Communicate To Get Better Results
As a manager of a commercial real estate firm, all too often I hear newer agents complaining they don’t understand why a client isn’t interested in the properties they’ve shown them. Assuming the agent has done their job and qualified the client, the main reason an agent has difficulty finding the right property for their client typically boils down to one simple thing - Communication. Miscommunication can lead to frustration for both the agent and the client, and potentially lose a client over it.
Miscommunication happens when a client believes they have communicated their wants/needs to an agent and/or the agent made assumptions to fill in the blanks of a question which was not fully answered. For instance, I believe every agent has heard from a new client “I’m looking for a good deal” in response to the question of what they are looking for. This answer although truthful doesn’t tell the agent anything.
It is subjective to the person giving it. Newer agents may take the answer at face value and make assumptions as to what they believe are “good deals”. Instead an agent should ask probing questions, such as: What do you consider a good deal? What type of CAP rate are you looking for? Are you more interested in cash flow, or appreciation? How long do you plan on holding the property for? All of these follow up questions will allow an agent to quickly determine if the client is being realistic for current market conditions as well as give them a better understanding of what type of investment they should be looking for.
The same would apply to any client looking for a commercial lease; however, instead of asking questions about the type of property or investment criteria an agent should really ask questions about the client’s business. By understanding their business needs: How many employees? How far do they commute? Future growth plans? Private offices vs. open space? Do they get a lot of clients visiting? What amenities in the area are most important to them? An agent can hone in on the exact space requirements/needs of the client, and will be much more effective in locating the perfect space for them.
For an agent to be the most effective for their client, they really need to be probative in their questions. They should have a complete understanding of their clients’ investment goals and/or business needs, not just the general answers many clients give. By doing so an agent will become efficient in their searches, and increase their odds of completing a successful transaction.