In commercial real estate the cold calling process is a key component of winning new clients and business. In saying that, the telephone prospecting process takes a good degree of practice by any agent so the levels of confidence and relevance are supporting the process.
You can make lots of calls but without the required skills, conversions to meetings will be lower than desirable. Many agents avoid the process and try just about anything else they can to find new clients.
Cold Calling Questions
So there are some choices to be made here with telephone prospecting. Consider these questions as you ponder your real estate career opportunities and future market share:
- Can you consistently make 40 outbound calls every day to new people?
- Can you devote 2 or 3 hours to the outbound call process?
- Have you got access to some form of database recording process where you can enter the results of your calls, track future opportunities, and measure calling results?
- Why should someone listen to your call and conversation?
- What will you say in making the call to new people and prospects?
- What is the ultimate target for you in making cold calls?
- What questions would you ask over the telephone without the risk of being offensive?
- Are you prepared to practice the telephone contact skills for a few months to refine your results?
These questions will help you understand the system and momentum required to get your prospecting calls underway. New business is always available to the agent that chooses to chase the opportunities. Are you prepared to work hard?
Prospecting and Cold Calling Targets
Some of the biggest stumbling blocks seen in agents making outbound calls are in knowing just who to call, and then getting sufficiently organised to place the calls in a consistent way. Here is a list of key people to focus on as you create your call list:
- Property Investors – Finding property investors that are active in your town will come mainly through a couple of processes. The first is in researching investment properties in your territory street by street and building by building. The second is in taking calls from investors as you market high quality investment listings. Organisation is the key to keeping all of these facts under control.
- Business Owners – The business telephone book will help you find business owners. You can also research the businesses on a street by street basis. Making the calls to business owners is relatively easy. Keep your calls logical and professional. Ask the right questions.
- Tenants – Local tenants will have lease expiries to track and identify. Over time you can build a valuable source of leasing opportunities by talking to tenants. Your database will help you in the tracking process.
- Owner Occupiers – Some businesses prefer to own the premises that they occupy. Over time they can be sources of new business for property expansion, relocation, and potential sale and lease back.
- Solicitors and Accountants – These industry professionals usually have lots of clients active in commercial property. Commonly it takes a degree of time and effort for agents to tap into a few local solicitors and accountants. That is usually because those professionals are selective and cautious about just who they should trust their clients to in solving property problems. Open up the contact with the key solicitors and accountants locally, and then keep contacting them in a relevant way each 90 days into the future; relevance is the factor of attraction in getting them to talk to you. Eventually a few telephone calls can open up to meeting and lead generation opportunities.
- For Sale by Owners (FSBO) – There will always be property owners seeking to sell or lease investment properties locally themselves. Typically these property owners seek inflated prices for assets that can be a bit ordinary, and don’t like paying commissions to agents and brokers. They have a high opinion of what they think they can achieve, however the FSBO properties typically stay on the market for a long time (to be expected don’t you think?). In saying that, the FSBO owners certainly don’t have the resources of top agents and rely heavily on traditional advertising to generate enquiry for their property. Any agent with a large database of tenants and buyers will have more than sufficient leverage to convert owners in this category to listings. However, only agree to take on a FSBO listing if the owner is fair and reasonable in both the price or rent expectations and marketing. As a final note, demand exclusivity in the listing process (many FSBO owners cannot be totally trusted to disclose to you the complete facts about the property).
Cold calling is a very powerful tool in commercial real estate brokerage. Respect the process for what it is and refine your skills through daily practice for a couple of months. You can do that process as you arise each morning before leaving for work.