Darren Krakowiak: navigating slower investment markets

Unless you’re a complete newbie, you know that commercial real estate markets are susceptible to fluctuations, with periods of rapid growth and times of slowing investment. 

During leaner times, it’s essential for agents and leaders to work at maintaining strong relationships with their clients and staying relevant, if not top of mind. 

Now is the time to put strategies in place to add value to your existing clients, engage in meaningful conversations, and keep your relationships strong, even when transaction volumes are down.

Leverage market insights and data 

Staying informed on the latest market trends and data is crucial for commercial real estate agents, especially during a slowdown.

By providing clients with valuable market insights, you position yourself as a trusted advisor who can help them make informed decisions. More information helps your clients feel more knowledgeable in a period of uncertainty.

When transaction volumes fall, you have more time to gather accurate and up-to-date data on transaction activity, market trends, and regulatory changes that may impact your clients’ real estate holdings.

Once you have this information, make sure it’s tailored to your clients’ specific needs and interests. 

You can share relevant information via email updates, social media posts or one-on-one conversations.

By being proactive in providing valuable data and connecting the dots with the “so what” insights, you’ll strengthen your relationships with your clients and demonstrate your expertise. 

Elicit feedback to strengthen relationships 

Actively seeking feedback from your clients is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to excellent service. It will also help you identify areas for growth.

By opening the lines of communication, you can better understand your clients’ expectations and preferences, enabling you to improve your service levels, while also strengthening the relationship.

Start by conducting regular surveys or informal interviews with your clients.

Ask about their satisfaction with the value you deliver, the timeliness of communication, whether they see you as trustworthy, and any improvements to your level of service they’d like to see. 

By taking their feedback seriously, and implementing changes where necessary, you’ll not only garner more loyalty from them, but you’ll also become more attractive to other prospective clients – leading to your existing clients feeling more comfortable to send referrals your way. 

In addition to getting the information you need to continuously improve, soliciting feedback shows your clients that their opinions are important to you, further fostering trust and loyalty.

Offer additional services and support 

Adding value to your clients goes beyond transactions – which means slower markets are the ideal time to offer additional services and support.

When you do this, you solidify your position as a source of valuable information and you make an important contribution to helping them develop their overall investment strategy.

Your clients’ needs may include rent reviews, property appraisals, or connecting clients with complementary service providers such as lawyers, accountants, planners and designers.

When you’re not too busy to do these things, they should become the things you do to keep busy. 

Of course, low-hanging fruit is providing services that you already deliver for other clients, but you’re not currently delivering to your client (e.g. property management).

You can also ask your clients what type of services they would like to receive from you – thereby creating expansion opportunities for the broader business.

Prioritise relationship development conversations 

Regular communication matters if you want to have strong relationships with your clients. When market conditions slowdown, you have more scope to have relationship-building conversations that aren’t focused on transactions.

Set aside time to check in with your clients on a personal level, even when there’s no immediate transaction need.

By showing genuine interest in their lives, discussing their long-term goals, and offer support or guidance where appropriate, you will be better positioned to serve them in the future.

A deeper connection will usually lead to a long-lasting professional relationship.

Sometimes these conversations will naturally lead to identifying future client needs.

However, don’t let that be the purpose of these types of conversations – their purpose is to develop a stronger relationship, so you clients feel more comfortable to share their needs in the future.  

While slower investment markets can be challenging for commercial real estate agencies, they also present opportunities for creating future growth through relationship-building.

By adding value, staying informed, and maintaining strong connections with your clients, you’ll be the first person your clients want to speak to (and want to refer business to) once they’re ready to start transacting.

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Darren Krakowiak

Darren Krakowiak is the Founder of CRE Success. He helps commercial real estate leaders to get their businesses growing faster and is the host of Commercial Real Estate Leadership, available as a podcast and on YouTube.