Its the middle of the year and we all have plenty of things to do over the coming 5 months to the end of 2014. Part of this podcast focuses on Goals and Targets; I hope you have been tracking your targets for this year. Now would be a good time to assess the way in which you can get more results towards the end of the year.
In this audio file I am also covering leasing issues being ‘construction plans and drawings’, as well as how you can qualify and lease to more tenants in this market.
Thanks for being part of this online community. I hope the audio is of use in giving you ideas and momentum.
When you create an action plan for prospecting in commercial real estate brokerage, you have something to work with that can help you find the right clients and listings. Most prospecting plans require modification and refinement given that most property markets will change throughout the year. The important issue here is that you also change your approach accordingly, and keep new contacts and prospects flowing into your database.
So you need an action plan. That plan is something that you can do every day to reach new people to talk to and connect with. Have you got one of those plans now? If not this will help you get started:
Understand that you are the person to drive the prospecting plan and all the stages of it. Diligence to the process is required. You can’t take a day off or ‘cheat’ on the tasks required. When you define the actions to take, they simply have to be done.
Define your territory to focus on. That will be ‘geographically’ so that you can concentrate on the streets, property owners, quality properties, and listings in a logical way. Split up the area into segments to be covered and worked. Ideally that will be in segments of 100 properties.
Understand your property speciality in all respects. Most of the clients that you work with require an agent that is really experienced in the property type and the market; the client must see that you are the ‘real deal’ when it comes to understanding the property and what to do with it.
List high quality properties as a preference. On that basis be selective in what you list and why you do it. It is a fact that any quality property will create better levels of inbound enquiry. In that way you can create more inspections and create leverage in negotiations.
Letters should be sent to property owners locally and the required follow up calls should be done. Don’t send letters and hope that the prospect or property owner will call you back; it is highly likely that they will not. You are the key to getting momentum from your prospecting letters. Only send out the required number that you can follow up in calls. A good number to start with is 5 letters per day.
Each day call at least 25 business people, tenants, property owners and any others that may have an interest in commercial real estate today or in the future. Ask the questions to see what they are doing now with property. Qualify them before you seek a meeting.
Conversations are the secret to finding the leads and the opportunities that you require. Talk to lots of people every day and leave your business card with all the people you speak to. You really do not need much in the way of other marketing material. Your business card is the key to the process.
Other listings, sales, and leasing should be watched for action and opportunity. Monitor your competitors and the factors of time on market.
Track your momentum with a good database. People of substance and relevance to commercial property should be spoken to frequently, and a database will help you do that correctly and specifically.
Your prospecting plan doesn’t need to be complex, but it does need to be done. It’s not something that you can delegate. Personal action is required. The processes that you create can take you to the top of the commercial real estate market much faster.
In commercial real estate agency your sales presentation or pitch should be simple and direct. In saying that I still see so many agents front up to the client’s office for the presentation looking like a ‘pack-horse’ with every conceivable marketing tool imaginable. What a big mistake!
First impressions mean a lot in our industry. As you enter the client’s office or work environment, the message you send must be simple and professional; you must look the part in every respect. How you dress, what you say, and what you do in the first 2 minutes of the meeting will impact the remainder of the client connection.
Your sales pitch or presentation has to be simple. The client has to grasp what you are talking about and see some clear and relevant solutions to their property challenge. When you complicate things, you lose the clients attention.
Top commercial real estate agents know how to be relevant and real for the current property market. They prepare the right information that connects to the current market conditions, the property, and solutions available to the client.
The agent that wins the listing is usually the one that has fully prepared for the meeting with high level content and facts about the market. They also offer specific strategies that go beyond the ‘generic rubbish’ that ordinary inexperienced agents provide.
Here are some ways to connect with the client in a professional sales pitch or presentation today:
Ensure that you have seen the property before the meeting so you can relate to it in many different ways.
Check out the other competing properties on the market nearby. Be prepared to talk about them and how they are being marketed (successfully or unsuccessfully).
The only tools you need for a presentation will be your marketing folder, and perhaps a laptop computer.
In your marketing folder have listing forms, samples of marketing, maps of the area, subject property details (searched and checked), Gantt charts of sales and leasing processes, testimonials, and market research information.
In your laptop (or tablet computer) have plenty of photographs of the property so you can run a slide show as part of the client connection.
Have a brief marketing proposal ready with recommendations as part of taking the subject property to the right target market.
Get away from long and tedious proposals for the client to read. Use dot points, checklists, graphs, and photographs in the proposal. That will help capture the client’s attention.
Ensure that you have a few good stories to tell about some other property owners locally that have gone through the same pressures as the client you are talking to. Stories always help the connection and will be appreciated by the client in the presentation. Good stories will be remembered.
Simplify your strategies when it comes to meeting new potential clients. Take less information and clutter with you, but make sure that the things that you do have are of the highest and most relevant quality. Practice your pitch beforehand. Show the confidence that the client wants to see in the listing process.
In this time of technology and e-mail, the traditional letter is even more effective and powerful as a marketing tool. Far too many commercial agents rely solely or largely on e-mail as part of their marketing effort. Develop a direct mail strategy to add to any other marketing activities that you currently undertake.
In saying all of this, the direct mail process should only occur if you are prepared to follow-up each and every letter sent. When it comes to commercial property, most of the new business we create is through trust and personal contact. For this reason the letters that you send should be focused on two things. They are:
To introduce yourself as a local commercial real estate expert of relevance to the prospect.
To seek a meeting with the prospect and provide them with local market information and knowledge.
If you send a letter on this basis, you are not confusing the marketing message and you are simply introducing yourself. This makes the telephone follow-up process quite easy and specific.
Here are some specific tips to apply to the direct mail strategy and letters sent today.
The letter that you send should be simple in format. Three or four simple paragraphs are sufficient to send right the message and request a meeting. Keep the letters simple in every respect. You want the person to take your call when you make it in a few days’ time. The letter is really encouraging them to take your call. When you make the call, you are then encouraging them to a allow you to meet with them. Keep things simple and centered on these basic processes.
The only thing that you should include in your letter should be a business card. Far too many agents send bulky marketing material and brochures. Most of that will be put in the rubbish bin fairly quickly. If you send only a business card, that is likely to stay within the possession of the client for some time. That is exactly the goal of your letter.
Break your letter up into three simple paragraphs of two or three sentences each. Tell the client about the local property market and recent changes that may be of interest to them. Tell the client that you will be ringing them in the next few days to talk about those facts. The primary goal of your letter is for the client to take your call. When you make that call, you want them to remember you. That is why the business card mentioned earlier is part of the contact strategy.
When you sign off the letter, do it personally in blue ink. That will then show the prospect that you have personally committed to the dispatch of the letter. If your standard letter signature is somewhat illegible, it is better to develop a legible signing process for your marketing letters. That will then show the client that you have taken time to identify yourself formally and correctly at the base of the correspondence. You have a name; make sure the client can read it.
The traditional direct mail strategy is of importance and significance when it comes to marketing yourself today. Make sure you follow the above points so that your correspondence can be converted to the meeting that you require.
Some commercial property owners start their property marketing campaign with a high price and a poor quality agent. Some of those clients can also have tried to market their property themselves before the talk to an agent. Either way they suffer lost time and little enquiry.
How many of those clients will tell you that their property did not sell because of the agent? Most of the clients you talk to in this situation will believe that their unsold property is the result of the agent inaction, and not the high price or poor marketing effort.
The fact of the matter is that an overpriced listing will ‘kill’ its own enquiry before any enquiry is forthcoming. The listing quickly becomes ‘stale’ very fast. If you take on one of these listings, you will need to have a plan to ‘resurrect’ the marketing momentum.
When it comes to property marketing today, ‘hope’ does not feature as a good tool or strategy. Any marketing campaign based on ‘hope’ will go nowhere and the client should be made aware of that.
So how can you ‘resurrect’ these mistakes in marketing? Here are a few ideas to help you.
Take the property off the market for at least 4 weeks. That means nothing should be advertised anywhere about the property. You can then work on new marketing points and promotional strategies for the client. When the property is advertised again it has to be done differently. If you want to market the property inside the first 4 weeks, then do it personally in ‘one on one’ contact.
Get an exclusive listing for the new marketing effort. That exclusive listing should be for at least 4 months. It will take you that long to create fresh interest in the property.
Vendor paid marketing should be the rule when you revitalise the listing. Create a specialised campaign using the marketing tools that you believe are the best for the property as you see it today.
Assess the results that have come in from previous marketing efforts. What worked and what did not work? Understand those facts so you can avoid making similar errors again.
What target market was used in the last marketing effort? Was it relevant and did the property really connect with the target audience?
Go through the property today and check out the improvements that are advantages in your marketing. How can you reposition those improvements to get better enquiry? How will they feature in the marketing effort?
Check out the words that the internet search engines are seeing as common search terms for commercial or retail property in your area today. Incorporate those terminologies into your new marketing activities.
Get professional photographs taken of the property so any advertisements can appear fresh and revitalised.
Have a serious discussion with the property owner about the previous price and factors that may have held the listing back from getting the required enquiry previously. You will need to get a price adjustment before you go back to advertising the property again.
Give the client a time line of strategies that will start on a particular date and adjust weekly until the property is sold. Show them how things will progress with you and your marketing efforts. Get them to commit to your recommendations.
Old listings can be resurrected. It just comes down to the strategy that you adopt and how you condition the client. Don’t let them repeat their earlier mistakes. Be specific and drive the listing forward.
In commercial real estate sales and leasing, you need results when it comes to cold calling. There is no doubt that the cold call prospecting process is a significant part of the business generation system that you should be running. That being said, you still need to get results from your telephone contact processes. Tracking your numbers as you make the calls is really important.
To get the call system up and running for you I have provided a number of tips that will help you with establishing the right mindset, and building the processes to support the results that you will achieve.
The first two or three weeks in the call prospecting system are always the toughest. That is because it takes time to develop a new habit, and you have had years of other activities to break or reshape. Developing new habits are part of the commercial real estate business and certainly part of the prospecting process.
Every day you will be contacting many people in the local area. The key to the process is in making lots of calls in the easiest possible way. When it comes to commercial and retail property, the best place to start is in the business telephone book. Every business will have a relationship to commercial or retail property as a tenant or an owner. When you ask the right questions, you will get the market intelligence that you need. Local business owners will also tell you more about the local area and their immediate location. It is very easy to telephone 50 businesses from the telephone book on a daily basis. As you do this, you should track your findings and the comments from relative prospective business owners.
To telephone 50 businesses, it takes about 2 hours. You will not get through to 50 people during that time or establish 50 reasonable telephone conversations. Those people that you cannot contact today should be put into the pipeline for a return phone call. Out of 50 telephone calls, you should get through to approximately 15 to 20 business proprietors. It is then simply a matter of asking the right questions.
Many salespeople look at the cold calling process incorrectly. In our industry, it is very difficult to pitch over the telephone. On that basis your initial call should simply be to find out if they have a need or interest. Following that point of qualification, you can generate a meeting with the right people. On that basis you will not be wasting your time.
The super-fast process to cold calling is simple and straightforward. When you stick to the rules above, you will find that results are achieved. Keep yourself focused and detailed when it comes to capturing information.
Without a doubt, prospecting is the most important tool in your commercial real estate toolbox. Without a good prospecting model your commissions and listings will flounder.
The ‘golden rule’ to establishing a prospecting model is to make it a daily event. You cannot look for new business once per week. When it becomes a central part of your diary on a daily basis, then and only then will you see results.
If life is that simple, why is it that so many commercial real estate salespeople really do not prospect well, if at all? Most salespeople suffer from a mindset issue that holds them back from making ‘cold’ contact to people that they have not spoken to before. They just ‘hate’ the process.
When you start anything new, the process does take time to ‘settle down’ and gain momentum. Setting new habits over old habits that you have established over the years is quite difficult. Persistence will however get you through if you set up your model of prospecting.
Here are some rules to help you get a good prospecting model together:
From the very start make sure that the prospecting time in your diary is the same time every day. So often salespeople break this rule and a habit of prospecting is not created. It is best to do the process in the morning first thing before anything else takes over.
You will need a simple script to use as part of making cold calls. The simple script should be an ‘opener’ to a conversation. It should not be a pitch for new business; a conversation is what you want when you reach new people.
Start your contacting model with local businesses. They are easy to find and approach. You can use the business telephone book to help you here. Those businesses will tell you a lot about the local area and be a great source of market intelligence. In some cases they will tell you who owns the property.
Define your boundaries and your streets. In this way you will know the ‘priority zones’ where you think the main properties are located. Opportunity starts to show itself when you focus and dig into a zone to extract all of the local information. Systems like this are really important.
Use a good database that is easy to use and backed up to the internet. So much work today occurs out in the field. You need to get to your database from a mobile telephone or laptop computer in the field.
Our industry is built on established ‘face to face’ relationships. Getting in front of the right people is a big part of building your market share. Remember, you are a self-promoter of your experience and relevance to the prospects that you talk to.