In commercial real estate brokerage, every agent or broker should be prospecting for sales leads every day. The process should be part of the job specification for agents and brokers.
Whilst the prospecting requirement sounds obvious, it is quite clear that many agents and brokers will overlook the requirements for prospecting on a regular basis. This then creates difficulties with future listings and commission opportunities. Over a 12 month period, the agent or broker will then have many ‘peaks and valleys’ in personal performance. This does not need to be the case, and it can be rectified through the establishment of a strong prospecting model.
Here are some keys to the establishment of a networking and new business plan for commercial real estate brokers.
- You will need to make cold calls regardless of the agency or brokerage that you work for. Some leads will come to you as part of working within the brokerage, but most of the new business that you build will be personally created. Making telephone calls will be all part of that process.
- You can turn a telephone cold call into a warm call. That can be done through the sending of a letter prior to the call being made. The letter will introduce the call and prepare the person for your approach and conversation. Whilst the strategy works very well, you do have the issue of sending the letters to the right people and that will require the necessary address and contact details. Sending letters in this way will also place limitations on the amount of correspondence that you can get out each day. Every letter will need to be followed up.
- Build your profile as a commercial industrial or retail property expert in the local area. You can do that through signboard presence, and Internet listings. Make sure that you have your name on as many properties as possible. Specialize in a property type.
- Every meeting that you have with a prospect or a client will need to be supported by market knowledge and property strategy. The person that you are connecting with will want to see that you have a strong command of the marketplace and the local property activity.
- Following the first meeting that you have with a prospect, you can be an ongoing resource of valuable market information and property trends. The best way to support that process is through a newsletter and ongoing personal contact. Keep the prospect up to date with sale prices, rentals, recent sales and leases.
- The initial prospecting process will always be strengthened with the use of a script. Over time that script will evolve into your conversational style and will therefore no longer be needed. Confidence and relevance are key factors to making prospecting calls.
In closing on this point, it is worthwhile remembering that your search for new clients and prospects should not be done as a sales pitch. It should be one of conversation to establish if the person you are talking to has a need or an interest in commercial real estate. Any pitch that you believe should occur will only happen when you have a one on one meeting with the client or the prospect. That will be at a later time. Establishing the trust and the connection with the prospect should be your first priority.