In commercial real estate, market leadership is a very important issue, and particularly so if you specialise in a property type within a location. If you are like most agents you will have plenty of other competitive agents to work around and market against. Through all of that ‘competitive noise’ your services must stand out as real and relevant to the market place. That’s what the top agents of the market do.
When it comes to pitching and winning a listing, most of the clients that we serve want the best agent for the job; the marketing of any listing for sale or lease is not an experiment and the clients know that. It is at that point where the ‘leadership equation’ becomes important. Having spent many years in the property industry, I have seen and got to know many more agents than most people. It is a fact that the truly great agents are few in number, whilst most other agents ‘ride the rollercoaster’ of the property market through many ups and downs. Resilience is a good skill for an agent to have, but systemised action is far more important.
To develop true ‘market leadership’ an agent needs a ‘formula’ to work to that allows for factors of the market place, the property type, the location, and the current levels of enquiry.
Here are some facts and strategies that can help you reach your targets in the local area when it comes to listings and clients:
- Time – Be very conscious of your time and who you let take a ‘slice of it’ each day. You cannot invent time so you must manage your own business day to get the best results from it; all your appointments, prospecting, marketing, client contact, negotiating and paperwork must fit into the working day. Some things will be more important than others, and there will be plenty of daily pressures that can potentially shift your focus; be prepared for some real discipline in diary control and day management.
- Professional Services and Practice – If you want to be the best agent locally for the property type, then your marketing, property knowledge, and negotiation skills should be of the highest standards. A top quality agent with a dominant market share stands out ‘head and shoulders’ above others due to a recognisable difference in listing quality and listing success rate. To achieve that status, your can practice and refine your skills, improve your weaknesses and build on your strengths. Practice is something that most agents forget about as soon as the market or the listings get a bit busy. The opportunity is wide open for those agents that keep on practicing and improving their skills.
- Database – Your real estate database is the basis of creating personal new business and helping with commission growth. It takes time to grow a good database and the daily updates are ongoing. If you are struggling with new business now, it is time to look at your systems; the database should be at the centre of all of them. Integrate and lift your prospecting efforts into your database. Set the standards of daily prospecting that you should work to and start taking action.
- Marketing – Many agents would use only the most basic of marketing skills when it comes to property listings, and they do little beyond that when it comes to spreading the word about a new listing. Today we have some very advanced marketing tools and systems at our disposal. Every quality property and exclusive listing should be comprehensively marketed to produce the best outcome for the client and for the brokerage. Pitch and sell your commercial real estate services on the basis of exclusive listings supported by a comprehensive marketing tools and systems. In that way you will consistently create better results in sales and leasing activity, together with a shorter time on market.
Leadership in the commercial real estate market place is a strategic choice for top agents and top brokers. You can build your systems using some of the skills above and others to take charge of the marketplace and become a real leader when it comes to property sales, leasing, and development. Success comes to those who work hard to a plan and a process.
Top real estate agents are easy to identify. They do the things that other agents avoid; they know how to tap into opportunity and the right clients. The good thing here is that top agents a far fewer in number (2 in 10 is a typical ratio); there is plenty of room at the top of the real estate market for those agents that strive to get there.
So what do these top agents have that other agents do not? I could summarise it really simply and say that it is ‘commitment and the right processes’. They know what to do and they do it every day. Over time they understand what works for them and they do those things every day.
Here are some ideas to help you get started on the road to being a ‘top agent’. Whilst I will give you a basic system here and now, take it and refine it as you progress. Adjust the system to your market and your property type.
- At least one third of your working day must be devoted to prospecting. That ratio should not change and if anything it should increase towards 50%. Track and measure your prospecting efforts. Understand what works for you and how you can do more of it.
- How you think will impact what you do on a daily basis. On that basis protect your thinking and your processes from the criticism of others. You are the person in charge of your business day.
- Watch what the top agents are doing. Can you replicate their processes or improve them? Success as an agent comes from doing a few specific things very well; not lots of things in a random way. Determine the 5 things that will help you drive your business forward. Decide how you can do those things every day.
- Quality properties should be converted to exclusive listings. When you control the listing stock the enquiries will come to you. Whilst it is good to know lots of other people that require a property to buy or lease, the top agents focus on listings. Find and convert the listings.
- You should have a prospecting system that is easy to implement and stick to every day. Do the required call research each night so you are ready to make the cold calls the next day. Don’t waste prospecting time on research that can be done ‘out of hours’.
Find out what people are doing with property now and into the future. A good client contact today can be a valuable client in the future. Build on your contacts so they trust and remember you at the right time in the future. That’s how you become a ‘top agent’.
Every day there will be plenty of things to do in your commercial real estate brokerage. The choices that you make in that regard will have significant impact on the results that you achieve. The key message here is that you should control your day and only do the things that are really important to growth of market share and commissions. Everything else needs to wait to the end of the day when the pressure is off.
Here are some things to consider and action on a daily basis to help you with your career in the industry.
- Check out the new property developments coming into the market. Go to the local planning and building approvals office at least once per month to check the new developments under consideration. The planning approvals of today will be the buildings of tomorrow. You can make a lot of commission working on a major new development for sale or for lease. When you locate the potential development, connect with the property developer or the property owner as required. Identify the trigger points that will help you convert a new project to a listing.
- Check the number of listings in the market today by doing a weekly count of signboards and Internet advertisements. Split those numbers into brokerages and agencies. Pay particular attention to the shifts in market share. Also look for the dominance of particular agents or brokers. Track the time on market for those listings. Look for the expiry dates of exclusive listings.
- You will find some listings that are being marketed by the relative property owners. In many respects, you will find that those properties for sale or for lease will stay on the market for a long time. Those property owners generally do not have the marketing skills or the resources to generate enquiry. That being said, their reason for the self-marketing is usually that they don’t want to pay commission. If you approach them for a listing, they will usually load their price or rental for the commission to be paid. This can be counterproductive and produce an overpriced listing; the property would have already been on the market for some time anyway. If you are going to work with property owners in this way, be prepared to push strongly for the rent and the price that the market will provide. You can walk away from the listing if the price or rental is unrealistic. In many respects, it is better to do that and waste your valuable resources and tarnish your image as a top agent.
So there are plenty of things to do when it comes to consolidating your market share. Keep a close eye on the market activity and track the results that you achieve. Top agents progressively grow their market share through diligent and directed action. That is why you should track your ratios and numbers.
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.
In commercial real estate agency, you really do need to understand what is going on in the marketplace and then make some solid choices at a personal level to improve your prospecting and deal activity. Everything comes down to a personal level and process in our industry. Success has little to do with the agency that you work for.
Outsiders and new agents to the industry are tempted to think that commissions and listings come easily. Nothing could be further from the truth. The quality and the growth of your business will come from personal focus and momentum. The choices that you make on a daily basis, and the actions that you take in prospecting and marketing will drive your business forward. The agents that struggle in the industry are those that have little or no system when it comes to business generation and market share.
Here are some strategies to help you initiate a business plan as a commercial real estate agent. Consistency in focus and the actions that you take every day are the keys to getting momentum and traction with your market share. Here are the ideas to help you:
- Understand the condition of the market today in deal activity, competing agents, and future growth. Look for the opportunities in sales leasing and property management activity. Understand where you fit when it comes to those three distinct disciplines.
- Choose the property type that you understand and can relate to. That may be in office, industrial, or retail property. The clients that we work for require specific expertise when it comes to resolving a problem with a quality property. The marketing and inspection process with any listing is not an experiment. It requires specific knowledge and expertise to tap into the right target market.
- Determine the cycles of the local property market when it comes to leasing and sales turnover. You can do that by reviewing the history transactions through the region. In most markets, a commercial or retail investment property will change hands or be upgraded at least once every seven years. It takes that long for the appropriate capital gain to occur or the client to reach the next stage of portfolio change and growth. Be sensitive to the cycles, and start prospecting the right people inside their property cycles.
- Start prospecting on a daily basis ensuring that you’re talking to new people as well as current contacts. The whole process should take you about 2 or 3 hours per day every working day. In a very short period of time you will find some new business opportunity. When that occurs, keep the prospecting process underway. That’s how top agents grow market share.
- When a competing agent puts a signboard on a property, it is an opportunity for you to talk to the property owners and business proprietors in the immediate and adjacent vicinity. This then says that the marketing processes of a competing agent give you leverage when it comes to building your market share. It is a fact that nearby property owners and business proprietors like to compete rather than cooperate with a nearby property sale or lease transaction.
- When you list a property, personally market the details of the property to the local region of property investors and business owners. This involves door knocking and telephone calls. From this process you will identify other opportunities to work on in the future. Pay particular attention to the immediate property location and the streets around the subject listing. Walk the streets and knock on the door’s to introduce yourself and the upcoming listing. Ask questions and talk to more people; it is amazing how much information you will extract from the market when you do this.
Building your market share in commercial real estate agency is a simple and yet ongoing process. You should have three or four solid strategies underway such as those above to help you connect with the right people and build the right relationships.