As an agent leasing or selling a property, you must understand the needs and wants of your client.
This is trickier as a commercial agent, when your client represents, not a single entity or family, but multi-faceted business with employees, clients and a trade to ply.
To help you better understand your commercial clients, we asked Ole Mitrevski , senior associate at commercial property law experts, Massons, what businesses prioritise when looking for commercial space and how you can leverage the benefits of your listing to increase the likelihood or a lease or sale.
REINSW: What are the top three key considerations for businesses when choosing a new office?
Ole Mitrevski: There are myriad factors that go into choosing a new office, but it will usually come down to the core values and goals of the business and what is happening within the business at that time. For example, the business may need to be out of their current space within a relatively short amount of time, the business may be growing or downsizing. Factors like fit out and design may also be critical to the decision making process.
However, no matter the nature of the business, arguably the three most common considerations are:
- Budget | How much money can the business can afford to spend. This doesn’t just cover rent and outgoings, but also relocation and fit out costs, and make good of existing premises
- Location | Is the office convenient for staff and clients?
- Size | The right size will depend entirely on the business model and business needs. For example, growth plans, open plan layout versus individual offices, hot-desking, meeting rooms and quiet areas
REI: What is the importance of location for businesses?
OM: Choosing the right location is one of the most important decisions for a business that is considering new office space. While there are many factors, the focus will usually centre around clients, competitors and employees.
While businesses can always travel to see their clients, the value of proximity and accessibility cannot be over-stated. Obviously this is not always possible (especially with interstate/global clients), however being able to easily pop in and drop off documents or even increasing the chances of bumping into existing (or potential) clients on the street, improves client connection and drives business.
A business's proximity to its client base also vastly improves its brand awareness. For example, a law firm located in the CBD is viewed as having different clients to a law firm in the outer suburbs. Making a major move can impact how a business is viewed by its desired client base.
More importantly, most businesses value their staff above all else. Premises and location have a major impact on job satisfaction and staff retention. To attract and retain the best staff, businesses must understand the needs of their employees and what they value, for example, stylish office space, proximity to public transport, cafes and shops, parking, a gym or child-minding facilities.
REI: You mentioned gyms and child-minding facilities. These are non-traditional employment benefits, but are a sign of the changing needs of the workforce. How does this impact a business’s decision when choosing office space?
OM: The simple fact is that employees expect more. The significant shift in the last decade to more flexible working arrangements and work-life balance means to attract the best staff, businesses must offer these non-traditional employment benefits. Businesses need to look at acquiring office space that satisfies these benefits while also ensuring the office space reflects what the business represents and where it is going.
REI: How can commercial agents leverage the benefits of an office to meet the needs of their client? Simply, how can an agent get a client over the line on an office?
OM: Your priority should be understanding your client and their needs and wants. And this involves doing client due diligence at the beginning of the relationship.
It is likely that your client hasn’t even considered all the factors that go into choosing a new office. So sitting down with your client and working through the key considerations for their business is critical if you want to deliver a great result and build trust, rapport and a lasting relationship.
Once you know what the key considerations of the business are (whether they be price, location, amenities, parking, time, size or security), you can show the client office space that ‘ticks the boxes’ rather than haphazardly showing the client anything that is available.
In doing this, you will save time – yours and your client's – and more likely get the client in an office space that is a good match.