The majority of the brokers within our industry like to get and work on exclusive listings. If you look at the top-producing brokers in most any commercial real estate territory, over the long run the ones making the most amount of money are usually the top listing brokers. The only brokers who can compete with them in terms of money earned are normally a very select group of the top tenant rep brokers within our industry. And the reason that brokers working within both of these arenas normally make so much money, is because they’re focused on only working with the people with whom they have signed exclusive agreements. This helps these brokers ensure that their time will be invested wisely, and that it will only be invested with people they’ll be making money with.
Now compare this instead with the broker who’s working with buyers and lessees on a non-exclusive basis, where the principals on the average are also working with three other brokers. In these situations, on the average all of these brokers will have wasted their time and energy 75% of the time whenever their principals close a transaction, and they’ll have wasted their time and energy more than 75% of the time when their principals don’t.
With this in mind, when you’re going after exclusive listings or exclusive tenant rep assignments, you only want to go after the opportunities that you have a reasonable-to-solid chance of landing. So if you’re working for a more entrepreneurial brokerage company, for example, and you’re trying to get exclusive listings from large, very well known corporations, you may be wasting your time. Large corporations oftentimes like to hire large commercial real estate brokerage companies for their brokerage assignments, and you may be completely out of the running for any listing assignment before you ever begin pursuing it.
In addition, there will be situations where no matter who you are and which brokerage company you’re working for, the brokerage company that will be getting the listing will have already been chosen…before you ever make your listing presentation. This is because sometimes a special relationship already exists between the decision maker and one particular brokerage company, and/or because the decision maker is getting pressure from above them within their own company, to hire one specific brokerage company. So you’ll ideally want to know about these kinds of situations in advance whenever you can, before you ever begin wasting your time and pursuing them.
With this in mind, before you begin investing a lot of time and energy in pursuing an exclusive listing, consider asking one or more of the following questions of your principal beforehand:
1) “You’ve already decided that you’re definitely going to be listing your property with a commercial real estate brokerage company and putting it on the open market…yes?”
2) “As of right now, are we the brokers you intend to list your property with at this time?”
3) “Are we the only brokers you’re going to be interviewing for this listing?”
4) “How solid do you feel about me being the broker you’ll be listing your property with?”
5) “Mr Owner, we’d love to list your property. And in moving forward in putting together both a detailed presentation and a presentation package for you, we’d like to know the following…If you feel we’ve done a good job during our listing presentation, will you be listing your property with us?” These questions will help you to flush out any hidden agendas you’ll definitely want to know of ahead of time, and help you to better understand where the decision maker is really at right now in their thinking.
With this in mind, I recently learned about a broker who was meeting with a court-appointed receiver, discussing listing one particular property that the receiver was going to be selling. And the broker, being a person who understood the value in asking these kinds of questions, asked the receiver question number four on the list. And the receiver responded to the question by saying, “Since you’ve asked me directly I’m going to be completely honest with you. I’m not going to be listing the property with a commercial broker. I just plan on having three different brokerage companies deliver their listing presentations to me, and give me all of the information that’s in their presentation packages. Then I’m going to utilize all of this information to market the property by myself.”
So by asking that one simple question, this broker ended-up saving himself a lot of time and energy that would have otherwise been wasted, and he let all of the other brokerage companies waste their own time and energy instead, by making their own listing presentations to the receiver. So you’ll want to do your homework ahead of time to maximize the probability that your time and energy will be wisely invested. Ask questions similar to the ones I’ve mentioned above, before you invest a lot of time and energy in going after exclusives, so that you pursue only the exclusives that you have a reasonable-to-solid chance of landing for yourself.