Proven Strategies for Finding Clients and Prospects in Commercial Real Estate Agency

Often I get the question put to me on just how agents can find prospects and the right people to talk to about commercial real estate opportunities.  Salespeople that are new to the industry are commonly looking for that ‘magic bullet’ that will help them do their prospecting easily and directly.   So there is no ‘magic bullet’, but there are definite ways to get things under control.  As we near the start of another 12 months of selling activity, now might be a good time to revisit the concept and question.

So let’s dispel any misunderstandings about prospecting for new business.  Here are some valuable words of experience about new business generation in commercial real estate brokerage:

  • You can’t delegate it to other people – So many agents and brokers try to ‘off load’ the cold calling and direct mail processes to others because they ‘fear rejection’; that simply doesn’t work.  If you are in the business of selling and leasing commercial real estate, then learn about it and improve the entire process.  Become and expert at every phase of business generation, marketing, negotiation, and documentation.
  • It takes time and process – Systems are required to capture information from the market.  When you look at it in basic terms those systems are researching the right people, making first contact, asking questions, building relevance, and establishing ongoing contact.  You can add to the ‘process’ a reasonable database strategy, direct contact, and online marketing.
  • Practice is required – So many agents don’t practice their craft often enough (and sometimes not at all).  That can and is usually a very limiting hurdle in growing market share.  Practice your dialogue and skills across all facets of cold calling, prospecting, inspections, negotiations, and property presentation.

There are some real advantages to be seized when you follow these simple tips.

Creative prospecting requires full use of the right resources that can direct you to new property owners and business people in the local area. Here are some good sources of leads and opportunities:

  1. The Business Telephone book – Use the business telephone book to methodically move through and contact every business located in your sales territory.  Find out what those businesses are doing as far as property needs and property use.  Track lease expires and potential relocation.
  2. Business Types – Given that you may specialize in a certain property type, there will be business types that match the property and the location.  Drill down on the categories of businesses that would fit your property type for sale or for lease.  Make plenty of cold calls to those businesses.
  3. Other Agents Listings – When a competitor puts a sign on a property, research all the property owners and businesses (20 or so) around that listing.  Directly approach them for interest in competition in a sale or lease campaign.
  4. Quality Exclusive Listings – When you comprehensively market a quality property, you will find plenty of inquiries coming your way.  Capture those inquiries for ongoing contact.
  5. Property Owners – On a street by street basis, contact all the property owners.  It takes time and a lot of effort, but eventually you will get a good list of property owners into your database. To make things easier here, contact 2 property owners per day.  Eventually the process will get a bit easier depending on the records and the database that you are using.
  6. Old Sales – Go back into the sales records for your region over the last 5 years.  Make contact with every property owner that purchased property in that time.  They will soon be ready to purchase again or sell.  Don’t be afraid to contact other agent’s clients and build a relationship of contact.

So there are plenty of leads and opportunities for new business in this list.  You can see now why a systematized and diligent process is required to make things come together.

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