In commercial real estate brokerage, the prospecting letter process will help your growth of market share and prospecting activity. That being said, it is one of a number of things that will allow you to reach the right people over time. Don’t spend all of your prospecting time only on the direct letter activity. Be prepared to do other things for across your market and with the right market segments. Mix and match your prospecting activities within a system and a daily contact process.
The suggestion here is that the process of sending letters should be used in conjunction with other networking and client contact activities. When you send a letter to a prospect or client, it should be followed up.
Unfortunately many real estate agents send lots of prospecting letters and do little to follow through with the necessary telephone calls. There are common reasons for this fundamental error in marketing and here are some of them:
- Not enough time to follow through with calls
- Too many letters were sent out at one time preventing any timely follow-up
- Lack of organisation when it comes to devoting time to the process
- Lack of the necessary research to find the right people to send the letters to
So here are some rules to help you with establishing a prospecting letter cycle and system for your commercial real estate brokerage. You can vary these factors based on your location and your property speciality:
- It is far better to send a small number of prospecting letters each day that you can follow up with a telephone call, than to send hundreds of letters each week with no follow-up. You can waste a lot of money when it comes to postage and timing if you send too many letters.
- When you focus on sending a small number of letters each day, you can be quite specific and far more successful when it comes to researching the right people to connect with. You can dig down into your local town or city and the property activity in each case. As a good benchmark for the process, target five new people per day to put into the direct letter contact process. Over a 90 day period, this target number produces approximately 300 new prospects or suspects for your database. From that point onwards, you can maintain ongoing contact. Most of the business that we do in commercial real estate is the result of regular contact and the establishment of trust with the right people.
- The letter itself should be simple in message and layout. Generally it should be comprised of only three or four paragraphs on a single page of correspondence. Don’t say too much or complicate the message. Understand why you are connecting with the prospect; the correspondence should be structured towards the ultimate target that you are seeking. Do you want a meeting? Do you want them to take your telephone call? Do you want to tell them about another property for sale or for lease locally? Simplify the letter in all cases.
- It is well known that some words are better than others when it comes to attracting the interest of the reader. On that basis you can get a number of letters together as part of an annual direct contact process across your database. You can also have the letters written by a professional copywriter familiar with the industry using words that sell.
- Always enclose your business card with the correspondence. It doesn’t matter if you know the client or prospect; your business card needs to be enclosed. Your business card is the cheapest and most effective marketing tool that you have at your disposal. Enclose your business card with everything that you send from your office.
- As a general rule, the prospecting mail should be focused on a request for a meeting or a telephone call. You can then make the call in follow-up and in moving to the next stage of the connection. I go back to the point that some agents simply send letters hoping that they will achieve more enquiries from the local area. Letters without follow-up do very little to grow market share and waste a lot of money in postage.
- Send these direct letters at a frequency of once every two months or three months to the same people. The message and the theme should be different each time. Make sure that you are showing your relevance and speciality in each letter contact cycle.
So the prospecting process doesn’t need to be complicated but it does need to be direct. That’s why the telephone calls should follow-up every piece of correspondence that you send out. Be prepared to make the calls and establish the levels of trust with the right people over time.
As a final note, emails are no substitute for prospecting letters. In most cases, an email will be deleted and forgotten well before you try and make telephone contact with the client or prospect.