In commercial real estate brokerage, prospecting is the ‘engine room’ of opportunity when it comes to creating new listings and finding new clients. In saying that it directly follows that marketing is the ‘lube, service, and oil change’ of the engine room to keep commissions coming in. Marketing continuity happens to attract deals, negotiations, and inspections, but the prospecting process is the ‘front end’ of the industry. It’s where careers are made or destroyed.
When someone says to me that things are slow, I will usually ask them questions about their prospecting activities. The answers I get are generally a mixture of the following:
- The market is slow with no inquiries coming in
- The competition agents are taking more clients
- Other agents are offering lower commissions
- I’m doing plenty of marketing but little inquiry is coming in
- I made some calls yesterday but couldn’t find any business
- Cold calling doesn’t work
- I’m too busy to make prospecting calls and find new clients
- Quality listings are hard to attract
- Other agents are paying for all property marketing to attract listings
I am sure you have heard variations of these statements. In our industry it is far too convenient to find excuses and blame other people or market factors for a slowing of listings, enquiry, or deals.
If you think that your market share can and should be better, then now is a great time to look at your prospecting activities. Find out what’s happening, improve on your strengths in connecting with new clients, and resolve your weaknesses.
New Business Prospecting Strategies and Ideas
To keep things really simple and help you move ahead as an agent, here is a list of facts that are just so important to our property specialty of commercial real estate:
- Connecting with new people every day is an essential rule for agents that cannot be avoided, especially if you aspire to reach the top of your local property market as an agent or broker. Every agent should have a system of prospecting and networking that puts them in front of new people regularly.
- There will always be some form of competition to contend with; you will want to have some points of difference and benefit that integrate into your marketing packages and listing efforts. Strive to be the best in what you do and say to everyone in your market. Don’t be generic in any way (except perhaps with open listings). Show every client that you really do command a solid market share in targeted tenants or buyers as the case may be.
- Don’t be afraid to assert yourself with clients that are unrealistic on their property expectations. Commercial real estate is not an experiment in marketing; it is a very specific process that requires a balance of all elements including promotional methods, price, and direct database contact.
- Improve your pitch and presentation skills through practice so you are converting at least 75% of the presentations that you make.
- Be innovative in marketing your exclusive listings directly to the buyer and tenant segments. Lift the telephone and make calls to the investors and business proprietors in the local area. Use success letters as part of communicating results on current listings.
- Use your database every day to talk to ever more people. Also use the database to stay in contact with others that know you and you have spoken to before.
- Use local informational updates regards property market trends, developments, and sales or leases to keep your prospects up to date on issues in the area.
This is not ‘rocket science’ but it is very specific. There are some real things to get under control if you want to rise to the top of your industry as a top agent or broker. Are you up to the challenge?