Anyone starting as a commercial real estate broker knows that, like residential real estate sales, it takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, and the ability to close a deal to be successful.
But that’s not enough. In fact, it’s much more difficult to get started in commercial. And much more expensive. eXp is paving the way by offering free commercial certification classes. Learn more by reaching out to Traci Gagnon. 210.465.5275
What separates the superstar commercial real estate broker or brokerage from other commercial real estate agents?
While there is no set formula for building a reputation as a broker or brokerage that both owner and buyer can depend on, there are several proven strategies, selling skills, character traits, and behaviors that help commercial real estate brokers land more deals with valuable properties and close deals on major commercial properties.
A good commercial broker spends a lot of time establishing new connections and nurturing existing connections.
Like residential real estate, brokers build a positive reputation with their prospects to learn what the consumer needs, and they maintain that business relationship in case the buyer is ever on the market for more real estate again.
Relationship building, however, requires more than just being able to connect with a company representative, especially in a mission-critical environment like commercial real estate. Every successful agent possesses the following pillars for building a good relationship with prospective buyers.
Honesty, Integrity, and Trust
No relationship of any type gets off the ground if agents and customers do not trust each other. Trust in real estate is built by agents always being upfront with clients about a property, its positives, shortcomings, and whether it is a good fit.
Another foundational building block of trust is being willing to deliver bad news as easily as good, even if it means losing a job.
Like personal relationships, once a party breaks trust, prospects will never feel entirely comfortable with that representative. While a company might not look elsewhere, it will be open to it.
The customer will also spend much time fact-checking because they will never take them at face value.
A relationship must also have consistency. If a real estate rep delivers part of the time and falls through the rest, often does not follow up on work, or provides property research to potential clients that are only partly accurate, the client will notice.
Then, they will begin to look for another representative’s services. Consistency in delivering services is vital in commercial real estate because there is so much riding on a business deciding to invest.
The buyer must know that the real estate broker they select will come through for them and ensure every aspect of a property sale is thoroughly researched and meticulously put together before closing any deals.
Clients want their commercial real estate broker to be part of their team and not just look for deals to make. They want to know that the real estate broker has done everything they can to understand what the client wants and what a property offers.
Further, they want to see the brokerage representative working on their behalf, no matter the circumstances.
The relationship an agent builds with a buyer is like any other relationship they have. If they neglect it, the relationship will falter. If they nurture it, it will grow.
Showing courtesy, kindness, concern, and empathy are all qualities that an effective agent will show their clients. They will also take notice if a customer is struggling and respond accordingly.
For example, if a client’s company is celebrating a special milestone, a commercial broker dropping an email to the buyer to congratulate them is a smart way to show they are paying attention.
The successful broker must not, however, come across as fake. Clients can pick up on insincerity, which can lead to them wanting to work with someone else.
Understands Real Estate Needs
Every successful commercial real estate agent learns who their customers are and what they are looking for in a property. Successful brokers will thoroughly research every property in their portfolio and easily match a property to a customer.
Information successful commercial agents will seek out about their customers includes, but is not limited to:
- What they do and how they do it (retail, law, academic, etc.).
- Who the competition is and what they have for a facility.
- Their goals for a real estate property in the short and long-term.
- The budget they are working with.
- The logistics of what they need (technology, space, parking, etc.) in a commercial property.
The Importance of Understanding Client Goals
Each of the above factors is important, but the most important in terms of finding the right commercial properties for clients is understanding what they want, both short- and long-term, including any growth plans they possess.
A successful commercial brokerage staff can figure out some of that via research, but much of that information is only available via communication with the customer.
Before showing any property, an agent should sit down with the key players in the client’s operation and map out what is needed and where they see their part of the business in the future. The focus on growth should cover a timespan that makes sense.
For example, if the buyer is a world-famous bank that has been around for a century, it is probably safe to plan out ten or even 20 years of projected growth. If the customer is a startup in a volatile industry, coming up with annual planning needs makes more sense.
Occasionally, what a shopper needs exceed what is available. When that happens, the best policy is to brief the buyer on what is available and let them decide how to move forward.
Trying to fit a business into a space that is not a good match is asking for an unhappy customer and probably no future business if they are ever looking for a property again.
Communication is key to everything human beings do. Personally or professionally, the outcome is rarely good if the communication between two people suffers. That reality is particularly true in an industry like commercial real estate. Communication includes three methods.
You likely have heard it before when the topic is personal relationships. The couples that work best listen to each other. Couples that do not listen to each other struggle.
Taking an interest in what a customer is communicating is key to getting them what they are looking for or, as in many cases, helping them figure out what they want. Noting key features they want in a property or what their growth plans are can allow an agent to figure out what properties work best.
Paying attention to what the customer is stating they want or want to avoid is critical. Another part of active listening is to consider what they are saying and ask for clarification if it is not clear what they want.
Commercial real estate brokers must withhold judgment or voice opinions until prospective buyers state what is on their minds.
Any verbal discussions must be concise and to the point whenever business is the focus. When something is unclear, successful brokers will go over the information again or ask questions to ensure they understand.
Emails should be concise and agents should aim to respond within 24 hours. All written communications should be carefully reviewed and edited before going to a consumer.
Every commercial real estate sale aspect should be documented, including any discussions between the agent and the client.
Assertive, Tenacious, and Persistent
If a commercial real estate broker is a wallflower, they will likely not succeed in commercial real estate. A successful agent will assert themselves whenever possible and when needed.
They will speak their mind in a firm but professional manner. They will pursue the possibility of every sale until they convert it into a sale. Or stay motivated if the sale falls through.
If a client rejects a proposal, the broker will come back again with another one. They will negotiate until they are at their bare minimum before walking away from a sale or leasing opportunity. Their goal is to get the sale, and nothing will stop them.
Great Negotiating Skills
Negotiation skills closely align with communication skills, but it goes further. A great commercial agent can successfully negotiate a sales contract that is honest and favorable to the agent’s goals.
They will not just agree to a contract to get the deal. They will counter-offer when it makes sense, come up with alternatives when needed, and they will know when to walk away.
Actively Pursues Leads
Great commercial real estate properties and clients rarely just fall into brokers’ laps.
A good agent will market wisely via targeted advertising, networking, and referrals constantly and will always be on the lookout for an opportunity to add new clients to their client base while identifying how their expertise can enhance the experience of existing clients.
Stays Current With Industrial Trends
The successful commercial real estate broker will market online with social media and a traditional website. They will constantly be marketing themselves to contacts and keep their content pertinent and fresh.
Additionally, a great agent will analyze the responses to online advertising in a specific market to determine what works best.
The commercial real estate industry is complex and often chaotic. To combat that, brokers must keep meticulous client, industry, and business files and adhere to a strict schedule. Being organized is the only way for a commercial real estate broker to stay on top of all the ins and outs of a commercial real estate deal and the business moves needed to get there.
The behaviors, skills, and characteristics listed above are just a few critical traits every successful commercial real estate professional possesses.
While some of them must come naturally, commercial real estate brokers can get better with all of them via practice. Each trait separates a good commercial real estate broker from a superstar broker. To find out more, and even register for FREE commercial agent training classes, call Traci Gagnon, eXp Realty. 210.465.5275