What’s the first thing you do when you meet with a client whose property you’re hoping to market?
As a commercial property agent, do you jump straight into your pitch?
If so, you might want to rethink your approach.
Spencer says there are some key steps you should follow, to ensure you connect with the client and conduct the best possible analysis of their needs.
Build an agenda
Firstly, it’s important to build some rapport with you vendor and take the lead by asking some pointed questions of them, to ensure you’re steering the conversation.
“One of the great ways to turn the conversation, particularly if they’re firing questions at you, is to ask them questions like, ‘Would you mind if I asked you a few questions about your business, a few questions about your situation? Therefore, what we discuss today will be tailored to you. Would you be ok with that?’” Spencer says.
Spencer says this helps you build an agenda for the rest of the meeting – a list of important items you’ll come back to and discuss with them.
“I actually don’t like sending the agenda to a client and saying, ‘These are all the things we want to talk about’. That’s very much old school pitching,” he says.
“What I would encourage you to do is to go in with a blank sheet of paper and ask the client what they want to achieve in the conversation. Actually write down those things they tell you, but write it in the order you want to deliver it.”
“Then you switch that agenda around and take the client through ‘what we’re going to discuss today’. It’s a little tailored agenda that I think adds bespoke value to the overall conversation – they’re not going to feel ‘pitched’.”
Past, present and future
Few things help frame the next steps for you as an agent better than establishing the client’s current situation and potential future needs.
Questions like, “How long ago did you move into the place? Why did you buy it? Where were you before this? Where were you leasing before this? Why did you lease this place? What did the business look like back then? What are the current challenges?”, are all things you should be asking in order to gain a well-rounded understanding of where they’re at, Spencer says.
“Then you go to the future. ‘Three to five years from now, what is your business going to look like? What is the premises going to look like?’ That past, present and future gives you context around how your services are going to slot into that, including marketing.”
Paraphrase for them
A client’s view is often clouded or misrepresented by things they’ve read or been told, so it’s critical to distill that information for them.
“Has anyone ever actually explained to them what an Elite Plus (listing) does, the difference between an Elite Plus or an Elite listing, or not marketing at all? Has anyone taken them through the pros and cons of that?” Spencer says.
He stresses that it’s important to listen to their answers and then “purify” it, by reframing it and then presenting it back to them.
“We want to be the translator of that information for them,” Spencer says.
He adds that paraphrasing and reframing what the client says is also a great way of ensuring you’re both on the same page, giving you confidence that you’re providing the most correct and appropriate advice to them.
Touch base straight away
In the end, Spencer says much of that initial meeting is about building trust with the client and the best way to do that is to demonstrate you’ve listened to their needs.
Spencer suggests taking notes of what the client says throughout the meeting, and also include notes about what you’ve said in response to them.
“The reason for that is that one of the great things you should be doing is at the end of your appraisal, straight after it – the faster the better – you send an email back to the client going through everything that they told you and everything you told them. It’s a wonderful demonstration of your listening skills,” he says.
“Mark my words, one of the main things you sell is trust. At the very centre of trust is that you demonstrate listening skills.”