitors as part of that process.  What is your market share?
  2. Understand the history of the area when it comes to property transactions and time on market.  Look for the patterns that apply to market activity.  In any period of 12 months there is usually an activity period of 10 months where most of the business will come in.  Look for the lag time between listing and closing on a transaction.  What are people looking for in the market today and do you have plenty of those listings on your books or available for prospecting?
  3. What growth can you see in the property market and in what segments?  Get details of the changes to population and business growth in your local area.  Is there to be further opportunity for growth in those segments?
  4. Look for additional income or commission streams that can be built from sales and leasing activity.  Generally that will be in property management, tenant retention planning, project leasing, renovation, or relocation strategies and plans.  Set the critical factors of performance that matter to the business.
  5. Work from a basis of team goals and break that back to team members, territories, transactions, and property types.  Get the team to come back with their estimates and targets given their market segments and property types.
  6. Set regular updates and progress meetings from those established and agreed goals.

A successful commercial real estate agency is a reflection of established business performance plans.  The team targets are realistic for the available skill mix and the prevailing market conditions.