In commercial real estate agency, you do need to create a successful sales plan for yourself personally. In that way you can reach your target audience and create the market share that you require. There will always be a lot of listings to attract and clients to serve. It is just a matter of finding them.
So what will be your special market? Will it be sales, leasing, property management or projects? Some of these things cross over to others so versatility is required.
A sales plan for an agent is quite a specific thing. It allows you to focus your efforts on a daily basis into the target market of property owners and property investors. Whilst there are different ways to approach the matter, here are some tips to help you.
- Define your market location on a map. Use geographical boundaries and freeways to establish the area in which you will focus all of your prospecting. There will be certain pockets of activity that will be of high priority within that zone. Look for the areas of growth where the properties and the tenants are desirable and active.
- Determine the type of property that will be your property specialty. Ensure that there are plenty of listings available in that segment as well as future growth opportunities and property churn. To understand those numbers, you may need to access the history of property activity in sales and leasing over recent years.
- Look at the local development plans and intended changes to the zoning of investment property in the business segments of the town or city. Can you see pockets of growth supported by council or planning approval action? On a monthly basis visit the local planning office to see what is happening with new developments and the release of land for new developments.
- Understand the ideal clients that you will serve. Are they property investors? Are they the local businesses and tenants in your town or city? When you can clearly define the segments of clients that you act for, the prospecting model becomes much more specific.
- Certain properties and certain property owners will be of high priority to you locally given the level of activity that they create. These clients will become a key focus in your prospecting model. Establish contact with these groups of people and keep the contact going.
- Some clients and prospects will be of a low value to you over time. You will need to determine the ‘cutoff point’ when it comes to ongoing interaction and service with a prospect. Don’t spend too much time with lower value people that cannot use your services effectively and professionally. Respect your time and your fees for service.
Track and measure your prospecting activity through the region. Understand just how your efforts compare to that of your competitors. Practice your dialogue and improve your prospecting model. Over time you will then find more people to serve.
When you simplify commercial real estate brokerage, the results that you get come down to a small list of specific things. It stands to reason that if you get these things under control, you can generate more business, commissions, and good listings for yourself.
Working your sales territory will be one of those things that can help you with results. Many agents look at their territory too generically and therefore miss the point of how to win the business. Specific focus is required.
Here are some ideas to get you started with this:
- Set your boundaries so that you know where to focus your efforts. If you work a large territory, break it up into smaller segments and zones. Create a map of the area and segment the territory into zones that can be colored for priority and focus. Each zone should cover approximately 500 properties and or businesses.
- Understand the clients by type and size that you should be connecting with. They may own or occupy quality properties within your territory. Make a list of the clients and the properties, and highlight those properties or companies on your territory map. Prioritise those clients for the business opportunity and profile they can provide you with.
- Systematically work the streets within each territory zone. That will mean visiting the businesses to introduce yourself and leave your business card. You can also contact the property owners directly by telephone or cold calling as part of that process. The important issue here is that you remain organised and focused in the process. Up
- If you have any property listings at this point in time, those listings will give you an excuse to talk to the other property owners and businesses in the same general location. Some adjacent or nearby property owners may be wishing to relocate, expand, or contract. Your current listings will help you identify those nearby clients and prospects that are looking to change.
- Look for the listings that are currently being marketed by your competitors. You can market your services to the adjacent property owners and business proprietors. Use your competitor’s listings productively in your prospecting and networking system.
To be successful in commercial real estate brokerage an agency, you simply need to understand your territory and work it methodically and systematically. Most agents struggle with the discipline required. Get that fact under control; your commercial real estate market share and listing potential can rise significantly.
Every marketing campaign today in commercial real estate should be carefully considered to help attract the right level of qualified enquiry for each property listed for sale or lease. With limited enquiry from some property types and in some locations, the enquiry that comes in off any advertising or marketing effort is really special and should be optimised into your database and ongoing contact system.
As a general rule, marketing campaigns in commercial real estate should be vendor funded. All exclusive property listings should feature a vendor funded marketing campaign of reasonable flexibility. In this way you will collect better enquiry from all quality properties that are taken to the market.
The simple fact of the property market today is that you cannot easily build your profile as an ‘expert’ off the back of low profile property marketing; think ‘big’ and promote ‘big’ (that is why you need vendor funds for the campaigns).
The top agents of the property market make sure that the local prospects and business leaders know that they are out there and available to help. Every quality property is to be promoted heavily into the local area; that is the zone or precinct that will produce further listings for you at some stage in the future. Quality marketing campaigns are noted by others and will help you build your relevance as the property expert that you are (or want to be). There is no glory in being the ‘secret agent’ of your city or town. Get your profile out at every opportunity on every quality listing marketing campaign.
Enquiry base and database
Top agents work their enquiry base extensively into the future. Any buyers or tenants that missed out on a listing, or that inspected a listing that was not suitable, should be contacted regularly into the future to ensure that any other similar property that arises can be communicated to them.
Keep the ‘doors open’ when it comes to prospects and business leaders in the local area. Systematic prospecting will help you there.
Here are some rules that can be applied with any property that is taken to the market for sale or lease:
- The campaign should be set for a period of time, and that can be 6 to 8 weeks in most cases. During that time you can reach the target audience and track the results that you get. If enquiry is slow or not reaching the targets that you expect, it pays to adjust the campaign quickly; the process of ‘test and measure’ is really important when it comes to property marketing today. Track your enquiry results.
- Look for the methods of marketing that appear to be working more than others today in your area. That says that all enquiries that come in to your office should be sourced back to the place where the person saw the property advertised or the details of such. When you ask the right questions you will get facts that can help you with other properties.
- Every property should be marketed extensively at a local level. When it comes to businesses and property investors, they tend to buy and rent the property that they understand and that is usually a property that is located in the local area.
- Competing properties will always be a factor to consider in any marketing campaign. Get details of all properties in the same location or of the same property type that could compete with your listing. It may be that your campaign has to be adjusted to suit the pressures applied by these other properties.
- Every person that you talk to and every property inspection that you take across a listed property will help you understand just what people are looking for and when they want it. These factors or requirements can change seasonally so be aware of the property enquiry situation today and how it is adjusting throughout the year. Most ‘commercial real estate marketing years’ are just 10 months in duration; the rest of the year is downtime with holidays and seasonal changes. You have 10 months each year to make your listing and commission quota; all the more reason to focus all of your efforts when the business is ‘on’.
What level of enquiry is coming in at the moment for leasing and for sales situations with your listings? What are those people looking for? How much time does it take to convert the average quality listing to an inspection and a successful transaction? Key questions like this will help you with the tuning of the advertising campaign.
Top agents are usually great marketers of commercial and retail property. They get the message out. You can do that as well; make the effort to be the best in marketing of all property listings. Take the steps to improve all of your market campaigns today. In the long run that will help you improve market share and commissions. Your quality listings will give you real profile as a top agent with a dominant market share.
Mapping and Planning
The best way to control your long term activities as a commercial real estate agent is to get a street map of the area and then work the geographic location in stages. Essentially you need to understand your area in great detail and have a solid awareness of the following matters:
- property ownership
- tenants and decision makers therein
- property zoning and potential changes there to
- property prices by property type and region
- property rental by property type and region
- property outgoings by property type and region
- lease detail and tenancy detail for all major and targeted properties
- a lease expiry profile for all major buildings and for the region
- regional business demographics
- regional population demographics
- regional economic demographics
- road changes and major traffic flows
- other competition properties and listings
- other agents in the area and their listings
- recent sales results in the area
- Details of properties that have been sold approximately three years ago and beyond, as these are the next properties that will enter the sales arena for disposal.
- Details of properties that have been leased approximately three years ago and beyond, as these are the next properties that will have a need for leasing services.
- Details of property owners that bought property about three years ago in the region as they are most likely to be sufficiently cashed up to acquire again soon.
This information will help you understand future opportunity and position your services such as sales, leasing, and property management.