If you work in commercial or retail property management, you are likely to be very busy most of the time. That being said, the problem needs to be controlled.
It is interesting to note that many professional property managers over time become quite frustrated with the momentum that they are trying to achieve in portfolio management. The reason for frustration usually centres on their inability to control workload and portfolio requirements. The variables of clients service and portfolio activity place pressures on the working day.
It is worthwhile noting that many property managers are overloaded when it comes to the number of tenants and the number of properties. Perhaps the problem stems from the requirements to satisfy a certain level of fees in each case. If you want to build some efficiency into your property management department and within your career, it is necessary to strike the appropriate fees for the property management tasks involved and the clients concerned.
Here are some tips to help you get your career back on track:
- The role of a property manager is a bit different to that of a sales or leasing executive. A property manager has to control and process a lot of documentary issues, lease negotiations, and matters relating to property performance. That requires paperwork, processes, checking systems, and planning. It is best to get the paperwork done at the beginning of the day between 8 am and 11 am. In devoting 3 hours to intense paperwork, your mind is fresh, and more inclined to deal with the issues.
- One of the biggest errors that is all too common in the industry occurs when the managers are handling emails first thing in the morning. The only reason you should look at emails at the beginning of the day is to see if any urgent issues have arisen overnight. Everything else in the E mail inbox should wait till the later part of the morning or the day. Don’t let the e-mail system divert you from the requirements to get essential paperwork done. Understand your priorities when it comes to property performance, client service, and tenant contact. Some of those things can be shifted and prioritised.
- At the end of every month, the property performance and reporting requirements are extensive and time consuming. It can take many days to compile the necessary property reports for the clients that you serve. Don’t cut corners when it comes to checking reports and the financial information from each portfolio. Take the time to ensure that the records are correct and accurate relative to the tenancy mix, the leases, and the clients instructions.
- Stay on top of tenant leasing issues and the critical dates that apply to every lease document. The best way to do this is to monitor the critical dates at least 18 months out. That then gives you plenty of time to react to the upcoming events.
- Some matters of property management can be quite urgent with maintenance being one of them. Be aware of the maintenance tasks that can involved personal injury and risk. Have an emergency response process to implement when something of a major concern arises within the physical property relative to maintenance.
When a property manager believes that they are in control, the quality of work will be higher, and the clients will be serviced more effectively. There is a big difference between being reactive and proactive when it comes to commercial and retail property management services. The best fees for service come from a professional manager working to the clients property performance plan and targets.
You can get more tips on commercial property management in our newsletter right here.
What is the value that you bring as an agent to a client in commercial property today? It is an interesting question for a client to ask when it comes to an agent selling, leasing, or managing commercial real estate.
Most agents would say one or more of the following:
- We know what we are doing
- We have good people
- We understand the property market
- We have done some great deals recently
- We sold (or leased) other properties like this recently
- We know how to market the property
The sad fact of the matter is that when they have said these things, they go no further. They do not back up their claims with detailed proof.
If you say anything to a client about your relevance or skill as a local commercial real estate agent, be prepared to expand on the issue and talk about it comprehensively and directly. Show the client some proof of why your statement is so important to their property position or need.
Here are a couple of ideas to use when it comes to showing the client that you really are the right agent for the job of marketing the property:
- Use a Gantt chart that shows the steps that you will be taking in marketing the property and converting the result that they need. Have different Gantt charts for the process when it comes to sales, leasing, and property management (commercial or retail).
- Define the target market in such a way that you are clear on exactly how you will connect with the right people and help them understand the property market.
When you pitch or present to a client, don’t discount your services and lower your marketing fees for the sake of attracting the client’s attention. Offer real and relevant marketing solutions that are so good that the client cannot ignore you. Sign them up on an exclusive listing.
In commercial real estate today many agents will say that the property market has changed, and indeed it has. The fact of the matter is that it is always changing and we as agents must live with that change. If we want to earn good commissions and find more listings, we have to use that property market change change and do something productive with it.
In any working year and selling season you will find common fluctuations in all of the following:
- Lack of tenants to fill the existing vacancies
- Slow deals and decisions when it comes to property sales or leases
- Lack of buyers coming to you from the marketing efforts and advertising
- No developments coming up to put more space into the market
- High vacancy factors in existing properties
- Low grade stock and nothing of quality available to rent or buy
- Too many properties on the market in either sales or leasing
The real issue here is that these things happen all the time. If any of these things are frustrating you now in your commercial real estate agency, then have a good look at your prospecting efforts and just how many people you talk to every day. It is quite likely that you have a poor or non-existent prospecting model.
Most agents that struggle with the changes in the property market are those that do not have a solid database of qualified prospects and contacts. Those agents live from day to day on the results that they get from ever new listing and the advertising that follows. They lack new people and established contacts to talk to. They generally have not created the pipeline of contact that is so important in our industry.
It is a fact that the cycle of property activity in commercial real estate is quite long. It can be months if not years for some of our prospects to take action or deal with a property matter. Your success in the industry will be strengthened by the number of people that you know and the frequency of direct contact that you make with them.
When you look at a list like that mentioned above, you can turn every market ‘negative’ into a ‘positive’. For example:
- You can specialize in finding tenants when they are few and not overly active.
- You can improve your negotiation and marketing skills to put urgency into the average property transaction.
- You can get to know lots of local business owners and property investors so you have people to talk to when a quality listing comes onto the market.
- You can become a specialist in selling or leasing a good property ‘off market’ when other agents are struggling with the traditional way of finding buyers and tenants.
You can turn every negative market situation into a positive one if you work at it as a specialized commercial real estate agent.
In commercial real estate agency today there are too many ‘myths and rumours’ around generated by agents that are the ‘poor performers’. They are usually the agents that are looking for excuses for their inaction or poor outcomes in listings or commissions. The market is the market, and we cannot change that; we can however take the right action to suit the situation.
Today’s commercial property market is something that requires understanding and adjustment certainly, but good commissions can be had by active and professional commercial real estate agents. You need to know what to look for and how to tap into it. Action it then required.
So what is it about all those ‘myths’ that we keep hearing about? I guess you would have heard some of these comments from your fellow salespeople and competing agents:
- There are no buyers around to purchase
- The client will not listen
- Tenants don’t want to move
- Property listings are hard to get
- There is no enquiry coming in from advertising
- The client wants too much money
- Other agents are taking my listings
- Business is slow
- It’s time to take a holiday
The property market changes and on that basis we need to change. Every year there will be challenges with prices, rents, enquiry, listings, and clients. The fact of the matter is that poor agents without a good database of clients and prospects to talk to will struggle.
Those agents that have continually built a great group of contacts will always have fresh business. Certainly client conditioning will be required as the market changes condition, but today is an ‘agent’s market’ and on that basis we need to act.
Find those good listings and tap into them. Quality listings will always create better enquiries in any market. If you are not getting enquiries coming in, then take a look at your listings. If you have poor listings then have a look at your prospecting efforts. Everything is linked.
It is a fact that top agents attract the business in all markets. The quality listings will go to them most of the time. So how did they reach this level of success and listing attraction? They did the ‘hard work’ with prospecting and connecting with fresh people that are interested in commercial real estate.
The property cycle in commercial real estate is quite long. It takes months if not years for some clients to act on a property issue. This then suggests that you need to be building the right client relationships from the very start and keep the ‘door of contact’ open with the prospect. That’s how you become a top agent. Work hard and the business will come. Forget about those ‘myths’ that low quality agents like to circulate to support their inadequacies. Make your mark on the commercial property market.
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.
As a commercial real estate agent today, you need to grab your share of the commercial real estate market and optimize it for listing and commission opportunity. The business is out there for those that work hard.
It is no secret that the competition with the other agents that you are up against will be significant and fierce. That being said, you need some solid processes to consolidate the market around you and provide you with quality leads and listings.
Here are some facts that you need to be aware of when it comes to working in commercial real estate agency today and building your market share around the competing agents.
- There are always plenty of people to talk to on a daily basis that need your services. Systems and discipline are part of the process when it comes to connecting with your local property market, and growing the database. Devote at least 2 or 3 hours each day to connecting with new people in your local area.
- It is very difficult to capture a share of the marketplace when you don’t specialize in a property type and location. There are far too many agents that are generic when it comes to property specialty and location; they will take on anything as a listing, and usually do only an average job with it. That is not how top agents perform; they develop a specialty relative to the location and the quality of property that they can relate to. They then build their brand around that specialty. That being said, you must ensure that your special property type has sufficient activity and listing opportunity over the long term for you to earn the commission that you require.
- It is a known fact that most (80%) salespeople in any industry are fairly average when it comes to performance and systemization. Commercial real estate is no different. That creates a massive opportunity for those commercial salespeople that are striving to rise to the top of the industry. Expect hard work as you proceed through the industry, and systemize what you do.
- When you look at your location and daily tasks, there will be two or three things that are really important to helping you build your client base and listing opportunity. Those two or three things should be done every day. Nothing should interfere with those key tasks to help you improve your market share. Most agents in the industry struggle through a series of peaks and valleys relating to performance, and that is simply because they have no sustained and consistent personal marketing system to stick to.
- Your local area and your property type will have special facts to understand and monitor. They will usually be rentals, prices, tenancy mix, inspections and negotiation processes, methods of marketing, prospecting, time on market, and methods of sale or lease. Each of these factors requires special attention. An average approach produces average results. There are far too many average agents in the industry.
Choose to develop the right processes to take your position at the head of the market. There is plenty of room for more agents at the top of the industry.
You can get more tips on this in our Newsletter for Commercial Real Estate Agents right here.
In commercial real estate, is far easier to sell and lease quality properties, than it is to work on average or below average properties. Every property listing demands the same amount of effort and commitment on the part of the agent.
That being said, you should not take on a listing unless you are fully prepared to commit to the entire marketing, inspection, and negotiation process. Top agents focus on quality listings and properties. As a general rule that should work for you too, as long as you prospect regularly and specifically.
It is very hard to get enthusiastic about a property that is overpriced, or where the landlord is not committed to the marketing process and the prevailing market conditions. That is why exclusive listings are more productive in today’s economic climate.
How many exclusive listings can you take on at any one time? It is an interesting question; however the averages seem to indicate about 15 to 20 properties. Beyond that point it is hard to keep up to date with all the marketing and inspections needed.
How many open listings can you take? As many as you like; that is because you do not service them to any great degree over time. You put a sign on an openly listed property and then you wait to see what happens.
Locational factors will help your listing enquiry and conversions. Look at the location of the property and then market into the location. That will mean things like:
- Check out the adjoining properties and then speak to the property owners to see if they want to purchase your listing.
- Talk to all business owners in the street that you can find. They may have a need for expansion or alternative premises.
- Get a signboard on all your listings. Most enquiries will be locally based. The signboard also helps your personal brand as an agent in the local area.
- Create a flyer of current listings and circulate that flyer monthly into the local area.
- Set up a blog on the internet for yourself. The blog should talk about local property market issues and changes. That being said do not advertise property on the blog; that is not what it is all about.
- Every successful sale or lease should be directly marketed into the local area. That is a personal thing and you are the best person to do that.
When you have a commercial property to market, think local and drill your marketing into the local area comprehensively. Over time you will get more opportunity that way as a specialist agent.
In commercial real estate agency today, we all know that the property market is a bit of a challenge. That being said, there is still a lot of listing and commission opportunity to be had by the real estate agents that get organised and focused on the right tasks relative to their market and location. It is a daily process. Top agents do it all the time.
You could say that the whole process involves being ‘mentally prepared’ for each and every day that you step up to the ‘plate’ and strive for a ‘home run’. When the personal thought processes support your action, many more results are possible.
There is a cycle in this commercial real estate industry and it goes something like this:
- Start the day with prospecting for 3 hours
- From your prospecting effort you will create new meetings
- From new meetings with new prospects you will find business opportunity
- New business opportunity leads to quality listings
- Quality listings produce better enquiry than average
- Quality enquiries are what we need for a top database and property sale or leasing conversions
- Keep in touch with the businesses locally. They will tell you so much about the local area and what is going on.
So the mental preparation process is critical to the ‘chain of events’ and the outcomes that you seek in the commercial real estate industry. You could say that sales, leasing, and property management is a bit like a sport and you are the team captain, coach, and player. Your mindset has to suit each role and keep you on track to top performance and new business generation.
Have you ever watched a person play a sport and in doing so you can see that something is wrong with them? They seem to have a down attitude and it gets worse as the game progresses. That is a prime example of ‘mindset and focus’. For those of us that work on commission, the mind has to support your efforts. A good dose of focus is required before you get to the office or start your commercial real estate prospecting. A great attitude will help you greatly. Align your thinking to the task at hand; rise to the top of the market.
- Understand what has to be done
- Set your priorities
- Take action every day
- Know what your market is and where it is located
- Build strong relationships and keep connecting
The commercial property market will change throughout the year and sometimes for a few years at a time. Importantly you should be focused with all of your actions, prospecting, and marketing. Over time that will help you rise to the top of your commercial real estate market.
If you want more tips on commercial real estate prospecting, you can get them at our main website http://commercial-realestate-training.com/
Many commercial real estate agents today will still escalate the listing price by 5 to 10 per cent above market, and in doing so will explain to the property owner that it will give the property owner some room to negotiate when offers are made. The reality of the situation is that the overpriced listing will create little enquiry. Three or four weeks later the agent and the client will be sitting down to discuss price modification and changes to marketing. What a waste of time!
As the local commercial real estate expert do not escalate the listing price on this basis. It is a very bad mistake at a time when the market has limited enquiry and therefore fewer buyers for you to work with.
The listing price should be the right price based on market evidence and prevailing market conditions. The client needs to understand what those things are. They have come to you as the expert agent and on that basis you should give them the real facts as they exist today before the listing is taken.
Placing a price or negotiation buffer above the asking price for the property will set a false set of values in the ownership ‘mindset’ at the time of listing. At the very start of the listing made on this basis, the owner will assume that they will still get the offers and therefore the required asking price. In a slower property market, this fact is far from the truth. Things do come down in price, and the vendor needs help in understanding that.
So here are some strategies for handling unrealistic vendors with highly priced properties:
- Deal with the issue immediately when you know that this is to be the case. Tell the client exactly what the market is like and show them the competing properties that they are up against. Provide differences when it comes to improvements and market enquiry for each listing type. Show them the amount of enquiry that is coming in currently.
- Most clients or property owners will believe that their property is the best in the area and therefore of greater value than any other property. Understand that they have owned this property for a number of years and their thinking has been shaped by that direct and lengthy ownership. Unless the property is extremely unique, average prices will apply and the average offers will only come in.
- Buyers will rarely pay a premium for a property unless it is extremely unique and highly desirable. Around 90% of properties taken to the market today are only average and nothing unusual from a buyer perspective. The clients that you work with need to see this and adjust their price accordingly. That is where your skills as an expert agent are highly desirable in negotiating the listing at the right price and method of sale. Don’t forget to get some reasonable vendor paid marketing as part of the process!
- Ask the client to set some priorities when it comes to time on market, and successful sales result. If you are going to take on a highly priced listing, you will need their agreement to making a price reduction and adjustment within a few short weeks of the campaign. Tell them at the time of listing that this is what you will require to prevent the listing becoming stale on the market.
- Every inspecting prospect taken to the property should complete a ‘comments form’ that you can give to the client regards the inspection undertaken. Any property that is overpriced will soon be identified through the comments provided by these inspecting potential prospects. This will then make it a lot easier for you to condition the property owner at the time of required price reduction.
- Every bit of marketing undertaken for the property should be assessed and analyzed. Compare the marketing and response for your particular listing against the other listings in the local area and those in your agency records. You will soon be able to identify to the client the response differences between their highly priced property and those other properties that are more suitably priced.
- Show the client the differences in marketing results and inspection results. You cannot sell a property unless you have an enquiry. Highly priced properties really create enquiry. They also kill their own market within a very short period of time.
All of these facts would suggest that you should not waste your time with a property listing that is well above market. Set your rules when it comes to working with clients of this type. Be prepared to walk away from a listing that is too highly priced. It is better for you to work on committed clients and realistically priced listings.
In commercial real estate agency today, we tend to overlook the value of the lists that we have in our office or in out possession. Lists can help focus our efforts when it comes to new business and commission.
When talking about lists, it is interesting to note that many commercial real estate agencies have a database that is well out of date. The results of any marketing into the database are therefore quite sporadic at best.
If you want results in our industry, take a look at the lists that you are working with and the accuracy of the information contained therein. Develop a good list process yourself, and work it on a daily basis. It is essential that you develop a habit when it comes to maintaining your lists and your client relationships.
The problem with databases and lists is that they need to be maintained. Many salespeople prefer not to do this work themselves. The result is that no one person then takes ownership of the database and the value of the process falls away.
Whilst I may be generalising, I would say that at least 75% of the commercial real estate salespeople that I have made contact with over time have databases that are sporadic at best, and in most cases quite random. You cannot build your commercial real estate business around a sporadic database.
Top agents tend to have lists that are completely up to date and worked on a daily basis. They know the people in the list and make sure that regular contact is maintained. After each contact process, the list is updated with accurate information.
Here are some ideas to help you build momentum and accuracy in your list process:
- In most cases, your personal list of contacts should be no more than 1000 people. Beyond that point it is very hard to keep contact with the right people at the right time. It is the quality of the 1000 people that makes all the difference in your career and industry. When you focus your connections into a group of this size, you will generate commercial real estate business. The key point is to focus your efforts of connection and communication on a regular basis to the right people. They need to know you as the expert that you want to be. In this way you can build your top agent profile over time. Regular contact sends the right message.
- You do not need to have a complex software program to support your cold call prospecting or client networking. You simply need something that works for you. Certainly there are some great software programs out there that can help you build very productive customer relationship models. When it comes to choosing the right program, I would prefer something that is simple to use and convenient. Access to the database anywhere by the mobile telephone and or a laptop computer would be an essential part of the list building process.
- It has been proven that a regular contact process to the right people will produce significant new business opportunity. That contact cycle should be at least once every 90 days. After that time people tend to forget you. When you make contact with clients and prospects, have some simple connection process and information that you can send on to them as part of the connection follow-up. You are the property expert, and they need to see that.
Leverage is one of the most important things to work with in commercial property and investment real estate. It is a people based industry and your success will be based on the size of your network, and the relevance of your skills. That is why your list is so important. If you are struggling in the property market now, take a serious look at your database and its relevance to today’s market. Start working on your database and the industry will open up for you.