4 Essential Prospecting Skills in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

business woman sitting at table
Develop effective prospecting systems in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage.

Every commercial real estate agent should have a prospecting model.  In an ongoing way they should be connecting with new people each and every day.  That can be a challenge for some brokers and agents as they balance workloads and property listings.  The fact of the matter is that we should all be careful when it comes to personal time focus and client commitment.

Attract and Focus on the Best Properties and Clients

We should be focusing all or our prospecting activities and model on the best opportunities and the best clients locally.  Applying that back to the beginning of the contact pipeline cycle, we should be concentrating our prospecting skills into the best segments of the market and particularly the best people owning an occupying the prime buildings and the prime properties.

We all get our fair share of poor quality listings and redundant properties.  That being said, we do have a few choices to make when it comes to accepting a listing and working for a particular client.  As you grow your market share, be increasingly selective as to the properties that you list, and the clients that you work for.

Size Matters

The larger properties and the better listings will always create better enquiry churn and activity from your marketing activities.  If you focus on the higher quality listings within a location, the levels of enquiry will always be higher, more active and interesting.  That is how you can build a pipeline of investors and prospects faster within a location.

Here are some ideas to help you improve your prospecting activities within your town or city:

  1. COVERAGE: Understand the coverage of your prospecting activities. There is no point in spreading your prospecting activities across a huge area or a large town.  You have limited resources and time to cover the market.  Consider your territory and split into priority precincts of prospecting focus.  You should have your primary zone of prospecting.  Most of your new business should come from that defined area.  Everything else outside a primary zone will be a secondary focus; listings may come to you from the secondary zone but you would not specifically prospect into the secondary zone.  Understand your time as a resource, and focus all of your prospecting on a time basis into the primary precinct of property activity.  Typically you will need about 2500 properties to focus on in that primary precinct so you will need to get organised.  Over the year you can get to know all of the best property owners, the business leaders, the lease expiry dates, and investment opportunities.
  2. LOCAL PROPERTY: Focus within particular property types locally. When you focus your prospecting activities within a particular property type, you can get to know exactly what’s happening when it comes to prices, future supply, and time on market, contracts, and leasing.  You can also predict what challenges may exist when it comes to the segment and the location.  That then allows you to adjust your marketing activities and any negotiation factors that arise.
  3. PRIME PRECINCTS: Get to know the owners of quality properties in prime locations. As a commercial real estate specialist, you will already be focusing on certain segments of properties such as office, industrial, or retail.  Within those segments, identify a small group of prime properties locally.  Determine the ownership identity of those properties and make contact.  Connect with the owners and build relationships at professional level.  Understand that those property owners are likely to be talking to many local agents, so your connection will need to be comprehensive and professional at all levels.
  4. THE BIG END OF TOWN: Track the property ownership and occupancy activities of the larger businesses and corporations in your primary prospecting precinct. Certain businesses will be more successful than others and therefore more active when it comes to property.  Certain industries will be looking for resolving factors of expansion and contraction.  You can and should focus your prospecting into the active segments of the local companies and businesses.

These four simple approaches to commercial real estate prospecting will help you find the right people to talk to in a timely and ongoing way.  Focus on building relationships.  As a general rule, don’t list or work with low quality listings unless there is a bigger agenda to support the approach.

Understand that your pipeline of prospecting will be an ongoing event and will require a commitment at a personal level to keep up the momentum and the persistence.  Over time you should be talking to many hundreds of people in an ongoing and relevant way.

Keep it moving

Connect with all the people in your database at least once every 90 days.  When you can identify a property need or challenge, the frequency of contact will be shortened to monthly or even weekly.

Relevance is the key to making the contact prospecting process work effectively with reasonable levels of conversion.  The relationships and the trust that you build through that regular contact will eventually lead to listings and property requirements.  That’s how any top agent will build market share and grow market relevance.

You can get more prospecting tips for commercial real estate brokerage in our ‘Snapshot’ eCourse right here.

Tips for Making Successful and Professional Cold Calls in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

black telephone
Make more high quality cold calls in commercial real estate.

 

In commercial real estate brokerage the cold calling process is an essential part of new business generation. Making direct cold calls is a real skill and requires personal effort and systematisation.

 

One of the most important factors to help when it comes to telephone prospecting and new business generation is that of practice. Making telephone calls in this way does not come easily to many people. Most agents and brokers will struggle when it comes to the right words and phrases to use when telephone marketing. Regular daily practice can help when it comes to call conversions and meeting opportunity. The more calls that you make, the easier the whole thing becomes. Over time you will feel comfortable when it comes to telephone prospecting.

 

Before going too much further here, it should be understood that the principal target of cold calling as an agent or broker is mainly to achieve meetings with people that could need professional property services in the future. To achieve that knowledge and to create those meetings with the right people requires a conversational approach, not pitch and push process. If you push too hard for business in any telephone call, it is likely that you will lose out on the conversation and the call will come to an end.

 

Here are some ideas to help you with your professional cold calling process and meeting conversions:

  1. Commitment – Commit a particular time of day to the process. The best time to make those calls will be first thing in the morning before other things take over your activities and focus. You will need to spend approximately 2 or 3 hours in making cold calls each working day. During that time you do need to have absolute focus on the process and avoid any distractions or diversions.
  2. Mindset – When you have the correct mindset to make the calls, conversions to meetings are a lot easier. The best mindset to use is that of confident questioning. You are simply making a call to understand if the person you are speaking to has an interest or a potential future need in commercial investment property into the future. If that is the case, then you have a reason to stay in contact and/or create a need for a meeting. As the local property expert, you have the professional skills and the market information that is valuable to the right people.
  3. Focus on Groups – In making your calls, focus on two distinct groups of people. Firstly you should be talking to all of the local business owners and business proprietors. Secondly you should be talking to all of the local property owners and investors. Within both segments you will find needs and opportunities when it comes to property selection, acquisition, and disposal.
  4. Database Software – Choose a database program to help you with tracking conversations and opportunities. The database that you choose doesn’t need to be expensive or complex. It does however need to be readily accessible and user-friendly. Every day you should be shaping and changing the detail within the database subject to recent conversations and meetings with key people.

 

Taking these four simple factors into account, telephone prospecting and cold calling requires real personal effort and deliberate activity. There is no easy way to get around the process other than hard work and commitment. That is how you will find new business leads and opportunities in commercial real estate today. You can then professionally drive your business further when it comes to new clients and quality listings.

Cold Calling Tips and Mindset for Commercial Brokers

The cold calling mindset is really important in commercial real estate brokerage if you are going to get traction with reaching people and creating meetings.  I have put this audio together to help the process.

Create Confidence in Your Cold Calling Today

The cold call process in commercial real estate brokerage is quite special.  In this audio MP3 file I give you some ideas about how to improve your call conversions in the property market today.

Start connecting with more sellers and buyers, as well as tenants and landlords.  You will soon see and find the prospects that you are looking for.

Dialogue Practice for Commercial Real Estate Agents

sales people talking in group
Practice sales dialogue in teams.

In commercial real estate agency, you will need to interact with many different people in differing circumstances.  To improve your chances of success, it pays to refine and practice your dialogue for the demands of our industry.  Practice like this will help you in so many ways including market share, listing conversions, marketing adjustments, and deal conversions.

Our industry is competitive in many different ways, and on that basis personal dialogue improvement should be part of your skills upgrade.

The following situations are highly competitive and arise frequently each day:

  • Prospecting for new listings and prospects to serve
  • Talking to property investors and business proprietors in the local area
  • Identifying property changes and opportunities
  • Inspecting properties with buyers and tenants
  • Inspecting properties with property investors
  • Presenting and pitching your professional real estate services with property owners
  • Negotiating a sale or a lease transaction
  • Qualifying prospects and clients
  • Closing on the necessary documentation as part of a sale or a lease
  • Moving a transaction forward through the terms and conditions of the deal
  • Keeping the clients, tenants, and buyers motivated as part of the transaction
  • Working with solicitors, accountants, and other professional people
  • Referral business with current clients and contacts
  • Lead generation through people that you know or want to reach

This list can be quite daunting considering that many variables exist in each situation.  If you cannot communicate well and show that you are a true commercial real estate professional the market will soon avoid you.

The longer you stay in the industry, the more experience you will have in each of the above matters.  You can however fast track the process through some deliberate dialogue improvement and role playing.

The ways to improve your dialogue will involve a strategy and process.  Here are some ideas to help you get started.

  1. Share the challenges of the market and your clients with the sales team.  You can then discuss how you would respond to issues and challenges.
  2. Watch what other agents are listing today.  Create some alternative marketing packages that you can use as examples in role playing.
  3. Once a week take the sales team to your listings and talk them through the properties as you see them.  Sometimes an extra set of ‘eyes’ will help you see alternatives in inspections, marketing and promotion.

Self-improvement is an essential part of our industry.  When you take on the challenge of improving yourself, the industry takes on a new momentum.  Practice and improve what you do and say.

Commercial Real Estate Agent Prospecting Model

commercial real estate agent on the telephone
You can perfect your cold call process in commercial real estate agency.

In commercial real estate you must prospect for new business every day.  In that prospecting time, 50% of the time should be spent on people that you already know and are progressing up the contact pipeline, and the other 50% should be spent on the new people and property owners that you have not spoken to before.

When you follow this model of prospecting, you find that your market opens up with opportunity; the clients and contacts that you know will expand.  From that action plan you see the new business that you need.

It is a fact that many agents if not 90% of agents do not prospect enough.  They like to find excuses to move on to other things.  When they get busy, the first thing to be avoided or removed from the diary is prospecting.  That then leads to a market downturn and decline in listings and then commissions.

Here are some rules for prospecting in commercial real estate:

  1. Don’t work with a small group of clients and prospects.  This will expose you to loss of income when a client moves away or stops activity in property.  It is better to have your main client list (the ‘A’ list) and then a secondary client list that you can move into or escalate when the ‘A’ list is shrinking.  As a general rule you should have an equal number of people or prospects in your ‘A’ and ‘B’ list.  Prospecting on a regular basis will help you with the numbers in each group.
  2. Know what your idea client looks like and where they are located.  When you get focused on a specific client you can target your prospecting for better effect.  Top agents tend to focus on clients with large properties or portfolios of multiple properties.
  3. Know what your ideal property listing will be and where it is located.  This focus helps you with organised prospecting.  Keep to a geographical area so you can methodically go through your region with focus on properties and clients.
  4. The prospecting efforts between sales and leasing, versus property management are a bit different.  The best agents can work with sales and leasing quite well.  Be aware of the property management opportunity and have someone to service it with you or for you.  That being said you will need the right people in the agency business to take on the workload.  Commercial property management is quite special.  The same can be said for retail shopping centre management.

These are quite simple rules to follow; simple to create, but hard to do.  Prospecting reluctance is a big issue for some agents.  Take on the task and get better at it.  Soon the business will come in.

Straight Thinking Wins More Commercial Real Estate Business

telephone sitting on desk
Shift your mindset to make cold calling in commercial real estate more effective.

It is a fact that the way you think when you are prospecting will impact the results that you get.  This then carries through to the prospecting that you make in commercial real estate.

Has someone told you that you need to prospect and they have given you little facts on how to do it?  Perhaps they have told you to get out of the office and start doing something to build your market, yet the facts behind the process seems to be a bit lacking?

It is a very common issue that many salespeople do not know how to prospect at all very well.  They simply know that they must lift the telephone and talk to prospects and more new people to see if there is a problem that they can solve.

To help the process here are some rules to help you get better results in commercial real estate prospecting.

  1. It is extremely important to start a contact and prospecting system that you can work to every day at the same time.  As part of that process you will need a few tools to use and stick to such as a database or spread sheet to record your contacts.
  2. Track your numbers of outbound calls to meetings arranged.  Out of 40 or so calls, you should be establishing 2 or 3 meetings with people that you have not spoken to before.  It should also be said that you will not reach 40 people in all those calls; you will be lucky to reach 20.  Those that you cannot reach today can go into the system for call contact later.
  3. Protecting your thinking in call contact is very important; many people will decline your offer or your request for a meeting.  Over time your conversions to meetings will rise, however it is the first 3 weeks of making the calls where your thinking processes need to be protected.  Read some good books on making calls so you understand the importance of the mindset and thinking process in commercial real estate.
  4. Having a reason for the call will help your conversation.  If you do not know the person, the best approach is to see if they have a need or an interest in commercial real estate of any type.  It is a question that can lead into a telephone conversation.  As the local real estate agent, you can keep them updated with market trends and property changes in the local area.

I have coached many salespeople through the barriers of making cold calls.  Just about all of those barriers I have noticed are self-inflicted and self-generated with most salespeople.  Change your thinking and you will open more doors faster with the people that need your services.  Making cold calls professionally will fast track your career in commercial real estate today.

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