Commercial Real Estate Agent ‘Housework’ for a Better Market Share

Every commercial real estate agent will have some ‘housework’ and mundane activities to track and keep under control.  When this is correctly undertaken, they will understand where the property market is heading and how they can tap into the opportunity.

The ‘housework’ process involves tracking and measuring activity across a number of benchmarks and indicators.  In any given period of 12 months, there will be plenty of changes when it comes to property enquiries, the listings, methods of sale or lease, marketing, and business sentiment.  Here are some ideas to help you with that ‘housework’ monitoring and adjustment process:

  1. As a general rule, you should be tracking the numbers of inbound enquiries coming to you each day through the office, and via the telephone.  Understand what those people and prospects are looking for in both property type, and location.  Shifts in the economy, the availability of finance, and local business sentiment will have an impact on property changes and availability.
  2. Understand the listings that you have on your books at the moment.  Track the time on market as it applies to each of your exclusive listings.  All of those controlled listings should be tracked for activity, inspections, and negotiations.  Those listings should also be taken through a price adjustment process where necessary, supported by a marketing shift.  A listed property today can become quite ‘stale’ relatively quickly.  Keep the exclusive listing fresh through shifts in marketing, advertising description, pricing strategy, and promotional activity.
  3. When it comes to promoting a listing and attracting enquiry, understand the things that are more effective than others when it comes to the various marketing alternatives available.  Make each advertising process special and unique.  Understand the target audience and apply a strategy to reach into them.  Get away from generic marketing.  Obtain vendor paid marketing funds as part of every exclusive listing.
  4. Track the numbers of signs in your local area with each agency.  Add to that process the time on market for each of those listings.
  5. Track the number of properties listed on the websites of your competitors.  Observe how they advertise property and determine whether that process is effective or poorly handled.
  6. When you look at any listing in the marketplace today, understand the differences and the success rates that apply to each method of sale and each method of lease.  Some of those methods will be more successful than others.
  7. Stay in touch with your existing database and client base.  Over time, there will be opportunities for referral business and repeat business.  Remaining in contact for the long term will help you tap into the source of opportunity.
  8. Make plenty of prospecting calls every day to new people.  An ongoing prospecting process will help you fill your ‘pipeline’ in any market and at any time.  The consistent contact process will help you build market share providing you seek for and obtaining exclusive listings rather than open listings.

Be prepared to do the hard work and the ‘mundane work’ as part of your agency activities and business.  Lot of this can be done at the end of the day out of your core prospecting time and client activity.  The commercial property industry is very lucrative for those that put in the necessary work and the required focus.

You can get more tips like this in our Newsletter right here.

Action Tips and Tactics for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Time Management Tips in Commercial Property Management

When you work as a commercial real estate property manager, there are certain things that need to be done every day to help you stay in control of the portfolio and clients that you work for.  This segment of the industry is quite busy and challenging in many different ways.  You will be balancing issues relating to the landlord, tenants, property performance, maintenance, and cash flow.

It is no secret that you will be very busy most of the time, and yet the high priority issues still need to be done.  In most cases, they cannot be delegated.  For this reason, property managers need to be highly efficient and effective when it comes to personal time and task management.

A career in commercial property management is very different to that of sales and or leasing.  Whilst a property manager may get involved in both sales and leasing, they do it from a different direction and with other priorities.  In most cases they are seeking to improve the property performance and the cash flow for the client, so most of their decisions will be based on that focus.  Whilst the commission of the transaction is of some importance, the client’s position and targets are more important.

Here are some things that should be high on the manager’s agenda for each working day in commercial or retail property management:

  1. At the very beginning of the day it is wise to check the inbound emails and messages to see if there are any matters of critical importance relating to your clients, property performance, risk, maintenance, or property damage.  Matters relating to potential personal injury should be dealt with immediately.  If you have a good group of maintenance contractors to help you, maintenance issues can be ‘actioned’ quite quickly with a telephone call and a suitable job order number.
  2. Most tenant management and maintenance issues can wait till later in the day.  It is simply a matter of acknowledging the tenants request for attention or action, and returning to the issue when time permits.  Document all of your communications with tenants in case you need to refer later to the events and actions that were taken.  Tenants can sometimes ‘modify’ the facts and use it to personal advantage.
  3. The collection of rental monies and arrears should be checked at the start of each day.  From time to time you will have tenants that are struggling with rental payments and in some cases you will have established a ‘payments plan’.  When that occurs, you need to check the progress of incoming payments and the tenant’s commitment to the plan.  Also pay attention to the normal rental payments required under the terms of existing leases.  When the rental arrears situation arises, act on it immediately.
  4. The leases in the property remain the backbone of the cash flow for the landlord.  For this reason the critical dates of each lease should be understood and tracked continually.  Pay particular attention to the rent reviews, options, renovation and maintenance requirements, insurance, rentals, and outgoings.  When a critical date is coming up, act on it as early as possible.  The greater the number of tenants that you have, the more challenging this requirement will become.  A good property management software program will help you with the controls behind these critical date issues.
  5. Communicating with the landlord in a timely and efficient way will keep them fully briefed on income and expenditure activity.  Document all of your communications with the landlord.  Understand what they require when it comes to reporting and income.  Show the landlord that you really are in control of all matters relating to property performance, the tenants, and the cash flow.

So the message here is that you need to remain organized and efficient.  Develop a system that works for you from a property management perspective.  It is a known fact that personal control in time management is one of the biggest challenges you will strike in this part of the industry.  You will be very busy on a daily basis.  You need to control all the things that you do and the way that they are undertaken.

Time Management Tips for Commercial Real Estate Agents

In commercial real estate today, you have to set some rules in time management and then stick to them.  Your time is the greatest resource that can help you move ahead.

It is a fact that many agents struggle with the whole time and control process.  They give in to the pressures of clients, peers, listings, and the office.  Exactly who is in control here anyway?

So why do you need to control your time?  For one simple reason; everyone around you will want some of your time, and at the end of the working day you could have achieved very little that is important to your business growth as an agent.

So here are some time management tips:

  1. You will know that there are 3 things that really matter as an agent.  They are your prospecting, your clients and your listings.   Everything else revolves around those 3 things.  Setting priorities in your working day is therefore really important.
  2. Create key habits that can allow you to get to the 3 things mentioned earlier.  Habits are critical to taking you forward; it is the things that you do every day that will change your business outlook and market share.
  3. The circadian cycle or biological clock says that you are most effective between 7 am and 11 am.  There is also a second window of time between 3pm and 6 pm that is useful.  How do you use your resources in these windows of time?  Quite clearly you should be doing your prospecting during the early part of the day.
  4. When you start something you are good for about 2 hours before you will want a break.  Build short breaks into your working day so you can keep up the momentum.
  5. When you get into something new, it takes about 20 minutes to lock into the issue and get some momentum.  If someone interrupts you, the clock resets.  This is the single most common reason for lack of focus in a busy real estate office; people are distracting each other most of the day.  They then cannot get the traction and focus on important things.
  6.  A computer based diary is convenient, but a written daily diary is essential if you want to focus your efforts.  It is a fact that people need to write things down to figure out a way of doing them.  A daily dairy will help you do that.
  7. Prioritize everything that you do.  Only do the important stuff first.  Don’t let small and convenient things take you away from the issues that matter.

So how are you going to do all of this?  With focus and diligence you can get there.  It’s all up to you.

Sales Team Strategies in Commercial Real Estate Agency

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:

  1. 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.
  2. A leasing opportunity will help you with the client relationship and open the door on a potential sale at the right time.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Time Management in Commercial Real Estate Agency Today

In commercial real estate agency it is very much the case that the day will take over your diary unless you take control.  People will impose on your time and things then will go absolutely nowhere.

If you are like me, you will hate people wasting your time.  In our industry time is money and we need to remember that.  In an average day lots of people will want a slice of your time.  How about this list for starters?

  • Existing clients with their listings
  • New clients wanting to list their property
  • Team leaders wanting to talk about the weeks results
  • The boss (for all sorts of reasons)
  • Tenants looking for property
  • Buyers wanting to inspect your listings
  • Telephone enquiries
  • Administrative people needing help getting your marketing campaigns underway

So, all of this says that we need to set some solid rules that will not be broken or changed.   We must control our time as it is the main thing that we can control in commercial real estate agency.

Systems can set you free to get on with your business.  When business runs smoothly then you find the clients and the listings that you need.

Every system in commercial real estate is essentially made up of subsets or systems for key things.  Each part of the process can be refined and improved.  I have had systems for all of the following:

  1. Prospecting systems so I can keep focused on the right properties and clients that will need my services one day.  Every good commercial agent should have a pipeline of some type.
  2. Presentation processes so that every property that I pitch for is a deliberate pitch that is well controlled to a solid approach that I know works.   Confidence here is the key.
  3. Listing systems for each property type such as office, industrial, and retail property.  I would also have systems for sales, leasing, and property management.  Retail shopping centres are quite different and feature with their own systems that are unique to retail.
  4. Inspecting a property is quite special and having a process for that is wise.  A checklist to help you ask the right questions and look at the right things in the property will always be of benefit.  The inspection system should take into account the property type and the location; that is why you need checklists for this.
  5. Marketing processes for the listings that we work on should not be generic or ordinary.  The fact of the matter is that each property should be uniquely promoted to a plan; this assumes that it is an exclusive listing and you have vendor paid marketing funds paid in advance.
  6. Negotiations and communications with clients should be documented.  It is common that things will get delayed or changed when you are negotiating with a client on a sale or a lease.  When you have the supporting documentation and notes, nothing can go wrong.

If you are finding that things are out of control and you are struggling as an agent, take a look at your systems in commercial and retail real estate agency.  Build some processes and controls that help you move forward.

Time Management Tips and Tools for Commercial Real Estate Agents

As commercial property agents, we cannot manage time but we can manage ourselves.  When it comes to succeeding in the industry, you really do need a solid system of control when it comes to your business day.  When you get this right, you will drive better business for yourself in any market.

If you think any local property market decline is removing your market share and not giving you leads, take a look at what you are doing on a daily basis when it comes to networking and prospecting.  Top agents prospect every day and in any market, and they do it well.  Top agents do not suffer the same pressures as ordinary agents and the reason for that is their prospecting model and database.

Systems will take you forward, and will help you connect with the right people in the right way.  It all comes down to what you do with your time each and every day.  Many agents struggle with the pressures of the day and the market.  They have no system to ‘stick to’ and consequently cannot improve their market share.  Without consistent market share, your listing leads will decline as will your commission.

So if this sounds like you may I suggest that a solid ‘dose’ of prospecting will help get you back on track?  To get things going, here are some ideas.

  1. Review your market to see what is active and what is slow when it comes to property types and locations.  Look at all the listings on the market now and determine what marketing and agency strategies are applied in each case.  You will soon see that ordinary marketing does not produce results when the property market is sluggish and tougher.  Direct personal market is far more effective when general advertising and market fails.
  2. Let’s set some rules for direct marketing.  Focus on getting out of your office for at least two thirds of the day.  The other third of the day can be spent in the office with cold calls.  Paper work can happen after hours.  Similarly you can talk to clients at the end of the day when you have more time.  Property inspections occur in the afternoon on most days as required.  Prospecting occurs in the mornings.  As you can see, this is a routine.  Perhaps you can design a variation of this to help you in your market; importantly however, the system that you create must give you a solid focus on prospecting outside of the office.
  3. Keep in contact will all previously established leads and prospects, however make sure that you are adding new ones every day.  That is why cold calling is so important to your business model.

Top agents get frustrated when people impose on their time and waste it; generally they will not let others destroy their focus and momentum when it comes to a daily plan of action.  You should be the same and protect your business time in all cases and situations.   Devote time to the things that are really important.  This will help you consolidate your listings and new business leads.