In commercial real estate and investment property, your leads and listings for new business come from several sources. It’s time to develop a few real estate systems of action at the agent level.
Ongoing awareness of what is happening in the property market will help you find things. Focus on quality listings and good locations. In that way, you will attract more inquiries.
Quality Properties and Clients
The more leads you can generate and optimise, the more successful you will be in getting the best listings. In this market, the quality of the listings is so important, given that the buyers and the tenants can be so selective.
When the market is saturated with owners and businesses struggling to keep afloat, it is the quality properties you want to market. These are the ones that will generate momentum even in difficult times. The banks are also not as reluctant to lend on higher quality assets with established cash flow.
Does this mean you turn your back on poor and unattractive commercial real estate listings? Perhaps you should do so, given that you want results for your marketing.
It’s your choice, but at the very least, be selective about what you list and how you do it. Your time is your most valuable real estate resource, and how you use it is essential to generating fresh and marketable listings.
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Prospecting, listing, negotiating and presenting for sales and leasing
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Sources of Good Quality Leads
We cannot cover all the sources of commercial real estate leads here as they are unique to your market in many respects; however, raising the main common ones is worthwhile so that you can have them covered.
Importantly, you must know what a lead or source of new commercial real estate business looks like in its early stages, and then you must know how to convert it to fresh momentum and a deal.
One main rule on the topic of leads: when you see a lead, you must react professionally and timely before someone else does.
Leads in commercial real estate are not just for what happens today; they can be for potential deals in months or even years. The more clearly you see this, the more business you will generate.
A Lead Generation List for Agents
So here are the most obvious leads generation in a list that you must have covered in one form or another. See how you score on these items and ensure these foundational matters are controlled.
- Business Acquaintances locally— These are most particularly those people that you have known for some time and who are likely to cooperate as an extra set of eyes in the marketplace. Choose of these business people with care and remain in constant contact with them.
- Professional Business People – In your marketplace, there are several categories of business people to whom you must remain connected. The highest on the list are solicitors, accountants, town planners, financiers, architects, local politicians, and engineers. These people are significantly involved with the commercial property industry and the property owners. They will likely hear about a commercial property transaction before you do. In many cases, these people need the assistance of a good commercial real estate broker to help their clients in various ways.
- Local businesses – Local businesses produce change and flux in the property marketplace. As time progresses, you should constantly encourage ongoing contact with all the major businesses in your precinct. They are the ones that regularly need to buy, sell, and lease premises.
- Business owners – Identify all the local managers and business proprietors involved in property decisions and commerce in the community. Recognise that they do not normally know much about commercial real estate. You can regularly bring them updates on rental and property prices to assist them with their future property needs.
- Colleagues within your office – Many commercial real estate offices are cooperative business environments with salespeople working productively with each other. Sharing part of your commission with colleagues in your office is far better than giving the commission to another outside competitor, an agent in the same region.
Going Deeper for Leads
- Building tenancy schedules – Occasionally, you will see or obtain tenancy schedules or inventories related to major buildings in your area. While they should be regarded as confidential documents, they will give you a wealth of opportunity if used correctly. Any lease to expire within the next three years is a target for future contact. The relative tenant will need to do something to preserve the function and occupation of their business. It is surprising how many tenants leave such matters to the last minute. The ongoing contact with tenants of this type is highly productive. Your main focus with these people is to establish trust. You do that so they come to you when they need you.
- Competition agents and brokers – Normally, the competitor agencies in your area will cooperate on joint transactions with their exclusives. The commercial real estate industry is relatively specialised and such cooperation is common in sales and leasing of office, industrial, and retail property. Importantly, any conjunction arrangement involving other agent’s listings must have a completely signed and documented conjunction agreement before you proceed. Cooperate with other agents, but do so with care and professionalism.
- Satisfied clients – Your agency business, if it’s been operating for a number of years, will have a significant list of established, happy clients from previous transactions. It pays to keep in contact with these people given that most transactions in commercial real estate happen every 4 to 10 years. The satisfied clients are going to need your services again.
- Old campaigns – Any commercial real estate campaign and marketing event will have created leads and people that ‘changed their mind’. All of these people should be on your constant contact register or database. Feeding them regular market updates is essential.
- Other Agents old deals – as a further extension of this item above, you can also monitor the transactions of competing agents in your area. Any transactions through other agencies over the last 4 to 10 years should be monitored for future re-activity. It is interesting to note that many real estate agents and brokers are lax or ‘slack’ when contacting others.
Local Information and Research
- Industry publications – Any newspaper or industry publication in your area should be reviewed daily for information involving businesses relocating, expanding, contracting, or merging. It is surprising how so many agents overlook this obvious source of listing. These publications will also frequently name the key people in a business such as the CEO, President, or CFO. In all cases, these business leaders get a letter regularly on your contact list. I said a ‘letter’ and not an ‘email’. In this high-tech world, you want your correspondence to be seen and read; an email will not achieve this in most circumstances.
- Other agent’s signboards –When another agent puts a signboard on a property, you must contact the adjacent and nearby owners of commercial property in that street. These people will likely be interested in competing with the property just on the market. They are also more likely to use you as a competing agent whilst the other agent’s property moves through its promotional period.
- Financiers and bank managers – These people need property transactions for their businesses to survive. They are also receptive to working with professional agents who understand commercial real estate and act professionally. If you can supply them with the source of a new large mortgage or property development, they will likely offer you the opportunity for a listing or a sale with their clients.
- Planning approvals – Keep close to the local council or office of the planning committee in your region, as they constantly consider new planning matters. Some of these offices have minutes of planning approvals available for public scrutiny. Check out these minutes and follow through on the opportunities you can see. The historic planning approvals over the last few years are also great sources of leads and listings.
The inventory above comprises the most obvious categories of leads and opportunities. You will be able to add to this as time progresses in your marketplace. Importantly, make sure that you have these items well under control as the essential foundations of your business.