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Archive for the ‘Commercial Real Estate Industry’ Category

Top 5 Books For New Commercial Real Estate Agents

September 29th, 2014

 

If you’re on our website, you are probably either just getting started in commercial real estate or you haven’t been at it for very long. This career that you have chosen can be extremely rewarding and provide a pretty great lifestyle, but make no mistake, it is by no means easy. Commercial heroreal estate brokerage requires competitiveness, skill, professionalism and organization. You will become better with each transaction and frankly with each mistake you make (assuming you learn from your mistakes). However, there are some tried and true business books out there that can help you improve your skills and guide you to avoid some of those pitfalls which can help you to accelerate your success in commercial real estate.

This week I am going to list my top 5 book recommendations which I think every commercial real estate agent should read if they are relatively new to the business. There are many more and I recommend you search through the ever growing list in the Smart CRE Broker Book Club, but these 5 can have a profound impact your career. *Note, to purchase any of these books either click on the link below or visit the Smart CRE Broker Book Club here.

1. Spin Selling, by Neil Rackham – The reason Spin Selling is such an important book for commercial real estate agents is that it drills down on the importance of asking the right questions in the discovery process. The progression of these questions naturally bring the prospects’ needs and desires to the surface so that you are able to provide solutions. Spin is an acronym for those types of questions, “Situation” questions, “Problem” questions, “Implication” questions and “Need Payoff” questions. Mr. Rackham and his company have done extraordinary research related to large sales methods. Also check out the accompanying Spin Selling  Workbook.

2. Winning Through Intimidation, by Robert J. Ringer – This is an oldie but goodie or as I prefer to call it… a classic. This was the book I read that convinced me that I wanted to be a commercial real estate professional. The title is a bit misleading because the book does not teach you to be “intimidating”. It simply tells you how to deal with various types of individuals that you may encounter in the business and also has some great lessons on branding.

3. How To Master the Art of Selling, by Tom Hopkins – There are more books on how to sell than you can count, but Tom Hopkins may be the preeminent authority on selling when it comes to real estate. Granted, he built his brokerage career in the residential world, but the strategies and tactics he outlines in How to Master the Art of Selling are universal. This is an excellent book for anyone in sale and a necessity if you are in commercial real estate.

4. Think Like a Champion, by Donald Trump – Say what you will about The Donald, but the guy has built an incredible brand primarily through investment in commercial real estate. He may not be the most popular fellow with the people he does business with but he offers some terrific advice for maintaining a winning mindset in Think Like a Champion.

5. Fearless Cold Calling for Commercial Real Estate Agents, by Dan A. Colachicco (you didn’t think I’d leave my own book off of this list now did you?) – If you are in commercial real estate, the most effective way to develop new business is the good old fashioned cold call. This seems to be the toughest skill for new agents to embrace so I wrote a “quick read” guide to help you overcome some of the obstacles many agents face when trying to build their client base.

Digital Marketing For Commercial Real Estate Brokerage (Part 2)

September 15th, 2014

This is the second in a three part series discussing Digital Marketing For Commercial Real Estate Brokerage. In Part 1 we discussed how to effectively establish an online presence through the building of a dynamic website. We also discussed the power of strategic email marketing to keep yourself in front of clients and prospects. This week we are going to get even more pro-active and talk about branding yourself as a “trusted authority” within the commercial real estate brokerage industry.

Newspaper Icon with News Title on Blue Arrow.Imagine two scenarios where you are exposed to the same information. First, you see an ad in the newspaper or in a magazine. The ad is from a commercial real estate brokerage firm and the headline of the ad is “ABC Commercial Brokers Grand Opening….Full Service Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Seeking New Listings” or something to that effect. It may get your attention and the message is clear.

Alternatively, you see a post when you do a Google Search for commercial real estate in your city. The post is from Yahoo News or Newswire or some other “news” source on the web. The headline reads FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: “ABC Commercial Sees Growth Potential For Anytown, Enters Market With New Office”. What follows is an informational article with quotes from the broker discussing all of the positives related to the commercial real estate market in your city and how this growth has led them to offer their acclaimed commercial real estate brokerage services to new clients (more…)

Digital Marketing for Commercial Real Estate Brokerage (Part 1)

September 8th, 2014

My client was a global executive suite company and we were negotiating on a 10 year lease for a 22,000 square foot space in Atlanta. “We can’t sign the lease until we know when our Yellow Pages Ad will come out. Our opening needs to coincide with when the Yellow Pages books are delivered.”  We had missed the deadline by 5 weeks so our expansion into the Atlanta market had to wait until next year. That’s how important the physical Yellow Pages Ad was for my client in 1992. Why? Because in 1992 the Yellow Pages Book was the “go to” source for finding products, services, restaurants and any other type of local business you were looking for. That was then….this is now.

Marketing concept. Red hot key on computer keyboard with loud spDelivery methods for marketing messages are dominated by digital communications. You may be reading this blog on your laptop, desktop, tablet or smart phone but you are most likely not reading it off of a sheet of paper. So it goes with modern marketing and branding. Commercial real estate brokerage is just beginning to catch on to the idea. We take for granted that a search for information about a company, an individual and yes, a property is but a few clicks or taps of a digital keyboard away. If the connection is too slow (meaning it takes more than about 5 seconds to show up on our device) we grit our teeth in frustration.

As technology continues to evolve at a dizzying pace, we as commercial real estate brokerage professionals will need to harness the tools available to us so that the marketing and branding messages we put out to the world remain relevant and dynamic. This will provide commercial real estate agents and brokers a competitive edge almost as important as their skill set.

This will be the first of 3 posts where we will layout the most basic fundamentals 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…)

The Forgotten Business Development Tool

October 2nd, 2013

One of my Coaching students told me a great story this week. He was attending a high school lacrosse game that his niece was playing in. His aunt, mom and several friends of their family were there with him in the stands. One of them politely asked what he was up to these days. Of course, he told them enthusiastically about his new career but he also had the presence of mind to add one very important statement which he addressed to everyone around him.

“So if you know anyone who has any commercial real estate needs of any kind…buying, selling or leasing, I’m your man.” This was followed by a smiling distribution of his business cards. Shortly thereafter, a friend of his aunts whom he had never met before that evening approached him and said “You know my neighbor told me she needs to expand her store by 3,000 square feet but doesn’t know how to approach her Landlord. I’ll give her your card and maybe you can help her”. The next morning he got a call from the neighbor’s husband and he is now pursuing that assignment.

Too often we forget to tout our services to those around us and ask for referrals. Every business development call should incorporate a simple statement asking the prospect if he knows of anyone who could benefit from your services. Every inquiry from a buyer or prospective tenant should also include that question. How many Attorneys, CPA’s, Title Agents, Bankers, Appraisers, Architects, Building Officials, Residential Agents, etc. could you call and ask for referrals?

In the fervor of our traditional business development activities it is very easy to forget the simple act of asking if the person you are speaking with knows someone who could benefit from the services you offer. Asking everyone you meet this very question should be as natural as saying hello and goodbye. To reinforce this behavior, create a “Referrals – Ask & Received” tracking sheet. Note every time you ask for referrals and track how many referrals you receive. Then track the results. I assure you that you will be impressed with the results and that positive reinforcement will ingrain the practice into brain.

Don’t Get “Tied Down” by What You Wear in Commercial Real Estate

August 17th, 2013

There have been about a zillion books and articles written about how to dress in business. The variations of what it means to “Dress for Success” have evolved as the years have passed, trends have come and gone and fashion styles have varied. In commercial real estate brokerage, there seems to be a fairly wide range of what is deemed “appropriate attire” given the diverse types of clients, property types and geographic areas we operate in. There are obvious situations that will require the suit and tie or lady’s power suit routine. Maybe meeting with a major law firm in a major market where you represent a large banking institution would be a good example. The opposite is also true. Meeting with the owner/operator of a concrete manufacturing plant at his construction trailer in the Midwest would certainly indicate an expectation of less formal attire.

Some of the larger brokerage firms require their agents to don formal business attire no matter what the circumstances, a policy that can have either good or not so good consequences. I was associated with such a firm and the policy was strictly enforced so the agents did not have a choice.

With the obvious exception of cases that would violate your brokerage firm’s policy, always choose business attire that is appropriate to the people and companies that you interact with on a daily basis. It just takes a bit of logical thought and planning. When in doubt, always dress a bit more professionally than you think you might need to. Consider the type of prospect, client, business, etc. you are meeting with and what type of attire is appropriate in their business. To a certain extent, be a chameleon. How you dress is one of the first things many prospects judge you on as they determine if you are worthy of earning their business. Think about the impression you want to make. Think about the venue and forum you will be meeting in and what other people might be in attendance or observing. Regardless of whether you find yourself wearing a suit and tie or khaki’s and a polo shirt, make sure your attire is clean, pressed and fits you properly. I know this sounds like common sense, but if you are reading this and have been in the business for a while, I’ll bet that you’ve run across agents in professional situations where you’ve looked at how they were dressed and thought “what the heck were you thinking?” Don’t be that agent. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on (more…)

5 Tips for Using Video to Market and Brand in Commercial Real Estate

February 10th, 2013

I recently attended a seminar on the topic of internet marketing and I witnessed something that shocked me. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon and the seminar was wrapping up. The speaker asked the audience of about 250 attendees to raise their hands if they planned to go home after the seminar and turn on the television. By his count, 17 hands went up. He then asked how many people planned to spend their time after the seminar online. I was near the back of the room and suffice it to say, I lost site of the speaker because of the forest of raised hands in front of me.

While it’s probably obvious, online activities have replaced a very large chunk of the time we used to spend watching the tube. Sure we surf for information across all formats, text, audio and video, but video is becoming the most popular form of content on the web. YouTube is now the third most visited site on the internet behind Google and Facebook according to Alexa Traffic Rankings. More than 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day and when you consider that most videos are under 5 minutes in length, that’s a heck of a lot of videos. There are other video platforms as well, such as Vimeo, digg and others popping up to increase the volume of video content even more. (more…)

How Exclusive Representation Provides Maximum Value For Clients

January 20th, 2013

Every commercial real estate brokerage professional who has ever interacted with a prospective client has heard it. “Everything sounds great….Just bring me a buyer (or tenant) and I’ll be happy to pay you a commission, but I won’t sign an exclusive representation agreement”. The client feels that entering into an exclusive contractual arrangement with you limits his ability to get other brokers to work on the sale or lease of his property. The client sees the request for an exclusive agreement as something that benefits you, the brokerage professional and in turn creates a disadvantage to her. Something about that word…..Exclusive….seems to imply that everyone else is excluded from working on the deal. The reality is that just the opposite is true. A good commercial real estate brokerage professional understands that exclusively representing our clients is the only way to maximize the CLIENTS’ benefits and achieve what they are asking you to help them achieve. This may seem counterintuitive to the client, so let’s look at where the real value of exclusive representation is for him or her: (more…)

The Relationship Between Trust and Success

September 18th, 2012

Last week, luxury Swiss watchmaker Tag Heurer became the latest corporate sponsor to announce that they were ending their relationship with golfer Tiger Woods after 10 years. They join other major corporations such as AT&T, Gillette, Gatorade and Accenture. Since Tiger’s infamous Thanksgiving “car accident” which spiraled his career and personal life into a public circus, it is estimated that he has lost between $40 and $50 Million in endorsement deals. There is even talk of him struggling to meet his financial obligations at this point.

What I found very interesting was the statement released by Tag Heurer when they announced the end of the relationship with Tiger. The Company’s Chief Executive, Jean-Christopher Babin was quoted as saying “We are confident that Tiger will eventually regain full trust with the public, and that his huge talent and mental strength will help him overcome his difficulties.”

It occurred to me that all of the scandal, embarrassment, negative press, sensationalism, etc. are byproducts of the real reason these companies are no longer doing business with Tiger Woods…TRUST. The reason corporate America pays enormous endorsement fees to athletes and celebrities is because they feel that the person endorsing their product or service has the trust and admiration of the public. (more…)

Commercial Real Estate Brokers Ask: “Should I Prospect Owners Or Bank Owned Property?”

August 20th, 2011

The numbers are mind boggling. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of commercial real estate loans maturing in the next 4 years. About a half a TRILLION dollars to be exact according to the Bloomberg Real Estate Briefing Report. So with all of this debt coming due and no apparent way to refinance it, commercial real estate brokers should be honing in on all that REO that the lenders and special servicers are going to have to get rid of right? Not so fast.

Unlike the RTC days of the early 1990’s, lenders these days are not following the traditional playbook of “don’t pay and we repossess the collateral”. The S& L crisis that spawned the RTC was about $160 billion, a drop in the bucket compared with what we are facing today. Lenders have introduced a few new catch phrases into the market to keep the gravity of the situation a bit lighter…..” pretend, amend and extend” and my particular favorite, “a rolling loan gathers no loss”. So if the lenders are reluctant to foreclose or accept deeds in lieu, where is the opportunity for us commercial real estate brokers and agents? (more…)