You may say that the commercial real estate sales and leasing market is difficult at the moment. You will not be the first agent or investor to observe that fact. This is however a major opportunity market with properties adjusting to the beginning of a new property cycle.
You are at the beginning of new opportunity. Tenants, buyers, and sellers are still out there. It’s just that their sales, purchase, and rental strategy has needed to shift. So if you are a commercial real estate agent that works on retail, office, or industrial property, we are going to let you in on a major marketing secret that works tremendously well to generate listing opportunity in this economy and investment property shift.
Moving Your Business Forward?
So how do you move forward in this market to create real opportunity? You create a significant pipeline of opportunity from speaking to many people and helping them with the market adjustment process. This means that the help they require may be a listing or property this year, next year, or the year after, however they will need well qualified and experienced property professionals.
You must be that solution for them. You must be confident in this market. You should use a marketing point of difference and most particularly your ‘toolbox’ to attract and convert the clients that you need.
Sales and Leasing Together
In this market the best commercial real estate agencies specialise in both investment property sales and investment property leasing. In those specialist categories they can bring significant strategy and understanding to the property, together with a ‘toolbox’ approach for the customers and clients.
A great lease will one day support a great property sale. This means that every lease should be planned and structured to optimise the situation for the property owner. This is where ‘toolbox’ stands head and shoulders above generic marketing of commercial real estate services.
Solicitors Awareness of Property
Whilst talking about leases I would like to make an important and relevant observation. In doing so I do not want to upset the solicitors and legal people of the ‘property investment world’ however the following is a real fact.
Most solicitors and legal people that do the lease documents for the investment property owner have little awareness of the actual property in question and probably have not even inspected the property.
My apologies to the legal people that are the exception to the rule!
This random process of lease preparation is not good investment practice, considering that the property lease is to produce a cash flow over a number of years. Solicitors and property agents need to get together and make sure that all the elements of the property that enhance cash flow are well considered and placed in the property lease before it is signed!
In only this way can they bring real strategy and stability to the occupancy and cash flow!
What’s Your Agency Point of Difference Today?
Only yesterday I was speaking to a real estate agency that was working on identifying a point of difference in this market. They realized that the competition agencies they were up against in the market place were doing nothing special to attract and retain new business.
Those competition agencies were simply continuing the same practices of prospecting and conversion that they have been doing for years. They were not offering any new approach or support process to the clients in the market today.
Let’s face the facts. This market today requires experienced real estate agents that can bring solid levels of property strategy to the investor including:
- Rental strategies for the long term that match the lifecycle needs of the property owner
- Lease documentation which minimises cash flow and vacancy exposure
- Strength of tenancy profile that gives an element of prestige to the building
- Tenants that bring financial strength and stability to the building
- Lease deals that will enhance the opportunity of sale when the time comes
- A balance of net and gross rentals to optimise the best return on investment for the property owner
- Well controlled building operating costs that are contained within the averages of that property type for the area
- An occupancy experience in the property which strengthens the relationships between landlords and tenants
- A target market of tenants that are clearly identified and pursued in the marketing campaign.
So this list is in fact the elements of a ‘Lease ‘toolbox” approach to the market. Many commercial real estate agents will generally say that they do these things anyway. The reality is they do not. Most lease transactions today are undertaken in a ‘one off mindset’ with little balance to the long-term future and strength of the building.
In recent seminar workshop I asked the agency staff in a larger industrial agency to tell me what they would do for ‘me acting as the client’ in a lease transaction of a vacant space in a sample building. Many of the agency staff gave me a broad variety of initiatives and processes that were fairly standard in the industry. It was interesting to note that all of these ideas were not ‘bundled and packaged’ into something that was even remotely attractive to the ‘me’ as the property owner.
Let’s understand a simple fact. If you do not logically document and display for the client the stages of your professional commercial real estate property service and give it a name that the can client relate to, you are affectively a generic marketer. This is the major problem in the industry today. The client needs specific help and you must market your services in a ‘toolbox’ approach. Give your ‘toolbox’ a name and then market your business around it.
I also recommend that you use the advantages of PERT and GANTT models to do this ‘toolbox’, given that this great illustration approach really interests most clients. This helps you stand apart from the competition. You become the agency of choice.
‘Toolbox’ is Your Tactical Advantage
Every sales and leasing program should be subjected to the processes of the ‘toolbox’ so that the client knows that the best results, controls, and outcomes are seen to be achievable. The ‘toolbox’ process also suggests that you have a quality control procedure that every property is exposed to.
This ‘toolbox’ is simple marketing; however it can be easily implemented into your agency business making you more professional and desirable as the commercial real estate agency of choice in your region. Your ‘toolbox’ becomes your marketable point of difference. You should have a separate ‘toolbox’ for:
- Commercial real estate sales
- Commercial real estate leasing
- Commercial real estate property management
Within each of these elements of service you should have a specific ‘toolbox’ which supports the property disciplines of:
- Retail Property
- Office Property
- Industrial property
- Specialist tourism and leisure
Listing Strategy in this Market
Let’s talk about the sales ‘toolbox’ now for a brief moment. In most cases the time needed to sell or rent a listing would be no longer than 12 weeks even in a tough market. After that time a listing becomes stale and a waste of your time. Choose your listings and the time on market with care.
A couple of essential rules need to be set here and incorporated into your sales ‘toolbox’. They are:
- Always seek vendor paid advertising – you are not the source of advertising funds to promote property no matter how good you think the property is. Vendor paid advertising sets the foundation of vendor commitment.
- Always seek exclusive or sole listings when you can
– controlled stock is the only way to go. A seller of an open listing cannot be trusted and is likely to ‘shift in the wind’ on who they deal with. It should also be noted that exclusive listings are much more desirable than sole agency listings. It is your choice as to whether you would take on a sole agency.
- Always seek to list properties for sale on the basis of a ‘time driven’ method of sale such as tender, auction, or expression of interest. This is the best way to go to get and sustain momentum in the property promotion. Properties that are listed for sale at a fixed or nominated price are likely to be this undesirable hard to sell listings or over priced listings with little momentum. In such situations a buyer will make an offer; maybe that works for you; maybe it doesn’t.
These 3 rules above infer that you are the driving force that creates the quality listing. Nothing could truer. You drive the quality of the listing appointment that you want. If you let the owner of the property dictate the rules of engagement, you are likely to suffer poor results. Remember that you are the expert consultant to help people with commercial real estate needs; you are not the agent that lists everything and anything that comes your way at any price or rental.
In closing this ‘toolbox’ topic, here are some important rules:
- In every listing know what you are doing and why.
- Focus on the outcome that you want for the client.
- Use your ‘toolbox’ as your point of difference to attract the client’s interests.
- Understand that your time and expertise is precious.