In commercial real estate brokerage, the size and nature of your sales force will be the backbone to future listing opportunities and commission generation. You will need a plan to establish and then grow the sales force over time.
Here are some ideas and questions to address as part of building that sales team and integrating them into the precincts where business will come from over time.
- Review the buildings in the precinct or location where most of your business will come from. Those buildings will require special knowledge and professional skill. The brokers in the agents in your team will need the required knowledge and coverage to tap into that business type and property profile. When you employ a new broker or agent, make sure that they can talk to the property type professionally and skilfully. Get them to show you how they can speak to a client with relevance relating to any situation of sales, leasing, or property management.
- Research the property market comprehensively so that you can look at the trends historically in investment sales, property rentals, and vacancy change. Understand how the business community has been changing over the last five years, and then look at the projections relating to business growth and opportunity for the next five years. Somewhere in that information will be the leverage that you require to tap into business owners and property investors.
- Determine the size of your territory geographically and numerically. Understand how many investment properties exist inside the zone. Also understand how many businesses you have inside that precinct. Look at the layout relating to roads, transport, and infrastructure. Some property precincts will be better than others when it comes to business activity and investment. You may need to split your operational territory into primary zone and secondary zone. Most of the business should come from the primary zone and the team within the brokerage needs to focus into that location.
- Determine the target markets that will be part of your brokerage focus and business generation. There will be differences to consider across office property, industrial property, and retail shopping centers. Special people will be required in each segment. In recruiting new people, you will need to delve into the particular skills required for the properties, the listings, and the location that you work.
- Look at the cycles of sale and leasing that apply to the location. At certain times of the year the property market will be very active, and at other times the sales and/or leasing activity will slow. With most brokerages, there will usually be a period of 9 to 10 months in every year of the business cycle where you can generate good opportunities and listing churn. The brokerage team needs to focus their prospecting and marketing efforts specifically in that prime time of activity.
- Establish some customer contact systems that make it easy for the growth of your client list and listing bank. All of the brokers in the agents in the team should be talking to new people each and every day. The customer contact system is thereby a critical component of brokerage function and future opportunity. It is the foundation of the growth of the business. Every broker and agent in your team needs to know how to connect specifically with the right people and then record the information into the client contact system.
- Look at the factors of process management applying to sales, leasing, and property management. How will the clients and the transactions be processed in each situation? The brokers in the agents in your team will need to understand the process management system for the business, and then integrate their activities accordingly.
- Determine the property types and the target markets that you should focus the brokerage into. The skill mix of the team will have something to do with the target markets that you select and engage into. The target markets should have sufficient churn and activity for the number of agents and brokers in your team. It directly follows that every broker and agent should have a budget to work to, and a set of key performance indicators to achieve throughout the year.
In considering all of these things, understand the levels of business that one person should be able to convert and create over a period of 12 months. That level of business should be categorized into sales, leasing, and property management. When you understand all the numbers, you can engage the sales force into the property precinct effectively and directly.