Follow us:

Archive for the ‘Presentation Skills’ 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…)

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.

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…)

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…)

5 Keys To Consistently Generating New Listings

June 30th, 2014

Forgive the overused metaphors but:

  •  If our bodies don’t constantly pump new blood, we will die;
  • If our cars don’t get refilled with gas, they won’t run;
  • If you don’t recharge a battery, it will run out of power;

And if commercial real estate agents don’t constantly engage in new business development, they will go broke! All too many times, we let our days get filled up with “busy work” or we are consumed with all the little details involved in a deal or two we are working on. Because these activities feel like they are moving us closer to a closing, we let our daily business development activities take a back seat, delaying those activities to an unknown time in the future……that usually never comes.

Probably the single most important thing that we as commercial real estate agents and brokers must focus on consistently in our careers is new business development. It should be a daily scheduled activity with a strategy attached to it. Here are 5 keys to getting and maintaining a focus on new business development:

  1.  Have a Business Development Plan – As an independent commercial real estate brokerage professional, you should have a business plan that reflects your goals and methodology for reaching those goals. Clearly mapping out your plan for developing new listings should be an integral part of that plan. A detailed, written outline that (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…)

Delivering “Shock & Awe” To Win More Business

March 17th, 2014

The field is crowded. How many listing emails do you get each day? How many deal flyers and postcards clutter your mailbox every day? What percentage of what you see stands out to you?

Our prospects and clients experience the same thing. As commercial real estate agents and brokers, I believe we have become far too predictable in our approach to business development. Everything from the features and benefits we talk about to the new business proposals we present to our prospects and the marketing packages we deliver to our buyers, very few truly stand out from the crowd. Competing in the commercial real estate brokerage industry is difficult enough. Do you have a strategy for differentiating yourself from the competition?

Occasionally I am told by a potential user of our Proposal Generator software something along the lines of “I don’t want to create a report that is more than 3 or 4 pages” or “The package is too thick”. I always find this perplexing when considering the end goal of every agent’s presentation. Needless to say, our business contains it’s fair share of complexities and the proposal is our opportunity to showcase our value proposition to the prospective client by delivering a package that is complete, well thought out and professionally presented. More importantly, the proposal we present is our first chance to truly differentiate ourselves from our competitors. Why wouldn’t you want to do that every single time you interact with your prospects?

The expression “Shock and Awe” originated as a description of what would be expected during the second military confrontation with Iraq. The vision speaks for itself. In terms of commercial real estate, “shock and awe” can happen if we truly differentiate ourselves by exceeding our prospects’ expectations in an extreme way. This is not that hard to accomplish, especially if the prospect bases those expectations on the same old song and dance they have seen and heard from most of the other agents out there. This tends to set the bar fairly low. Advantage you.

Shock and awe happens when you begin by truly listening to the prospect’s needs and wants. Conducting an in depth and serious discovery process where you ask several levels of questions that will allow you to clearly understand the prospect’s situation, problems and needs demonstrates to the prospect that you sincerely care about helping them. Gathering a complete (more…)

The Commercial Real Estate Broker’s Value Proposition

November 21st, 2013

Why do we buy things? Whether it is a need or a want we buy things because for whatever reason we have identified value. The value (in whatever form it takes) must be compelling enough for us to make the commitment to exchange our hard earned dollars for whatever product or service we value in that particular situation. In the time leading up to the making of that commitment, we do our own evaluation of whether or not the value is there.

As commercial real estate brokerage professionals, we must deliver a value proposition to the prospective client which is compelling enough to move the prospect to take action. When making that first contact with the prospective client, a number of unspoken questions exist that must be answered in order to move the relationship forward. The prospect needs to know:

Why should I listen to you?

Why should I do business with your company as opposed to the other companies I’m speaking with?

Why should I trust you?

Why should I take your advice?

Crafting your value proposition for each prospective client is an important key to winning more quality assignments as well as building the foundation of a long term agent/client relationship. It all begins with a clear understanding of what the prospect needs and how you can help him achieve the positive outcome he desires. Your value proposition also demonstrates your capabilities and delivers the message to the prospect that you are the best person for the assignment. Once the prospects’ needs are identified and you as the problem solver has a clear picture of how you can be of service, then and only then should you begin to articulate your value proposition. Spewing a lot of rhetorical features, statistics and other information related to you and your company prior to learning what the prospects actual needs are equates to nothing more than an infomercial. The prospect needs to be heard. He needs to know that you have listened to him and that you have his best interests in mind as you take the information he’s shared with you and applied the appropriate and relevant services to his needs. Doing so positions you as a trusted advisor who is aligned with the goals and objectives the prospect has outlined for you.

The services and capabilities you articulate for the prospect must be directly related to what they hope to achieve or they are meaningless to the prospect. Personalizing your value proposition for the prospect in front of you also goes a long way toward building the individual relationship that is vital to creating trust. Prospects will not do business with someone they don’t trust, so it is crucial in the early stages of your interactions with the prospect that you listen, understand and empathize. Once a foundation of trust has been clearly established, delivering your value proposition to the prospect will be more effective and have a greater impact on your prospects, resulting in more assignments won not to mention stronger client relationships.

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…)