Commercial real estate sales and leasing is a very competitive industry and the large amounts of money both in commission and in property prices make some of the ‘players’ of the industry compete in ways that can seem ‘aggressive and pushy’. In saying that, the professional approach always ‘wins’ over all other methods of brokerage.
The ‘aggressive and pushy’ focus does not win you market share or better deals in the long term, as the real focus should always be your absolute professionalism.
You must be the best broker or agent in your market, and all the local property people need to know that you are indeed that. Being the best does not mean ‘aggression’, but rather ‘relevance’. The more ‘relevant’ that you are as a professional specialist, the more business you will attract and retain over time.
How professional do you think you are now or can you be this year in commercial real estate? So what does ‘professional’ mean for the commercial real estate market in your area? If you were a property investor or potential client, would you appoint yourself to market and sell property locally? What are your ‘factors of attraction or relevance’ as a broker or agent, particularly so based on your skills and knowledge? Create clear directions in your real estate business.
Getting Professional with the Property Right People
Let’s create some rules for you on this. Getting up close and professional with the investors and the sellers, their ideas and their motivations are critical factors in the prospecting, listing and closing processes of commercial property.
Where can you start with this? Information must be a daily process for you in your commercial real estate business. All the information gained and shared every day about the property market should be captured and included in an appropriate series of statistics as indicators to the property types and your market.
When you capture data for a property or a location, make sure that the client sees your diligence in the information gathering and analysis process. Use your professional processes obviously and in full view of the people that matter. Show the people that what you do is superior and special; help them see that you are the ‘top solution’ for a property requirement or challenge.
Record your property information and market intelligence as both hard copy and later as part of a computerised listing, spreadsheet, or database. The more facts you know about your property market and can easily draw on later, the more business you will find and attract in the long term.
If you do not have the advantage of using a specialised commercial property software solution for collating your price and rent data then use a simple spreadsheet. The process is easy and effective and you can use it anywhere and at anytime.
Spreadsheets can be sorted and manipulated to give you the sales and leasing information that you need conveniently and concisely. You can even do this in front of the client as a point of difference in your discussions.
Computer and software literacy in the industry is now the ‘norm’ and not the ‘exception’. At the basic minimum today, you should be very conversant in using commonly available software such as ‘MS Word, Excel, Publisher, Outlook, Adobe Acrobat PDF, and Access’. We put ‘Access’ on this list as it is a very powerful and flexible database tool that is so versatile and talks to all other major Microsoft programs.
So let’s now move on to the keys to effective relationships in commercial real estate.
Here are six simple ways that you can start to build your relationships consistently and professionally in commercial property sales and leasing.
- Property is very much a person-to-person business. Whilst your clients or prospects may be attracted in the first instance by your firm’s name, advertising etc., eventually, people trust and deal with people (not firms, or organisations). Consequently, your personality, approach and attitude are very important to your professional real estate success. You are ‘in-charge’ of these factors and only you can do something with them.
- You should not attempt to adopt artificial characteristics or mannerisms that do not come to you naturally. If you are in any way ‘artificial’, the client will see that you are not being yourself and will see weakness in your processes. Nevertheless, you must be able to provide your client with the QUALITY SERVICE that he or she demands, hence adjustment of your skills and actions may be necessary. Clients in commercial real estate will typically be astute business people or investors who are used to dealing with specialist professionals and will accept nothing less. To help with this aspect you can and should adopt a daily practice process of the critical skills of communication and market knowledge that you need to draw on frequently with the properties in your market. This will help fast-track your success in listings and deal conversions.
- What then, does your Commercial and Industrial client demand of you? Clearly, he or she wants someone with expert knowledge to resolve the property challenge or opportunity. Firstly the whole basis of the client retaining you is that you possess a level of expertise, market coverage, and skill that the client has not got now, and or that these aspects are significantly better than those offered by your competitors. Secondly, the client will seek a friendly, confident, businesslike approach from an agent who appears well organised, successful, and well presented. They want someone who is creative and enthusiastic, willing to LISTEN to the client’s requirements and, most important of all, to instigate timely ACTION to fulfil them. Sometimes in this process, it helps to think of the things that you would expect from an agent if you were a client. The client has to have confidence in you to help them. It is not all about price and commission; it is about your ability and relevance to achieving the result that the client wants. If you lack in some ability and relevance in your market segment then start to practice and improve all your weakest points as they alone will hold you back and hinder your conversions.
- Property marketing today is direct and deliberate; talk to plenty of people. Never be pressured into making rash statements or give ‘outspoken’ opinions. The sector is complex and the vendor will respect you taking a little more time to research the particular property and to prepare a comprehensive marketing submission prior to securing a listing. If in doubt on any property proposal or related question, do not answer or respond immediately, but rather seek the extra time to get the right detail that you need.
- Proposals and submissions should include fully detailed relevant matters and recommendations. That will include things such as marketing proposals and strategies, timing, market conditions and opportunities, advertising budget, commission, anticipated market value, and target market. The submission should, without padding, reinforce your ability to carry out the work and facilitate action that will secure the listing for you. A key component of the proposal process is identifying and then handling the worries and concerns of the client. If you do this in the proposal or submission to the client then you will be all that much closer to closing the listing.
- Submissions and proposals to the client must be completed in a timely fashion and then followed up regularly and professionally until a decision is made. Once the listing is secured, it is then essential for all later contact, negotiations, and final agreements to be supported and documented clearly and correctly. This extends throughout the marketing period, the inspection process, the negotiation, the sale, or the lease. When you do this correctly you build a high level of trust with the client and this is invaluable when it comes to the actual deal, the future and other transactions with the same people. A foundation of ‘trust’ will help you convert the client to the negotiations that you may initiate.
All of the above matters are not difficult but they do demand attention and diligence. The rest is up to you as the industry professional.