It is a fact that the quality of your prospecting in commercial real estate brokerage will radically impact your sales and commissions. When a real estate agent or broker says to me that listing and sales are slow, I ask the question ‘How is your prospecting at the moment?’ That’s when I usually get a ‘glazed over’ response and generic statement like ‘Sure, really good’.
Most agents don’t prospect regularly enough and with the right focus. That is then a great opportunity for those that do. I know that prospecting is the number one issue in my diary every day, and that it will be done regardless of anything else that is required of my time.
So how is ‘prospecting’ for you? Can it be better? Take a few moments to consider just how many ‘new people’ you actually spoke to yesterday; by saying ‘new people’ I mean those that you have not connected with before. Most agents will be lucky if they speak to an average of 2 new people per day across an entire year! This lack of prospecting is the single most restricting factor in creating new listings and sales opportunities at a personal level for most agents. That then has major impact on commissions and leads.
When I start up a new area or territory for commercial real estate opportunity I do it this way:
- I set up a series of spread sheets (or sections of a database) for tenants, landlords, property investors, and developers. The information that is captured here will be highly valuable in helping build market share. By talking to new people, I know that the information I capture will be the foundation of future commissions.
- I split the sales area into zones of focus. I segment the zones based on activity and geographical boundaries. Getting to know the key properties and owners in the zone is really important. Visiting the ‘sales territory’ every day is critical for understanding changes and opportunities.
- I look for the differences between sales, leasing, and property management from the angle of what can be professionally serviced within the brokerage. If I am lacking skills in any segments of professional service, then training would be a good option.
- Every evening I create a list of 50 more new people or businesses to talk to the next day. This I know is a real challenge for most brokers given the organisation required to get this done. In the first three months of any prospecting efforts I know this preparation process is really important to getting traction and presence in the area.
- I consistently make 50 calls per day when establishing a new market in sales and leasing. That will take me 2 or 3 hours. Some calls will connect and others will have to be followed up later. Consistency in follow through is critical to new business and listings. Property management opportunities will also come from talking to new people.
- The current listings and agents that are operating in the area will need to be identified and watched. I track the time on market, the trends in prices and rents, as well as the activities of competitors. I then look at the strengths and weaknesses of each. I can replicate the things that are working and create some real points of difference to tap into underserviced market segments.
- Some property owners may be selling or leasing their property. They will also be targets to focus on and connect with.
These are all simple rules to follow, and I know that they work; it is just a matter of time and focus. They do however require a stoic commitment to process. Start your career in commercial real estate in this way, and you will find the new business that you are looking for. Commissions and listings will soon not be a problem.