Whether you’re a brand new agent or a veteran broker, it’s a safe bet that one of your struggle points is prospecting. This is the life’s blood of real estate; it keeps new opportunities in the pipeline, and time spent prospecting is an investment in the future.
It’s also often difficult, tedious, and frustrating. As with any task, refocusing and tweaking your efforts can refresh your prospecting approach. A few small adjustments can make the task easier, more authentic, and more fruitful.
Start before you begin
Your efforts to make contact will be more successful if you take the time on the front end to make sure that your brand is clearly defined. So, determine what specific markets you’ll be working in. Identify your “specialty,” and differentiate yourself from other brokers. What is your focus?
Study your prospects
According to CCIM, a good prospect has these qualities:
- needs commercial real estate services;
- know they need commercial real estate services;
- has the authority to act on that need;
- has the budget to back up that 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; and
- is willing to follow your guidance.
The more of these attributes a person possesses, the better quality prospect they are.
The importance of prospecting to your business makes it deserving of daily attention. Create time in every workday for this task. It’s advisable to take care of this early in the day, before other tasks begin to intrude on your time –and on the time of the people you’d like to contact.
Use a variety of methods and channels for prospecting. You may despise cold calling (join the club), but it is still one of the best ways to reach out to potential customers. Remember that the cold call is just one approach, and the goal is to get a face to face meeting scheduled.
Another effective, and a little more gradual, way to make contact is to send a note through the mail. This creates a favorable impression and makes it more likely that the prospect will recognize your name and take your call.
Your first meeting, in particular, should be all about the potential client. Ask open-ended questions and encourage them to share concerns and experiences. Make note of their needs and interests and apply that information in identifying ways that you can help. Turn off your phone, eliminate distractions, and give that person your undivided attention.
Once you have the ear of your potential client, tailor your pitch to address their needs and concerns. This requires careful listening, and demonstrates that you are aware of their needs and interested in helping to meet them. A one-size-fits-all presentation is not impressive or memorable.
Prospecting may never be your favorite aspect of the job, but remembering these tips for best practice can improve your results and make the task a little easier to swallow.