In commercial real estate brokerage, you can and should mix and match your prospecting activities to the market conditions and target market. You can get involved in networking events and meet new people that way.
In this audio program, John Highman talks about the important prospecting concepts that help brokerage growth and opportunity.
In commercial real estate today there are all types of properties to work on as well as zones of activity. The opportunities are out there. That being said I get a lot of questions from new agents as to how they can tap into their property market effectively and directly. Some simple strategies will help. I have put together these notes on how that should be done.
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 today there are many opportunities to tap into. In any period of 12 months, there will be changes to the sales and leasing aspects of the market that can open up into new listings and new clients.
Brokerage prospecting models should always focus on quality listings and quality clients. The word ‘quality’ is quite important here in that you will always get better inbound enquiry rates from quality listings.
It directly follows that a sales or leasing transaction successfully completed will give you the opportunity for repeat and referral business. It is also the case that those clients that have had business with you previously will give you leads and opportunities to tap into if you ask the right questions at the right time.
Consider the following rules that can apply to a referral lead generation system:
If you consider the last period of two years as a point of reference, identify the clients and prospects that you have successfully served during that time. Open up the contact process with these people again and seek a personal opportunity for a meeting and market related conversation.
You cannot ask for referral business over the telephone. Arrange a meeting in suitable circumstances where you can provide the client with a market update. As part of that process, ask questions about their current property interest and involvement, together with the appropriate referral questions.
Within your brokerage, you are likely to have a number of clients that are serviced in an ongoing way. That may be through project leasing or property management services. Keep in regular contact with these people as they may seek to adjust their investment portfolio. They will also know other property investors that may be leads or referral opportunities for you.
As part of your existing prospecting program, you should know plenty of local business owners and proprietors. Some of those people will own local investment property, or may seek to do so. Understand the intentions of these successful business owners as they consolidate their financial nest egg.
Track and measure all of the recent sales and leasing activity through your region. That information will be quite valuable when it comes to establishing new meetings with clients and prospects. It is not hard to get a meeting when someone respects your skills and relevance as an industry specialist.
As part of your weekly brokerage sales meeting, insert into the agenda the topic of referrals and leads. That will focus the agents and brokers on to the issue as part of a regular reporting process.
In commercial real estate agency and brokerage, the process of ongoing contact and prospecting will help you with market share in a significant way. You simply need to ‘turn the key’ on client contact and grow it at each and every opportunity.
To make this process work for you, ensure that you have the following tools in place and ready to use:
A defined geographical area defined on a map where you can focus your prospecting activities on a regular basis.
A database that is simple to use and easy to access. It is preferable that the database will be accessible from both the office, and when you are out in the sales or territory region.
A landline telephone system that you can use each day in privacy and without the distractions of a noisy and busy office.
A computer that you can have at your fingertips as part of making direct cold calls and prospecting research.
Travel through the main streets in your territory and visit the other listings that are currently on the market so that you can understand marketing strategies, prices, and rentals.
Create a system of calls to occur at the same time every day. Normally you can achieve 50 outbound calls in a period of 2 hours.
Build a simple prospecting dialogue that you can use in the early stages of cold calling and client connection. Over time this will become redundant as your dialogue will improve naturally.
So the process of ‘turning the key’ on client contact is to take the necessary prospecting action each and every day. In doing so, remember that the cycle of commercial real estate is relatively long. Most of the people that you talk to today will not have an immediate interest or need. They will however have some property challenges down the track and for this reason your database needs to allow ongoing regular contact each period of 90 days.
In connecting with new people as part of the prospecting model, remember the relationships between sales, leasing, and property management. Ask questions across each discipline to see if any pressures apply or any future needs could occur.
Here are some interesting numbers to help you understand how all of this works:
In a period of 2 hours, you can make approximately 40 to 50 calls. Those calls will need to be researched the night before. The Internet and the business telephone book will help you significantly at the early stages of your career with this process.
Eventually you will find some good clients and prospects to maintain contact with. You will need some selective criteria to understand exactly who you will be putting into your database and for what reason.
In making approximately 40 to 50 outbound calls, you will connect with about 15 people. The others that you cannot connect with today can be pushed to the next day or later in the week for another ongoing contact. You will need a system to maintain the flow of interaction and return call process. Organisation is the key to help you here.
When you connect with approximately 15 people per day, your target should be to create two new meetings. Those meetings should be established on the basis that the person will have a current or future need when it comes to commercial property.
From each meeting and from each positive outbound call, maintain a process of repeat contact at least once every 90 days. When you know the person is ready to act in some respect, you can shorten the cycle to bi monthly or monthly.
Many agents and brokers struggle with the rejection process that inevitably comes with prospecting and cold calling. That does not need to be the case given that you are a commercial real estate professional and that your services are highly valuable to the right people. The prospecting process should therefore be undertaken on the basis of identifying the people you can help now or in the future.