In commercial real estate brokerage, successful prospecting opens up a whole new world in listings and commissions. It’s not ‘rocket science’; it’s just a fact. Common questions that I get from new salespeople to the industry about prospecting and networking are very similar to the following:
- How long should I prospect for?
- What do I say?
- Can I stop prospecting at any time in the future?
- Do I have to do it every day?
- What if I get a client or a contract to work on first?
- How many people do I call?
- What can I offer them?
- How often do I make the calls?
- What if they say ‘no’?
- Should I push for a meeting?
- How do I record my progress?
- What if they don’t want to talk to me?
So the list goes on and on. Far too many agents and brokers struggle with the questions and fail to take action for a reasonable period of time. Action in prospecting will provide you with the answers; it’s that simple. Every town or city will have its segments of sellers, buyers, tenants, and investors to be explored and contacted. That means there are plenty of calls to be made. Lots of people will say ‘no thanks’ but some will say ‘maybe’ or ‘yes’. Consistency is the key to making all of this work. The best agents in the business make lots of calls and do it regardless of how much new business they are generating. Make the calls every day; that’s the rule. So who do you contact when you are a commercial real estate agent? Here is a list to get you started:
- Property owners are always first on the list, but they are the hardest ones to find. The contact detail for them will be hidden inside property records or property ownership structures. Make it a goal to chase down 3 to 5 new property owners per day. That will take time but the rewards of reaching these people are high.
- Business owners are always on the lookout for property help at some stage of owing or occupying the premises that they are in. Keep them up to date with market information on prices, rentals, time on market, current listings, and any new developments coming up.
- Property professionals include solicitors and accountants. Both of these groups have plenty of clients, some of which can need property help from time to time. Make the connection and provide valuable local property solutions in sales, leasing, and property management.
- Property developers are ‘players’ in the market; they come and go based on margins and profits in commercial property. Make contact with a few developers but remember that they are likely to be talking to every other agent and broker in town. Carefully control the information that you give them and certainly only do so if you are comfortable that they are trustworthy and committed to you as the agent to help them. When in doubt don’t tell the whole story. Confidentiality agreements are useful tools when it comes to working with property developers.
In talking to these groups you can and will open up a ‘whole new world’ of market activity and listing opportunity. The agent that controls the listing controls the market; on that basis focus on getting listings and exclusive ones at that. When you control the listing stock the real estate business gets a lot easier. On a final note it should be said that ‘quality listings’ will attract more enquiry and potentially better connections with local investors and property owners.