Commercial Agents – Referral Opportunity for New Business and Listings

It is no secret that the commercial property market is a challenge at the moment for real estate agents as property owners struggle with high vacancy levels and unsold listings. This then says that we need to be proactive and productive when it comes to building relationships and opportunities for our clients. The referral process should be a formal part of your marketing strategy and used in your real estate business.

So many referrals can come from people that you know or have had something to do with as a specialist commercial agent. They people to provide you with leads would normally be:

  • Previous property owners that you have acted for in the sale of a property
  • Property Investors and portfolio owners that own other property in and about the local area
  • Previous landlord clients that you have supported in property leasing and or property management
  • The maintenance contractors that look after your managed properties for the landlord clients within your agency
  • Tenants that you have successfully placed into other commercial or retail properties locally
  • Tenants in your managed properties will always know a lot about the local business activity and other businesses nearby
  • Engineers, architects, solicitors, and accountants, that have something to do with property activity in the local area
  • Local councilors or members of the municipal level of government
  • Previous people that have enquired about other listings that were on your books for sale or for lease

This list can be expanded given your local property precinct. Who do you know that can be a source of leads?

Property developers that you know and have served with regard to other transactions locally will be prepared to share information with you providing you have established a good foundation of trust with them.

When you have listed a property locally for sale or lease, the other businesses nearby will be a significant source of local market intelligence and potential referral. The listing on your books gives you an advantage to network and a reason to talk to all adjacent property owners and occupiers. Ask them about the local property market any changes that they are aware of.

Property planning consultants that have been involved with property changes or challenges in some of your listings are another source of opportunity. These people understand the changes that are active in the local area and they can give you significant leads.

The local planning committee or planning authority is constantly dealing with property changes and property zoning issues. Keep close to the activities of the planning committee to check on any pending approvals or current issues under discussion. Normally there are publicly available minutes from the Planning Committee of current matters of consideration.

So this is a significant group of people to network and seek referrals from. They will all know other people that have links to property activity. The referral opportunity that exists within this list is significant. To tap into this opportunity is just a matter of asking the right questions wherever and whenever possible.

Business conversions from a referral are much higher in success than that which you get in a cold call contact. Referral opportunity is based on relationships and those relationships can help you open doors with new people. To convert more referral business, you simply need the mindset and the ability to ask the right questions in every meeting.

Commercial Law – Payment of Commission – Commercial Agency Regulations – Commercial Agent

The case of Heirs of Paul Chevassus-Marche v Groupe Danone and Others (Case C-19/07) [2008], involved a determination on community laws relating to commercial agents. According to Article 7(2) of Council Directive (EEC) 86/653 (On the coordination of the laws of the member states relating to self-employed commercial agents) (“the Directive”):

“A commercial agent shall also be entitled to commission on transactions concluded during the period covered by the agency contract either where he was entrusted with a specific geographical area or group of customers… And where the transaction has been entered into with a customer belonging to that area or group…”.

Article 10 provides as follows:

“(1) The commission shall become due as soon as and to the extent that one of the following circumstances obtains:

(a) the principal has executed the transaction; or the principal should, according to his agreement with the third party, have executed the transaction; or…

(c) the third party has executed the transaction.

(2) The commission shall become due at the latest when the third party has executed his part of the transaction or should have done so if the principal had executed his part of the transaction, as he should have”.

In 1987, the first respondent in this case concluded an exclusive mandate with C. The applicants in this case were heirs to C’s estate. The exclusive mandate concerned the first respondent’s representation of C’s subsidiaries, namely the second and third respondents, in their dealings with the importers, wholesalers and retailers of their goods in a specific geographical area.

Before the termination of that contract, C requested payment of various sums. Such sums included commissions relating to purchases made by two companies established in his geographical area.

The requests for payment were refused on the ground that the purchases concerned had been made from central buying officers or dealers in metropolitan France, an area outside the control of the respondents, and without any action on C’s part.

C then brought an action concerning payment of commission.

The national court made a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Communities. The question concerned a request for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of Article 7(2) of the Directive. The question referred by the national court was as to whether Article 7(2) of the directive was to be interpreted as meaning that:

“A commercial agent entrusted with a specific geographical area was entitled to commission where a commercial transaction between a third party and a customer belonging to that area had been concluded without any action, either direct or indirect, on the principal’s part”.

It was held as follows:

The court was of the opinion that

· Article 7(2) of the Directive had to be interpreted as meaning that a commercial agent entrusted with a specific geographical area did not have the right to a commission for transactions concluded by customers belonging to that area without any action, direct or indirect, on the part of the principal.

· Article 7(2) merely refers to any transactions concluded during the period covered by the agency contract. There is no requirement that those transactions had to be entered into with a customer belonging to a geographical area or a group of customers for whom the commercial agent was responsible.

· There is not an express requirement for action on the part of the principal, and there is no requirement for action on the part of the commercial agent.

· However, it should be noted that when considering Article 7(2) in conjunction with Article 10, the commercial agent’s right to commission arises either:

§ when the principal has (or should have) carried out his obligation; or

§ when the third party to the agency contract, namely, the customer, has (or should have) carried out his obligation.

· The presence of the principal in the transactions for which the commercial agent could claim commission was indispensable. It therefore followed that the commercial agent could claim commission. The commercial agent’s claim for commission could be made on the basis of a transaction only to the extent that the principal had acted, directly or indirectly, in the conclusion of that transaction.

· As a result, this meant that it was for the national court to establish:

“Whether or not the evidence before it, assessed in the light of the aim of protecting the commercial agent and of the obligation on the principal to act dutifully and in good faith, allowed it to establish the existence of such action, be that action of a legal nature”.

© RT COOPERS, 2008. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.

Commercial Agents – What Is Your Plan of Attack to Dominate Market Share?

Just about every commercial real estate agent I talk to wants to build market share, listings, and commissions. Belief is one thing, but action is a different thing that is sadly lacking in the industry. There are on average only 2 in every 10 agents that I would call highly systemized in their processes and successful as a result.

Many agents and salespeople make the mistake of approaching the industry with little planning and focus. They simply go to work every day and do things on a random basis. This is where the results become haphazard and are of little consequence to the growth of market share for the agent. Just about every office principal I know has this problem; they can’t find good people with the right focus and commitment to build a results profile in the local area.

To have a great plan of action as a commercial real estate agent the following will help you:

  1. Devote a key part of your day to the new business prospecting process. This should be the same time, so you can build a habit and strengthen the process. Remarkable as it seems, this is the most neglected part of the average salespersons diary. Failure to devote the right amount of time to this process will see average results and poor performance over the long term. Staggering averages of 8 in 10 agents fall into this range.
  2. This industry is built on relationships with landlords, property investors, business owners, tenants, and property developers. They all have their own priorities and points of focus. They require a special strategic approach in each and every case. The experience and market share you can give these people will help you connect with them and dominate their business.
  3. Given that you must talk to more people each and every day, it is important that you have relevance to your conversation and connection. Most property owners and business leaders are comfortable talking about local property trends and the supply and demand of premises. They also like to know about sales prices, rents, and time on market. You can help with all of these providing you keep in touch with the aspects and trends of market performance.
  4. Every individual salesperson should have access to a comprehensive database process. Unfortunately this is also one of those neglected processes in the industry. Many salespeople do not have the discipline to update the database daily following the contacts with clients and prospects.
  5. To dominate your local property market, the number of sale signs that you have through the region will be critical to market domination. When you place a sign on a property, it is critical to understand that the sign has been correctly placed and is well maintained. Vandalism and interference with real estate agents signs are quite common problems in most real estate markets. Signs that are not well maintained send the wrong message. Keep a list of the signs that are being placed in your local area including that of your competition. You can then use the list for comparing market share.
  6. Every single listing on your books should be comprehensively marketed, and as part of that process a signboard should be placed on the property. In saying this, any exclusive listings should be the priority in your marketing efforts. Vendor paid advertising should also be part of the exclusive listing process. Any open listings are what we call uncontrolled stock, given that the client can talk to many agents at the same time. Any open listings are therefore lower priority in your marketing efforts. Clients that list with you in this way are not committing to you as the agent of choice. You should therefore not commit to them as the client of priority.

Every real estate agent and salesperson should have a definite plan of attack as part of their daily activities. In only that way can you generate new opportunity and sustain relevant contacts with the right people.

Using Twitter’s Vine App for Business

Vine May Revolutionize Twitter (and maybe the rest of social media)

Do you remember when GIF’s (those moving looped pictures, sort of like really short videos) with your name in sparkles that everyone was posting on MySpace was something to get excited about? Then, with the demise of MySpace, the GIF fell out of favor to regular static images with Facebook’s clean, uniformed look.

Today, GIFs have come back in a really powerful way, plastering the pages of social sites like imgur and Tumblr. People love GIFs on these sites, and anyone who can make them is almost considered a demi-god. On the flip side, the two social media giants (Twitter and Facebook), have not supported this type of media on their site, until now that is. The technology that is making this all possible is Twitter’s new Vine app.

With the new Twitter Vine app, users can post six second looped videos to Twitter and other social media sites (although, Twitter and Facebook seem to be in a little bit of a tiff with each other, so when we’ll get support for Facebook is anyone’s guess, if at all).

Despite it’s relatively short time on the app scene, it’s made a massive impact. Not just with the general public, but with ad campaigns as well. Six seconds might not seem like a lot of time, but if Robert De Niro says you can tell a story in six seconds, then Twitter Vine should be on your radar. In this post, we’ll share some ideas on how the Twitter Vine app can spice up your engagement with your audience online.

Employee Interaction

According to trendwatching.com, Clean Slate brands (Companies that are more responsive to it’s customer base and more transparent about how they run their business) are on the rise. I, for one, like to know that the companies I give my money to appreciate their workers and that it’s a fun environment to work.

Twitter Vine app can show off those activities (company breakfasts/lunches) and any random fun that happens around the office. You want to space those posts out, so you don’t look as if you’re goofing off all the time, but ultimately showing your customers you can have a little fun every once in a while will potentially foster a closer relationship with them (and prove you’re not robots).

Customer Interaction

Another good way to get customers involved with your company is to show other customers interacting with you.

Twitter Vine app would be fantastic for any company who goes to conventions or trade shows. For example, if you’re a regular attendee of any Comic Con, you can use Twitter Vine to send real time updates of any cool related cosplays, or if anyone famous stops at your booth. If you have an interactive booth, you can show people exploring your space. You can also show people interacting with your new product. There’s a lot of possibilities.

Exclusive Twitter Vine Content

Since Twitter’s Vine is, at the moment, mostly used in the twitterverse, you can give your followers exclusive content. If you have an active base of followers, this would be a good tactic to use to thank them and get them excited for what you have planned next.

A Visual Twitter Vine Portfolio

This would be an interesting way to show off your work for anyone who’s in a creative business (Fashion and accessories, especially). If you work in visual art, you can show clips of you working on your latest piece. The same can be said for fashion, and you can also upload clips from the runway. You can show off any upcoming projects or products.

What’s really exciting with Twitter’s Vine app is that you can use it for pretty much any kind of business, and for a multitude of things!