In commercial real estate brokerage, you will have plenty of challenges when it comes to finding quality listings and good clients. In most locations, towns and cities, the competition is fierce when it comes to commercial real estate agents. On that basis you really do need to have an effective prospecting model to implement at an individual level.
It should be said that most brokers and agents don’t do this very well. On that basis the opportunities are significant if you can create and stick to a good prospecting model. Create a habit around prospecting.
Here are some proven and highly effective prospecting and networking tips when it comes to agents or brokers winning new clients in commercial real estate today. Compare these to your current strategies:
- Stick to a defined area when it comes to targeting properties and clients. On a street by street basis you can move through the region and research the necessary property ownership details and business proprietors. Don’t spread yourself too thinly when it comes to large areas and diverse property types. Specialization will help you with finding listings and growing property knowledge.
- Devote 3 hours per day to the prospecting process. The cold calling process should occur first thing every morning prior to any meetings or property inspections. Make a priority to get your cold calls done prior to 11 am. Your meetings and property inspections can occur after that time.
- Split your prospecting time into two distinct segments. The first segment will be those people that you have spoken to before. Regular contact here will allow you to tap into the opportunity when those people are ready to make a sale or a lease transaction. The second group that you should speak to will be those that are totally new to your database. Feed your database with fresh contacts and opportunities with new people.
- Track the results that you get from all of your prospecting activities. Understand how your ratios are improving between outbound calls, meetings created, presentations made, and listings converted.
- Understand the differences between open and exclusive listings. As a general priority, you should be targeting exclusive listings at every opportunity. On that basis, track the numbers of listings in each case. Show the client the differences in time on market when it comes to open listings and exclusive listings.
- Any property that is converted to a listing should be packaged for the current market conditions. As you get results and feedback from inspections, you can make clear recommendations to the client regards pricing and marketing. Over a period of weeks, the repackaging of a listing can increase inspection and negotiation opportunity.
So there are some very definite things that can be done to improve your listing conversions and commission opportunities. The secret to making all of this work is to create a personal system of prospecting that you stick to every day. Refine your activities to the current market conditions, and soon you will see the conversions you require.
If someone tells you that ‘cold calling is dead’ in commercial real estate they are misleading you. They are ignoring the real evidence of the market. Making regular prospecting cold calls is a key part of the business for any commercial real estate agent. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
So why do other people come up with this great prediction and revelation on the ‘dead nature’ of cold call prospecting? They are selling a product and they are simply playing to the rejection factors and call reluctance problems that many salespeople struggle with.
Don’t make the mistake of ‘taking the easy way out’ when it comes to prospecting. It is a fact that calling new and fresh people in your property market each day will help you build your listing market share faster than anything else. There are lots of people to call so the process has to occur if you want to succeed as an agent.
Top agents know that they have to make the calls and that is a fact of the market. Here are some proven call strategies to help you get your prospecting systems underway:
- Most agents will not be making lots of cold calls every day and each week, so on that basis you can have a distinct prospecting advantage when you get the process under control.
- The best times to make the calls are in the morning first up and later in the afternoon. You will connect with more business owners and tenants at those times.
- Approach the process on the basis of seeing if the person you call has a need or an interest in local commercial and retail property. If you research your market beforehand you can work your calls from a base of local business owners and operators. That will quickly lead to other local property information and leads.
- Use a database that is flexible and convenient. If you are going to make lots of calls you really must track your results. From the outbound calls understand your contact ratios and conversions to meetings. From 30 calls and 15 connections made you should get 2 meetings of consequence. That can be a daily process. How long does it take you to make the calls? About 2 hours. On that basis you must be prepared beforehand.
- The cycle of commercial real estate activity for many clients and business owners can be quite long (months and years). On that basis you should keep in ongoing call contact every 90 days.
The next time you hear someone say that ‘cold calling is dead’, laugh at them and make more calls. Your market share will be far bigger than theirs in commercial real estate as you make the calls and keep the process going.
In commercial real estate agency today, the cold calling process is critical to the market share that you require and commissions that you create. You cannot avoid the process if you want to rise to the top of the market.
That being said, it is interesting to note that the cold calling process is something that many agents avoid with a great passion. Call reluctance is a real problem in the industry.
Top agents that work in the industry know that you have to make the calls to get the business. The strength and size of your database is fundamentally important to the commissions that you create. Each day you should be phoning into your database to make contact with the right people. You should also be creating new contacts and leads to help that database grow.
Here are some tips to help you in establishing a cold call prospecting system as part of your commercial real estate career.
- From the very start of the process, you will have some mental hurdles to address and overcome. Call reluctance is a big problem until such time as you see results and momentum from your efforts. It takes about three or four weeks of hard work to break through this barrier. Creating a habit to the call process is quite important. Only a habit will take you through the barrier of call reluctance.
- Determine the ideal property type and geographical area in which you should centre your prospecting efforts. Each night you will need to do the necessary research to find new people to call the next day. Don’t waste your precious calling time on research. The research can be done the night before. Keep up your momentum with calls and avoid in any distraction or diversion. In a period of 2 or 3 hours you should be making 50 outbound calls. You will not get through to 50 people as part of that process, but you should get through to about 20 or so people. From that rate of connection you should create 2 meetings with people that have a genuine interest in commercial real estate agency activity.
- Track your ratios of calls to connections, connections to meetings, and meetings to business opportunity. The ratios are really important to keep you on track and also to show you what is working. When something starts to get traction, you improve the process through practice.
- Confidence and dialogue are two important parts of making the calls. Both of those factors are personally controlled and can be improved. What you can do here is practice your call conversations and scripts as part of rising each morning and in preparation for the working day. Over a period of a few weeks, the call conversation and connection will significantly improve.
- Use a database program that has significant flexibility to capture the information that you come across. That will include a property type, location, price ranges, contact details, ongoing meetings and connection results, and future needs. Make sure that the database program can integrate with an e-mail newsletter and also a direct mail merge.
- Your confidence in making the calls will be significantly boosted if you choose to stand up as part of the calling process. It is a known fact that the conversational ability of people improves greatly when you are standing on two feet and moving around. Use this advantage to help you improve your call connections.
For an agent to be successful in commercial real estate, they need to be focused on growing their market share and their database. Use some of these factors above to help you get the momentum and traction that you require from direct call contact. Over time you can improve these things to a system that works for you.