Summer is (almost) over. Take these 7 steps to reset and finish the year strong.

We’re over halfway through 2017, and as we head into Labor Day weekend, summer is drawing to a close. It’s time to take a pause, evaluate how things have gone so far, and plan for a successful close to the calendar year.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day pace of work and life. And often, when forced to choose between an easy task and one that requires deep, critical thinking, we choose the one that we can cross off our to-do the fastest. This can lead your priorities askew and cause you to stray from your goals.

That’s why it’s important to carve out time in your schedule for the tough stuff—the deep thinking that guides those day-to-day activities in the right direction. Here are some tips for ensuring strategic thinking doesn’t fall by the wayside so you can crush the remainder of 2017.

Topics: Best Practices Efficiency

6 ways to generate more referrals

Referrals are an amazing way to pick up new business, but you don’t have to sit around waiting for them to happen! Asking for referrals should be an automatic part of your process, just like following up with contacts or prospecting for new leads.

Consider this: People referred to you by your loyal clients are 37% more likely to stick around, according to Deloitte. But without those referrals, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities, since word of mouth can influence 20-50% of all purchasing decisions.

It’s clear that referrals are a valuable source of new business. Here’s how you can get even more of them:

Topics: Best Practices

The 4 craziest prospecting stories you told us

There are plenty of blog posts out there with tips to cold call, network, persuade, etc. In other words, there are plenty of prospecting tactics, but sometimes it’s helpful to remember that at the end of the day, it’s just two people making a connection in occasionally random ways.

We recently solicited your most surprising prospecting stories, and are pleased to share four experiences. 

Here are the craziest, funniest, most random broker prospecting stories we could find, filled with crazy characters, mysterious LLCs, celebrities, and an introduction in Antarctica.

Topics: Interviews

Senior housing market update: Overbuilding, market saturation, and the year it will all tip

Senior housing market valuations peaked at the end of 2015, but since descending from that high investors have struggled to agree on the sectors future. While Millennials overtook Baby Boomers as Americas largest generation last year, Baby Boomers remain an enormous generation and number some 76 million individuals. Many of those people are approaching ages where they are more likely to use senior housing services, and that demographic shift promises to accelerate demand in the senior housing industry.

But the story isnt that simple. The sector is experiencing headwinds as critical markets become overbuilt, yet experts dont agree on the severity or scope of the problem. While short-term and long-term prospects in the sector differ, investors who understand the evolving dynamics at play are well positioned to take advantage of market opportunities.

Topics: Industry News

7 ways to use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to prospect better

Have you tried LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator tool yet? It can shortcut the process of finding qualified leads and lets you play with a treasure trove of user data so that you can unearth prospects based on everything from zip code to common interests—which is far more than you can do with the regular search function.

Here are a few ways the Sales Navigator can help you prospect:

Topics: Best Practices Efficiency

A step-by-step guide to nailing your elevator pitch

We’ve all been told to have our elevator pitch ready. After all, you never know when you’ll bump into the CEO of the company, or a major investor who just happens to be looking for new representation.

But how many of us really have something to say, besides the dry facts of what we do? We hate to say it, but no one really cares that you’re a tenant rep broker servicing the greater Seattle area…

That’s because there are many other commercial real estate professionals just like you, and simply saying what it is you do, rather than who you are and why you do what you do, doesn’t set you apart and it certainly doesn’t get you remembered.

Topics: Best Practices

Know your stuff, show your stuff. Your next deal depends on it.

A few years ago, my Honda Civic finally kicked the bucket and it was time yet again to go new car shopping. Some dread the task, but I was excited to put my years of reading Motortrend to work. I headed into the dealership armed with facts and figures, as well as the various opinions of automotive journalists in case the conversation got serious.

A sales guy started chatting me up right away so I threw him some softball question. I was looking to connect―all he had to do was react to what I said and display some semblance of knowledge. He didn’t do either of those things. He just sort of nodded and then started talking about the car in question and various “facts” that I was able to sniff out as falsehoods immediately.

I was out of there. He was out of a sale.

I hope you haven’t done this, or I hope you’ve only done it once. Once is all it takes to learn how important it is to know your product and your customer, and to have all that information on hand when it’s time to connect. Being able to have a smart, meaningful conversation is the key to being an effective salesperson.

Topics: Best Practices Efficiency

What to know about the 3 disruptive technologies gunning for your job

From cashiers to car washes, weve watched technology reshape industries and eliminate jobs through increased automation.

While many of us may have thought more complex roles and industries would remain sheltered from increasingly advanced technology, a recent report by Remit Consulting said 88% of the core tasks performed by real estate service firms are ripe for technological takeover.

Topics: Disruption Efficiency

The broker's guide to better business writing

In business, first impressions are often made not with a handshake, but with an email. And the message we send with the quality and clarity of our writing often speaks louder than the content itself.

When was the last time you thought about your skill as a writer? If you’re answer is, "Not since high school English class,” then this post is for you. From crafting a tweet to sending a follow-up email, you will constantly be judged on your writing.

Keep reading for some of our favorite tips for better business writing:

Topics: Best Practices

7 ways to master the ‘invisible agenda’ at your next conference

How will you prepare for the upcoming fall conference season? Even if you love the spontaneity of chatting up a new contact in the lunch line or comparing notes with the person next to you at the panel discussion, planning ahead can pay off in far more high-quality opportunities.

Here’s the secret: at every conference, there’s always the official agenda and the “invisible agenda,” the one you won’t find on the website. It encompasses all the informal handshakes and conversations between sessions, as well as pre-arranged meetings and even a few “spontaneous” get-togethers. You could go through an entire conference and never notice this invisible agenda unfolding all around you. Or you could be the one who sets it.

Topics: Best Practices

[Free ebook] The Broker's Guide to More Efficient Prospecting

If we were telling you about a beginner’s guide to prospecting in commercial real estate, we would talk about networking and canvassing. There would be advice about how to talk to people everywhere, all the time. You’d find tips for cold calling and email outreach, and guidance on scheduling and tracking your efforts.

But this ebook isn’t a beginner’s guide. This is for brokers who are past the struggles of the early years, where organization is still a work in progress. This is for brokers who are ready to build a scalable process that ensures their pipeline stays full and the paychecks keep coming. We assume that you have centralized technology and a CRM, not just a collection of Excel spreadsheets. (If not, start with A Practical Guide to CRM for Commercial Real Estate).

And we’re going to be honest—to become an expert, you need to put in the work. There are ways to be more efficient, but there are no true shortcuts. To make more money, you need to invest in technology and take the time to implement better processes. But it’s worth it.

Topics: Best Practices Efficiency

6 commercial real estate podcasts you should be following

Commercial real estate is an evolving industry, and to stay ahead of the competition, its essential to stay on top of developing trends and market dynamics. While taking a class is a great way to learn new material, classes are expensive and most people in the industry are time-strapped enough as it is. Whether youre on your commute or at the gym, following the right podcasts is one of the most convenient ways to keep up.

When it comes to commercial real estate podcasts, the market is saturated with potentially helpful material. To sort through the mass, we put together a list of seven podcasts sure to benefit anyone in the industry. Take your continued education one step further and pair these podcasts with the right books and you are sure to stay ahead.

Topics: Industry News

4 brands getting experiential retail right

It’s no secret that brick and mortar retailers are switching things up in an attempt to stay relevant. Companies of all shapes and sizes are feeling the heat from Amazon and the general shift in consumer preferences.

To be more specific, consumers are becoming are less and less interested in things. They want experiences, even in their shopping routines. Hence the idea of “experiential retail,” an attempt to create a well-rounded or interesting experience for shoppers outside of just the purchase of goods. If done right, these experiences keep people in the store longer and are also highly shareable on social media.

Here are four retailers who are doing it right:

Topics: Industry News

11 things to outsource on Fiverr—from the helpful to the absurd

As a commercial real estate professional, your workday rarely ends at 5pm. Somedays, the real work may not even begin until then, or you might just be working round-the-clock—ready to take a client call at any moment.

That’s why the way you choose to spend your time matters. You don’t get paid to sit behind a desk, you get paid when you produce. So how do you ensure your time is being spent working on deals and not on useless paperwork?

Topics: Efficiency

Do you spend enough time following up?

You may already know that most brokers don’t spend nearly enough time prospecting—and we’re willing to bet that fewer spend time actively monitoring and following up on those leads.

But not following up or keeping in touch is like ordering a mouthwatering burger and then walking away from the table when it arrives. You can smell how good it’s going to taste, but you never actually take that first bite. The same goes for prospecting: you can almost smell how good that deal’s going to be if it materializes. But if you don’t follow up, you are literally leaving an opportunity on the table!

By now, you should have a consistent prospecting strategy. Next, make sure you’re finishing the job by following up strategically. Here’s how to do it:

Topics: Best Practices

7 essential books for commercial real estate professionals

From maximizing time to using the latest technology to unlock business opportunities, the most successful commercial real estate professionals are always hungry to learn. Reading the right books is one of the best and easiest ways to learn, and its far cheaper than taking classes.

There are thousands of real estate books out there, so to help thin the herd, we put together a list of true essentials. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or are entering the commercial real estate world for the first time, reading these books will make you better.

Topics: Best Practices

Are you prospecting enough?

Prospecting is to a broker what free throws are to an NBA star, or what the gas pedal is to a race car driver. Simply put: it’s the foundation of your success.

And yet, the Massimo Blog revealed that over 80% of respondents in a national survey prospected only sporadically or when they could. What’s more, 7% of these respondents suggested that they do not prospect at all.

Women in CRE tech: 3 questions with our Director of People Ops

We recently interviewed Heidi Burkhart, president and owner of New York brokerage firm Dane Real Estate, on how she’s succeeded in commercial real estate, a historically male-dominated industry. And with recent news about gender discrimination and harassment running rampant in Silicon Valley and beyond, this got me thinking about similar challenges we face in the technology industry with gender diversity (and diversity in general).  

Topics: Industry News CRE Tech

3 products to help you prospect, get paid, and be productive anywhere

Hopefully you read this blog because you trust us to provide important industry news, best practices, and other tips and trends. But we’d remiss if we didn’t occasionally tell you what’s new at Apto. And there’s been a lot this year! We’ve been hard at work in our effort to bring you more features and products that will make your life as a commercial real estate broker much easier.

Topics: CRE Tech