After reading three great articles on a Business Journal Website, one on How well do your sales people understand buyers  another on 5 tips for bridging the gap between sales and marketing, and the last article What is Sales Enablement and why should we care, in this posting I will relay some thoughts after a reflection on these articles.

We all deal with pitches, somehow somewhere someone is trying to sell to you or you to them. In commercial real estate, offering investment solutions, leasing advise or advising on the “Go/No go” moments are critical components of what we as  commercial brokers can do.

But do we do it to the best of our ability?

When your searching for a brokerage firm to represent you, clearly  you have a goal in mind. (These will be a bit generic) I am looking to either purchase/ lease /sell / vacate property. When you reach out to that firm and are greeted by a friendly voice and are sent to the duty agent / on call agent / listing broker (depending on scenario) what are the key items that become discussion points for your call?

Are you asked generic search criteria questions, asked for a email and then cut loose to wait for a response, or do you receive a series of pointed questions that cause you to deliver more information than your requesting?

Are you left with a timeline of events that will transpire in response to your call?

Do you feel that you have had your needs met?

Do you walk away with the impression that your goals and timeline can and will be met?

Going with the first article link above it would seem that close to 73% of the buyers surveyed found sales people to be lacking in their understanding of what they are looking to accomplish. That means only 27% of sales people are deemed knowledgeable about the needs or wants of a prospect. That is scarily close to the 80/20 rule on sales professionals, where it is said 80 % of the sales are done by 20% of sales people. Going a bit further as a broker / partner of a firm I find this to be a bit alarming, as taking the time to find out the unique needs and goals of each client/customer is our chief job in order to perform.

Selling / Leasing (Landlord / Seller) Representation Scenarios

  • The new / inexperienced broker will push for a immediate meeting where they push paperwork in front of you, ask you what you want, slam a sign in the ground and wait for someone to call them… (this is not practiced at ECCRE)
  • The medium / moderate experienced broker will talk for 5 – 10 minutes get some facts, pull some comparable information, show some generic sample marketing material and present paperwork the same day, put the sign up, make flyers and send them to brokers.
  • The experienced broker / Marketing Team will take your call and listen to your needs, asking you precise questions to data mine and gather a understanding and set a time about a week out for the meeting. During that week analysis of your property will occur, strategy will be made and a game plan set. Marketing material will be presented to discuss and receive feed back on the material (which is further ripped to shreds, redone and polished). Online, Mail and phone call campaigns are set, the wheels of the sales machine turn and your goals are achieved, new goals are set and met in kind.

Purchasing / Leasing (Buyer / Tenant Rep) Representation Scenarios

  • The new / inexperienced broker will push for a immediate meeting, they will quickly note on the phone what your looking for, pull down a list of properties from the MLS, present those on just the paper and say this is what’s there, get keys and after showing you some of the properties declare your a waste of time for not making a immediate decision…. (again not practiced at ECCRE)
  •  The medium / moderate experienced broker will talk for 5 – 10 minutes get some facts, pull some comps and drill down into them a bit more to come up with a solid list of potential properties take two or three days and will slowly either get the deal done or let it fall flat…
  • The experienced/ veteran broker will talk for 10-25 minutes set a meeting up for several days later. In the interim they will pull properties to review and analyze. they will reach out to contact for off market deals, call former clients and see if there is any potential interest in a property. They will drill down to the top 5 properties (on average) and provide the data on the ones that did not meet a minimum set percentage of the criteria met.

Case in Point – Three Client types

New Buyer

On a recent call with a buyer agency assignment, after speaking via internet/phone and beginning a search, I contacted the client to ask them how they would prefer I deliver the information. Knowing that not every investor has the exact same layout, some of my clients only require three items for them to review prior to making an offer. This being a new client I wanted to make sure that we were speaking the same language when it comes to their Return on Investment, minimum Investment Criteria and their modeling. What came back to me was a 30 page information package which is a great wealth of information for me to review that way I can provide data on the new potential acquisitions to this buyer.

Tenant looking for space

I had been speaking with this tenant for quite some time. Not representing them but sending them properties they may be interested in. One of my clients called and said they had recently evicted a tenant and wanted to get the property on the market. There were serious renovations that needed to occur as the previous tenant on the way out had gutted the space. I called this tenant and took them to the unit in its state of disrepair because of the potential. The landlord is replacing walls, plumbing ceiling and bathroom this Tenant has the opportunity for input to the layout and can have the space in a great location for fair rental delivered to them with some of the work already completed. Property was listed for 2 days.

Prospective Landlord.

We all have clients who for some reason will turn down a potential deal (Client A). When this happens what do most brokers do, they inform the other broker / client / customer that the deal wouldn’t be happening (TENANT).

Well this is a case where I was able to help a new landlord (Client B). In our interviewing session where we discussed their retail unit, the square footage, area of town and proximity to other shopping made this potential listing a hot commodity. The rarity of the space was also another key factor. Well Client A said no to TENANT, I hadn’t even listed the property yet and told Client B that I had a potential TENANT for them. I showed the space, sent a marketing material package out to the TENANT and we completed the transaction. The property was Listed and Leased in 24 hours. This is a rare exception but when it occurs it’s great for Client B and TENANT. Client A, as a side note wanted to raise the rental on TENANT from the advertised rate because of the TENANTs offered terms, the next customer we filled in Client A’s space went out of business a year later. Client B and Tenant are on year 3 of 5.

Sales Enablement

After touching on Knowledge and Expectations on interactions with brokers and How moving sales and marketing forward (with regard to knowing requirements and taking the time to understand what the person is looking for), lets move to sales enablement, this section is more for the broker, however for our potential clients this is important as you may be sold a bill of goods that don’t exist.

Property technology, training and understanding its implementation are key critical components of reaching your target audience in commercial real estate sales and leasing. While we are based in Wilmington, NC, Eastern Carolinas Commercial Real Estate has a database of 15,000 people that have been categorized and are receiving our calls/ marketing / information on a weekly / monthly  / quarterly / annual basis. While the distribution of information is vital, so is the targeting of the audience. Having access to programs and doing a shotgun approach to marketing, or to use a coastal image, a Boat with large fishing nets trying to catch everything as a marketing platform is not the best method. How can you follow up? How can you evaluate the prospect for your property? A targeted approach with key follow up dates and markers are what make the sale/lease possible. We use the later method not the former. We have seen the former used and the result was a waste of resources, the time, talent and money, with limited to no follow up. The result, telling your client we sent a mailing no one called me… its not about you getting the call, its about the call to them to see if there are questions!.

Case in Point:

One of the brokers I spoke to recently from out side of our market in our first conversation said, “you know we heard you are the go to person on the coast”  they were calling due to one of our targeted marketing campaigns that went to a Colleague of theirs who in their companies sales meeting said hey these guys may have a property for your new tenant out in Wilmington. We did that deal and another with them, they are great brokers as well.

This goes back to tools. Some brands promise a lot to get you in the door and deliver little. Other places feed you into a machine and they next time you hear from them they are calling for a renewal. Other Companies deliver on the technology to their sales people which enables them to deliver to you. In the modern commercial real estate world, sales goes beyond a sign in the ground, kicking your feet up and waiting for the phone to ring. It goes beyond listing it in the MLS, LoopNet, CoStar. It goes to the very people you need to connect with to make decisions happen. It goes to understanding your client. It goes to un conventional marketing techniques which make your decision to use snail mail to their house, instead of their office or their email as a means for reaching them. Why the person is a busy CEO / President and reaching them at home on a personal real estate matter where they can make the decision to call you instead of having to reach their gate keeper you have to figure out how to reach around the gate keeper and get the material for the listing or sale to them. Eastern Carolinas Commercial Real Estate does that.


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At Eastern Carolinas Commercial Real Estate, We believe in Real Estate Solutions in Real Time.