Prospecting 101 For Commercial Real Estate Professionals Winston Rowe And Associates
This article addressed the basics of the approach and methodology of sales prospecting for commercial real estate professionals.
By: Winston Rowe & Associates
The need to acquire new clients and maintain existing relationships. Without clients, you don't have a business, so prospecting is the lifeblood of any brokerage firm. And the most effective way to turn prospects into clients is to pick up the phone and have a conversation with them.
You enter the business cycle by going to the market to find prospects with whom to do business.
Once you have found a prospect, you analyze their needs, make a presentation, and win the right to represent them. Of course, winning the business isn't enough, since you also need to fulfill the assignment and close the deal.
All these steps are important, but many commercial real estate sales and finance professionals place their emphasis on the win and fulfill stages. To keep your brokerage pipeline healthy, you need to always keep re-entering the cycle by finding new prospects. This keeps all three buckets in your sales prospecting continuum full.
Building a Prospect List:
Before you pick up the phone, develop a solid strategy based on two essential elements: determining who your prospect is and what you are going to say. You can have the best list in the market, but if you cannot clearly articulate the purpose of your call and the value to your audience, your great list is worthless.
Alternately, you can have a silver tongue and deliver consistently, but if your calling list is outdated and not validated, you are not any better off than the broker in the first situation.
Two popular research sources for company information are Hoover's and LexisNexis. Hoover's "First Research" product provides good insight and suggested questions for key decision makers. For more direct research, leveraging an online assistant such as Elance or Guru allows you to delegate your research activities.
The next step is to determine whom to call. When building your prospecting database, try to only include the most qualified prospects.
Formulating Your Presentation:
Once you've identified your prospects, research what would interest them. This last step is often forgotten. Determining a prospect's issues gives you a good reason to call and move the relationship forward. Learning about them, their companies, and their real estate needs can help you to have a more pointed conversation that is more likely to lead to a face-to-face meeting.
Making the Call:
Once you have finished preparing, generate a call list so you can sit down and do your prospecting in one block of time. As you go through your call list and contact your prospects, remember the reason that you are calling — to get the prospect to sit down with you.
If the client says yes, book the meeting and end the call as quickly as possible. Send a confirmation via email and, if the meeting is more than one week out, send additional information between your call and the appointment that adds value. For example, if you are meeting to discuss a lease, send a client testimonial regarding a lease you just renewed or a tenant you successfully relocated.
When the prospect says no, try to find an area of interest that you can use to book a meeting. Remember the cardinal rule of WIFM. Use your research to address possible business issues the prospect is facing, or share what their competitors are doing in the market. Also, if the prospect is rude or hurried, consider that you may have called at a bad time. In that case, call back in one to three months.
When the client asks you to send information, consider offering to send it as long as they agree to have another conversation with you to discuss it. You can send the information without such a commitment, but inevitably you will end up chasing the prospect for weeks if not months.
If the prospect isn't interested in meeting with you, find out why. If the timing isn't right for them, attempt to get a sense of a better time to call. This is also an excellent opportunity for you to re-examine the value proposition that you're presenting on the phone. If it's not compelling, you probably will get a lot of uninterested responses. Sharpen your pitch and call them back in one to three months.
This article was published by Winston Rowe and Associates. They are a national commercial real estate financiers and publishers of eBooks about finance. They can be contacted at http://www.winstonrowe.com