The screening process should occur in commercial real estate brokerage with every property buyer or tenant. Understand how they have reached you, and why they are contacting you. Get to the real facts of the matter in each and every case.
The screening and qualification process can help you with understanding the effectiveness of the marketing process for each particular listing. You will soon identify the factors that are attracting the right people to call you. Those factors will change throughout the year given the shifts in sentiment and activity in the business and property investment segments.
Here are some ideas to help you with the screening process:
- Before you give out too much information across the telephone, understand who the person is and why they are calling you. Get their contact details as an initial priority. If they have any reluctance to share details with you at this basic level, then any property listing information should be similarly withheld. In many cases you can be talking to another agent that is masquerading as a genuine property enquiry.
- Certain methods of marketing will be more effective than others. Asking questions will help you identify the right marketing channels for the property type and location. That will then help you spend your marketing money more efficiently and directly.
- Most of the enquiry we get today with any property listings will come across the Internet or the telephone; either way the person you are talking to will be looking for basic information to satisfy their basic questions. It is critical that you respond to any of these requests quickly and directly. That will then help in urging the person to make further and deeper contact with you.
- Ideally it is best to meet with any person making a genuine property inquiry. You can then drill down further into their property needs, market knowledge, and property attributes. For this reason you do need to be selective when giving out information across the telephone or by e-mail. Give enough information that helps them move to the next stage of meeting with you.
- With many of the properties that we list today, there will be a need for a prospect to be fully qualified, and then there will be a need for a confidentiality agreement to be signed. That is before any deep and meaningful listing information is exchanged.
- Assuming you can meet with the person you can then move to specific questions on property location, budget, finance, local market knowledge, business needs, investment criteria, and any recent inspections they may have undertaken. It is quite likely that they are currently talking to many other agents in your town or city. It is also likely that they have inspected a number of other properties locally. If you have too many open listings on your books, it is reasonable to assume that they have inspected some of those properties with other agents.
To assist with this whole process, you can establish a checklist relative to sales, leasing, or property management. Keep the checklist at hand on your desk and also within your marketing folder for immediate and frequent use. At the end of every day these standard checklists can be entered into the database following your discussions with a number of qualified prospects.