In commercial real estate agency you should treat your clients and prospects differently based on their business style and property needs. Recognise that our segment of the property market is one of privacy and confidentiality. Treat all of your clients and prospects accordingly.
The ‘generic’ business practices of residential property do not apply in commercial real estate sales and leasing. The prices and rents are higher and the requirements of doing business are more specific.
Most of the people that we work with in commercial property are experienced negotiators and business people. They know what they want when it comes to information and communication and they also know when they are not getting it.
Property agents with a ‘big mouths’ in the industry do not last very long. Maintain your professional integrity with all your clients and prospects. Confidentiality will help you with all your client relationships. If a client has a property issue or challenge they do not like that fact being spread across the industry as ‘gossip’.
When it comes to making contact with your clients and prospects, establish some rules that preserve and show your professionalism as a top agent.
Here are some of those rules to help you with client and prospect contact:
- Make sure that you are talking to the decision maker and not some ‘middle management’ person that has no real property involvement.
- Treat every property transaction and client contact conversation as ‘confidential’ in all respects. When in doubt, do not talk of or provide any property information to unauthorised people.
- Remember who your client is in a transaction and just what they want from you in the sale or lease result. Your client should work with one agent in all respects. That agent should be the conduit for listing, marketing, inspections, and negotiations.
- When prospecting, ask for permission to talk to the prospect or client, and get their permission for ongoing contact. In most cases the person will give you that authority if you have been professional from the outset.
- Keep up relevant dialogue with your clients in any negotiation situation and following your property inspections. Tell them what is happening and back up your comments with email or voice mail.
- Do not be afraid to make recommendations to your clients and prospects. Document key recommendations in an email or report so they know quite clearly what you are saying and why that is so.
- Don’t share information with other agents about your clients. You don’t know that they will respect client confidentiality to the same extent as you would.
- Your property files are places of confidentiality. In those files you will have information that will be private. This then says that you are likely to need a ‘confidentiality agreement’ signed with some buyers or tenants before you share details about a rent, leasing, tenancy mix, development opportunities, or property improvements.
- Other agents and competitors are likely to try to establish contact with your clients during a listing and marketing situation. Prepare the client for that situation and get all communications directed to you personally.
It is interesting to note that many top agents are highly protective of their client relationships. That is a good thing and will encourage the right quality of client contact and property transaction.