Prospecting may be among your least favorite aspects of the job, but for commercial real estate brokers there’s really not any other single activity that has as much effect on your success. This is an industry built on connections, and those connections are not going to just come knocking on your door (except maybe on a few golden days).
Still, according to prospecting guru Bo Barron, prospecting and networking are two completely different things. While networking means growing your sphere of influence, the sole purpose of prospecting is to ask for business. Since it’s a necessity, it makes sense to put your best foot forward and create a solid prospecting strategy. Not only will it position you for success, a clear strategy will hold you accountable and keep you moving forward.
We’ve collected six rules that will guide the process and make it generate the results you’re looking for. Check them out below and click the image to the right for a handy infographic!
Before you make contact, make sure that your brand and positioning are clearly defined. Determine your geographic limits and the markets you’re participating in. Identify your specialty and your strengths: what makes you different from all the other brokers? This should reflect your interests and your skills. Maybe you focus on multi-family, or urban rehabs, or suburban office space. Make this clear and look for prospects that will be well served by this specialization and your unique expertise.
#2: Generate a List of Prospects
Develop a target market, based on your positioning, and find out all you can about it. Identify who owns which properties in the market, for how long, what they paid for them, and how to contact and qualify them.
CCIM lists the following attributes of a qualified prospect:
- Needs commercial real estate services
- Knows he needs commercial real estate services
- Has the authority to act on his need
- Has the budget to back up his authority
- Feels a sense of urgency to act
- Knows your company and has had a positive experience in the past
- Knows you and likes and trusts you
- Is willing to follow your guidance
SharpLaunch also has tips for generating CRE leads.
#3: The Goal of the Initial Call is to Get a Meeting
The dreaded cold call. It can stop you in your tracks. Don’t procrastinate. Be prepared, but don’t over-prepare for the call, just get it made. Another similar method is the Predictable Revenue sales method, which uses email to generate initial interest and reduce the time spent on cold calling and tends to avoid overwhelming potential prospects. With this method, email respondents can then be called to schedule face-to-face meetings.
#4: Make the First Meeting All About Understanding the Prospect
Ideally, the focus of the first meeting should be discussing the needs of the prospective client. This demonstrates your intention to meet those needs and also lets you determine whether this prospect fits into your target audience. This is a good chance to use your SPIN Selling skills. Once you understand your prospect’s situation and context of what they’re looking for, you can dive deeper into what they want to accomplish and how you can add value. If possible, wait for a second meeting to make your actual proposal.
#5: Customize Your Proposal
Base your pitch on what you know about this client’s needs. A one-size-fits-all presentation doesn’t show much hustle, and usually won’t cut it. Make sure you’re tailoring your services to the client's needs and your showing specific solutions that will help them.
#6: Prospecting Pays Off When Conducted Regularly
This process should be ongoing and a part of your routine. Making time for prospecting on a regular basis--once a week? 30 minutes a day?--will pay off in more business, with clients that match your specialization and location. Don’t forget to track your calls and results.
Taking Your Prospecting to the Next Level
Whether you’ve been prospecting for a long time and it’s just not working or you’re ready to step up your game, consider implementing these steps--and sticking with them--to take your prospecting to the next level.