There are just a few ways to generate lots of clients and listing opportunities in commercial real estate. One of the best strategies to use is the telephone. Cold calls and call prospecting should be a ‘non-negotiable’ part of the real estate business. Calls have to be made; new business can be converted more successfully when more calls are made.
Of course there are a few things to be practiced and refined in this prospecting process, so I have tried to simplify things for you. (NB – if you want more prospecting ideas for new business generation, you can get them in Snapshot right here – its free)
In this audio program, I share some effective call strategies that help when it comes to a prospecting model. Look at your real estate business today, and consider how these special processes could be added to your activities.
When you really understand the commercial real estate market and the brokerage activities in your location, you will fully appreciate that you should be talking to lots of local people in a regular and ongoing way. The database that you create from the people that you know and talk to regularly will be your pipeline of new business in so many different ways. (NB – You can get our free commercial real estate course right here)
Whilst some listings will come to you because of the brokerage that you work for, most of the high quality listings will be a direct result of your personal effort and ongoing contact with property owners, investors, and business leaders.
In those 3 categories of people you will find commissions, listings, and a good degree of property pain. So how do you get this important business activity underway? You make lots of cold calls in a regular and ongoing way.
Cold Calling Benefits
The principle and main benefits of cold calling can be best described in this way:
Building you personal profile
Finding new people that need property help locally
Tracking property changes locally
Finding new listings
Keeping up to date with market trends
All of these things fit quite specifically into the business of commercial real estate brokerage. If you are looking to improve your career in commercial real estate, then look to the strategies and skills in cold calling. Learn how to make more professional business calls every day in a relevant and logical way across property and business segments in your town or city.
In this audio program, John Highman talks about the real benefits of cold calling and why you could consider it as an important part of your real estate model.
Learn the real and relevant skills behind making more prospecting calls in a positive way each and every working day.
Cold calling remains a frustration for many salespeople. Commercial real estate brokerage is no exception. The fact of the matter is that when you get the process of direct calling and database management under control, it gets a lot easier in connecting with new people and growing a valuable list of clients and prospects to tap into with property listings, sales, and leasing activities.
In this audio program, John Highman talks about the things that are really important to a cold calling process and how that fits into commercial real estate brokerage.
In commercial property marketing it is better to look at the outbound call process as exploratory to see if you can help someone; you are not and should not pitch your services across the telephone. Simply see if the person that you are talking to has an interest or a challenge in property occupancy or ownership. There are always many things to talk about and discuss. If you are a real property expert for a location, the call conversation is easy and direct.
Here is the audio file on Cold Calling in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage:
In commercial real estate brokerage, you can find plenty of opportunity locally when you delve into the factors that support and drive the business community. When you understand the business community, you can turn that understanding into property leasing and sales activity.
Property Investments thrive and change when the local businesses are growing and relocating. As part of your brokerage prospecting model, get to know what businesses are doing and what they are thinking when it comes to growth and location.
Don’t be ‘Average’
Far too many agents and brokers wait for the listing opportunity to come to them through some inbound telephone call to the local real estate office; that is the slow way to grow market share.
If you want to get anywhere faster in our industry, then get out into the property market daily and talk to local business owners.
Find out what they are thinking about the pressures of their business and industry segment; some business segments are more active than others and that is what you can work with.
Ask questions about:
More or less space
Head office changes or merges
New businesses moving into the location
Improvements serving the business needs
Access to transport or end user markets
Lease duration or end of lease
The decision maker involved in finding new business locations
As an extension of this idea, you can work with particular types of businesses such as:
Bulky goods warehousing
So when you put these variables into a ‘local area equation’ of prospecting for new business, you can ask some valuable questions about business intentions, shifts, pressures, and requirements. Don’t be afraid to talk to new local people.
Local area business
Most of your new business will come from the local area. You want people to remember you so get out into your zone or territory and talk to the right people in a positive and direct way. Do these things:
Create a list of streets for your location where the better businesses are located.
Segment the businesses in size or type.
Research the leaders of each business before you make the call or contact.
Look for any property pressures in the location by travelling the streets and looking for the tell-tale signs of pressured property occupancy.
Somewhere in that owner/occupant awareness, you will find property change and churn requirements. Grow your property market on the basis of local area awareness. Talk to more people every day and build your business directly.
Perhaps the word ‘know’ here should be emphasized and explained. To actually ‘know’ a client or a prospect, you really should understand their property situation comprehensively, and they should trust you as an industry ‘expert’. That relationship takes time to develop.
Key Questions to Ask
Look at your database as it exists at the moment. Consider these questions:
Are you highly regarded by the people in your VIP database?
Would they refer friends to you when property issues arise?
How do you stand out as real and relevant to those clients now?
Would they say that you are the ‘industry expert’ that they trust?
Do they know you as a property specialist for your location?
Telephone canvassing is part of that. Here are ways that you can make that work in your brokerage business:
Cost effective – Today you can make many calls for very little cost. As part of that you can track your numbers of calls made, to leads identified. Over time you should see those numbers improve. Be aware of your time and its importance to the prospecting process. This doesn’t say that you should only make prospecting calls to find clients; it is one of a number of strategies that should be happening every day in your business career.
Regular and routine – Set aside time to make calls every day. Make a good number of calls to new people and also existing people. In that way you are building relationships over time and eventually converting more meetings.
Target meetings – From the calls made set yourself some targets relating to meetings with new people. It is realistic that you create 2 new meetings with new people each day, Monday to Friday. Put yourself in front of people; that’s what the business is all about.
Script development – What you say really does matter. Most of the people that we talk to in our industry are experienced in business and or investment, so the prospecting dialogue you use should be refined through practice and relevance.
Target specific groups – Make calls to groups of people, local businesses, and people in particular locations. Over time you can increase conversions simply by concentrating your call list and hence your conversation relevance.
So the message here is quite simple. Get your call prospecting started and refine it over time. That’s how you build your real estate business opportunities around you.
You will hear it frequently said that cold calling just has to be a part of a real estate prospecting model. Many agents and brokers struggle with the process and never really get it under control. That’s where the frustration is for many; they simply can’t get the skills under control or perhaps the focus is lacking.
One thing needs to be said here if your real estate business is important to you. The issue is that you must practice your skills at making calls and lots of them. There are plenty of people to reach out to and many ways to do that.
Focus Your Call Routine This Way
Here are some valuable ways to get things under control:
Best time of day – Choose the best time of day to make your calls. That will be the time when you can reliably get your calls done without disruption. Certainly you have to bend the rules sometimes when it comes to making calls because some deals and some client matters cannot be put off. Understand how you like to do your work and when you like to do that. Where can you get 2 or 3 hours per day to make your calls? The morning is perhaps the best time for most people.
Relevance in conversation – If you want people to listen to you, then you must have some relevant conversational facts to talk about. Those facts should be locally biased and interesting. Be prepared to talk about local property trends and changes. Be prepared to talk about identified changes that will bring interest and benefit to your prospect and client base.
Practice your words – Some words work considerably better than others when it comes to creating flow and interest in conversation. You can get some valuable books about ‘Words that Sell’, and ‘Phrases that Sell’. Merge some of those word concepts into your conversations and client contact methods. Practice will help you improve in that way.
Have a few stories to tell – Local stories about property issues and changes will always be valuable as you talk to many local people. Over the course of a year you can capture many good stories about property issues and changes. Choose the best stories. Master the art of storytelling; that’s what good salespeople do all the time.
Make lots of calls – Every day you need to make a reasonable volume of calls; that process will require research and a good database to track your progress. In a period of 3 hours you should be able to make 40 to 50 calls. If you are using the business telephone book to do that, the momentum you create will be valuable to the growth of your real estate business.
Track your progress as you make the calls – Make notes in your database of what people have said and what you decided to do for the people you have connected with. You can talk about call progress and previous comments when you next reach out to the same people. Familiarity will help you grow good levels of trust and respect in the people that matter.
Qualify the people in conversation – Good questions will help you know if you can be of help to the people that you call. Determine your relevance to them and when they will best benefit from your future advice. Tell them how you can help them and when you should be talking with them again. If you can see an immediate or pending need, create a meeting. The person to person contact process in commercial real estate is really important.
So there are some good things that you can do here with cold calling and commercial real estate prospecting. Are you up to the challenge of making the calls and providing the best property service for your local area? Show respect in your conversations with the people that will take your call and speak with you. Respect builds trust. That is how you can move ahead in your local area as a top agent.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Every so often you will hear some agent or broker say that ‘cold calling doesn’t work’. They are of course giving themselves some reason to not make the calls and avoid the process.
It is a fact that the top agents of the market are not afraid to make lots of calls every day to new people. The important issue here is that they are talking to both new people and current contacts. They are growing relationships on a daily basis.
Our industry is based on relationships. Get to know many property investors, tenants, business owners, and property developers. Keep in contact with them for the long term. Trust is a big issue when it comes to attracting new listings to your agency or brokerage. It can take months if not years for some prospects and clients to be in a position to move on a property matter.
So here are some detailed cold calling tips to help you grow your real estate business:
Determine your market area and targets. The market area is likely to be a part of a town or city and that should be determined by boundaries. Stay within your boundaries and get to know all the properties and property owners inside the zone. The targeted properties are likely to be by type and size. On that basis travel the streets in your sales and leasing territory. Find the quality properties and network the property owners and or landlords.
Call times should be set that work for your business and the people that you should be talking to. Ideally you should be making calls for 2 or 3 hours every day. That will take some discipline in your diary. Don’t let others interfere with your prospecting plans and efforts.
Record your numbers relating to calls out, calls connected, meetings arranged, and listings created. Over time you will see those numbers improve. The improvement can be fast tracked through practice each morning when you first arise.
A conversational approach works better in prospecting. Don’t pitch in any way; you really have no idea of the needs of the other person, so a conversation will get you further into understanding future opportunity.
Get a good database to track your call results. Simplicity and flexibility are important with a database. Protect your data and keep it up to date.
If you want more listing and commission business in commercial real estate brokerage, you will get there a lot faster with a professional approach to cold calling. Understand that most brokers avoid the process, and on that basis it can be a major source of leads and new business for you. Remain confident and make more calls.
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.
In commercial real estate prospecting some people will want to do business with you and others will avoid any real connection. You will get the feeling that some people really do not care for a connection or information. Look for the ‘signs’, and understand what is going on (or not going on).
You can spend far too much time in chasing people that are ‘not interested’. Whilst it is great to have a good degree of professional persistence in prospecting, the fact of the matter is that you must protect your time. If someone is not receptive to your genuine approaches and communication you should remove them from your contact process and simple move on to talking to others.
In any town or city, there are plenty of people to talk to. Momentum is really important when it comes to growing your market share and your contact database. In most towns or cities you will have several thousand business owners and property investors to talk to. Finding them remains the challenge; however diligence will get you there over time.
Here are some guidelines to help you with a system for prospect and client communication:
Set some daily prospecting goals that you can relate to and believe in. That will usually involve a mixture of outbound calls, personal meetings, and property inspections. From that contact process you will find the people that really want to talk to you and build a relationship.
If you are at the beginning of your career and prospecting activity, start with some achievable numbers so that you can grow your momentum easily and effectively. Ultimately you should be prospecting for 3 hours every day. In that time you should be making 40 to 50 outbound calls. That can be a daunting target for many people. If you are at the early stages of your professional career and prospecting is a developing habit, then make 15 outbound calls every day until that becomes an achievable habit and target. From that point onwards, you can grow the numbers at five extra calls per day to reach the level of 50 calls. When you reach the level of 40 to 50 outbound calls, your prospecting time will be saturated with activity and meeting opportunities. At that level you can sustain reasonable activity and attract new business. From 40 or so calls you should be able to connect with 15 people. From that connection you should get 2 meetings per day. That is how you build your prospect list.
Practice your dialogue so that you can improve your connections and conversations progressively. In approaching a new person for the first time, the conversations should be based on trust and information. There is no point in pitching your professional services or pushing for a listing opportunity over the telephone; that can occur when you meet with the person and truly understand their needs in property today. Help the person trust you by providing valuable market intelligence and genuine property solutions.
So the key message here is for you to establish a contact and prospecting cycle based on trust; understand the necessity for filtering out the people that will not do business with you over the long term. Read the signs in any conversation, and avoid time wasting people. When you look at your sales territory and property speciality, there are likely to be many more people for you to research and connect with.
In commercial real estate brokerage, you can get accelerated prospecting results when you systemise the process. It is just a matter of understanding what needs to be done within your property market today based on industry trends and opportunities.
There are always plenty of opportunities to be had in sales leasing and property management. Here are some tips to help you improve your prospecting efforts and business outcomes:
In any period of 12 months, the property market will change in a variety of ways. Be sensitive to the changes when it comes to inquiry rates, and listing opportunities. Look for the patterns in property enquiry, prices, and marketing.
Understand the factors of supply and demand that will change the balance of property occupancy and ownership. Ideally your business community should be growing within the region. Understand the pockets of priority and desirable locations that the buyers and tenants are looking for. Focus on those high priority areas.
Split your territory or prospecting zone up into smaller segments. In that way you can focus your research and contact process. Ideally your territory should contain at least 2000 properties. You can split that zone up into groups of 100 properties based on a street or zone selection. From that point it is simply a matter of researching and contacting the property owners and businesses.
Every day make a priority to contact at least 25 businesses in your designated area. That process is quite easy given that you can use the business telephone book and the Internet to capture the required information. A simple cold calling process is quite effective here.
Every day research two property owners within your designated sales and leasing zone. This research can take time hence the allocation of only two property owners per day. Chasing down the required addresses and or telephone numbers is a strategic process and a high degree of investigation is required in most cases.
Connect with the professionals in the industry that have clients requiring property assistance. Normally the best people to connect with will be solicitors and accountants. Establish levels of trust and service with these groups. Over time it is quite likely that they will release some of their clients to you for property help and assistance.
Monitor the recent listings for all agencies and brokerages in your territory. When your competitors place a signboard on a property, it is an opportunity for you to network the surrounding properties and businesses.
Look for the property ownership patterns relating to sales and leasing activity. Generally speaking, beyond four or five years of ownership you will find a property transaction occurring. That will be because the priorities of the property owner will have changed or improved. They may then seek to sell, expand, or lease. Research the historic sales in the area over the last 3 to 5 years. That information will help you create a list of targeted prospects for the future.
Don’t make your prospecting efforts too complicated. Do the job and keep it moving ahead. It is better to progress in a controlled way than try to do too much too soon.
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In commercial real estate brokerage, the sales pitch or the presentation that you provide to the client should have plenty of character and commitment from you at an individual level. You are the ‘first point of sale’. Everything with the listing hinges on your ‘first point of sale’.
First and foremost in any listing presentation, the client needs to commit to you as the ‘agent of choice’ before they will listen to you with your recommendations and marketing solutions. Your character and commitment needs to flow into the presentation in a valuable way. Your skills and knowledge need to be superior to your competitors when it comes to winning the listing. Confidence and local property knowledge will help.
The presentations made by top agents are geared to personal involvement on the basis of an exclusive agency. When you control the listing, you can control the opportunity of a valuable transaction over time. Exclusive listings are easier to convert when you get involved in the marketing process at an individual level.
So how can you add ‘character and commitment’ to your listing presentation? Here are some ideas to help:
Connect with the client so that you can totally understand their property needs and priorities. Question everything before you provide recommendations. Drill down on the needs of the client to get to the true facts of the matter.
Every client will have certain challenges when it comes to price, rental, and timing. They will also have targets within their own mind as to what could be achieved. Those targets may be totally out of the question when it comes to the current market conditions.
Provide the correct recommendations to take the client forward, and put yourself into the marketing process at an individual level. Let the client see how you will be taking the property to the tenants or the buyers in a direct way. Forget about generic marketing; it simply doesn’t work.
Show the client the results you have achieved recently when it comes to properties of a similar type locally. Summarize the marketing solutions and the challenges in each case. Tell the client exactly how you promoted the listing and reached the target audience. Compare those actions to the subject property and what will be required to achieve inspections and negotiations.
Your database is likely to be quite valuable when it comes to winning listings. Keep your database up to date and use it as leverage when it comes to pitching for a listing. Show the client the short list of prospects that you have already identified as part of marketing the property. When the property is released to the market, the people on your shortlist should be encouraged to inspect the listing as part of a pre-release. It is very difficult for a client to overlook or walk away from a prospective list of tenants or buyers. Use your database and your short list as leverage in the presentation to the client.
Any quality listing should be directly marketed to the local area. That will be at a personal level in addition to any generic advertising you may be doing. Prepare a suitable flyer or brochure to take to the property owners and businesses in the same general location as the listing. As soon as the signboard goes on to the property, you can be door knocking the businesses and the property owners locally.
It is easier to win a listing when you get personally involved in the marketing process. That involvement can only occur with exclusive listings. Help the client understand the difference and commitment that they and their property will receive when it comes to an open listing and an exclusive listing.