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Archive for the ‘Client Communications’ Category

Handling Objections in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

October 6th, 2014

Any sales professional must be able to overcome legitimate objections put forth by the prospect in front of them. It is one of the key factors necessary to keep the sales process moving toward a successful outcome. In commercial real estate, there are a few objections that we will hear repeatedly from prospects. Objections to entering into an exclusive representation agreement, objections to fee, objections to price and a few others are fairly typical in our industry. We will cover methods for overcoming many of these objections at another time, but the purpose of thisGetting Over No Overcoming Objection to Win post is to talk about how we handle the objection when it is raised by the prospect. How we handle objections, in the moment when they are presented to us, could be the difference between winning the business and losing the business.

 

First, we have to look at the timing of the objection. Perhaps you’ve made a cold call and the prospect is objecting to meeting with you because he is too busy. Is the prospect really too busy to meet with you or is this his way of telling you that whatever you’ve said up to that point has not offered enough value for him to give you some morsel of his time in return? Probably the latter of course so think about how you can then make the prospect feel that meeting with you would be a valuable use of his precious time. Express empathy for how busy the prospect is and that you respect his time, but at the same time deliver a value proposition that compels the prospect to WANT to meet with you. Then make it easy for the prospect to accept a meeting. Offer to meet before or after business hours. I had a prospect tell me that he was headed out of town early the next morning and I offered to buy him coffee at the Starbucks in the airport terminal (which he accepted).

 

In many cases, objections that the prospect may raise early in the process of developing the business relationship can (more…)

Figuring Out Where To Start

September 1st, 2014

I was asked to provide some coaching and guidance to a young man (we’ll call him Tim) the other day. He had been asked to meetstart line with a prospect (a friend of the broker) to discuss a possible sale or redevelopment of several parcels of land. Tim had spoken to the prospect when he set the appointment but got the basic information about the property and the assignment from the broker.

“I don’t know where to begin. The prospect is going to ask me what I think he should do. What do you think I should tell him?” he said.

I asked Tim what he knew about the property. “It’s over near the stadium. On West Street”. That’s a start. I asked Tim if he had been to the property and he said he had not.

So let’s dissect the answer to Tim’s very first stated dilemma….”I don’t know where to begin…” First we will look at the information we have and what we know.

  1. We know the address of the property;
  2. We know the owner’s name (or at least one of the owner’s names);
  3. We know that the owner is interested in taking some form of action related to the property, i.e. selling it or redeveloping it;
  4. We know that Tim has an appointment with the prospect at 9:00 tomorrow morning.

What can we do with the information we have? The very first thing we want to do is physically visit the property. Take some photos for future reference. Make notes or use your voice recorder to (more…)

Presenting The New Business Proposal as a Business Plan

August 25th, 2014

One of the key catalysts for every commercial real estate agent to keep their pipeline full is the presentation of a steady flow of new business proposals. Through a strategic series of discovery questions, the most skilled commercial real estate brokerage professionals will uncover the wants, needs and problems that represent an opportunity for them to offer the services necessary to meet the clients’ needs. We can’t underestimate the importance of presenting our professional services and capabilities to the prospect in terms that directly relate to the solutions and outcomes that the client hopes to achieve. Too many times we are on our own agenda, telling instead of selling, touting our track record and making promises to dazzle the client with our sales skills, but falling short on directly correlating those skills to the benefits that will help the prospect. The proposal should not be defined as an elaborate dog and pony show that we use to ask for the business. A truly effective proposal should serve as a business plan or road map that demonstrates to the prospective client that you are acutely aware of what they need to achieve and you have designed a strategy for making it happen.

The process needs to start with a thorough discovery. Gather every pertinent piece of information related to the property and the prospects’ requirements. At that point a professionally created new business proposal should be constructed which will not only highlight your professionalism, but also clearly show the prospect that you are in touch with their needs, you are proposing solutions to those needs and you are the very best person to deliver on what you have promised. Utilizing a checklist and compilation system such as the one provided by the Commercial Real Estate Edge Proposal Generator assures a complete and impressive package that covers all the bases. (more…)

Don’t Be Short Sighted When Evaluating Commercial Brokerage Relationships

August 11th, 2014

I was speaking with a coaching students today who was struggling with a decision about whether or not to bring a current listing with her to her new firm. The listing was a leasing assignment for the last remaining space within a 36,000 square foot office building. That space consisted of 2,700 square feet. All lease renewals for the remaining occupied space were not included in the assignment. My student explained to me that the building owner was a large REIT and they required extensive reporting on the progress of the iStock_000001958451XSmallmarketing for the space which my student was required to do on a weekly basis. She explained how time consuming the reporting was and that the client had expressed some dissatisfaction with the signage and marketing materials that were produced by her marketing department. As you’ve probably guessed, she was struggling with whether or not it was “worth it” to take on all of this time consuming work for such a small assignment (which of course carried with it a relatively small fee).

How do you see this situation and what would you do? The real question to ask is “what is the desired payoff for all of the time and effort required of this assignment”? Many commercial real estate agents would calculate the potential commission and immediately come to the conclusion that the fee simply does not justify the time investment required by the client. Focusing strictly on the paycheck that correlates with successfully closing the transaction is very short sighted. Keep in mind who the client is. The client is a large REIT who is a significant player in the market. If you have never (more…)

Build Confidence by Celebrating Small Wins

July 28th, 2014

Think of a time when you were supremely confident. What made you feel that way? What made that voice in your head say “I got this”? Think about how you carried yourself in that situation. Your body language. Your tone of voice and your overall attitude. Can you feel it coming back to you? No try to remember the reaction of the people you interacted with in that situation.

Confidence is something that projects an image of who you are in that moment. It sends the message that you know what you’re talking about, you’ve done this before and you are worthy of listening to. As commercial real estate brokerage professionals our long term success relies on our ability to persuade prospects to act based on the merits of the information we are presenting to them. It is human nature that we will make both conscious and subconscious judgments about what we hear and see based on the way it is delivered. If the information is presented in a meek tone of voice that reflects uncertainty and lacks enthusiasm, we are simply less likely to believe it. If the information is presented in a strong, enthusiastic way that reflects conviction, self belief and passion, we will naturally feel more confident in what we are hearing. It is more likely that your prospect will trust and (more…)

Focus On Exclusive Listings & Control Your Destiny

July 14th, 2014

The phone rings. “Hi, I’ve got some money I need to invest into a good commercial real estate deal. I’m ready to buy right awaysays the very authoritative prospect on the other end of the phone. If you are relatively new to the business, this certainly sounds like an exciting call right? Maybe….maybe not. You begin to qualify the prospect by asking some questions about their specific needs.

“I’ve got a few hundred grand to put down, and I have a great relationship with my bank so financing won’t be a problem. I want a 20 – 30 unit apartment building within a 30 minute driving distance from my home. It has to be low maintenance and have a high occupancy. I don’t like problems and I want a nice cash flow right from the beginning. It should be located in a good neighborhood near public transportation and nice amenities like shopping and restaurants. Ya got anything like that kid?”

Pretty specific and the prospect certainly sounds real. Based on the info you’re now armed with, you set out spending your valuable time researching and tracking down qualified properties. You scour Loopnet and CoStar. You drive the market. You call other brokers who have similar listings. Maybe you make a few cold calls to owners of properties that fit the bill. Hours, days maybe a week or two of work and you’re ready to show the prospect 3 solid prospects that fit what he described perfectly. You call to set an appointment for showings.

“Oh yeah, hi kid. Hey listen, my brother in laws cousins girlfriend turned me on to a great deal on a distressed shopping center in Ohio that I could buy for cheap. Plus it’s only 50%  leased so there is plenty of upside. The market is a bit dicey but it’s turning around so I’m just in time for the upswing. And the seller will hold the financing so I don’t have to try to qualify for a bank loan. But thanks for looking….I’ll call you again if I ever want to buy something else.”  Time and effort, down the drain.

While this may be an extreme example, it happens all the time. Combing the market looking for (more…)

Bringing The Best “You” To Every Commercial Real Estate Sales Opportunity

June 9th, 2014

I had a nice chat with my friend Jeff today and we were discussing varieties of “secret sauce” that make up the keys to success in selling. Jeff is a consummate sales professional so I wanted to hear what he thought was the most important factor that was present in every successful sales situation. His answer was simple but very profound.

“Be yourself, but be the best “you” possible in every selling opportunity” he said. I asked what he meant by the “best you possible”. He told me that there are plenty of days when he got up in the morning and there were about a million things he’d rather be doing than speaking to new prospects.

“On those days I just have to tell myself that I have to be here and the only way I will have a successful day is to shake it off and give the prospect my very best”. He went on to tell me that means assessing his positive attributes and strengths, then taping into those things when he interacts with the prospects.

“You know when you are at your best and you know how it feels to succeed during those times. That’s the energy you have to draw upon every single day when you are prospecting. But being aware of your strengths is key. If you know you (more…)

5 Methods for Turning Prospects Into Client Relationships

May 12th, 2014

I recently had the pleasure of coaching a new agent who had secured several prospect appointments. Needless to say, he was excited about the opportunity to win these assignments and we discussed his strategies for engaging the prospects in these first appointments. He had spent several days gathering competitive market data, creating spreadsheets, charts, graphs and collecting marketing flyers from other properties all of which was designed to support his position for convincing the prospect to list the property. He told me how he planned to show the prospect that his company was active and enjoyed a good amount of success with similar properties. He explained how he planned to explain to the prospect how the prior listing agent did not do a good job in representing him. This new agent felt fully armed with all the ammunition he thought was needed to nail the prospect and win the business.

My advice to him? Walk in to the initial meeting with a single blank sheet of paper. Ask permission to take a few notes and tell the prospect that you’d like to get to know as much about him or her and their situation as possible. Then…..LISTEN. A mountainous barrage of facts and figures delivered in presentation format does not a relationship make (or build). Before the presentation, there needs to be a CONVERSATION! Taking the time to develop a relationship that is based on trust is what will pave the way to earning the business. Once trust is established, the supporting data that you share with the prospect becomes far more believable and powerful that it would be as a first “impression”. So here are 5 key ways to begin the process of building a client relationship based on trust:

 

  1. Differentiate yourself from your competition – There are so many ways that you can set yourself apart from the competition. Many times, just taking the time to listen and ask probing questions will show the client that you are deeply interested in helping them, not just advancing your own agenda. Take a video of the prospect’s property, have color photos blown up to 8 X 10 and have them framed as a gift, visit the planning and zoning board to gain a better perspective, research the history of the building, etc. Think of creative ways to show the prospect that you are personally vested in building a relationship with them and that you’re not “just another broker” looking for another listing.
  2. Make it personal – If appropriate, tell the prospect a little about you personally, your family, your goals, why you chose this as a career. Ask the prospect for advice about how you can (more…)

3 Ways to Assess Probability Before Taking a Listing

April 28th, 2014

This short cartoon is an example of how to “walk away” from an unrealistic client.

On a raining morning this past week I decided to watch a television show called “Million Dollar Listing” where these young, hot shot real estate brokers work on luxury residential deals in L.A. Reality TV isn’t really my thing, but this one caught my attention.

In this particular episode, this guy named Josh started by talking about a $5,000,000 listing that he had. In giving his commentary on this listing, he emphasizes that the house is “way over priced” and that he didn’t think that anything in that market had ever sold for more than 3 or 4 million dollars. He also said that the seller was difficult and eccentric but was “a really good person” for reasons I’m still not particularly clear on. After hearing this, my first thought was “so why did you take the listing Josh?” I assumed that since this was reality television, Josh was probably going to pull a rabbit out of his hat and find the perfect buyer who would pay full price and set a record for highest sales price in that market. The whole dissertation about the property being way overpriced was just a setup for the happy ending right?

Josh and his co-listing partner get an offer for $3,000,000 from an investor who wants to refurbish the property and is willing to share the profits with the seller. They decide to meet the seller to present the offer and before meeting him Josh says to his partner “you know he’s not going to like it and it’s going to get ugly” to which his partner (more…)

Cold Calling: Finding The Proper Quantity – Quality Balance

February 24th, 2014

How important is a business development call or as it is more commonly known, a “cold call”? Is it more important to dial the phone as many times each day as humanly possible or is it more important to make each call truly meaningful by researching the prospect, property etc.? In reality, it’s both. The irony is that the two concepts are somewhat at odds with each other. Perhaps you work for a firm that requires a certain number of cold calls be made each day or each week and tracks that activity as a metric of your production. The theory there is something like “the more calls you make the more money you make”, believing that it’s a numbers game and if you call enough prospects the business will come. This has merit but only to a limiting degree. If the quality of your initial client contact is poorly planned, unprofessional, “salesy” or otherwise ineffective with the prospect, you are actually doing yourself more harm than good. The damage gets compounded if the only focus is quantity because you will continue to burn bridges with prospects by making poor calls and leaving the client with a negative impression of you and your company.

The most successful commercial real estate sales professionals find a proper balance between making enough new business calls and delivering a positive impression to the person on the other end of the phone by knowing something about them and having a relevant purpose for making the contact. These successful agents realize the importance of each and every call. Why? Because each and every call is a treasured opportunity for the commercial real estate agent to build a client relationship that can foster long term revenue, referrals, positive branding and a countless number of other benefits that cumulatively defines success. I suggest replacing the concept of “quantity” with a more effective concept…consistency. If you simply create a well thought out plan each day or each week that consists of whom you want to make contact with, a relevant purpose for (more…)