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.