It is a fact that you can get a lot of high quality leads in commercial real estate brokerage from working with accountants and solicitors. That is simply because those people in both of the professions have clients with property issues and opportunities.
A top real estate agent will generally work a selection of these high quality contacts specifically to attract new business. In saying that, here are some important observations if you want to open up the new connections with solicitors and accountants:
- It takes time to connect with these people given that they do not know you and may have no immediate need to talk to you.
- They will not expose or introduce you to their clients until they respect your skills and trust you as an industry professional.
- When they see and understand that you have successfully resolved a problem for their clients, they are likely to feed you with more clients and listing opportunities.
- It is also productive to introduce your clients to these industry professionals when legal or financial advice is required in commercial property investment.
To work your way closer to these industry professionals you should merge a contact management plan into your prospecting system. Approaching these people is a bit different because they are generally harder to contact or talk to; they have gatekeepers and layers of people to protect them from random contact and unwanted calls.
The best way to reach out to these local solicitors and accountants is to follow a contact process similar to the following:
- Research the larger legal businesses and financial professionals in your town or city. By making a call to each company, find out who may be the leading person or the property specialist in each case. You will need a name, a title, and a postal address. Don’t waste time talking to people that are not ‘property interested’ or related.
- Draft a simple one page letter that you can send to the identified contacts. The letter should be contained on a single sheet of A4 paper and contain only 3 or 4 paragraphs.
- In the letter enclose your business card, and nothing else.
- Sign the letters individually in blue ink. Make sure your signature is professionally legible and readable.
- The purpose of the letter is to introduce yourself as an industry professional focusing on commercial real estate, and for you to seek a meeting where you can share property related information for the local area.
- Send the letters at the beginning of a working week on a Monday, so you can make follow-up calls on Thursday or Friday.
- Make your calls at the end of the week to set up meetings for the next coming week.
The logic from all of this says that you should have prepared a ‘property update’ report that you can share in the meeting with these people; relevance and professionalism will help you move to the next stage. It should be expected that on first approach you will not get through to all of the people that you send letters to. In some circumstances it will take 3 or 4 letters and calls over an extended period of time to break through the walls of people and business barriers. Understand that the person that you want to talk to is likely to be very busy. They will only meet with you when they can see a purpose and a benefit to them.
If you are struggling to reach out to certain people because they will not take your calls, then just send a new letter every 90 days and keep up the request for a meeting for 5 letters. If you have not achieved that meeting by the 5th letter sent, then relegate that person to the bottom of your list. They can be approached again in the future when things are different or the property market has changed. Persistence and organisation in commercial real estate go hand in hand.