BY Joey Valenti
It is the morning of a big property tour and that means a long day ahead full of preparation, patience, and hard work. Before getting to work, I always start the day with a good workout to get my mind and body ready for the day’s full schedule.
Once the workout is complete, it is now time for me to review and update the tour book before picking up my client. It generally takes two to ten days to assemble the tour book, and I always head to the office on tour-day to prep beforehand. I like to go over the tour book at least two times. During this review time, I also add as many notes and talking points as possible to ensure a smooth and seamless process while driving the client around. This is also the best time to check Google Earth, CoStar, and LoopNet to make sure that nothing new has hit the market since my last review. I certainly do not want any surprises while touring!
After reviewing the data sources for market changes, I also get my email set up in advance by forwarding myself messages from landlords so that all the crucial information is at the top of my inbox. This way, I have specific information readily accessible and do not have to dig through my inbox searching for the answers to my clients’ questions. Before leaving my office, I also double check all the numbers, rents, and site availability to confirm accuracy.
Most of the time, I pick up the tour team from their hotels, and always aim to arrive at least ten minutes early in case there is unexpected traffic or last-minute items that come up. Oftentimes on tours, I am meeting a client for the first time. This means that I could be spending the day with someone who is negatively impacted by their own personal situation or employment stresses. Or it is possible that our personalities will not perfectly align. I acknowledge these possibilities in advance and determine to remain easy going and professional regardless of potential awkward moments.
I am also mindful of the client’s personal cadence. Not all people are on the same energy level as I am, and all the information they are receiving is new to them and they need time to process each site. We may linger in markets at times. I never push anything on the client, reminding myself that we can always come back if I miss anything. Tours are usually highly scheduled; for example, we recently put together a tour for 31 markets. We were able to reach 24 of them in the initial two-day tour. We will schedule a second tour to revisit the markets they selected in-depth and to cover the additional markets that we missed. We try to schedule all markets over two and a half days for the first tour. Subsequent tours are typically half a day and include 2-3 markets.
Arriving at the first tour, I remind myself that no matter what is said in the tour book, it could always be wrong. This is the nature of our industry and everyone looks at real estate differently. I do not get discouraged if the client does not like any of the sites. Versatility is key. When this is the case, I always write down what the client does like so that I can refine our future search, and may even pivot and show the client something else on the market that I was not expecting to show.
When considering lunch, I pick a route that places us mid-day in an area with a high concentration of options. While the client always picks the meal, the most efficient ones will pick a smoothie or something quick so that we can keep going and do not have to stop and sit down. Others will need a longer mid-day break. It is important to stay flexible. Even though I know we will probably stop for lunch, I always am prepared not to eat lunch on tour days.
It is also worth noting that some clients are eager to get dinner, while others just want to be left alone. I do not force any further social outings once the tour ends; instead, I let the client lead and dictate that decision. On tour days, I always prepare my family for the fact that I will be unavailable while entertaining my client but I will spend time with them after.
When saying goodbye to a client, the work is not over. This is a critical time to investigate all their questions so that the answers are readily available for them when their plane lands. My goal is to avoid receiving an email along the lines of “did you ever get the answer to this.”
Tour days are tremendous opportunities to showcase the outstanding service that we are known for. Weeks of planning and diligence come together to create an experience that leaves our clients excited and prepared for their expansion.
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