One of the biggest problems facing commercial real estate brokers is in the capturing and handling inbound property inquiries successfully and on time. The volume and the quality of inquiries coming to you will always help with growth of market share and commissions. It takes quite a lot of marketing effort to build a quality ‘pipeline’ of inquiry, so your marketing system should be protected and tuned where necessary for the best of results. When the telephone rings, it is time to ‘step up a notch’ to convert the inquiry.
It should be said that the quality of the listings that you work on will have something to do with the volume of inquiry that you create. Another important factor to consider in the same equation is that of the exclusive listing process. When you control the stock, you control the inquiry; that then helps you move to a controlled inspection process and negotiation. Set your rules and marketing processes accordingly.
Capturing a genuine inquiry
Any genuine inquiry should be tracked and encouraged to convert to a sale or lease situation. Unfortunately most people coming to you and making genuine property inquiries are already talking to a few agents locally; that means your system of response and action should be of the highest quality to capture and convert any genuine opportunity that exists.
Don’t let the genuine inquiry ‘slip through your fingers’. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a person you may have spoken to last week about a listed property, complete a sale or a leasing transaction with another agent.
Here are some ideas to help you with your customer inquiry processes in commercial real estate:
- All agents and brokers should be receptive to inquiries and calls throughout the working day and over the weekend. To assist with that timely process all emails, mobile telephone calls, and office based inquiries should be responded to efficiently and accurately within the first 2 hours. Many people making inquiries will move to another agent or brokerage if a follow-up telephone call for the supply of information takes too long.
- Given that many salespeople will be out in the marketplace prospecting for new business and attending meetings almost every day, the administrative support staff in the office should understand how to capture and qualify a property inquiry for the sales and leasing team. They should also know how to allocate the inquiry to the right salesperson and get the message delivered for response.
- Allocate particular administrative staff to the support of certain top agents or salespeople. In that way the control of inquiry can be accurately channeled to the sales team and followed through.
- Any support person taking an inquiry regards a particular property listing or property type should understand the basic information to question, qualify and capture. In that way the salesperson getting the information will know how to react and what material to have available in making the call.
- When it comes to a major marketing campaign or high quality property, it is worthwhile to create a simple inquiry form with the necessary questions to be used in prospect qualification. That form can then be circulated across the administrative support team and all agents. At the end of the day the forms can be compared to the responses created and the follow-up information systems still to be activated.
- Every inbound call should be recorded and collated into the database. That collation process should include telephone numbers, e-mail, property requirements, timing, and location. The database should be sufficiently segmented to help with prospects groupings and property matching.
Property inquiries will come to you in a variety of ways so be prepared. At times you will find certain listings generating a lot of inquiry and stretching the resources within the office to respond. If that is the case, you should allocate further support staff to the major project or property marketing campaign.