Saturday, March 22, 2014

Smarter Prospecting and Cold Calling in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

telephone conference phone
Cold call prospecting is a critical skill in commercial real estate brokerage.
There are many ways to prospect and cold call for new business opportunity in commercial real estate today.  Importantly every agent and broker should have a system that they work to generating new business leads and opportunities.

Most of the new business created today by agents will come from personal effort and directed prospecting activities.  The agency that you work for, or the broker that employs you has very little to do with the process of new business generation.

Here are some rules to help the new business prospecting process and particularly so in sales and leasing activity.  Perhaps you can add to the list:

  1. Divide your territory up into precincts or zones.  That will then help you focus into particular streets and with certain property types.  In a larger sales territory you simply cannot cover the entire area all at once.  There are just too many issues and market trends to cover.  Split your territory up into groups of 100 properties at a time.  You then meticulously work through the property ownership records and the business owners in occupation.  Through that process you will identify fresh leads and opportunities for now or into the future.
  2. Devote 3 hours to the prospecting process every day; it is a  discipline that takes time to establish but the rewards are many.  That new business prospecting is best done first thing in the morning or in the afternoon.  You get better results from cold calling and prospecting when you keep up the momentum for a solid period of time.  Habits are are critical part of the process.  The minimum time frame for making new contacts should be 2 hours, and the acceptable time frame to target for should be 3 hours per day.
  3. Ideally you should be creating 2 new meetings each day and in a face to face situation with people that may need your services now or in the future.  Connect with the right people and build productive relationships over time.  Provide relevant information of interest and of value to genuine Property Investors and business owners.
  4. The top agents of the industry work consistently to a pattern of activities every working day.  You also need to devise your system to help you with that process.  Disciplined and directed effort are very important skills for a commercial real estate broker.  Understand your ratios.  How many people do you have to call to create 2 meetings per day?  How many meetings per week do you require for a listing conversion?  How many exclusive listings do you convert to completed sales or leases (the target should be at least 75%).
  5. Qualify the people that you talk to, given that some may be genuine, and others may be less motivated or honest when it comes to property inspections and requirements.  Before you arrange an inspection or a meeting, fully qualify the people that you are talking to and look for the signals or barriers that could waste your time in that inspection. 
  6. When you talk to a prospect or potential client, understand exactly what they are looking for, when they need it, and who they have spoken to previously.  They may be working all the local agents and have inspected many open listings; the only point of difference you can bring them is in exclusive listings that other agents can't quote or access.
  7. Track and measure the results you are getting from your prospecting activities on a daily and weekly basis.  Some of your activities will be more effective than others.  Repeat the things that work for you and build a database of qualified prospects in doing so.
An effective prospecting system today involves a number of strategies including cold calling, door knocking, direct mail, e-mail marketing, web sites, blogging, and social media.

When you list selectively and exclusively, you will control the inspections and the inquiries.  When you focus on quality listings, you will get more inquiries from genuine buyers or tenants as the case may be.  Quality listings can create better leads and opportunities providing you comprehensively market the properties in a well directed vendor paid marketing campaign.

So the message here is quite clear.  The prospecting and networking process in commercial real estate today is quite specific and direct.  As an agent or a broker you need to go out into the market and find the people to talk to.  It's a daily process that will have a significant impact on your listing conversions and commission opportunities.  The only thing you need to get started is discipline.