The life of a commercial real estate agent or broker can be a real challenge when you take into account the complexity of the job, the property market, and the clients that we serve. Nothing remains the same, and most days will be very busy in one way or another.
We need more leaders in our industry; by that I mean top agents that are prepared to ‘lead by example’ and take charge of their market, listings, and client base. There are many opportunities to be had by those people that control their time, focus their efforts, and build their skills.
Every now and then you see a top agent that really does dominate their brokerage and competitors. It is a deliberate choice for that agent and every day they work to a plan.
Here are what I believe are some of the critical skills and perhaps ‘factors of leadership’ that make a lot of difference in our industry at a personal level:
- Protect your time – Time is a valuable resource for many an agent striving to build a better market share of listings and clients. Wasted time is wasted opportunity; if someone wants to meet with you or take up a big part of your day, ask why before you agree to the process.
- Manage your expenses – One thing you will have as a commercial real estate agent are work related expenses. At a bare minimum they will be motor vehicle running costs, telephone costs, internet and data usage, insurance, marketing material, and office materials. Beyond that you can look at training costs, franchise fees, desk fees, administrative support, and the list goes on. For this reason you will need a budget as a real estate agent or broker. The budget should be part of your business plan.
- Prospect for new business – Nothing is more important in commercial real estate than prospecting for new clients and listings. Every day devote 3 hours to the process of talking to new people using cold calling, door knocking, and database review. When you know more of the right people, your business will start to gain momentum. Trust and personal contact are big issues in our industry.
- Connect with your clients – When you win a client or a listing that is the start of the professional service, and not the end of things. A client that has given you an exclusive listing is a client to be well served; in that way you will attract referral business. Don’t forget the need to refresh your listings and condition your clients to the market conditions. Every few weeks your listings should be revamped, rewritten, and adjusted on price or rent.
- Practice your key skills – We can always improve our skills in commercial real estate. When you think about it, the important skills are those of negotiating, prospecting, presenting, and marketing. Life doesn’t need to be complicated for agents; just practice the right skills.
- Write things down – Given the events of an average working day in real estate, it is good business practice to write things down. It also helps remove the stress from the working day, as well as provide a paper trail from conversations, meetings, and actions. People like to disagree with us or dispute what may have occurred. Your notes will help you get through difficult circumstances with clients and in negotiations.
- Respond and commit – Many clients get frustrated by lack of information coming from their agent when a property is in a deal negotiation, inspection, or nearing settlement. When you say you are doing something, always follow through. One slow response or inaction will impact your client relationships.
With these skills you can lead by example in commercial real estate brokerage. Don’t let the market hold you back. Take charge of the things that you can control.