Commercial Brokers – Adjusting to the Pain of the Property Market Today

This commercial property market presents most agents and property owners with a few challenges. That being said, opportunities always exist for those that work hard and look deep enough for a solution.

When the commercial and retail property market gets tougher there are some rules that should generally be worked through:

  1. Existing tenants are the lifeblood of the income and the cash flow for the property. Those tenants are also likely to be under some pressure in similar ways to the property owner. Flexibility in lease terms and conditions is required to ensure that good tenants stay in the property for the medium term. It is better to have a tenant paying 80% rent than a long term vacancy that pays nothing.
  2. Any anchor tenants will be important to the stability of a property that includes smaller specialty tenants. This is the case in retail property. Special management procedures are required. Work closely with any anchor tenants to ensure that their occupancy remains stable and productive. A successful anchor tenant attracts people to the retail property.
  3. Market rent reviews should be negotiated with a view to tenant stability; that means sensible and flexible rent terms that work for the tenant and the landlord. There is always a compromise situation that can be achieved when it comes to a rent review. If a landlord gives the tenant some leeway or benefit, then the tenant should be asked for some benefit back to the landlord (renovation, longer lease term, exercise of option, etc).
  4. Negotiate any lease options as early as possible to ensure that the existing tenants do not look to move elsewhere. Other landlords will be on the hunt for tenants for their properties.
  5. The maintenance of an existing property should be watched and managed well. There is a fine balance between low maintenance levels that destroy property usage and productivity, versus delayed maintenance that keeps presentation at reasonable levels for tenants and customers. When people and businesses move away from a property due to low levels of maintenance and presentation, it is a hard trend to stop.
  6. Incentives for any new lease will encourage new tenants to a property; they will also help existing tenants to potentially take up a new lease in the same premises that they currently occupy now. It is important to keep a check on existing incentives being offered by other landlords in the same general location. Do not lose your good tenants to another landlord for the sake of a few thousand dollars in rent. The vacancy downtime will cost you a lot more.

When the property market gets slower or tougher, all parties involved in property investment and occupation should cooperate and be open to more flexible lease terms and conditions. In this way they can spread the property pain and maintain a reasonable cash flow in slower times.

Best Ever Prospecting Letters for Commercial Brokers

In commercial real estate brokerage the prospecting letter process really works. To be successful at it you need to plan the process and control your actions as you progress.

Why will the ‘letter’ process help your prospecting efforts today? Well, it’s because the letters are less inclined to be ‘binned’; that is of course if you plan them correctly and follow the rules.

Here are some facts in comparing letters to emails:

  • Prospecting emails are not very successful at all. Most of the people you send them to will delete the communication quickly. As a by-product of the process you must have their approval to communicate in that way, otherwise you will be breaking the laws on ‘spam’.
  • A letter is very professional as long as you do not ‘overdo it’. In commercial real estate the best letter is compiled on one single page. The contents should be contained in no more than 4 paragraphs. Sign the letter personally in blue ink. Ensure that your signature is legible and professional (don’t sign in a ‘scrawl’ as it sends the wrong message).
  • Create the correspondence to introduce your upcoming telephone call. Make the call a few days after the letter has been received. The prospect will be expecting your call and will be more inclined to take it.
  • Always put your business card in the envelope. Don’t put anything else in a prospecting letter. The object is to sell yourself and your upcoming telephone call. Don’t confuse the message with bulky brochures on other issues and property matters. Focus on the one thing that is important, and that is your upcoming telephone call.
  • Design the letter for the person you are writing to. In other words you should have separate letters covering sales, leasing, property management, and retail. Get away from the generic approach and be specific to a part of the industry. Sell your upcoming telephone call on that basis.
  • Get a reference book on ‘words that sell’ or ‘phrases that sell’. Add a few words from the books into your letter to increase readability.
  • Every good prospecting letter should have a great headline. You want the person to read the message. Perhaps the headline you use could reflect local property activity or changes. Understand the concerns of the market and match the letter to the focus of investors, property owners, or tenants as the case may be.
  • The letters should be sent every 60 to 90 days. As part of that process, follow-up as many of the letters that you can. It directly follows that you should not send out too many at once and thereby create a situation where you cannot make the calls.

This is a system of prospecting. The letters are part of the bigger picture. They do not replace cold calling, but they add to the momentum that you would have in other prospecting processes. Start using the system as a boost to your market share.

Business Meetings Online – Catch the Wave of the Future

Are you new to business meetings online? If so, you need to get with the program! Holding business meetings online is becoming an accepted, even encouraged, practice in today’s enterprise. Hosting or attending business meetings online is an essential component of business communications.

Today’s online meetings are collaborative affairs. You can share applications and documents, send messages, and even work on the whiteboard. Online meetings are definitely revolutionizing the way people interact. No longer just a business tool, you’ll find religious groups, addiction support groups, and civic groups meeting online.

Several web sites have emerged that allow participants of online business meetings to exchange graphic files and images while eliminating the need for a video cam or web cam. An added bonus is there is no need for you and/or your meeting partners to download cumbersome software before the meeting.

Business meetings online, used appropriately, can save small business owners, and their clients, time and money. Note that I’m not advocating using an online meeting to cold-call or prospect with. First time meetings with potential clients are probably still best held face-to-face. But a follow-up meeting to answer questions? Definitely think about doing it online. Where a phone conference is a “tell” method of selling, the online meeting takes it to the “show-and-tell “method.

Other solid benefits of online business meetings are reduced expenses, higher productivity and increased time. These are mainly accomplished by eliminating travel time and expense. Rather than have the meeting attendees gather in one physical location, the World Wide Web is used to create a virtual meeting place that can be accessed with the proper login credentials.

Online meetings are a secure way to interact with your clients, business partners and team members. This makes them ideal for sales pitches, performance reporting or providing training for other members of your organization. Online meetings make audio communication possible by using VoIP (voice over IP) applications.

Online meetings are idea for organizing small impromptu meetings of fewer than 8 participants. This particularly benefits small businesses where interactions tend to be spur-of-the-moment and include fewer participants than in larger companies.

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