In commercial real estate brokerage it really pays dividends to you as an agent if you set your rules of client engagement. By that I mean it is wise to set the profiles of the ‘ideal client’, and for you to understand how you will connect with that client over time. In following this specific client process you can attract better commissions and return for you efforts in listing and marketing.
It is an agency fact that randomly chasing clients only produces average results. Find the best clients to work for and connect with them. That’s the rule to strive towards.
Some clients are of greater value to you than others when it comes to long term opportunities and repeat business. They are also easier to work with and much more realistic when it comes to prices, marketing, and negotiations. Better clients and prospects can also give you different levels of business across sales, leasing, and property management.
This concept rings true for both established agents and those that are new to the industry. It is simply a matter of understanding who the best clients are to work with and how you will connect with them. The commercial real estate industry is based on establishing relationships and opportunity.
The Client Contact Rules
Here are some ideas to help you set your rules of client engagement. You can modify these rules based on your location and your brokerage:
- Priorities – Set your priorities when it comes to the ideal type of transaction be it in sales, leasing, or property management. Your priorities should be set given the abundance of new business in the area and your available skills.
- Services – Clients that own investment properties will require services across sales, leasing, and property management over time. One transaction can lead to another with this type of client. Understand exactly who the local property investors are, and reach out to them through the strategy of prospecting, cold calling, meetings, and industry briefings. It is quite likely that those investors are also working with other local agents. On that basis you will need to stand out as the best choice when it comes to property services and levels of success.
- Better Commissions – Understand the commission returns that apply to the average transaction in your area. How many of those transactions can you attract each month and each year? Generally speaking, better commissions are available from sales verses leasing given the amount of work involved in both processes; leasing activity will however fill in the gaps when it comes to shifts and changes in sales activity. It should be said and remembered that the size of the leasing transaction will impact the commission earned. If you work within commercial office leasing or industrial leasing, and particularly with the larger properties, commissions that you earn can be significant.
- Leads and Opportunities – Over time you can create plenty of sales leads and opportunities from a base of leasing activity. At the start your career you will find that leasing local properties will help you with finding the right clients to serve for the long term. This then means that your commission can move across to sales at the right time given the market conditions and the current levels of enquiry. On that basis you should keep in contact with the right clients in a constant and ongoing way. That is where your database becomes really important.
- Leasing and Sales links – The leasing transaction that you do today can be a sales opportunity into the future. Many successful property investors like to change portfolio or upgrade their portfolio over time. The variations in property market activity provide those levels of opportunity for you to act on. Understand exactly what your clients are looking for when it comes to property types, property size, and value. In many respects you can quote properties off market to your established clients, and thereby avoid the competition of other brokers and agents.
- Corporate clients – In commercial real estate it is not unusual for you to be working with corporate clients and owner occupiers. They can have specific needs when it comes to property occupancy and relocation in your area or through your town and city. There is also an opportunity for you here of working as a buyer’s agent or a tenant’s advocate for some of those corporations. Businesses and most particularly the larger corporations usually require specific property services and will pay appropriate commissions accordingly.
In considering all of these factors, it should be remembered that exclusivity is an essential part of client engagement. Ask for an exclusive listing for a reasonable period of time. Show the client exactly why they should select you as the top agent to resolve their property challenges.