In commercial real estate agency, testimonials are very powerful tools to use in a property presentation or sales pitch. The clients and prospects that we work with in commercial real estate like to know that we are the best choice of agent; that we have the relevance and experience to solve their property problem. Testimonials will help you do that.
The fact of the matter is that most clients do not like to be an ‘experiment’ in property marketing. They like to know that they have the best agents working for them with the best strategies to reduce their property pain. Your testimonials become the evidence to help convert the listing that you require.
So the real point of this process is to help you build future opportunity from happy clients and previously successful relationships. A top commercial real estate service and a satisfactory property outcome will usually produce the opportunity for a testimonial. It will also produce the opportunity for referral business.
Here are some ideas to help you work with testimonials in commercial real estate agency.
- You need to be seen as the expert of choice. Testimonials will help you do that. They become the proof that you require to help the client move towards a listing with you and or your agency.
- Make sure that you have a selection of testimonials that refer to your property specialty, and location. Local relevance is really important when it comes to this strategy. Make everything personal so that the client can connect with the right salesperson that has the skills to move things forward.
- After a satisfactory commercial property transaction with a positive outcome personally visit the client to seal the relationship successfully and ask for the testimonial. Also ask for the referral business that may be available with any of the other people that the client could know.
- When it comes to testimonials I prefer to see comments from clients that are specific to a particular person. The testimonials are therefore far more relevant to converting new business. The skills of the individual are therefore provable and evidenced in writing. Most clients will accept an individual over the agency when it comes to signing off on the listing.
It should be said that a testimonial strategy will support your sales pitch or presentation. For this reason, the other parts of the presentation need to be well handled and relevant to the client and the property. Show them the relevance and then give them the testimonial.
The testimonial will help close the deal providing you have given all the relevant information and strategies to the client that relate to the property market today. Top agents are experts when it comes to the presentation and the sales pitch. They use testimonials.
Every commercial real estate agent wants to win their sales pitch or presentation. The fact of the matter is that they will be up against a few agents chasing the same property and with the same client when it comes to most presentations. For this very reason, the sales pitch or the presentation needs to be of high quality and highly relevant. The days of the generic sales pitch are well gone. You really need to be correct the focused on the commercial or retail property, the client, and the market.
Every top agent will create a presentation that suits their style and property type. That being said, they will usually have some ‘opener’ which gains the attention of the client, and then allows the presentation to proceed productively and correctly. You can also achieve an opening statement or strategy that you can use in every property presentation. In this way, you will capture the attention of the client and draw them towards your recommendations.
When it comes to marketing commercial and retail property today, discounts and other enticements are always offered by competing agents. It is important as an alternative, that you offer real strategy and focus when it comes to your recommendations. In this way, discounts and enticements are no longer or perhaps less relevant to the client. They do not want to be an ‘experiment’ when it comes to property promotion. They want results so show them how you are going to do that.
Here are some tips when it comes to an opening strategy in any property presentation. All of these things can have some advantage depending on how you use them.
- Meet the client at the property before the sales presentation. Tell the client that you would like to discuss the inspection process and their thoughts relative to that. Most agents will not do this. Tell the client that you want to show them how you see the property and how you will be recommending it as part of any property inspection to qualified prospects.
- Take plenty of digital photographs in and around the property. For the typical property presentation, that would normally be approximately 40 to 60 photographs. Those photographs should be structured into a single folder within your computer, and then used as part of a ‘scrolling’ photographic display on your laptop when the presentation is underway. This strategy is highly effective and will gain the immediate attention of the client. The fact of the matter is that the client will always show interest in their property and digital photographs will allow that to occur. This process is much more effective than any other slides on your laptop. Forget about using PowerPoint computer slides, but use well selected images of the property that roll through a progressive slide show continually. As simple as it seems it will help win the attention of the client quickly and directly.
- As part of any earlier meeting with the client, you should have identified some issues and problems that are of concern to the client. In most cases, you should be able to identify three or four factors of concern to the client. As part of a question and answer process in your presentation, put those factors into your proposal document and also your presentation. Give the client clear solutions to those concerns; show them the way through the problem and provide unique and relevant strategies to the process. In this way, you will show them that you really understand their needs and challenges. You are the agent to help them.
- The marketing of every commercial and retail property should provide real solutions based on the property type and the location. Forget about generic advertising and marketing campaigns. Be quite specific in what you tell the client about marketing the investment property and how you will approach it. Give them three alternatives of marketing costing and strategy so that they have some choice in the matter of advertising and the strategy to be adopted.
There are other things that you can add to this list above. The main point of the process is that strategy is everything and relevance will help your property presentation stand out as the best available. Forget about providing discounts and incentives, tell the client exactly how you will improve their property challenge and resolve the problem as soon as possible. Be relevant in every respect.
When it comes to leasing a retail shopping centre, the mechanism of leasing can be quite specific and specialised. That is why some leasing experts only specialise in retail property. It is a very special part of the property market requiring good market knowledge and excellent tenant contact.
A shopping centre or a retail property is a vibrant business environment and it needs to be understood for the best leasing results to be obtained. To a great degree, the success of the tenants will be generated from property performance, tenant mix, customer interaction, and the landlords support. There are many ways that these issues need to evolve if the retail property is to succeed for the long term.
Here are some tenant mix strategies to apply to a retail shopping centre to assist the leasing process and the overall tenancy mix.
- The tenants that are chosen for the property should be the tenants that satisfy the demands of the local community and customers. Tenants that are well matched to the local demographic will attract more customers to the property over time. Tenants of this type should be integrated into the overall tenancy mix at strategic places and within specific retail clusters. Clusters of tenants generate more sales in the property. A cluster is a specific retail tenant mix strategy.
- Get to know the franchise groups in the local area that may require premises in your property at any future time. There will also be other franchise groups that are not yet located in your region or town. Connect with all the franchise groups that have a reasonable retail offering and therefore potentially an attraction to your customer base. Understand what these franchise groups require of a property, and population demographic. They will also have certain terms and conditions that relate to their lease occupancy and property selection. In many cases they will share that information with leasing professionals in preparation for identifying the right property. Get to know the franchise groups.
- Monitor the activity of all competing retail properties locally. That will include the rental profiles, vacancy activities, and lease occupancy. Selectively approaching the tenants within these properties will help you with market intelligence and leasing strategies.
- Identify any new property developments that are soon to be released on the market. They are likely to shift the balance of available space and rental across the region. They will also try to entice tenant movement through attractive incentives. That can then make any older properties in the area less attractive to some tenants. The only way to combat this problem is through competitive rentals, and exceptional property performance. Retail tenants will always be attracted to properties that integrate well into their customer base. Make sure your retail property does exactly this.
- Your existing tenancy mix will contain tenants that are more or less attractive to the future of the property. You will require a tenancy retention program to define the differences between those tenants. Over time the retention program can remove difficult tenants, reposition better tenants, and reduce your vacancy profile. The tenant retention program is a significant business tool and point of difference for many retail leasing experts.
So all of these things will help you with the necessary momentum to improve your leasing activity; over time you can lift your tenancy outcomes. Respect the differences in retail property leasing, and understand the specialised nature of lease negotiation. Many commercial property agents have made a significant and very rewarding career from retail property. You can too.
The success of your commercial real estate office and you individually as a commercial real estate salesperson will have a lot to do with your prospecting plan. The prospecting plan is a particular process that is developed by each salesperson relative to their property type and local area. If you want to be successful in this industry, it is very wise to establish your plan as early as possible in your career.
It is notable that most salespeople in the industry are of an ordinary performance level. This then leaves a significant opportunity wide open for those that can move to the top of their industry through established prospecting activities and professional skills.
So let’s look at some prospecting rules that will help you build your market share.
- Clearly define the type of property that you are to specialize on. That property type should be comprehensively incorporated into all of your marketing efforts. When you work exclusively on a particular property type, it is easy to be seen as the local property expert. You will also achieve higher quality listings over time because of this relevant and comprehensive knowledge.
- It should be said that your specialist property type should be in significant abundance throughout your territory. You need to know that the property type churn will produce necessary sales and leasing opportunity as the case may be.
- Review the history of your area for property changeover and property leasing activity. How much commission has been generated by your territory over the last 12 months? How many sales have occurred in your area over the last 12 months? How much leasing activity has occurred in your area over the last 12 months? All of these questions should be answered so that you have a clear future in your property type and sales territory.
- Get to know your competitors and the listings. You will soon understand the difference between top agents and everyone else. When you have identified the top agents, study their business activities and their points of difference. Is there sufficient room for you in the same market with similar points of difference? Should you develop alternative points of difference, or work on different property types?
- Commercial real estate is an industry where personal branding is a significant part of your listing generation and commission opportunity. You will need to have a significant personal marketing plan implemented on a daily basis to encourage new clients towards you. That is the best way to attract property opportunity.
- Whilst you may work for a prominent local or regional commercial real estate agency, you will be the reason for any listing to be converted to a transaction. The industry is based on people and the knowledge and skills behind those people. Whilst your agency may attract some enquiry to you, it is your personal skills and knowledge that will convert the listing and drive the enquiry. On that basis, you should optimize and grow your specialized skill at every opportunity.
Prospecting in commercial real estate is a personal process, as we have mentioned above. When you truly understand that fact and develop the prospecting systems around you, the property market will open up for you in opportunity. This opportunity is always available in any economy and in any location.
The top agents of the industry are always prospecting for new clients and new opportunity. Your existing database and client list will eventually become tired and restrictive when it comes to commission opportunity. Always be on the lookout for new people and new properties. That’s what prospecting is all about. Over time you can build a significant commercial real estate business with fresh people in your prospecting model.
Managing a commercial or retail property is not easy and we should not presume that it is. Commercial real estate agents specialise in it and bring many skills to the process. There are however some people and property owners that prefer to manage their own property.
It should be said that the commercial property management process is both time consuming and demanding. It requires knowledge and commitment on the part of the property manager or the building owner. Any mistakes made in the management process can be severe and impact the performance of the property for many years.
Given all of these facts, some landlords still prefer to manage their own property. That being the case, here are some tips and ideas that can apply to the process.
- Lease documentation will always be a key component of the commercial property management process. It is the lease documentation that underpins the income from each and every tenant and improves the performance of the property for the landlord. A commercial property or commercial tenancy without a good lease document can be a real struggle to manage. In many such cases you will find that the control of the tenant and the recovery of income become much harder. It is notable that some property owners prefer to avoid high documentation and legal costs when it comes to the establishment of a new lease. You would think that the reverse would be true given that a good lease will underpin the performance of the property. A cheaply prepared generic lease will invariably miss out on the important parts of property performance and tenant control.
- Income establishment and growth will be a part of the commercial property management process. There are many different types of rents to consider when it comes to establishing lease occupancy from any lease negotiation. In many respects, some landlords do not understand the differences between gross and net rental, and how those rental types can be optimized in leasing strategies. That is why the commercial real estate agents specialise in this part of the industry and act for the landlords of quality properties. A good commercial real estate agent can add significant value to a commercial or retail property over time.
- Vacancy factors will change throughout the year when it comes to a property of multiple tenants and variable occupancy. That being said, the vacancy factors of a property really do need to be pro-actively managed. That will usually involve some type of business plan that sets the targets when it comes to property income, expenditure, and redevelopment. The vacancy strategy will form part of the business plan for the property and will also feature as a component of the tenant retention plan.
- Expenditure management is not simply a matter of paying the bills. Expenditure should be budgeted at the beginning of any financial year. The landlord for the property should approve the budget and timing of the major items of expenditure. Municipal rates and taxes will form a large part of the property expenditure process. Those rates and taxes will be a critical timing factor to consider in the property cash flow. Setting aside sufficient funds for those larger expenditures is really important.
- Tenant relations should be maintained throughout the property management process. Good tenant relations will always help future lease negotiations and rent reviews. This is highly important when it comes to any retail property given that the tenant in such circumstances is relying on the business and the tenancy to provide regular income.
- Code compliance applies to building structure and building occupancy. The codes in particular relate to occupancy standards, occupational health and safety, building usage, and plant and equipment. As part of the commercial property management process, the compliance to codes should always be respected by the property manager and the landlord. Any building that is found to be lacking in this respect may very well be shut down until the matter is rectified.
- Maintenance of the plant and equipment within the property should be established to a plan given the requirements of occupancy, the age of the property, and the recommendations of the maintenance contractors. Cutting corners and delaying maintenance will invariably lead to property failure and the breakdown of plant and equipment. Each year it is preferable to establish a maintenance plan relating to the essential elements of plant and equipment in the property. That plan can be merged into the business plan for the property.
- Laws and legislation relating to commercial and investment properties will change from time to time. For this very reason, it pays to have a very good property solicitor representing the landlord and checking for any changes in property legislation that can have an impact on the property performance and operation.
So these are some of the critical components of commercial property management today. It should be said that every property will usually have other factors to add that are unique to location and occupancy. For this very reason, the property manager undertaking the management of the property should be well chosen and highly experienced.
When you run a retail real estate agency specialising in retail leasing and property management, you really need a top agent that knows what retail property is all about. The leasing of retail is very special; far more so than office or industrial property. The selection of tenants will be made with due regard to the tenancy mix and the customer profiles that access the property.
It can take a leasing agent some years to fully understand the complexity of shopping centre performance and how tenants should be selected for a current or pending vacancy in the property. The correct tenant selection will help boost the customer attraction of the property, and eventually the turnover or trade.
So what would you expect a retail leasing specialist to know or bring to you and your agency? Here are some tips to help you:
- Rents will vary from property to property. This change requires knowledge and experience when it comes to gross and net rents, together with the incentives that are available to lease premises to new retail tenants in your local area.
- Lease types together with the terms and conditions for a particular tenant will require negotiation based on the local leasing laws relating to retail property. In many respects, retail leasing is more complex and the documentation behind the process is more rigid and
- Tenant enquiry will change from location to location, however in retail property it is very much the case that the leasing agent has to get out into the business community and the other local shopping centres to talk to the existing tenants. In this way they will find tenants that want to relocate, expand, or contract. It is important to choose tenants that are at the top of their product or service offering.
- New shopping centre projects and development timing will have impact on your current shopping centre and its future performance. Always watch the supply and demand for retail space locally. Any new leasing specialist should track these changes and the availability of retail space coming into the property market over the coming 2 years.
- Property owners and new tenants that are looking for retail property are a unique breed unto themselves. They require understanding and a leasing expert that can talk ‘retail’ from many different angles.
- Franchise groups will require retail space to locate new businesses into. That being said, franchises are a business model that has particular requirements of location and customer base. It pays to have a leasing expert that understands how the franchises think and what they are looking for.
- Outgoings costs will have a major impact on rental (gross and net) as well as a tenants occupancy costs. Every retail property will have outgoings of a level that allows the property to operate efficiently and safely. The important factor here is that the outgoings for a particular property should be of a level that is comparable to other properties locally of similar size and type.
- Tenant mix and clustering are knowledge skills needed by a retail leasing expert. When the tenant mix is correctly structured it builds a better market rental for the landlord and helps reduce the vacancy factor in the property.
- Document knowledge and negotiation skills in retail property are quite unique when it comes to handling and working with small businesses. A leasing expert should understand what variables can be used in a good lease negotiation for a shopping centre or retail property.
So, all of these things would indicate that a retail leasing expert is a special type of person. Over time these skills can be learned; importantly the person chosen for the role has the right skill mix to take the role to the top of the industry locally.