Operational Problems to Avoid in a Commercial Real Estate Agency

When you run a commercial real estate agency with many salespeople, it is important to avoid operational problems that stifle listing opportunity and deal conversions. All too often today we see some agents cutting corners when it comes to operational support and backup for the sales team.

You cannot make good commissions when you cut corners.

The common operational problems we see today are usually:

Lack of support staff to assist the sales team with their listings, advertising, database, and contract or lease documentation processes.
The sales team spending too much time on administrative duties therefore not getting into the market and meeting enough of the decision makers.
Little or no database support to capture the qualified enquiry accurately and in a timely way.
Little or no marketing material to assist the sales team with their sales presentations and pitches.
Poorly constructed marketing campaigns that have little relevance to the property precinct or the listed property.
Lack of consistent prospecting and cold calling systems and strategies on the part of the sales team.
Sales staff that do not know how to handle technology in the presentation and marketing process.
Selection of under experienced staff with little or no market presence.

Let’s face the facts; today’s commercial real estate market is challenging and competitive with many agents chasing the same listings. This means that your agency and the sales team should have all the required tools at their fingertips to move on a potential listing and take it to market as quickly and effectively as possible.

Marketing a property today is not an experiment for inexperienced salespeople; the clients and property owners that you deal with really require the best salespeople to help them complete the transaction as effectively as possible.

There is a place for having property cadets learning the trade behind your experienced people; this provides for some succession or growth in the sales team. There is no place for employing poorly skilled or untested salespeople in today’s market; they will cost you money and waste your time.

Key Strategies

Here are some key strategies to help you with the development of a real estate agency in today’s property market:

A new agency business with inadequate funding from the outset will be difficult to sustain momentum. It takes about six months of hard work to get an agency presence and dominance into the local precinct. Signage presence will always help you here but the skills, focus and consistent actions of the sales team will require funding for a solid period of time before leads and opportunities are easily coming to your office.

The agency should have an established business plan focusing on the periods of one year, two years, and five years. It takes about one or two years of sustained hard work with a successful sales and leasing team to break even. The second year will be the year for focusing on the generation of profit, leading into the five year business success plan.

The branding of your real estate office should be consistent across all marketing materials and signboards. All listings should receive a signboard at the time of listing. Signboard presence and dominance will strengthen your market share.

Always strive to get a sole agency or exclusive agency on the properties that you list. Some property markets will let you do this although open listings are more common at the early stages of opening a real estate office. The transition from taking open listings to exclusive listings should therefore be part of your business plan.

Staff training and development should be a regular weekly process. Even the most experienced salespeople will have issues to be developed and improved.

Technology has become a central part of the real estate business for both the agency and the individual salesperson. Up to date computers, mobile telephone technology, and database systems will be needed to support the sales team.

Build your property management portfolio wherever possible from the successful sales and leasing transactions that you undertake. It is a well-known fact that property management portfolio fees will assist the commercial agency to function over the long term during dips or troughs in the property market or economy. The property management portfolio will also become a saleable commodity if extra cash flow is required in the future within the agency.

When you plan your agency business well you can move forward with the right steps. Always test and measure your progress so you can see when something is not working; then take the right remedial action to fix it.

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