Follow us:

Archive for the ‘Sales 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.

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…)

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…)

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…)