Selling industrial real estate isn’t without its challenges, but the rewards can be bounteous. According to Graham Meader, executive vice president at Colliers International, sales agents can carve out lucrative careers if they focus on a few simple steps.
“It’s important to specialize to help stand out from the competition,” said Meader. “You can specialize in product type, you can specialize in geography, you can specialize in selling, leasing or investment sales. You might be a land specialist. If you specialize, that will help you develop stronger and deeper knowledge of what you’re focused on and help you stand out from your peers.”
Meader’s speciality is logistics, and he sits on the steering committee of Colliers’ North American logistics solutions team, where he helps organize speaking events and port tours, the latter of which elevates knowledge about his industry sector.
However, the 21-year industry veteran, who’s spent his entire career at Colliers, says that while his role has changed, customer service should remain at the heart of every sales agent’s business strategy.
“I think you have to go above and beyond when it relates to customer service,” said Meader. “Real estate is all about word of mouth, referrals and repeat business, so don’t just meet expectations, try to exceed clients’ expectations.”
One of the ways Colliers does that is by using Net Promoter Score, a tool that measures customer loyalty. “Colliers is one of the only commercial real estate firms tracking customer service,” he added. “It’s been extremely helpful as a way to just increase customer service with our clients. It becomes ingrained in our culture. We become more focused on it as agents to ensure we’re delivering good customer service. The idea behind it is it’s going to promote word of mouth and repeat business.”
Meader has built a diligent team around himself that focuses on the Greater Toronto West marketplace—and on leasing, selling and land development, in particular—and credits a large part of his team’s success to their commitment to education.
“You have to try to anticipate the market and how it’s changing,” he said. “You have to keep your own real estate practice nimble and evolve your business as the market changes. The real estate market is cyclical. As it strengthens and weakens, it creates opportunities on the buy or sell side, and you might want to focus your attention accordingly.