Commercial Real Estate Agent Prospecting Facts and Strategies

When you work as a commercial real estate agent or broker, it is essential that you develop and implement a prospecting program to generate new business leads. It is a personal process and it is not something that you can or should delegate.

I am amused sometimes when I hear that an agent has paid considerable money to a marketing company to ‘cold call’ their entire sales territory or market segment looking for leads and prospects to serve. Delegating the prospecting process to a marketing company or another ‘unskilled person’ is a waste of time and money. Commercial real estate is an industry built around personal relationships and trust; a marketing company or employed canvasser cannot offer that level of communication or service.

So why would a real estate agent employ such a ‘marketing firm’ to make prospecting calls? The answer in most cases is glaringly obvious; the agent doesn’t have the skill or the discipline for the prospecting process to be successful.

If you want to win the new business, then you will need to do it yourself. Yes, it takes time to get results and you will need to develop some new skills, but discipline will help you get to the results that you are seeking.

One thing should be said here; commercial real estate brokerage is tremendously rewarding for the sales people that can work hard and to a system or plan. Looking for leads and opportunities is part of the process or game. It’s a personal thing and it can’t be delegated.

Here are some way’s to find new business, better property listings, and good clients:

  • Redundant Properties – Some properties will move to a level of redundancy due to age, deterioration, change of zoning, or lack of tenants. When this happens it is time to move to the next phase of the property ‘lifecycle’. A good real estate agent can see the signs early and work closely with a property owner as they start to deal with the issue of investment change.
  • Vacant Land – As a city expands or suburbs change, vacant land will be rezoned for new development. Keep ahead of this opportunity by monitoring the planning and development applications at your local planning approvals office. Get copies of the public minutes of the planning committee meetings.
  • Old Listings – Some listings don’t sell or lease at the first attempt. What you can do here is withdraw the property from the market today and then revisit the property marketing effort a few months later in another and perhaps different marketing approach. Refreshing a listing is a valuable business process.
  • Open Listings – The best way to sell or lease a property is through an exclusive listing process. Open listings are very much a process of luck; most open listings stay on the market for a very long time and on average are far less successful when compared to the dedicated marketing efforts of an exclusive listing. Revisit old open listings to see if they can be optimised for a fresh marketing effort.
  • Larger Businesses – Local businesses are involved in property either as tenants or as owner occupiers. Business owners will need help with property from time to time. The best way to tap into that opportunity is through direct and ongoing contact. Cold call every business in your town or city and speak to them regularly about property needs and changes.
  • Surrounding Other Listings – When a competing agent puts a property on the market, you can use that listing as a reason to talk to all adjacent and nearby business and property owners. One property listing can be the catalyst to talk to others to see if they would like to compete or do something themselves.
  • Street Canvass – On a street by street basis, systematically move through your sales territory and research all property owners. Eventually you will create a good list of owners for your database. Ongoing contact will allow you to build valuable client relationships and the levels of trust that help grow commissions and listings.
  • Cold Calling – The telephone remains the most effective business tool that we have. Direct calls handled in a professional way will help you reach out to new people. Selectively researching the property owners and business people in your area will support the cold calling process.

A simple list like this will give you an abundance of property leads and opportunities. The secret to making things work for you is in doing it yourself.

A Proven Blueprint for a Career in Commercial Property Management Today

The commercial property management industry is highly specialized in many different ways. It takes time to understand the elements of the industry and the requirements of professional services supplied to landlords and tenants. The same can be said as it applies to retail property leasing and shopping center management.

If you are considering a career in commercial or retail property management and or leasing, here are some tips to help you with establishing your skills and growing your professional services.

  1. You will need to know about the current property market in many different ways. Typically you will need to understand the market rentals, vacancy factors, property types, new developments, and landlord investment requirements. All of these things will help you with lease negotiations and the services that you provide to your landlord clients.
  2. The different property types require different levels of property management involvement. Industrial property is relatively simple and basic from the management perspective given that you usually have only one tenant to monitor within one lease and one property. When you move your property management skills to an office property or a retail shopping centre you will normally be dealing with multiple tenants and variable lease conditions. On that basis you will need to know the standards of lease occupancy, property legislation applying to leasing, and the physical attributes of the landlord and tenant negotiation.
  3. From every lease occupancy there will be issues to monitor and optimize involving rental income, property expenditure, risk and liability, and tenancy placement. Each month it is normal to provide a landlord with a comprehensive property report relating to current investment performance, property maintenance, vacancy and leasing factors, together with projections from the prevailing market conditions.
  4. Most landlord clients will have a number of specific targets relating to their investments. Those targets will be shaped by the age of the property, the tenancy mix, redevelopment requirements, and the local business community. To serve your clients well, take the time to understand their investment requirements and intentions relating to the asset.
  5. With the larger properties, there will usually be a budget of relates to rental income recovery, and expenditure activity. That budget will be established prior to the beginning of a financial year and then loaded into the business plan for the property for the coming 12 months. Every month every quarter or budgeting process will be checked and changed depending on prevailing market conditions.

Professional property managers are specialists in many different ways. Some will specialize in a single property type in their town or city. In that way they can bring specific knowledge and information together with high levels of skills to the clients that they serve.

Sales Meeting Strategies in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Today

In commercial real estate brokerage, the weekly sales meeting can be a powerful tool when it comes to building the market share momentum for the real estate business and the sales team. The meeting can be well planned to achieve positive leverage and momentum across the agency.

With most agencies today, the weekly sales meeting is a good idea to keep the agents on focus and task. That being said, an agenda is required to achieve that. Minutes should also be created from the meeting to track and measure the efforts of individuals. Good salespeople thrive on positive recognition and individual performance tracking. They understand the benefits of the process.

Weekly sales meetings should occur in the mornings before the business day commences. They should also take no longer than 1 hour so that that the team can get back to the marketplace and the daily activities required.

So the goals of the sales meeting should be to achieve the following:

  • To encourage the team forward with activities in listings and commissions
  • To sustain the momentum and the focus across the group in a positive way
  • To track and measure the activities of individuals
  • To establish positive communication between the sales team and the administration team

It should be remembered that most salespeople dislike lengthy meetings. Any top agent or broker will prefer to have a firm agenda to stick to when it comes to weekly reporting and meeting attendance. The team leader or the sales manager should control the process.

Here are some tips to help you establish a positive process of meetings for your sales team:

  1. The location of the weekly meeting should be varied to encourage activity and attendance. You can move the meeting between different venues and times of day. Breakfast meetings are usually quite successful, and the same can be said for lunch meetings. You will however need an agenda for the process.
  2. Peer group praise will always be a useful tool within a successful sales team. The team leader or the sales manager for the agency should encourage that activity. When a salesperson has achieved great success or an extraordinary deal, share that information around the group at the right time and in the right circumstances.
  3. Once a month allow the full sales team and the administrative team to come together as part of social drinks. The interaction between both groups will be important for the success of the agency.
  4. Establish a points system between members of the sales team. The points system should be varied based on a number of different criteria. In that way you will be recognising and encouraging everyone, and not just the top agents with the best deals. Look at the different achievements of the week including the best deal of the week, the best marketing campaign, the greatest numbers of inbound calls, cold calling targets, exclusive listings, and new meetings.

Top agents and brokers like efficiency. They also like to get to the point quickly and effectively. Any sales meeting should take no longer than 1 hour, minutes should be created, and agendas should be circulated prior to the next meeting. Respect the time of your top agents, and they will respect the attendance requirements at your sales meetings.

Learning How to Do a Sales Pitch or Presentation in a Commercial Real Estate Agency

In commercial real estate today the pressure of presenting and pitching your services can be high. Most opportunities for a listing will involve a few agents all chasing the same listing opportunity. This then says that your presentation process should be finely tuned and very professional.

The ‘generic’ approach to presenting your services to a client today just does not work. In every respect your presentation needs to be of the highest standard. To help you with that I have given you some tips below:

  1. Check out the client’s situation prior to developing any thoughts about the property and how you can take it forward. Find out why the client may be selling or leasing the property today; that information may impact your choices of property promotion. Find out why the client purchased the property in the first place. Also ask them about their impressions of property features and improvements.
  2. Get the facts of the market locally. There will be some competing properties in the general area that will tell you something about prices, rents, enquiry, occupancy and time on market. Get all of those facts together as part of your preparation to meet with and make recommendations to the client.
  3. Walk the streets around the property. As simple as this seems, the process of getting out of your car and walking helps you see and observe many things that you would normally overlook.
  4. Understand the property legally and physically. Most properties will have issues that are of impact to the marketing campaign. Look for the ‘hurdles’ that could affect your choices of marketing and inspecting the property with prospects. It is wise to remove the ‘hurdles’ prior to commencing property marketing.
  5. Know about the precinct and its history. The records of sales and leases should be accessed so you know what has happened in the area over the last few years.
  6. Give information to the client about the best alternatives in marketing and inspecting the property. They like to have choices and understand the logic behind each. In that way they will not be limited or frustrated in the final agent choice or decision.
  7. Show some successes as a local agent. Most clients want to work with the best agents and those that really know the local area. Have some examples handy of relevant property transactions that you have been involved with previously.
  8. Be relevant in your presentation and provide a visual time line to the actions that you will be taking. The client can then see how you will be moving things forward for them in a timely way. If anything, that will give them more confidence when it gets to the final choice of agent.

Presenting and pitching your services as a top real estate agent does not have to be hard. You can make a deliberate choice to be the best agent for the job and give the full facts of the process in moving ahead. Confidence is the key.

Key Priorities in Personal Prospecting in Commercial Real Estate Agency

In commercial real estate agency today, you as an agent really do need a personal prospecting system. When you can establish a prospecting system that is geared to the local area and your relevant property experience, things get a lot easier when it comes to market share and growing your commissions.

One key problem that exists in the commercial property industry is that many agents work with far too few clients. When they lose a few key clients, they lose a massive amount of income and momentum. It takes time to build up good and productive client relationships.

Your personal prospecting process should bring new clients into your ‘pipeline’ of client contact and networking. Be prepared to lose a few clients every 6 months or so. Prepare for the loss by building new relationships. Nurture good clients and quality listings; it is a deliberate process that is ‘formulated and commenced’ at an individual level.

The cycle of commercial real estate sales and leasing is quite long. On that basis it can be months if not years before a client is ready to act in a sale, purchase, or lease. Your networking system has to continue in a relevant way for the ongoing time to capture that business. The only thing that you should determine at the outset of a first contact is that you then know that the person or prospect has the potential to need your services in the future.

Here are some other tips to help you with your personal prospecting system in this property market and economy:

  1. Define your business area and your property type so you clearly know where you are focusing. You should also determine why people should use your services. If you cannot establish that information for yourself it will be very hard to sell and pitch the idea of your services to anyone else. Confidence and relevance are key factors in presenting and pitching your agency services. You must be better than the competition agents; how can you do that?
  2. Given your special services, why are you a top agent? Can you sell that idea to a prospective client? What can you do that is more relevant and real than some of your competitors? Over time these things will need to grow and consolidate. They must become part of your personal brand.
  3. At any time and in any market you will find clients that are under property pressure in some way or form. Through consistent daily prospecting you will locate these clients and you can work with them to solve the ‘property pain’. If you are lacking clients and listings now, take a serious look at your prospecting systems and efforts. Most of the agents that are struggling are those that do not prospect enough. I have met agents that admit that they do little or no prospecting at all; I then wonder why they even bother being in the industry given the costs and pressures that apply to the average agent. Every property market has opportunity to identify and action.
  4. Track your prospecting efforts so you can see where you are progressing in conversions, calls and meeting outcomes. It takes about 3 or 4 approaches to some prospects and targets to get them to let you have a meeting with them. Consistency and relevance in contact are the key factors. When you ‘open the right doors’ with prospects, keep them open through ongoing relevant contact.

Given all of the above, the prospecting time that you apply to your career every day should be split 50% to established contacts, and 50% to finding new prospects. In this way you can build market share for the time that you lose a few good clients. Understand what works for you in commercial real estate and repeat the process over and over again. That’s a good way to get more new business.

Top Gun Prospecting Tips in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

In commercial real estate brokerage, the prospecting process is critical to the commissions and listings that you attract. The best agents and brokers in the industry have a quality approach and system when it comes to prospecting for new business. Every day they are implementing their system into new segments of the market and with new clients.

To revitalise your career and your market share, you can adopt a ‘top gun’ approach to all of your new business efforts. You could say that the approach is based on an ‘attitude’ more than anything else. When you direct your thinking towards creating new clients and new business, everything tends to follow with leads and opportunities.

Action is the key to getting anywhere in this industry. It really doesn’t matter what agency or brokerage you work for; personal branding and networking will allow you to achieve the results you want with listings and commissions.

Here are some ‘top gun’ tips to help you with your growth of market share and client conversions:

  1. Make it easy for people to contact you. Over time extend your brand into the local area and with the right people through constant contact. To do this correctly, you will require a networking and contact model that devotes 50% of your time to current contacts, and 50% of your time to new contacts.
  2. Take advantage of technology through the use of auto responders, e-mail marketing, social media, mobile telephones, and call prospecting. The ultimate goal in any new business effort is to get in front of the right people to establish a long-term relationship. In our industry, the elements of trust and knowledge go hand in hand. It can be many months if not years before someone is ready to use your services. Staying in contact over and for the long term is really important.
  3. Be prepared to put in the time and the effort when it comes to building your market share. Every day approximately 2 or 3 hours should be devoted to the prospecting and networking model you have devised. That itself can be a very large challenge for some agents. They simply do not have the discipline for the process and hence do not take the required action. When you think about it, this leaves the market wide open for those people that can get organised and stay on track when it comes to their real estate business plan and opportunity network. It is a personal thing. It cannot be delegated.
  4. Tracking your efforts and your results will be important to getting traction in building market share. Understand the number of calls that you are making every day, the meetings you are creating, and the presentations underway for new listings. Seek to improve the numbers in a logical and consistent way. Commit time to the process in your diary so that you can reach new people with new property requirements.
  5. It should be said that the prospecting process usually involves a degree of discomfort and skill development. You can fast track the process through practice and role playing. You can merge those activities into your regular weekly sales team meeting.

A successful prospecting model in commercial real estate will take you quickly into the local property market and help with many new quality commercial listings. Consistency and focus will be required to stay on track and get the conversions that you require. The agents and brokers that control the listings, control the market.

Tips to Hire a Commercial Real Estate Agent

If you don’t want to handle your relocation project or commercial lease renewal yourself, you can go to a commercial real estate agent. All you have to do is choose the right professional for your needs. Given below are 6 things you may want to consider during your evaluation. Read on.

Likability

A relocation or lease renewal is similar to a construction project. The difference is that it takes a bit longer than expected. So, it’s a good idea to go with someone who you like. This way you will enjoy throughout your journey and the process of negotiation may also go well.

Trust

Make sure the professional agent that you are going to hire can be trusted. It may be difficult to find out who can be trusted but it can be done during the interview. By asking a few relevant questions during the interview, you can get a pretty good idea as if they are trustworthy or not.

Conflicts of Interest

What does a conflict occurs? Actually, the conflict may occur when you go with an agent who already is a representative of many property owners in the same area. Now, the agent wants to serve you despite that the fact that they have given their word to the property owners that they will find a way to earn them the highest rate of rent possible. So, you may want to get a clear idea of the conflict severity and its importance for you.

Experience

Experience of the agent is of utmost importance as far as choosing the best professional is concerned. Ideally, it’s a good idea to go with a commercial real estate agent who has over 10 years of experience in the field. Their grey hair may be a sign that they have been in this business for years. You can ask about their experience during the interview.

Age

Age of the professional should not be taken as an evidence of their experience in the field. The million dollar question is how long have they been actively involved in the business. You need to keep in mind that commercial real estate is on the list of those businesses that people do part time. So, make sure you choose a professional who has been working full time as an agent. What matters is experience not the age of the agent. After all, age is just a number.

Specialization

Typically agents specialize in two ways. They can do it by industry vertical or location. As far as importance is concerned, location specialization carries more weight. An agent with location specialization has a pretty good idea of what is happening in the market. They know about the best deals and best property owners. Aside from this, their negotiation style is pretty impressive.

Long story short, if you have been thinking of hiring the services of the best commercial real estate agent, we suggest that you take these factors into consideration. This will help you choose the best service provider.

Commercial Real Estate Agents – Technology Tips and Tools You Must Have to Succeed Today

In commercial real estate you will need some technology tools to assist your progress in commercial property sales and leasing. When used fully and correctly they will drive more opportunity towards you and help you keep it under control.

At the bare minimum in today’s commercial property market you should be able to work with all of the following:

  • Mobile smartphone with your personal diary and database
  • Computer for presentations and property information
  • Database that is easy to use and comprehensively captures the enquiry
  • Website that promotes your listings and your business
  • SMS technology for sending messages to clients and prospects of new listings and updates
  • Email contact and the use of attachments such as brochures and flyers
  • PDF documentation and formatting of promotional material
  • Creation of adverts and marketing material on your computer
  • HTML email that updates all your contacts of recent listings
  • Auto responders for automated contact via email
  • Internet placement of advertised properties
  • Use of word processing for reports and information memorandums

Some salespeople will have a PA to do this work for them and that is fine; it is the fact that you or someone working for you is doing it that really matters.

Presentational and communication tools today are part of business in commercial property. If you use the tools to their fullest capability then your market and the prospects around you will see it.

So let’s add a few extra technology tools to the process now that you may not use. They have something to do with the internet and they are all critical to the online profile you would like to have.

  1. Start to grow your personal profile on the internet by establishing an online community of contacts. You can do this with something like LinkedIn or similar internet based community tool. Importantly you should separate your business life and personal friends to two different sites as they are looking at you from different angles. Most professional business people will have a profile on the web that is searchable and is likely to be looked at by business prospects before or as part of business contact. Establish your profile on the internet the way you want to be seen.
  2. Establish a blog in your name so you can write short informational grabs about property industry trends in your area on a regular basis. Everything you write should be linked back to your main office website and your listings. It is remarkable how this simple regular practice will help lift your personal profile on the World Wide Web as long as you do it regularly.
  3. Write short online articles about commercial real estate and publish them to a recognised internet articles directory on a regular basis. There are some very good article directories on the web and many of them take articles on commercial real estate. That is where you need to go to write about things of interest in commercial investment property. Each article you write should be linked back to your website and personal profile. It is the link back to your site that is really critical to your branding and internet profile.

These extra 3 things will assist your profile on the largest and most important part of the promotional stage in commercial property; the internet. More than ever before the internet and your profile in it will be essential to your success and image in your market. Get ahead of your competition and start the 3 extra processes above before they do.

Growing and Adapting Your Commercial Real Estate Agent Relationships

In commercial real estate agency the relationships that you have with your clients will shift and change during the year as their property needs change. Importantly, you should adjust your approach and make all your contact processes relevant and of high value.

There is no point in contacting the same prospect or client with the same information and strategy each time you call. Fresh market information and ideas will help the client relationship grow. So what type of information can you provide that will help the client connect with you?

Try some of these:

  • Time on market factors impacting the different property types
  • The levels of inquiry coming in currently through the local region
  • Price trends with properties on the market and those that have been sold
  • Rent strategies and results from recent leases
  • Yields and cap rates applying to prices and rents
  • Best marketing strategies that are getting better inquiries locally

In an ideal world you should be 'on top' of these facts as part of your daily market activity in commercial real estate. It is simply a matter of having the information available in a form that you can provide to the clients and prospects that you work with.

Here are some ways to distribute the information to the people that are in your database and that you regard as targets for more new business:

  1. Start a blog in your own name and featuring the local area and property type that you specialize in. Every week you can write a short article or two about current market activity and trends. Given this you can link your blog article in your emails and newsletters that you send out.
  2. Your database should be constructed and contained in a system where you can broadcast many emails and newsletters. It is best to send out a newsletter via email at least once a fortnight.
  3. The previous two points are 'electronic' and internet related. You will still need some more 'traditional' approaches to getting information to your clients and prospects. Direct mail once a month will be useful. Enclose a 'hard copy' of your newsletter in the mailing process. Always enclose your business card in every direct letter sent.
  4. Create what I call a 'one sheet'. It is essentially a single sheet of paper printed on one or two sides. It is a mini version of your newsletter and provides an update. You can conveniently copy the number of 'one sheets' that you need as the weeks progress. Black and white copy is fine for the process but always attach your business card to the sheet. Use the 'one sheet' in meeting new people or prospects, or in door knocking local businesses. Use the sheet as a 'leave behind' marketing tool. It is simple and yet highly effective process in getting the attention of the prospect.

Be sensitive to the growing and changing relationships with all of your prospects and contacts. Your marketing material can be adjusted to their ever changing property needs.