In commercial real estate agency today so many salespeople and leasing executives struggle with cold calling. They find it frustrating and quite soon they will find something else to do. Unfortunately cold call prospecting is then avoided for the future; they incorrectly move away from the one thing that can change their lead conversions forever.
So what stops you from making the calls? Here is a good list:
- Poor organisation
- Call reluctance
- No dialogue
- No momentum
- No database
- Lack of a prospect list
- Clients, etc
Make no mistake, cold calling is hard but it does produce volumes of results when you improve your call contact systems. It takes a mindset and a process that should be practiced.
All of this being said, there are some very simple things that you can do that will help you radically with the call contact process; one of the most effective is based on two simple words. The words are ‘stand up’.
When I say ‘stand up’ I am referring to you standing up when you make your contact and cold calls. So many top real estate agents do it; you probably do it now when you are making a mobile telephone call as you walk!
The fact of the matter is that your call quality and conversational ability is a lot higher when you stand up and talk on the telephone. There is something in moving and talking at the same time that goes well together. Whatever the secret is, you should try it and use it.
The benefits here are quite clear:
- More call confidence
- Better conversational ability
- Better tonality in the call voice
- ‘Right brain’ thinking as you talk
If you put all of these factors together you will find that those hard to make cold calls will be a lot easier for you. It really doesn’t really matter if you have clients and prospects in commercial or retail property sales, leasing, or property management, the fact of the issue is that you should be making lots of cold calls each week to people that you have not spoken to before. That’s how you build market share.
Start to work on you mindset and use the ‘stand up’ process to improve you call conversations and dialogue. Quite soon you will see some new confidence in the calling process; when that happens you will convert more meetings. A good result, don’t you think?
In commercial real estate today and in your agency, it is necessary to have a good selection of quality listings. Quality listings will always create solid enquiry in any market. It is those quality listings that will help you with dominating your territory and converting more commissions.
It is an observed fact that low quality listings produce poor enquiry. It is much harder to build your market share and listing opportunity as a commercial real estate agent from poor quality listings. That being said, it is also the case that open listings produce poor quality commercial real estate activity. As a priority, pursue exclusive listings for a lengthy period of time with all of your clients. In this way, you will control market enquiry and convert more transactions personally.
So here are some rules that should apply to the prospecting process in helping you with your market share and future commercial real estate business opportunities.
- Get to know your territory intimately. That will mean on a street by street basis and or property by property basis. Your territory should not be too large or too complex. You cannot be a commercial real estate specialist to everybody and every property type.
- Identify the existing properties on the market today and their time on market. There will be reasons for properties not selling or not renting. In each case you should review the competing properties and competing agencies to understand the errors in marketing and the poor performance of some of the salespeople involved. Over time you can market yourself around weaker agencies and properties that have not been correctly promoted.
- Prospecting should be undertaken on a daily basis for at least 2 or 3 hours. That should be the number one activity in your diary regardless of anything else. When you set this rule and stick to it, you will achieve more market share and market intelligence. Over time this will have a major impact on your commissions. Cold calling should feature as a main component of your prospecting efforts. This requires special diligence and commitment, but the rewards are many.
- Get to know the businesses throughout your local territory. Those local business proprietors will understand and potentially help identify for you the changes to property in the local area. Over time those businesses will also be looking for alternative premises to lease and or rent. Those businesses can also be a great source of sale and leaseback activity.
- It is very easy to approach businesses as part of your prospecting model. On that basis it should occur every day. You will gain valuable market intelligence from the process. It is somewhat harder to identify property owners and approach them. That is mainly because they hide behind company structures and property trusts. Create a list of prime properties in your region so that you can gradually work through the potential property ownership structures and identify the right people to talk to. It will take time, however the results are significant.
While this list is not finite or complete, it will give you the foundation for the prospecting process to commence. The commercial real estate industry is very much personally orientated and built on relationships. Over time you must build relationships with key people, business proprietors, and property investors.
In commercial real estate agency it is easy to get distracted on things that will do nothing for your business or market share. In many respects, the easiest way forward is not the best way. Consistent action is required every day to build your market share in commercial real estate sales and leasing. In that way you can proceed and grow the listing and commission opportunity as an agent.
The top agents of the industry work to a system or a plan. They know the things that are required to help them move ahead. They do those things every day. It is the system that is taking them forward.
You hear so many wise and experienced salespeople in the industry say that nothing happens until you take action; they would be right, it is however the right action that is required so you can build your market. You will know your market and the changes that are underway; those changes will give you priorities in action and focus.
Look for the Changes
Every month and every year the property market changes with respect to property enquiry, time on market, and listing quality. Staying ahead of those changes will help you match the right actions to the market that exists. So what can you do? Try some of these:
- Building your new business prospects just has to be number one on your diary of activity as a commercial real estate agent. When you do this you will find that the market will offer lots of opportunity.
- Keep track of new property developments so you can watch the balance of supply and demand that may have impact on your property type or in your territory.
- Keeping your listings moving ahead at all times. Exclusive listings are really important in this process. Open listings are basically a waste of time unless you know that you have a buyer or tenant available now or soon.
- Connecting with Clients has to continue in all markets and at all times. A good database will help you do just that. How many prospects and clients should you have in your database that you regard as high value and active? The answer is about 300. It takes time to build those numbers but the process works. You may have more contacts than that now, however the number of 300 relates to the key people that you believe that may have momentum and want some property help in the future.
- Work to a system of prospecting and cold calling on a regular daily basis. Each day a call system will create new meetings if you call enough people. So how many people should you call each day? The answer is about 40. You will not get through to 40 people but you should get through to at least 15 people and of those you should be able to get at least one meeting with some opportunity.
Set clear targets for listings, prospecting, meetings, and contracts or leases. Use a database to capture all of your contacts and meetings on a daily basis.
When it comes to making cold calls in commercial real estate, you need some form of checklist to help you with progressing the conversation in a relevant way. Most of the people that you call will have no interest or need when it comes to property sales or property leasing.
However some other people do have a need, and on that basis you should have a questioning process to help you move towards a meeting with these qualified people. Systemise everything when it comes to a cold calling model in your commercial real estate business.
Here are some rules to help you establish a checklist in the cold calling prospect process.
- The best way to get a cold calling system up and running is to start from an initial base of telephone numbers in the business telephone book. The local businesses will have some relationship to property either as a tenant or as a property owner. On that basis they become targets for information and ongoing contact.
- In most cities and towns, you will have a significant group of local businesses that can be fed into this call contact system. When you initially approach them it is simply a matter of understanding if they have a need or an interest when it comes to commercial property. They will be requiring the services of an experienced property agent at some stage in the future. Your job is to identify if that need is sooner or later.
- It is very hard to pitch your services across the telephone. It is far more effective to strike a conversation, arrange a meeting and establish the personal contact. Commercial real estate is quite complex when it comes to leasing sales and property management. On that basis, your priority in making calls should always be to establish a meeting first and foremost.
- As part of the call contact process, ensure that you have a good database to use in capturing the information identified and found. That database should categorise people into suspects, prospects, and clients. It should also categorise people into business owners, property owners, tenants, and property developers. Take control of your information with these categories.
The checklist process in making direct calls to businesses and property related people should have due regard to your local area. There are certain things in your local area that will be important to property owners and business proprietors. Here are some ideas that can be added to your contacting system and questioning process:
- Are they a tenant in the location?
- Do they own the property for the business?
- Are they aware of other property changes locally?
- Do they have needs of expansion or contraction for the business?
- Is relocation something that would help them?
- When do they consider property change?
All of this information will help you with the valuable market intelligence that you require. Over time your database can become a significant point of difference and advantage in building your commercial real estate market share.
When you work in commercial real estate, you really do need a top prospecting model to help you grab market share. The faster that you do this the better it will be for your career.
The most successful top agents, still prospect every day to keep the pipeline of opportunity pointed in their direction. If you are struggling with listings, now is the time to look at your prospecting system and refine it to something that is strong, and results driven.
I like to think of prospecting and cold calling as a ‘jet powered’ process. It is a bit like preparing for an overseas trip on a large airliner. You do all of the preparation work, you then turn up at the airport; you take your seat on the plane and then prepare for the ‘push in your back’. The engines build to maximum thrust and then you power down the runway.
The analogy really works when you look at commercial real estate sales and leasing. The preparation work has to be done; without that preparation you will not take off, it’s that simple.
Some agents are still sitting on the ‘runway’ when it comes time to turn on the ‘engines’, and some have returned to the terminal. Perhaps they have thought that a more local destination may be more realistic in a taxi! Perhaps they decide to walk home!
In this industry you get back that which you put in. The results and the market share are out there to be grabbed by those salespeople that ‘push’ themselves. Develop that ‘thrust’ when it comes to moving forward.
Experience says that prospecting will take you forward in a major way in commercial real estate. Every salesperson in any location should have a prospecting model that works for them. It will be a combination of a few different things that they do quite successfully every day.
Here are some tips to help your prospecting model:
- Devote 2 hours each day to prospecting. In the first instance this can be done on the telephone as part of a systemised cold calling process. The calls produce the meetings and that’s the way to make it all happen.
- Make your prospecting a daily event that you track in numbers of calls out, meetings, listings, and inspections. Every number that you track will help you move ahead.
- Expect that some of the things that you do will be ‘dead ends’, and that is just fine. Learn from the things that did not work for you and find those things that do work for you. Importantly you should be taking forward steps every day.
If you need more listings or you want some more commissions, now is the time to look at your business and prospecting model. If you are not getting your ‘fair share’, then the answer lies ‘within. When you adjust your systems and processes you will find better outcomes are possible.