Cold Calling is Not Dead in Commercial Real Estate Agency

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Cold Call Prospecting in Commercial Real Estate – Tips You Need

In commercial real estate today, the cold calling process is still a very big and important part of what we do as agents.  Each day you should be devoting 2 or 3 hours to the process.  When you do this you find the opportunities and the prospects that you can serve.

Many agents struggle with the research and effort required to get a list of people to call.  To help with that here are some thoughts:

  1. Choose one or two property investors in the local area to research each day.  On average you should be able to contact one targeted property owner per day. Over time you will have built a list of 30 new property owners per month.  This is a very powerful way to build your property owner contacts.
  2. The foundations for income and occupancy in commercial and retail property are in the local businesses and tenants.  Make it a priority to call 40 local businesses every day.  This process is easy as you can use the business telephone book for that.  You can also use the internet.  A business owner will quite likely tell you if they are a tenant, they own the property, who the landlord is, or if they need to relocate.  All of that information is very valuable.  Track the information in your database.
  3. Selectively contact solicitors and accountants in the local area.  The best way to do that is by sending a letter first.  Then you make the call.  Introduce yourself and get to meet them.  These business professionals will have clients that you can help with property matters.  It takes a little bit of time for the levels of trust to be built up and the proof of experience to be established however there is very high value in this level of contact.
  4. Get in touch with property developers to see what needs they may have locally with current and new projects.  It takes a bit of time for the relationship to be built here, but there is high value to you in doing so.  Understand that most developers have
    relationships with many other agents in your town.  Don’t spend your valuable time at no cost until you know that the developer is committed to you.

The secret to making a call prospecting process work for you is in regularity.  The process has to happen every day.  It is a habit that takes time to create and you will need to prime yourself for the challenge.  After about 3 or 4 weeks, the whole process gets a lot easier and results start to come in.

How to Successfully Cold Call in Commercial Real Estate Agency

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Grab Their Attention in Commercial Real Estate Prospecting

Today your efforts as a top commercial real estate agent just have to grab the attention of the market.  You must prospect with system and effort.  In this way you can build more opportunity around you in listings and clients.

There is no point in being the best local agent if the market knows nothing about you.   You might be the specialist that everyone needs today, but the message has to get out to the people that need you.  Your personal marketing plan has to do this.  It is an ongoing process and effort, but the rewards are there for the agents that work hard at it.

Here are some prospecting tools and systems that will help you in commercial and retail real estate agency today.

  1. Previous sales in the area are a great source of opportunity today.  What you do here is to go back in time to about 3 years ago.  Look for the sales and lease deals beyond that point.  They are going to be (on average) the next transactions to come into the market.  Commercial real estate is built on a cycle of ownership and leasing.  Work out what the cycle of time is and prospect in front of the cycle.
  2. Other agent’s boards give you the opportunity to talk to local property owners in the immediate vicinity of that board.  They may like to compete with the current listing.  They are more likely to do that with a competing agent such as you.
  3. Your signboards will build profile across the market.  Make sure that your name and contact details are on as many boards as possible.  Ensure that all your exclusive listings have special signboards of high quality.  Standard signboards should only be used on open listings.
  4. Business owners locally know more about the area than you do.  Get to talk to them and see what their property needs are.  Ask them about the business and property changes locally.
  5. For sale by owners are always targets for us.  In most cases these owners should be left to struggle for some time until they feel the pressure of the market.  The fact of the matter is that most buyers and tenants would prefer to deal with an agent as part of any negotiation on a property.
  6. Cold calling and door knocking is a daily requirement in our industry.  Make sure that you devote 3 hours to the process every day.  I will say that many agents hate it for a variety of reasons; this makes it better for the people that can do it.
  7. Use a good database software program to capture your contact activity and plan your email newsletters and ongoing call contact.

All of this takes systems on the part of the salesperson.  When you get these things under control, the property market starts to open up for you.

Two Words That Can Change Cold Calling Results Forever

In commercial real estate agency today so many salespeople and leasing executives struggle with cold calling.  They find it frustrating and quite soon they will find something else to do.  Unfortunately cold call prospecting is then avoided for the future; they incorrectly move away from the one thing that can change their lead conversions forever.

So what stops you from making the calls?  Here is a good list:

  1. Poor organisation
  2. Call reluctance
  3. No dialogue
  4. Distractions
  5. No momentum
  6. No database
  7. Lack of a prospect list
  8. Meetings
  9. Clients, etc

Make no mistake, cold calling is hard but it does produce volumes of results when you improve your call contact systems.  It takes a mindset and a process that should be practiced.

All of this being said, there are some very simple things that you can do that will help you radically with the call contact process; one of the most effective is based on two simple words.  The words are ‘stand up’.

When I say ‘stand up’ I am referring to you standing up when you make your contact and cold calls.  So many top real estate agents do it; you probably do it now when you are making a mobile telephone call as you walk!

The fact of the matter is that your call quality and conversational ability is a lot higher when you stand up and talk on the telephone.  There is something in moving and talking at the same time that goes well together.  Whatever the secret is, you should try it and use it.

The benefits here are quite clear:

  • More call confidence
  • Better conversational ability
  • Better tonality in the call voice
  • ‘Right brain’ thinking as you talk

If you put all of these factors together you will find that those hard to make cold calls will be a lot easier for you.  It really doesn’t really matter if you have clients and prospects in commercial or retail property sales, leasing, or property management, the fact of the issue is that you should be making lots of cold calls each week to people that you have not spoken to before.  That’s how you build market share.

Start to work on you mindset and use the ‘stand up’ process to improve you call conversations and dialogue.  Quite soon you will see some new confidence in the calling process; when that happens you will convert more meetings.  A good result, don’t you think?

Automating Your Commercial Real Estate Prospecting Model

In commercial real estate today and in your agency, it is necessary to have a good selection of quality listings.  Quality listings will always create solid enquiry in any market.  It is those quality listings that will help you with dominating your territory and converting more commissions.

It is an observed fact that low quality listings produce poor enquiry.  It is much harder to build your market share and listing opportunity as a commercial real estate agent from poor quality listings.  That being said, it is also the case that open listings produce poor quality commercial real estate activity.  As a priority, pursue exclusive listings for a lengthy period of time with all of your clients.  In this way, you will control market enquiry and convert more transactions personally.

So here are some rules that should apply to the prospecting process in helping you with your market share and future commercial real estate business opportunities.

  1. Get to know your territory intimately.  That will mean on a street by street basis and or property by property basis.  Your territory should not be too large or too complex.  You cannot be a commercial real estate specialist to everybody and every property type.
  2. Identify the existing properties on the market today and their time on market.  There will be reasons for properties not selling or not renting.  In each case you should review the competing properties and competing agencies to understand the errors in marketing and the poor performance of some of the salespeople involved.  Over time you can market yourself around weaker agencies and properties that have not been correctly promoted.
  3. Prospecting should be undertaken on a daily basis for at least 2 or 3 hours.  That should be the number one activity in your diary regardless of anything else.  When you set this rule and stick to it, you will achieve more market share and market intelligence.  Over time this will have a major impact on your commissions.  Cold calling should feature as a main component of your prospecting efforts.  This requires special diligence and commitment, but the rewards are many.
  4. Get to know the businesses throughout your local territory.  Those local business proprietors will understand and potentially help identify for you the changes to property in the local area.  Over time those businesses will also be looking for alternative premises to lease and or rent.  Those businesses can also be a great source of sale and leaseback activity.
  5. It is very easy to approach businesses as part of your prospecting model.  On that basis it should occur every day.  You will gain valuable market intelligence from the process.  It is somewhat harder to identify property owners and approach them.  That is mainly because they hide behind company structures and property trusts.  Create a list of prime properties in your region so that you can gradually work through the potential property ownership structures and identify the right people to talk to.  It will take time, however the results are significant.

While this list is not finite or complete, it will give you the foundation for the prospecting process to commence.  The commercial real estate industry is very much personally orientated and built on relationships.  Over time you must build relationships with key people, business proprietors, and property investors.

Commercial Real Estate Agents – Taking Action in Building Market Share

In commercial real estate agency it is easy to get distracted on things that will do nothing for your business or market share.  In many respects, the easiest way forward is not the best way.  Consistent action is required every day to build your market share in commercial real estate sales and leasing.  In that way you can proceed and grow the listing and commission opportunity as an agent.

The top agents of the industry work to a system or a plan.  They know the things that are required to help them move ahead.  They do those things every day.  It is the system that is taking them forward.

You hear so many wise and experienced salespeople in the industry say that nothing happens until you take action; they would be right, it is however the right action that is required so you can build your market.  You will know your market and the changes that are underway; those changes will give you priorities in action and focus.

Look for the Changes

Every month and every year the property market changes with respect to property enquiry, time on market, and listing quality.  Staying ahead of those changes will help you match the right actions to the market that exists.  So what can you do?  Try some of these:

  1. Building your new business prospects just has to be number one on your diary of activity as a commercial real estate agent.  When you do this you will find that the market will offer lots of opportunity.
  2. Keep track of new property developments so you can watch the balance of supply and demand that may have impact on your property type or in your territory.
  3. Keeping your listings moving ahead at all times.  Exclusive listings are really important in this process.  Open listings are basically a waste of time unless you know that you have a buyer or tenant available now or soon.
  4. Connecting with Clients has to continue in all markets and at all times.  A good database will help you do just that.  How many prospects and clients should you have in your database that you regard as high value and active?  The answer is about 300.  It takes time to build those numbers but the process works.  You may have more contacts than that now, however the number of 300 relates to the key people that you believe that may have momentum and want some property help in the future.
  5. Work to a system of prospecting and cold calling on a regular daily basis.  Each day a call system will create new meetings if you call enough people. So how many people should you call each day?  The answer is about 40.  You will not get through to 40 people but you should get through to at least 15 people and of those you should be able to get at least one meeting with some opportunity.

Set clear targets for listings, prospecting, meetings, and contracts or leases.  Use a database to capture all of your contacts and meetings on a daily basis.