There are things to practice and things to learn. Don’t put off the process of cold calling for too long, develop the practice that you require to generate conversations with new people in your territory or client list.
Factors to Learn
In this audio program, John Highman talks about the factors of cold calling that are important to converting listing opportunity today. It doesn’t matter with you work in sales, leasing, or property management. Calls need to be made to new people on a regular daily basis. In fact, cold calling should feature in your diary as part of your brokerage activities. It should be a priority process each and every working day.
Learn the strategies behind cold calling and prospecting as a broker or an agent. Develop the skills required to connect with new people each and every working day. It doesn’t take too long to find the opportunities that you are looking for with listings and clients.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Far too many commercial real estate agents look for excuses not to make cold calls and prospect in commercial real estate. Here are my thoughts on that to help agents develop better prospecting systems and models.
If you have been struggling with cold calls, now might be a good time to consider lifting your skills. Have a listen to the audio.
This is part of a larger commercial real estate training program on cold call prospecting and networking for agents by John Highman.
You can check out our other website for more information on that.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most commercial real estate agents hate cold calling and will avoid it at all cost. That simple decision costs them dearly in market share, leads, and opportunities. If you are in the industry by choice, you will need to do some ‘hard stuff’. Telephone prospecting is one of the most important to do. Here are some tips for agents from our Newsletter.
Master Cold Calling
To work in commercial real estate agency you have to master the cold calling process. Each day you should spend 2 hours on the telephone talking to new people that you have not spoken to before. It is a time factor that requires discipline and focus. If you can master the art of call prospecting, then you will rise to the top of your market a lot faster than most.
The big factor in moving ahead in the industry is for you to practice and refine your call contact processes. Who should you call? Here is a list:
Owner occupiers of commercial and industrial property
Property professionals (solicitors, accountants)
When you look at a list like this you will soon know that some of these people are hard to find and contact. For that reason you should call the people that are easy to find first and then research the rest on an ongoing basis.
Keep it Simple
Business owners are simply taken from the telephone book or by researching the businesses located in the streets in your territory. You can call 40 of those per day quite easily. As to how many you get through to, the number will be less than half; that being said, you simply make the calls and keep doing so.
In contacting property owners you will find that the process is slower and more tedious. That is because the property owners can be hidden inside company structures or property trusts. Allocate yourself a target of researching 1 new property owner per day. At the end of the week you will have spoken to 5 new people that have a solid interest in quality property. Over time that connection will pay dividends when it comes to leads.
Making all these telephone calls is one thing, but you should be aware of the ‘Do not call register’ and legislation or laws that could apply in your area. Do not break the law when it comes to making calls. In most cases, the business people and owners that you call are not impacted in the same way that private people in residential situations may be. Understand the calling laws and stay within them.
The perfect cold call is a systemised process that occurs every day to a plan. You can develop your dialogue, call contact systems, database, and follow-up systems to take you forward. Start practicing and you will get there faster.
You can get some more tips for Commercial Real Estate Agents in our Newsletter.
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.