Key Questions to Ask Clients in Commercial Real Estate Agency

When it comes to listing a commercial property or perhaps preparing for a presentation, it pays to have a checklist approach to work through with the client.  The right questions asked at the beginning of the connection can save you a lot of time later.

Before I go too much further I will say that some clients will not tell you the whole property story or the main reason for taking property action.  Over time you will learn to tap into the signs and signals that they are sending.  The skill of ‘reading between the lines’ is valuable in commercial property today.

Here is a small checklist approach that you can use with clients.  You can add to the list based on your location and property type.

  1. As a general rule ask more questions than provide answers initially with any client.  What you must do is get as many facts as possible.  Focus on understanding the client today and their property challenge.  Look for the hidden facts and unstated concerns.  I like to take each answer from a client and ask two more associated questions to drill down into their issues.
  2. Take notes from the client discussion.  You really do not know how deep something will go in complexity so be prepared to cover and capture the client’s comments for later review.  None of us will totally recall a complex client meeting without appropriate notes.  The note taking process is also good when it comes to conversational evidence; in commercial property that is an important thing.   Some clients selectively forget what was said or the actions that were taken in a meeting.  As agents and property brokers we need to protect ourselves from the problem; your insurance company providing professional indemnity insurance will thank you for your diligence in doing so.
  3. What are the ultimate ‘must have’ results that apply to the property listing or challenge?  When you really understand those matters it makes your life a lot easier in negotiating.
  4. Get the history of the property both from a landlord and use perspective.  The history may give you leads when it comes to building momentum in marketing and attracting property enquiry.  Some properties have a local history and an identity that is very useful in marketing.
  5. Understand and agree on the best ways to contact the client as the marketing campaign moves ahead.  If the listing is taken on an exclusive basis the communication process will be critical.
  6. As a final note here I would recommend that you always ask the client to get involved in the marketing of the property and that will involve marketing funds.  Every exclusive listing process should be taken on that basis.

So the key issues here are that when you understand the client you really have something to work with.  Your listing, marketing, and negotiation strategies will be built around the facts and issues of the client.

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