Commercial Real Estate Brokerage – Key Questions to Ask Your Clients Before You Help Them

In commercial real estate brokerage it is very easy to be distracted and diverted with the requests of low grade clients and prospects as they seek to resolve their property needs or challenges.  Given that time is the most important resource that we have, the time allocation that we give to those people can have a dramatic impact on commission’s earned and new listing business.   Every client should be part of a ‘net worth assessment’.

Qualify all of the people that you connect with.  That’s the rule to be respected and implemented by each and every broker.  Do they have a genuine need for property help or are they just using you with little regard for your time?  Have they got the level and type of business that you require?

History Tells Us….

Many of us can look back on a few prospects and clients that seemed to have offered us some great promise and future new business, only to later find that they were working with a number of agents over a considerable period of time; they were not totally honest in what they were doing or who they were talking to.  They then take their business elsewhere just when listings and inspections were about to occur.  Nothing is more frustrating than seeing another broker or agent take on a prospect that you have worked and shaped for the next stage of action.

The Real Client Message

So the core message here is that you should totally qualify the clients and people that you work with.  Read between the lines with the conversations you create and information that they give you about their property needs.  When in any doubt ask more questions.

So what does a good client look like to you or what do they own now?  Where should they own properties that are of interest to you?  What are the property types?  They are all good questions worth considering.

Here below are some typical criteria that would help with client selection and qualification in commercial real estate brokerage:

  1. Location – Within your town or city there will be locations that are high on the desirable list for both investment and business location. Those areas should be assessed for growth and change across sales and leasing activity.  It is likely that a good property precinct will always create inquiry even in the toughest of property markets.
  2. New property developments – Regularly check out the upcoming property developments that are in the planning phase or under construction. An injection of extra vacant space into the property market for the zone will create a shift in prices and rents.
  3. Property types – It is best to focus on a few property types but not too many. Diversity carries with it issues of difficulty in understanding what is happening with prices, rents, inquiry and availability.
  4. Portfolio needs – I like to connect with clients that own multiple properties in good locations. For that reason I have to do a lot of research. A property investor with a portfolio will always require help across a number of different property services.  Sales, leasing, property management, tenant mix, and property performance are a few of the regular ones to watch for.  The question then arises as to how I can you cover off on these situations.  How can you solve issues across the diversity of property challenges?
  5. Risk assessments – Some clients are more exposed than others to the shift in property prices, rents, performance and loan funding. Understand that the highly distressed clients in the property market are most likely the ones that will find it difficult to pay for marketing and also reimburse you with a fair and reasonable commission at the end of the job.
  6. Can they afford you? – Choose your clients well and determine if they can really afford you and your services. Always get your marketing costs paid upfront before you expend promotional money and time.  Many an agent has been left financially embarrassed when a client has refused to pay marketing monies or a cheque in payment has bounced.

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