The questioning process will help you build market share in commercial real estate.  It doesn’t matter whether you focus on sales, leasing, or property management.  The right questions will help you build the conversations to connect with the client or prospect.  Forget about pitching and start connecting.

It should be said that a top sales pitch or presentation is largely conversational.  It is built on logic but also supported by good questions.  The questions can be framed to the needs of the client and the particular property, but they can also be shaped around topical issues and market trends.

Here are some ideas to help your questioning process when pitching for new business in commercial real estate:

  1. Understand the property and its position within the current market.  That will help you with ideas for direct questioning and topical comment.  You can also establish some key ideas that are central to directing the clients thinking.  Well directed questions can set up the other brokerage competition with difficult situations and a lack of preparation.  If you are one of a number of agents pitching for the business, introduce some key questions and concepts in your presentation that will derail the agency competition.
  2. Questions will help qualify the client or the prospect of the situation as you see it.  The single question can be opened up into two or three further questions that dig deeper into the issue.  There is a concept in professional negotiation called the ‘Freudian slip’.  Essentially it means that deeper questioning will usually put you closer to the facts that are central to any decision or discussion.  The more questions that you ask it is harder for the client to hide the true issues of the matter.
  3. You will have heard of the differences between open questions and closed questions.  I like to add the further concept of directed questions.  Directed questions are those that have a particular focus and conversational change.  They can help put the client back on track when it comes to your conversation.
  4. The difference between a top agent and an ordinary agent will usually be in the depth of dialogue and directed discussion.  Top agents understand how to get to the facts that are central to the sales or leasing transaction or the property management opportunity.  They then know how to close on the matter.  You can do the same through dialogue practice in a regular way.  It is interesting to note that many agents and brokers really do not practice enough.  If you get some practice underway, your conversions will be a lot easier to achieve.
  5. Ask the client or the prospect about the market and the other properties they may have inspected.  Most people will have checked out other properties with other agents.  Some property owners will have spoken to other agents about a potential property listing.  A simple questioning process can help you understand exactly what you are up against.

Questions provide a compelling base for conversation and negotiation focus.  Good questions put energy and vitality into the conversational direction and any presentation or sales pitch.  Make your questioning process more dynamic and flexible.

Take notes from the key issues identified from questions, and build your market share accordingly.  Know how to drill down when it comes to property facts, sales or leasing situations, and the challenges of the market today.  That’s what commercial real estate is all about.