Brokerage best practices

How to sell commercial real estate: 6 things you need to know

November 15, 2021

Selling commercial real estate can be a lucrative career choice. Whether you are an experienced residential real estate agent or you are just beginning your real estate journey, there can be a lot of surprises when making the transition into commercial real estate sales.

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Being prepared for those surprises can make a huge difference between powering your way through adversity to success and getting stuck in the mud. If you’re ready to begin your journey then keep reading for some essential tips to help you smooth out the learning curve.

1. Market yourself

Before you can sell commercial real estate, you have to know how to market commercial real estate. As a real estate agent you are looked to as a trusted advisor and expert. Marketing yourself to reinforce that belief in potential clients is just as important as marketing the properties you hope to sell. A complete marketing plan is essential to reach your audience and position yourself as someone they can reach out to when they are ready to buy or sell. If you come from a residential real estate background then this concept is likely not new to you.

When people hear the word “marketing” they often think of radio and television. Those are great ways to get your name out into the community. However, there are plenty of other marketing options that need to be a part of your complete marketing plan. Social media interaction is important and a cost-effective way to help build your brand. A website filled with helpful and interesting content like blogs is also a fantastic way to catch the attention of buyers and sellers while also giving people a reason to keep coming back to your site for updates.

Finally, there is also grassroots, in-person marketing. If you want to sell commercial real estate then you will need a lot of connections in your community. Lawyers, lenders, business owners, and local investors are all great people to have in your contact list. Make yourself seen at local networking events. If there aren’t any events that interest you then start your own group for formal or informal meetups. Part of being a trusted advisor is having people you can call on and people who are able to call on you.

2. Find a trusted mentor

Jumping into commercial real estate isn’t like building a piece of cheap furniture. There is no instruction booklet to walk you through how to connect all the pieces together. Selling commercial real estate takes experience that you can only learn by doing. One way to soften that learning curve is to connect with someone who can walk you through the steps of buying and selling commercial properties. Yes, there are plenty of guides that you can read which outline the steps one by one. However, some things have to be experienced rather than read.

Build a relationship with an existing commercial real estate agent and follow along as they complete deals. Seeing the finer details for yourself will come in handy when you are doing your first commercial real estate deal on your own.

As well, finding an experienced mentor can also help you with the first point on this list. These mentors know how to market commercial real estate as well as their own personal brand. Aligning yourself with a successful personal brand and building your own at the same time can help you quickly build a name and a positive reputation in the community. You will definitely learn a few tips and tricks along the way once you connect with an experienced commercial real estate mentor.

3. Market your properties

This almost seems like a no-brainer, right? Of course you have to market properties to sell them. How you market is a much more difficult question to answer. Social media advertising is great and the targeting options allow you to reach out to specific groups of people that this property may appeal to. Think about the type of content you want to see if you were to be shopping for anything from real estate properties to products online. You want to get a good understanding of what you’re buying and feel like you have been engaged. Video is perfect for this in the real estate business. Other than seeing it in person, nothing can help a buyer understand the property better than video.

Building a contact list is important as well. If you were to have a stunning drone video done for a large industrial property, for example, how would you get that video out to interested buyers? There is cold calling and advertising, of course. However, one of the most efficient ways of reaching people is email. Make the video a part of a short blog on your website and share the link to your contacts via email. This form of marketing is incredibly cost effective and very engaging.

4. Set realistic expectations

When someone says they sell commercial real estate you often imagine towering skyscrapers in Manhattan. Maybe you think of suburban office buildings. Of course, those are definitely forms of commercial real estate but those examples only scratch the surface. The reality is that a lot of commercial real estate transactions are much less “sexy” than high rise office buildings. Farming operations, light industrial buildings, small retail properties, and vacant land zoned for business may actually make up the bulk of your commercial real estate sales. Be prepared to visit farms and talk about raising livestock more often than you manage deals for massive office developments.

Depending on your experience in real estate and your connections in your area, you may also need to temper expectations. This does not mean that you accept mediocrity. Rather, you need to be ready to work hard and grind it out in order to build a name for yourself. Once you have your first few deals under your belt you will begin to see your business grow quickly as your name grows in the community.

Working long hours may also be required in commercial real estate sales. You are working with business owners, landlords, and investors who all have incredibly busy schedules. Be prepared for showings outside of normal business hours, calls early in the morning, and working through your lunch hour. Of course, take time for yourself to ensure you don’t burn out. However, you need to go into this career with the expectation that this is not going to be a cake walk.

5. Never stop learning

Selling commercial real estate can sometimes feel like trying to herd cats. Just as you think you have a handle on things the city may re-zone an area your client was considering buying in. Lending rules may change which could affect a client’s ability to secure funds for their property.

Industry changes could turn buyers away from certain properties. There are hundreds of things that can change in a moment’s notice and there is nothing you can do to stop those changes. One of the best commercial real estate selling tips is to always be learning. Stay on top of the latest changes, educate yourself on the news, and be prepared to translate that information to clients because they will be looking to you for guidance.

Learning new tools to take your business to the next level is also important. Are there ways to streamline your operations? Is there a new social media tool that’s rapidly growing in popularity? You cannot ignore new zoning restrictions so why should you ignore major changes in how to market a commercial property? Mastering new tools and making them a part of your business can give you the edge over other real estate agents who choose not to stay on top of the latest and greatest developments.

6. Have fun

This might be cliché but it’s important to keep in mind. Commercial real estate is a serious career path. There will be days where you feel like you are run off your feet. There will be days where your phone does not ring. Always try to remember why commercial real estate grabbed your interest in the first place. Put the above commercial real estate selling tips into practice and keep a smile on your face while you’re doing it. There will be some bumps along the way but you can weather the storm.

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