Saturday, June 29, 2013

Confidence in Cold Call Prospecting - Commercial Real Estate Broker Tips

Develop confidence in cold call prospecting.

In commercial real estate brokerage today, the cold calling process can be quite a challenge for many.  That being said, if you want plenty of listings, quality clients, and greater commissions, you will have to develop a cold calling process system that works for you at a personal level.  That is the fastest way to grow your market share, brokerage and agency business.

It should be recognized that cold call prospecting is a particular skill that requires practice and personal development.  You may be the best agent or broker in your office, however if you cannot attract the right clients and prospects to you, then your commissions and listings will be only average when it comes to market share.

Some brokers and agents rely on the profile of the office and the business brand to bring clients and prospects to them.  That being said, it is the slow way to grow your market share and is certainly at the bottom end of the scale when it comes to personal development and earning more commissions.  
Some agents stay in the market for many years, but to do that they require quality listings and ongoing commissions.  The proactive process of prospecting will help you establish better business outcomes.  That is the faster way to dominate your market.

The way to improve this market share process is to develop a degree of confidence and focus.  That requires a personal process and a definite discipline.  Every day the prospecting that you do should be refined and improved through personal development and practice.

Here are some tips to help you develop the confidence in this networking and prospecting process:

  1. Reward yourself for the results that you achieve.  Make it a target to call at least 20 new people every day.  From those calls you should get approximately two meetings.  Over time those new meetings will evolve into listing and client opportunities.  Your meeting targets can be a benchmark to aim for.
  2. When you make the calls, stand up behind your desk and with a telephone in your hand.  You will find that the ‘standing process’ helps your verbal intelligence and conversational ability.  It also helps with tonality when it comes to your voice and the conversation.
  3. Track the number of calls that you make every day and the meetings that you create as a result.  Over a period of days and weeks, you should see the ratios improve between calls, meetings, and listings.
  4. To boost your conversation flexibility and confidence, read a book aloud every morning when you first arise.  You can do that for approximately 20 minutes.  That process will help you with the telephone call conversations that you will be making later that day.  The most successful agents are those that practice their dialogue and their verbal flexibility.

As part of building this model, only associate with agents and brokers that have reasonable prospecting success and confidence in the process.  You can learn so much from associating with the right people that know how to build market share and listing opportunity.  Put prospecting at the centre of your business activity and make more cold calls every day.

You can get more prospecting and cold calling tips in our Newsletter right here.

Cold Call Prospecting Tips that Really Work in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Cold calling remains a very frustrating process for many commercial real estate brokers today. That being said, the process can be addressed and resolved through simple practice and personal development.

In this video, I have given some tips, tools, and ideas to help you convert more opportunities in commercial real estate brokerage.When you understand the process of prospecting and the systems behind it, you can structure that into your daily focus and diary.

If you want to improve your market share with better listings and quality clients, you will need a prospecting process similar to the one that I have here now. Please review the video to get some ideas.

Article Marketing Strategies for Commercial Real Estate Brokers Today

Article marketing is a highly effective method of building your brand as an agent or broker in commercial real estate.  The articles allow you to maximise your exposure to search engines as the 'expert' that you are or want to be in your property location and with your property type.

If you are considering a career in commercial real estate or perhaps you are already active in the industry, then you can use this marketing tool to great effect.  I have put together this video to help with the information and ideas behind the process.

This is part of a commercial real estate training program by John Highman.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Podcast 110 - Commercial Real Estate Broker

3 topics for today. 1. How to work with franchise tenants in leasing. 2. Handling the biggest hurdle in our industry. 3. Leasing performance indicators that you must track. This is commercial real estate training by John Highman.

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Franchise Tenants are Leasing Opportunities

Choose your franchise tenants well.

When it comes to leasing commercial and retail property today, a franchise tenant can be a recipe for success when it comes to the overall tenancy mix and property performance.

Well-chosen franchise tenants can boost the trade for the property and therefore underpin the market rental for the landlord.  This will have a direct flow through effect to the other tenants within the mix and the clusters of tenants in and around the property.

There are many franchise tenants and types across the office, retail, and industrial property marketplace.  That being said, they all have special and unique circumstances of property occupation.  They all require understanding.  If you are working with landlords in the leasing of vacant premises, you would be well advised to connect with the local franchise groups to understand their occupancy needs.

In the case of leasing brokers and agents, it can also be said that commercial and retail real estate leasing fees can be significantly enhanced over time by working with franchise groups with their multiple occupancy requirements.  It is a matter of understanding the property requirements of the franchise group in each case.

So here are some tips that can apply to the leasing process with these high value tenants:

  1. Understand the tenants and the franchise brands that currently exist in your town or city.  You may find some other franchise groups of a similar type that will like to compete with those that are already in occupancy and trading.
  2. Check out the competing properties in the local area and most particularly the shopping centres.  You will get many leasing ideas from the relative tenancy mix and the franchise groups in each case.
  3. Directly contact the national and regional franchise groups to understand their leasing and occupancy needs in your town or city.  They will have certain leasing requirements, rental structures, locational issues, and property requirements in each case.  They will also have some standard lease documentation that will be used in the case of any new lease negotiation and occupancy.  Take the time to understand their requirements, so that you can introduce the correct franchise brand to the properties that you manage or lease.
  4. When it comes to negotiating a lease with a franchise tenant, it is quite likely that they will have a standard lease document that they will provide to the landlord.  On that basis you will need to work with the landlord to refine and structure the lease to suit the property and the landlord’s requirements.

It is a well-known fact that franchises are proven brands and on that basis will be a business opportunity when it comes to successfully filling a vacant tenancy in the properties you have listed.  Find the right properties to suit the local franchise groups.  Over time you can have multiple leasing transactions from the same franchise group.
The landlords that you serve will in most cases be achieving a stable tenancy with a well-known brand.  That can strengthen the trading opportunities for other tenants within the property.

You can get more tips on franchise tenants in our newsletter for commercial real estate brokers.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Commercial Property Management Handover Checklist

Here are some ideas to help commercial property managers with the handover process today.  In this matrix Video Part 1 I explain some of the big issues in getting all of the right facts from the previous property manager about the tenants, leases, rents, and property maintenance.

The matrix would apply to office, industrial, and retail property in any handover situation.

Ways to Fix the Biggest Hurdle in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Start prospecting and improving the process with practice.

Some commercial real estate agents and brokers struggle with prospecting on a regular basis.  Over time that will have a major impact on their market share and listing conversions.

Those agents and brokers are likely to say that the following are the facts of the market:

  • The market has slowed
  • There are no buyers and tenants around
  • Enquiry is dead
  • It’s time for a ‘holiday’
  • Finance is not available
  • Deals are hard to put together
  • There are too many agents and not enough buyers and tenants to go around

So the list goes on, and I guess you may have a few other things that you can add to the list and have heard in the industry.  Excuses are prolific and easy for most sales people to come up with in commercial real estate.  If things are not good with listings and commissions they will fall back on one or more of the ‘excuses’ I have just given you.

Show me a broker that is at the ‘top of their game’, and I will show you a focused and 'prospecting active' salesperson.  

So prospecting is at the centre of everything.  Without prospecting, nothing works.  It really doesn’t matter what brokerage you work for, it is the prospecting that will give you market share and listing opportunity.

To fix any problem of this type in commercial real estate, it is time to ‘look within’.  Understand the personal things that are holding you back from finding more new clients and properties to work with.  Deal with those ‘weaknesses’ and move ahead into the market with a fresh attitude on growth and client contact.  Put your clients at the centre of your business and market share.

If an agent or broker is coming up with ‘excuses’ as part of addressing low market share or commissions, it is time to turn the focus back on that salesperson to find out what they are not doing and why that is so.  Training and performance planning can fix those issues.

You are responsible for the business that you generate and on that basis real action and focus is required.  Market knowledge and skill may help you with some of your listings, but it is the prospecting that is more important than anything else.  Find out why you are not prospecting enough and solve the problem.

In an average working day, a commercial real estate broker or agent should be prospecting for 3 hours and at least half of that time should be spent with talking to fresh new people.  Set some personal targets to connect with 10 or 15 new people per day.  It will take you 30 or 40 cold calls to achieve that.  From those connections you can create some valuable meetings and that will then be the start of a valuable client relationship for the future.  That is what prospecting and networking is all about.

You can get more tips for commercial real estate brokers in our Newsletter right here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Asset Planning Tips for Commercial and Retail Property Managers Today

The management of a commercial or retail property today involves an asset planning process.  In other words the property manager must set some rules in motion relating to the property and its future.

In this short video I cover some tips relating to the Asset Plan and the parts of the document.

Podcast 109 - Commercial Real Estate Broker

3 topics for today. 1. How to do prospecting letters in commercial real estate. 2. Handling the rejection factor in prospecting. 3. How to find opportunity in the property market. Commercial real estate training by John Highman.

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Prospecting Letters in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Work your database of addresses in prospecting.

There are a number of ways to prospect in commercial real estate.  One of the more effective ways to do that is to send prospecting letters to key people and targets in your area.  If this is something that is attractive to you in prospecting, then you will need to understand the letter system and implement it correctly.

The secret behind the success of the letter process is to make them relevant to the marketplace, and provide valuable insights to market conditions and trends.  Over time, and through sending plenty of letters in a 90 day contact cycle, you are perceived as a market leader that should be considered when it comes to any new listing in the local area.  That is when you will get a good share of invitations to present and pitch on listings.

Most clients and prospects want to use the best agent with the ‘runs on the board’.  Prospecting letters set up that image and branding.  Some agents believe that this is the only way to prospect.  They would be wrong, particularly because this process takes many months if not years of consistent action to get the results coming back to you.  Over a period of 12 months you should be sending 4 letters in a staged process.  Every letter will have a new story or message to tell.

This letter based prospecting system is in addition to your cold calling, door knocking, and referral business.  So you will have the other things to activate and run in parallel to your letter system. 

Here are some rules to help you set up this valuable networking and prospecting process:

1.       Letters should be sent to the right people by type and location.  In this way you can judge the feedback and inbound enquires.  Create letters for Sales, Leasing, and Property Management.  That then helps you with relevance in each letter sent.
2.       Follow up your letters wherever possible.  Use the letters as triggers to make calls.  They turn a ‘cold call’ into a ‘warm call’.
3.       Letter frequency will always be important.  At a minimum your letters should be going to the same people every 90 days.  You can shorten that cycle to 60 days if you wish.
4.       Track the conversations and enquiries that you get back from the campaigns.  That will help you understand what works and how you can improve on that.
5.       Meaningful messages should be created for each letter.  Understand the ‘pain factors’ in the market today that apply to sales, leasing, and property management.  Write the letters to the challenges that property owners and occupiers are suffering.  Offer solutions.
6.       Success letters should be sent to all businesses and property owners around each completed listing.
7.       Marketing letters should be sent around all quality listings.

So the message here is that prospecting letters really work.  Establish your system and get it started.  Send letters in a controlled way.

You can get more tips on prospecting letters in our Newsletter right here.

Commercial Property Management Tips for Brokers Today

Here are some tips for commercial property managers and retail shopping center managers.  This is a matrix of issues that evolve from the property management processes today.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Right Way to Manage a Retail Shopping Center Today

Understand your tenant mix in retail shopping

In managing a retail shopping center the issues and tasks to understand are many.  The right person with the right experience should be selected for the property management position.  Errors or strategic mistakes are likely to have a major impact on property performance and tenant trade.  That will then have a flow through effect to the rental structure and the vacancy rate.

The bottom line on managing a retail property is that the right tenants must be chosen for the mix.  It is difficult for a property to fail if the right tenants have been chosen and well located within the property.  Every tenant should be selected on their match to the customer and the location within the existing tenant mix.

Certainly a retail property is a fine balance of a number of key factors, but the best property in the right location still requires the correct tenants.  The tenant profile will attract more customers to the property over time, and that is exactly what a top retail property requires.  Better levels of trade help the tenants thrive and that has a flow through to the landlord’s rental rates and recoveries.

So how do you know what the customer is looking for by way of tenant services and goods?  In simple terms you should get a market survey undertaken of customers and their shopping interests.  Here are some considerations for that:

  • Determine the primary market from which the customer will be drawn.  A full 80% of business should come from this precinct.  Get some maps of the roads and highways around the property; look at the roads and understand how and why people would stop in at the property for goods and services.
  • If you are managing the property now, you can undertake a survey on site over a number of days of the week.  You can also spread that process over a few weeks so you are capturing the complete shopping habits of all the people that visit the property.
  • If the property is new or still to be constructed, then you should to do a marketing survey by ‘door knocking’ the area locally.
  • What is the demographic of the local area?  Is it made up of predominantly young families, middle ‘nesters’, or older retirees?  Will your property need to adjust to the different profiles?  How will that impact the tenant mix?
  • Review the competing properties through the town or suburb.  You will find that they have factors of tenant mix, vacancies, rental, and customer profile that will be useful in your property consideration.  Look for the strengths and weaknesses in those other properties and then understand how they could have an impact on your property location.

Shopping centers are vibrant and busy properties to manage.  On that basis you should select the right people for your team and ensure that they are managing the property to the needs and profile of the community.  Match the tenants in the tenant mix to that equation.

If you want more tips on managing retail properties, please join our Newsletter or visit our main website here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Podcast 108 - Commercial Real Estate Broker

3 topics for Commercial Brokers Today. 1. How to qualify tenants for commercial property, 2. How to do a sales performance report, 3. Some Signboard marketing tips for commercial brokers. Commercial real estate training by John Highman.

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Sales Numbers in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Watch your sales KPIs and results

In commercial real estate brokerage you will be working with property sellers in a variety of ways.  The property types and the market conditions will all influence the ways that you can help the sellers with their property challenges.  To do this correctly you must know your ‘numbers’ from the market and in your town or city.  Here are some tips from our recent newsletter.

There are two sets of numbers to watch.  Firstly, watch the numbers that are relevant to the sellers and property owners needing to make a sale.  The main ones are:

  • Properties sold by category (office, industrial, retail)
  • Properties sold by volume
  • Price averages by property type and sale
  • Time on market for all types
  • The level of inbound enquiry for the property type
  • The types of improvements that are attractive to buyers today
  • Competing listings on the market today in the location
  • Price per unit of area (improved property)
  • Price per parcel of vacant land
  • Location based sales
  • The supply and demand for local commercial, retail, and industrial property

All of these numbers will give you valuable trends in market activity.  Those numbers can then be used in presentations and proposals so that clients can understand the market.  They can also understand how to confidently take their property forward into a marketing campaign with the right target audience.

The second group of numbers to watch will be relevant to your agency business and brokerage.  Those numbers will show you how you are tracking with market share, listing activity, and conversions.

Here are some of the categories to monitor:

  • The number of exclusive listings that you are converting on a weekly basis
  • The number of open listings on your books currently
  • Seasonal sales activity that applies to the territory and the region
  • Completed transactions for exclusive listings vs. open listings
  • The amount of inspections being undertaken per property and by listing type
  • The levels of inbound enquiry for each marketing campaign
  • The best methods of marketing that apply to enquiry creation

When you understand the numbers, you have something to work with.  You can see where the trends and the shifts are occurring with property enquiry and buyer activity.

A top salesperson will usually have a selection of numbers to back up their recommendations and strategies to the clients that they serve.  In any period of 12 months, the market will change and the numbers will show that.  You can then make the appropriate adjustments to improve your commissions and your listings.  You can also help your clients find the buyers that they are looking for.

Visit our main website for more tips like this.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Grow Market Share in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Drive more sales, leasing, and listings

In commercial real estate brokerage today, there are plenty of challenges when it comes to market share, commissions, and clients.  To help us with the necessary focus as brokers, at a personal level it pays to develop a focus and a lust for growth.  Even in the toughest of property markets, the potential for growth in listings, client base, and commissions will always be very real and possible.

Our ability to adjust to the changes in the market will help us with income and growth.  Look for the opportunities in all market segments across industrial property, office, and retail property.  When the sales market is slowing, the leasing market is generally active.  When the leasing market is active, property management opportunities are frequent.

It is wise to track and measure the inbound enquiries that you are getting on a daily and weekly basis.  In that way you will understand the tenants and buyers are looking for and at what frequency.  It should be said that quality listings will always create more enquiry most of the time.  As a general rule, focus on quality clients and quality listings that you can control exclusively.

To get this strategy under-way, it is necessary to know where you are today when it comes to market share and personal performance.  Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Do a signboard count relative to your personal listings.  Split that signboard count up into open listings and exclusive listings.  On average, a top agent can work with between 15 and 20 exclusive listings at one time.  The count on open listings will be interesting but will do nothing to consolidate your market share.  It is interesting to note that the traditional signboard still remains an effective marketing tool when it comes to your local area and your town or city.  Get plenty of signboards into your region as a priority.
  2. With any property presentation or sales pitch, prepare for the process on the basis of getting an exclusive listing.  If the client declines the exclusive listing process, you have a choice as to whether the listing is relevant or not.  Do you really want to take on a listing where a client has all the control and is already working with a number of other agencies or brokerages?  If you have a high profile as a top agent in the local area a client will find it very hard to ignore your exclusive listing recommendations and requirements.  Stand firm on your requirements for an exclusive listing.
  3. At the end of each week, track the number of listings on the Internet portals relative to your sales and leasing territory.  Also assess the time on market for each property type and with each agency or brokerage.  Look for the weaknesses where listings may have been neglected or poorly marketed.

When you have a lust for growth in market share and commissions, the numbers and the ratios I have mentioned will be highly important to your personal growth and improvement as a top agent or broker.  Seek to improve at every opportunity.

The numbers relate to the market share end of the equation where quality listings mean everything.  It will show you how many listings you have now and help you understand where you need to improve your efforts and focus.

When you control the listing stock exclusively, you control the client, inspections, and the negotiations.  Other commercial real estate agents will need to talk to you if they have a buyer or tenant interested in the property.

Get more tips like this at our main commercial real estate training website right here.

Podcast 107 - Commercial Real Estate Broker

3 topics for commercial real estate brokers today. 1. How to establish lots of client relationships. 2. How to be more entrepreneurial in sales and leasing. 3. Give yourself time to think and plan.

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Recruitment Tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

Look for the right person to employ

It is an ongoing task to find and replace agents and brokers within your real estate brokerage.  In commercial real estate it is all that bit harder due to the exclusive and special nature of the property type.

So when you are looking for new brokers to employ you have a few alternatives.  Here they are:

  • Find someone that is totally new to the industry and is  looking for a job
  • Getting someone who is wanting to move from residential to commercial property and is willing to learn
  • Putting a ‘cadet’ with the experienced brokers to learn the role and the job
  • Poaching another top agent or broker from  your competitors
  • Taking one of your existing team members and elevating them to the new position with its property type and territory

So what employment choice is correct?  They all are, depending on your brokerage circumstances and just how you can apply resources to the role and the new person.

What should be said here is that the mindset and sales character of the person you employ are perhaps the most important factors to check out.  It is one thing for a new salesperson to say they ‘know the industry’ and ‘will do a great job’; it is another for them to take the action and convert the listings.

The biggest factors to consider when you employ a new agent or broker are the ‘mindset and the focus’ of the person.  You want someone that has the drive and dogged determination to professionally find the listings and the new clients to serve.  It is best to get a candidate that is a driven performer with the necessary knowledge and the skill to support the process.

Here are some ideas that I would use in finding a new broker or agent to employ in my brokerage:

  1. Check out their knowledge of the property type.  This will require a deep questioning approach about marketing, rentals, prices, prospecting, and negotiation.
  2. Review their documentation skills.  Some salespeople are litigation ‘bomb sites’ when it comes to documentation.  They are more dangerous that useful.  Do you really want to employ a person that will send you to the lawyers every few months with legal claims?
  3. Let’s go back to the points of drive and ambition.  Great brokers and agents have a mindset of achievement and top service.  They know what they have to do and they get it done.  Not all new people will have those vital elements of personality and action.  Get a ‘character test’ done through an employment agency with your job candidate before your make the final decision on employment.  The essential character of the person should be that of a ‘top salesperson’ with the knowledge to support it.
  4. Prospecting pays an important part of the role.  Question them on how they would prospect and check out their willingness to do the hard prospecting things.
  5. Get a job history about the person and speak to previous employers.  Are there any ‘problems in the past’?

So you have a few things to work on here.  Make the right choices with people you employ in commercial real estate.  Not everyone will fit or qualify with the required skills and knowledge.  Don’t rush into employing the first person that comes along looking for a job.  Mistakes like that cost money, clients, and commissions in the long term.

Get many more tips like this at our main website for coaching commercial real estate brokers.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Top Presentation and Sales Pitch Tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokers Today

Make your presentation a comfortable process for the client.

In commercial real estate brokerage today, most of the presentations that you make will be competitive.  There will be other agents chasing the same listing with many enticements and alternatives of marketing.  Your presentation simply has to be the best for you to stand a chance of winning the listing.

In one simple phrase, your presentation has to be ‘relevant and specific’.  The days of generic marketing are well gone.  It is worth saying that specific marketing processes only apply to ‘exclusive listings’; if the client is only giving you an ‘open’ listing then everything in the listing process becomes a lot more ‘ordinary’.

So here is a tip. Any client that is genuine in the sale or leasing process does not want to be ‘ordinary’ or an ‘experiment’ in marketing.  If your recommendations are of top quality, it will be hard for the client to ignore or overlook your proposal.  It stands to reason that a top quality presentation will be of attraction and highly relevant to the client.  If you focus your efforts in this way you have a much better chance of winning the ‘exclusive’ listing; that should be your process and your target.

Here are some well proven ways to attract the interest of the client in a proposal and presentation about commercial or retail property.  You can add to the list based on location and property type:

  1. Check out the property completely.  When you understand the property you can deal with the strengths and weaknesses as part of the presentation.
  2. Understand the client.  They will have pressures and requirements to solve the ‘property pain’ issue that is at the back of their mind.   When you resolve the ‘pain’ you stand a  good chance of winning the listing
  3. Research the competition.  Other agents and properties can create complications.
  4. Know the market as to enquiries, prices and rents.  Decide how your listing will achieve ‘market results’ and why that will be the case.
  5. Set the target audience of buyers or tenants.  Match the marketing campaign to the people that will really find the property of benefit or useful.
  6. Use your database as leverage.  Tell the client about your short-list of people that you will show the property to when it is listed.
  7. Develop 3 marketing strategies so the client has some alternatives to work with.
  8. Exclusive listings are necessary.  Don’t waste your time with ‘open’ listings.  It is only a ‘fall back’ strategy.
  9. Use a Gantt chart to show progress and strategy.  The marketing process is complex.  This chart will show the client what you are going to do and when.

So the key issue in winning a listing is for you to be ‘specific’ and not ‘generic’.  Get to the real facts of the property and what it requires to solve the client’s challenge of marketing and finding that valuable buyer or seller.

Want some more ideas?  You can get many more tips from our archives and main commercial real estate broker website right here.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Commercial Property Management Handover Check-list Tips

Gather all your facts in a handover of property.

When a new property manager takes over the management of property for a client, they should take full and professional control using a handover strategy and process.   Every property will have its challenges and some are quite complex.

The handover process will by necessity cover all current issues in the property plus the history of occupancy and financial performance.  If the property is large and contains many tenants then the process is time consuming.  A checklist will help you stay on track and remain accurate.

So how do you start with all of this?  Here are some things to help you get started and put into a handover checklist.  This will help you in bringing new clients and properties into your brokerage portfolio.  

You can add to this list the area factors and things that you know are important to the property type:

  1. Interview the previous property manager about the property and the tenants.  If possible do an audio recording of the process on your cell phone or MP3 recorder.  The information from the interview will be highly valuable as you proceed in managing the property into the future.
  2. Get a copy of the tenancy schedule.  Whilst you must not regard it as accurate (because you have not checked it yet), it will give you something to work with.  Always remember that the tenancy schedule is only as good as the person that has given it to you.  In a handover process the accuracy that you are hoping for may not be there.
  3. You will need copies of leases to check against the tenancy schedule.  When you have lots of tenants in a property, you will have many leases to check, plus other occupancy documentation.  It requires personal involvement.  Every lease should be read and checked.  Potentially every lease can be different and special.  You will need to understand the differences and get them into your property management control system
  4. Get copies of rent invoices that are current.  The rent invoices should be checked for correct rents and that should be compared to the leases in the property.  Also watch out for rent changes and critical dates from those leases that will have an impact on the rent.
  5. Check arrears and aged debtors reports so you know the status of rent actions and recoveries.
  6. Get an up to date tenant contact list so you know who to talk to in the tenant mix and how to reach them.
  7. Get an outgoings status report and an up-to-date expenditure report.  That will give you an idea of just how expensive the property is to run when compared to others of a similar type in the same area.

So now that you have all of the basic property information it is a matter of going over the information and ensuring that you understand the factors and pressures.  You can then inspect the property with some confidence.

Get more tips like this at our main website on commercial real estate training.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Podcast 106 - Commercial Real Estate Podcast

3 Topics for today. 1. Some More Cold Calling Tips for Brokers 2. What is the New Breed of Commercial Property Manager? 3. Some Marketing Systems that are Essential in Commercial Property. Commercial Real Estate Training by John Highman.

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A New Dimension in Commercial Property Management Services

woman and filing cabinet
Commercial Property Manager skills and knowledge

Today we have a new breed of commercial property manager emerging from the ranks.  They are supported by technology and the tools that go with it.  They know how to do a great job for the landlord clients that they serve, and they follow through with the results required.

The ‘old days’ of a property manager sitting at the desk and taking telephone calls from  tenants and talking to the landlord once per month, are well gone.  In fact if a property manager spends too much time in the office they are not doing their job.  They should get out and about in the market with their properties and tenants.  In that way they will know what is happening locally and how to build on the opportunities and events of a property portfolio.

So how do you do all of this?  There is fine balance of opportunity to manage across tenants, landlords, properties, and community.  You can’t do that from the ‘comfort’ of a desk.

Professional property management services today in the commercial real estate industry involve most if not all of the following:

  • Understanding the investment intentions of the client (landlord) and working towards them.
  • Staying well ahead of lease events and critical dates.
  • Knowing how to establish and report complex property and lease strategies to the landlord.
  • Building the market rent profile for the landlord, the property type and the location.
  • Maintaining a property to a high level to minimise risk and maximise income.
  • Knowing what competing properties are in the area and how they can be attracting tenants away from your property.
  • Leasing vacancies at the best point in time to match the requirements of the tenant mix.
  • Creating a business plan for the property that matches the intentions and requirements of the client landlord.
  • Analysing cash flow and property returns for the landlord, and then comparing those results with the market averages.
  • In the case of a retail property or shopping centre, managing the tenant mix to build on sales and community involvement.
  • Establishing a tenant retention and replacement plan to optimise property results.
  • So there are a lot of things to do here.  The experience, commitment, and knowledge of the manager of a property will ‘make or break’ the service to the client.

Many property managers would struggle to prove that they do all of these things.  In fact most of them would say that ‘they don’t have enough time’ or ‘the fees don’t allow for the services required’.  At the ‘top end’ end of the industry with the quality properties and clients, those statements do not stand any ground; they are irrelevant.
If you want to ‘stand out’ and provide top management support for your clients, then look at the services you are providing and improve them immediately.  In doing so, charge a fair fee for the special service provided.  Sell your brokerage based on the quality of service and performance well above that of your real estate competitors.  Property management clients do not want to be an ‘experiment’, they require the best outcomes and the best services.

Get more commercial property management tips and join our newsletter at our main website right here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Commercial Real Estate Brokers - Get Serious About Commercial Real Estate Leasing

Quality leasing opportunities create enquiry

Working as a Commercial Real Estate Broker or Agent can have its challenges, not the least of which will be in growing commissions and finding listings.  During a ‘business year’ many changes will occur with the inbound enquiry rate, tenant and buyer interest, as well as completed transactions.  Given all of this, I like to recommend that agents and brokers are versatile enough to adjust to the shifts between sales and leasing activity.  Both opportunities can feed off each other with new clients and deals.

Get serious about leasing and the advantages it can bring you in new clients and leads.  A good lease transaction today can bring you closer to landlords and property owners.  Over time that can lead to property sales opportunities.

I know that many will say that the commissions from a lease transaction are ‘smaller’ than that which you can get from a sale, but I will say that the fee will depend on the property, the tenancy, and the lease terms.  If you focus on the larger leasing requirements in top properties and good locations, you will get reasonable fees.  Quality properties always create enquiry.

Here are some tips to help you focus on this leasing segment of the market:

1. The local business community will be the source of real market intelligence and tenant movement.  Get to know all of the local businesses, the people that run them, and their property needs.  It is worthwhile noting that many business owners can give you leads about the area in which they are located.  Ask the right questions about adjoining properties and other businesses.
2. Profile all of the businesses on a ‘lease expiry’ basis.  You can then stay in touch for the advantages of finding another property in the general area.  Put all of your tenant and business contacts into a ‘timed diary system’ were you can call the right people every 90 days or so.  
3. Most businesses will stay ‘local’ when they relocate.  They will however want a few advantages in rental, property improvements, access, services, and amenities.  This then suggests that it is best for you to work on the quality listings in the area.  Stay in contact with the landlords with the good properties that may be under vacancy or leasing pressure.
4. Franchise groups will have interest locally to expand and grow their brand.  Every franchise tenant will have requirements of location and lease conditions to be considered.  Many agents and brokers have built a good income from working with specialised franchise groups.  Get to know the criteria under which they will lease a property.

Given all of these facts, I go back to the point that the leasing segment of the market can be very rewarding for you as an agent or broker.  Whilst you can specialise in a property type and location, be versatile in both the sales and leasing services you provide.

You can get more tips for brokers and agents like this at our main website right here.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Podcast 105 - Commercial Real Estate Broker Podcast

3 more topics for today. 1. How to recruit and find more brokers or agents. 2. Listings are just one step away. 3. How to turn the key to a better commercial real estate brokerage business. Commercial real estate training by John Highman.

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It Has Never Been Easier to Work With Clients in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Connect with Commercial Real Estate Clients

In commercial real estate today, there are many challenges when it comes to property investment and ownership.  Many of the clients that we work for will have issues to be addressed in property performance, leasing, and occupancy.  One client can be the source of many new business transactions and commission opportunities.  Understanding how you can help them, and being available for the purpose is quite important.

This then suggests that we should be in constant contact with all of our clients.  Providing relevant and up to date market information will help keep the contact process of importance to the client.  There is nothing worse than a property agent providing little value and information to the clients.

A client will soon 'close the door' on any future communication if you are not providing something of interest or a value.  When you are establishing a constant contact process with your clients, develop some tools and some research material to make it work.  You can do that with newsletters, market commentary, industry changes, and listing updates.  Regular telephone calls will also help to get you more meetings.

Here are some tips for working with clients in the property market today:

  1. The property investors that you know now may have challenges with leasing and vacancies.  Your database of tenants in the local area will be of high value to your clients.  Maintain regular contact with all the businesses locally so that any tenant movement requirements and relocation needs can be suitably serviced and directed to your clients.
  2. From your existing client list, split the clients into two separate groups.  The first group will be the VIP clients that can bring you more business leads and opportunities over time.  They will require special interaction and ongoing communication in a meaningful way.  Provide them with regular market updates and appropriate market knowledge.  Introduce your VIP clients to the greater brokerage business through quarterly updates and workshops.  Help them understand how you can improve their property performance challenges.  The linkage between sales leasing and property management will always give you a variety of services to provide.  The specialists within your brokerage can be introduced to your VIP clients accordingly.  That being said, you should be the client representative as the main channel of contact and representation.
  3. The second group within your client list will be the average clients that may require your assistance, but the same level of commitment and communication is not possible for necessary with this group.  They may already be using other agents or not be as active as those clients in your VIP Group.  You still want to stay in contact with this secondary group on the chance that something will develop.  The VIP clients should be contacted on a monthly basis.  The second group of client should be contacted once every 90 days.
  4. Track all of your meetings and conversations with clients and prospects.  At the end of each day, the information into a database so that you can make a return call at the right time in the future.
  5. Establish a strong social media platform on the Internet.  This should be a personal process on a daily basis where you can link your blogs and market updates to the various channels of social media.  You can also link your listings into your client base and your social media channels.  It is unlikely that your social media efforts will bring you a direct business opportunity, however it will help you stay in contact with the right people to build your brand and presence.  Most of the sales and listing opportunities that we get in this business come from personal contact.  Nothing will replace the high value of the personal meeting and the telephone call.  Every day you should be striving to achieve more meetings and making better connections.  Social media then is a backup strategy between meetings and telephone calls.

With all of these points being considered, the cycle of activity in commercial real estate is relatively long.  It can be some months if not years before a client or a prospect is ready to take some action with their property issues.  Your database needs to put you back in contact with the right people at the right time; establish a constant contact system for that process.

You can get more tips like this at our parent website for brokers and agents.

A Fresh Approach to Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

Look for opportunities in Commercial Brokerage

In every period of 12 months in commercial real estate brokerage, there will be pressures on team performance and some brokers will leave the team.  This then says that you will need a definite strategy to support, sustain, and grow the team through staff changes.

So why do people move around in this industry?  Here are some of the main reasons:

  • Attractive commissions can be offered by other brokerages in the local area
  • Better listing opportunities may be available elsewhere
  • The branding of the brokerage and agency may have some impact on the marketing opportunities
  • The strength and commitment of the sales team builds a certain dynamic that will either strengthen or threaten the stability of the team
  • Some sales teams need a good sales manager to keep them on track.
  • The administrative support for commercial real estate agents and brokers needs to be available to remove the mundane work from the daily workload
  • The marketing efforts of the brokerage will help strengthen the conversions of listings

It is wise to develop a system and a plan; that plan then allows you to grow the sales team with the right people at the right time.  This can be done in a number of ways such as the following:

  1. You can bring people through the team ranks through skill improvement and coaching
  2. You can target new people from outside of the industry that are looking to earn more money and change career
  3. You can pair up an experienced broker with a junior broker.  Providing the chemistry of the relationship is correct, the junior broker can support the senior broker and grow with the experience that they will learn.  That being said, the junior broker still needs to be rewarded for the efforts that will be applied to the process.
  4. On a quarterly basis, you can run recruitment nights to invite new people to your agency for an informal presentation and workshop.
  5. Within your property market today, there will be some agents or brokers that are considered top performers.  They can be approached confidentially over time to encourage a potential change of brokerage at the right time.

It is a well-known fact that the industry is both challenging and rewarding.  Those agents and brokers that put in the effort consistently in the right way will get results and potentially grow their income in a significant way.

The industry is perhaps the most rewarding available for top salespeople.  For this reason, you need to offer a commission and reward structure that allows every salesperson to improve in a consistent way and reap the benefits in doing so.  Help every salesperson become a top achiever.

Join our Newsletter at our parent website for more tips like this.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Podcast 104 - Commercial Real Estate Broker Podcast

3 topics for today for commercial real estate brokers and agents; 1. Website strategies for commercial real estate brokers, 2. Change Management for Brokers, 3. Email Newsletter Strategies for Brokers. Commercial real estate training by John Highman.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Podcast 103 - Commercial Real Estate Broker Podcast

3 topics today for Commercial Real Estate Brokers. 1. Commercial Property Management Worksheet, 2. Changing Sales Strategy, 3. Prospecting for Sales Leads. Commercial Real Estate Training by John Highman.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tips for Building Market Share in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

man holding earth globe
Top Commercial Agents Build Market Share

In commercial real estate brokerage, the agents that are well known in their territory, town, or city are the ones that usually win a greater proportion of the local listings.  To achieve this they have created a greater personal brand in the market.

You will always win some listings from being part of an established real estate brokerage and the brand that it has created; however most of your listings will come from your personal marketing efforts.  That is why you must have a solid presence in the market place at a personal level.

Today we have promotional alternatives and lots of tools to help us with ‘branding’.  In saying that, the basic rule of personal contact still applies.  You must regularly get yourself in front of the right people on a personal basis.  The traditional ‘meet and greet’ logic of the sales profession still applies, even though we have some ‘technology tools’ to help us.

Most clients and prospects choose an agent or broker that they know, and have done so for some time.  On that basis it is really important to ‘open the door’ with new clients and prospects every day.

It is interesting to note that many commercial real estate brokers and agents are slow to adopt the available ‘technology tools’ at a personal level.  Being too busy may be one reason for the lack of ‘take up’, although lack of a strategy and the knowledge to do so may be another.

Here are some tips to help you build your personal brand in the local property market:

  1. The traditional signboard is a very big ‘brand builder’.  Get your name and your signboards onto many listings in your area.  The prospects and clients will see your name on quality listings and that can be a trigger to give you a call for assistance.
  2. When you list a property, create a simple ‘flyer’ that you can drop into the local businesses near to the listing.  Make sure that your business card is attached to every ‘flyer’.
  3. Create growth in your database by making 25 new telephone calls to new people every day.  Many agents overlook the word ‘new’, and telephone people that they know.  That then places limits on their growth of market share.  Find new people to talk to every day and add those to the people that you already know.
  4. Every person of value that you talk to should be captured into your database for future contact.  You can use the contact strategies of email, newsletters, social media, and direct mail.  Always follow up your marketing material personally to help people remember you and connect with you at the right time.

So how do top agents win all the business?  They have a brand that is strengthened every day with prospecting.  It’s quite simple really.

You can get more tips in our Newsletter right here.

Podcast 102 - Commercial Real Estate Broker

3 topics today. 1. Why would you take on an open listing? 2. How to analyse your competitors. 3. How to deliver on your promises. Commercial real estate training by John Highman.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Commercial Real Estate Prospecting Tips

Cold call telephone prospecting works well.

In commercial real estate brokerage and agency you need a prospecting plan and some rules to stick to.  It is far too easy to be distracted and diverted in your daily business efforts.  Discipline is required to break through the prospecting barrier.

If you do not have a plan of this type, you simply run out of listing leads and business opportunities.  It takes about 3 months to grow your market share and a similar amount of time to lose it.  The prospecting plan helps you keep your career and focus under control.

So what stops an agent or broker from prospecting?  Here are some of the regular problems:

  • Demanding clients that want to see you
  • Unnecessary meetings in the office
  • Reports and paperwork
  • No research and planning made for people to call or contact
  • Lack of organisation
  • No time set aside in a diary
  • Too many open listings that waste your time
  • Inbound enquiries from advertising and marketing

I know that some of these things can be quite important, but that being said, you can manage your time and your way through the problems.  Prospecting should be the number one event in your day regardless of anything else.  That is how you build market share.

Here are some rules that work well for top commercial real estate brokers in prospecting:

  1. When you are out and about in your territory or sales patch, make note of any businesses or properties that have opportunity and attraction.  They can go into your ‘research later’ list.
  2. From any positive relationship and client contact you can find referral opportunities.  Use the right questions at the right time with your clients to find others to talk to.
  3. All of your listings will give you the chance to talk to local property owners and business leaders.  Take a ‘property update’ flyer with you when you are out in the market.  Drop it into adjacent businesses that are near to your listings.
  4. Use a combination of cold calling and direct contact to reach new people.  You can do the cold calling before you go anywhere else at the start of the day.  The direct contact can happen when you are in your sales area or territory.
  5. Some local listings will be ‘open’ and listed with many agents.  You can attempt to convert these listings to ‘exclusive’ over time.  Most property owners do not like to be an experiment in marketing.  Time is money to them (and so it should be).
  6. Every property that you take exclusively to the market should be supported by vendor paid marketing funds.  Ensure that you make every marketing campaign a strong and successful process.  That will help you win other listings.
  7. Get plenty of signboards into your territory.  They will produce more personal branding for you.

To prospect successfully in commercial real estate, you need that system that you can understand and work to great success.  That is how top agents do it.  Time and specific effort will then take you up in the market ‘leader board’.

You can get more tips like this at our main commercial real estate training website.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Podcast 101 - Prospecting and Rejection

Commercial real estate prospecting and rejection control are issues that require skill and development. Here are some tips to help commercial real estate agents and brokers develop their skills for finding more clients. Commercial real estate training by John Highman.

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Social Media Tips for Commercial Real Estate Agents

Social media tools have now integrated into the commercial real estate broker industry in a big way.  A good real estate broker should be building a social media profile as well as marketing their properties on the internet.

There are a number of ways to undertake this ‘social’ process and a combination can easily be set up for any agent that will then help them with profile and ongoing client contact.

So why do this?  Here are some key reasons:

  • The internet will only get stronger and larger.  At this point the growth predictions are huge; you just need to know how to use the technology and get your system started.
  • Many of our prospects will go to the internet to find a property before they will find an agency or brokerage.
  • All segments of the market are using different tools to maintain contact with the right people.
  • Mobile telephones are now the most common communication and business tool in the world.
  • Internet convenience offers many different promotional websites, blogs, article sites and social media platforms that will help you with your personal profile.

In saying all of this, you do need a strategy to take your personal profile onto the internet.  Certainly your listed properties will have your name and contact detail on each advertisement, but you should build another profile on the internet; that of an industry expert for a local area.  Listings come and go from the market, but your name and profile should be strengthened over time.

Most of our prospects want a property type in a certain location.  Your internet identity should always be focused on a location, a particular skill (or skills) and a property type.  For example, that profile could be as an ‘Office leasing specialist in the Detroit CBD’.

When you determine exactly what you are building your real estate profile for and about, you can set about using the available tools correctly and efficiently.  Focus on the ‘keywords’ that the prospects and clients are using in this market today.  Here are some ideas to do that:

  1. Visit the Google Search Engine and look up ‘Keyword Search Tool’.  It is a free service provided by Google that will help you understand the ‘keywords’ that have relevance to the search engines and your market.
  2. Within the ‘keyword search tool’, search your preferred property type, and city or town.  Also use the words associated with your property market, such as ‘commercial property’, ‘retail leasing’, or ‘industrial warehouse’.  The search tool will give you back a list of search terms and the number of times they have been searched for your country and or globally.  From this list you can see trends and points of focus when it comes to property enquiry.
  3. The advantage of this process is that you can save the search results in a spread sheet for later reference.
  4. Select 20 or so terms from the list that seem the most popular and relevant to your city, property type, and skill.  These words should be merged into your activities on the internet in advertisements, articles, blogs, and twitter.  That will help you match your content and information to the search terms most common today.

To build your profile on the internet you simply must understand what people are looking for and then match your profile accordingly.  It’s common sense really, and a very productive process.

You can get more tips like this in our Newsletter.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Internet Marketing Tips for Commercial Brokers

The internet marketing process is quite special in commercial real estate. You can use social media tools to build your brand and personal profile. Here are some ideas to help agents and brokers with that. Commercial real estate training by John Highman.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cold Calling Mindset

Here are some tips to help commercial real estate agents and brokers build their market share with better cold calling actions and systems.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How to Improve Your Retail Tenant Mix in a Shopping Center

Improve your retail tenant mix for better sales

When it comes to managing the tenants within a retail shopping centre, you must give due regard to the overall tenant mix strategy, and the requirements of the customers in the area.  A successful tenancy mix will always underpin property performance in both market rental and vacancy profiles.  As part of your business plan for the property, you should incorporate tenant mix improvements at every opportunity.

This logic would suggest that an individual lease requirement or vacancy should be looked at globally across the retail property and the market.  There is a requirement here to understand exactly what tenants you require within your property to boost customer trade and stabilise the market rental.  

Individual shop locations should be looked at with relevance to customer foot traffic and exposure, but you should add to this consideration the factors of tenant clustering and proximity to other tenants in location.

So the strategy behind the successful tenancy mix needs to be incorporated into the property business plan and the tenant retention plan.  At the start of each financial year, choices need to be made in preparation for lease negotiations, and tenant placements.  

You should also expect that your retail property will have some vacancies throughout the year that will require repositioning and filling.  It is always good to have some flexibility when it comes to tenant relocation and positioning.  A planned vacancy can help you with that process.

Here are some ideas to help you with optimising the tenant selection and placement process in your retail property or shopping centre:
1.       Undertake a review of the market rental in the local area and region.  To achieve this, you will need to connect with other shopping centre managers and property owners of competing properties.  Understand the acceptable levels of market rental that apply to quality local retail properties.  Determine if those rentals are applicable and compatible to your property.
2.       Undertake a shopping centre survey of customers; this should be done on a quarterly basis.  Understand what the customers are looking for when it comes to retail products and services.  From the survey you will always be able to identify the priority tenants within your property.  A tenant retention plan can then be structured to retain your good tenants, and remove your underperformers at lease expiry.
3.       Understand how the anchor tenant within the property can and does have an impact on customer visits and overall trade.  Could the anchor tenant be encouraged to do more marketing or get involved with the specialty tenants as part of building the property profile and overall performance?
4.       Review the competing properties in your area for tenant stability, vacancies, and expansion or change.  Also look for the threats of new developments planned or under way in the area.  From this review process, you can quickly identify what customers are looking for and how that can be achieved.
5.       Given the number of customers that visit a retail property on a daily basis, the wear and tear factor as well as property appearance features highly on the list of customer and tenant concerns.  Shoppers and customers will stay away from a property that does not provide convenience, good service, a safe environment, and a pleasant presentation.  They like to feel good as they shop.

Lastly, it should be said that the tenants within your retail property will have a good idea of what customers are thinking and doing.  Speak to your tenants regularly so that this valuable information can be interpreted and optimised.  In this way the tenancy mix can be strengthened and shaped.

How to Perfect the Retail Tenant Mix in a Shopping Center

Choose your tenant mix well.

In a retail property, the tenant mix will be a key factor in the success of the property and the strength of the market rental.  A correctly designed tenancy mix will encourage future sales and minimize vacancies.  That will have a direct impact and benefit to the property owner and landlord, as well as the tenants in location.

The landlords of retail shopping center’s and properties would be well advised to devote time and energy to the tenant selection and placement process.  This can be successfully undertaken as part of the yearly business plan for the property.  

As a special note, the business plan for the property should be created once per year, and adjusted quarterly based on the trends of the market, economic conditions, financial performance, and vacancy factors.

Here are some ideas to help you with the property planning process and tenant placement:

1.       Review the competing properties in the local area.  Some may offer factors of attraction to your tenants and potentially draw some of those tenants away from you.  For this very reason, your lease strategies and rental structures need to be well considered for tenant stability, rental advantage, and competition.  Your property needs to be the best value for ongoing occupancy and potential trade.
2.       Some of those competing properties will have tenant mix structures that are quite successful.  Look at the factors of clustering within each competing retail shopping center.  Determine the clusters that work successfully and why that would be so.  There will always be positive relationships between some tenants to the benefit of ongoing trade.  Replicate the good factors that can have benefits to your property.
3.       Review your existing property with due regard to rent reviews, options, and lease expires.  Some tenants will choose to leave the property at the end of the lease term.  You will need to prioritize your tenants into groups so that you can negotiate successful lease transactions with the priority tenants.  Tenant retention within a property business plan is a useful concept.  The retention plan can allow you to work well in advance when it comes to priority tenants.
4.       As a general rule, it is not productive to offer option terms to tenants at the time of initial lease negotiation.  The landlords of larger shopping centers typically avoid giving options.  They would rather negotiate a new lease with the successful tenant at the end of the initial lease term if the tenant has proven themselves in occupancy within the property.  A single lease term always gives the landlord maximum flexibility when it comes to tenant relocation and any required tenant mix changes.
5.       Understand the linkage and benefit between specialty tenants and anchor tenants within your property.  The trade and the activities of the anchor tenant should encourage more customers to the property and potentially more trade for the specialty tenants.  Encourage your anchor tenant to participate strongly in the future of the property and maximize customer interest.
6.       Develop a marketing plan for the overall property, and to help boost the trade of the tenants within.  It is likely that the marketing plan will require contributions from the tenants, and that will require their agreement.  That agreement can be achieved through the standard lease documentation at the time of lease negotiation.

It is not hard to perfect a retail tenancy mix within a shopping center.  It is simply a matter of understanding the profiles of the current tenants, the opportunities that the customers provide to the property, and the prevailing market conditions.  Match your property tenants to the demographics of the local area and the customers’ requirements.

You can get some more tips in our commercial real estate training newsletter right here.