5 Ways Technology is Fueling Increased Productivity in CRE

For the last half-decade, developments in technology tools for CRE have been coming at a rapid pace. New digital solutions are addressing problems we’ve faced for years, as well as new ones created by our changing industry. Adoption of appropriate devices and software improve efficiency, accuracy, security, access, and transparency.

CRM platforms, listing services, property management tools, and transaction management software have changed how we do business. Tools are available for handling contacts, scheduling, transactions, and property management tasks. Properties can be sold through crowdfunding.  Digital tools streamline routine processes and enable customer service to reach levels that weren’t possible before. Here are some ways they do it.

Efficiency

Perhaps the most potent benefit of technology for our business is the enhancement of our ability to accomplish routine tasks more efficiently. Using software designed specifically for CRE, the time required to keep on top of these is greatly diminished. Platforms provide an array of services, so tools can be tailored to fit each client. Support helps to insure that issues with software will be addressed quickly, avoiding the delays that can occur with desktop applications.

Contact management allows for easy tracking of interactions with clients and partners, scheduling automatic communication as needed, and all of it can be shared and connected with relevant data, dates, and facts.

Security

For some, the idea of sharing sensitive documents online seems like a security risk. Once you compare it with the security of storing these items on a laptop or individual desktop, it becomes clear that using cloud-based applications is truly a more secure way to operate. Laptops can be stolen; desktops crash; paper copies can be misplaced.

Cloud-based platforms specialize in securing data and have built in several layers of security. It’s their business. Only authorized users have access to documents stored in this way, and they have access any time, from any device. This is huge for productivity.

Accuracy

A small error can slow things down tremendously. Tracking down a miscalculation can cost valuable time, but human error doesn’t have to come into play. Utilizing digital tools not only speeds up gathering and generating information, it also lets you avoid errors in transcription and calculation.  With that, clients receive information in a more timely way, deals are made, and profitability rises.

Access

Perhaps nowhere has technology changed CRE more than in the area of access. Our ability to gather information on projects and properties globally has been a game changer.  Listing sites give buyers access to properties across the country, and brokers can explore potential deals and analyze market conditions virtually anywhere. A new generation of investors is able to participate in CRE via crowdfunding platforms like FundRise, and even learn about off-market opportunities online.

Technology also gives us access to a mountain of data –“big data”-which informs decision-making and allows us to provide clients with an unprecedented level of service. With these tools, brokers take on a consultative role.

Transparency

When documents are shared and transactions carried out online, transparency is enhanced. All those involved in a deal can have access to pertinent documents, correspondence, and contacts around the clock.  Dated materials create a clear timeline of events and make everyone accountable, smoothing the way for completing tasks that required much more time without digital tools

Don’t Be a Spammer: 7 Tips for Prospecting via LinkedIn

Social media governs a lot of the decisions people make these days. People give great consideration to comments left by previous customers on business sites. A survey from the NAR showed that 42% of all homebuyers started their search online in 2015.  The influence of online information has never been greater.

Given that influence, it makes sense to harness social media to make connections that are good for business. When it comes to business, the social medium that many would think of first is LinkedIn. This professionally oriented site has over 400 million members worldwide. While it’s often thought of as a place to base your search for a new job, it can be an effective tool for prospecting as well.

Using LinkedIn can make prospecting easier and more productive, because of its social nature. Connections share information, so something that you send to a few people has the potential to reach a much wider audience, all of whom will have an interest related to your message.

So, step one is to widen your contacts. Whenever you meet someone professionally, follow up quickly with a connection request. Also, give some attention to your own profile. Make sure your links are current, include a good photo, and make it professional and complete. You can be pretty sure that anyone deciding whether to accept your connection request is going to take a look at your profile first.

The next tip is to do a little investigating by reading over your contacts’ profiles. This can give you a lot of information on that person and on the company for which they work. It can give you an idea of relevant topics to address with that prospect, making the initial contact more effective. Watch for promotions or news on large projects.

By completing the step above, that first contact is not really a “cold call.” You know a little about the person already. It’s fine to mention that you took a look at their LinkedIn profile before calling. This is not stalking. It’s research.

Use the inmail feature to get in direct contact with any user. LinkedIn claims that this type of message is 30 times more likely to get a response than a cold call.  This makes sense when you consider that the inmail is seen as coming from someone who is already a connection.

A great way to find out about changes going on in different companies is to follow their LinkedIn page. That way, any news they post will show up in your updates, so you can make the most of those opportunities.

Use LinkedIn’s search features to filter your results. The advanced search lets you find people based on location, title, company, or keyword –even company size and level of seniority within it with a paid account.

Join LinkedIn groups that are having conversations of which you’d like to be a part.  These are excellent opportunities to share your expertise and create an image as someone with answers. Groups are also a great source of new connections.

6 Specific Scripts for Closing an Appointment Over the Phone

Patience is the byword for successful conversion of prospects. It’s a process, and though things can sometimes move quickly, most contact with prospective customers is gradual.

The Wise Guys blog published a piece a couple years ago that gives a great overview of how to make progress with new prospects.  They emphasize the importance of choosing people who are similar to clients you already have. You can ask yourself what problems you’ve been able to solve for those customers and why they were interested in meeting with you. Then, find prospects that share some of these characteristics.

Assembling and maintaining a good list of prospects is important, but the one moment in the process that often seems most crucial is making the call to ask for a meeting. It’s important to prepare for this call. While you don’t need to stick to a script, it can be very useful to at least outline the points you would like to cover.

Keep in mind that the goal for this call is just to secure an appointment. Don’t think ahead to signing the final contract now; one step at a time.  Your attitude on this initial call should indicate interest in what you can do for the prospect. Your mission is to find out about their goals and priorities, then describe how your firm is equipped to help meet them.

This sample script from the blog gives you some idea of how best to guide the conversation:

Introduction

First, introduce yourself, but don’t say the name of your company, and establish the fact that you’ve never met:

“Hello, I’m_____________. Do you have a moment to speak with me?”


Permission to speak

Next, ask if they have a moment to speak with you. If you receive permission to continue, move on to the reason for the call.

If your prospect answers “no” when you ask them if they have a moment to speak, ask them if there’s another time today they might be able to talk:

“No problem. Is there a better time today we can talk?”



When they realize that you plan to call back today, you might receive a  (possibly reluctant) “go ahead”.

Get started

Start by explaining the reason for your call, and then turn the focus on the prospect by steering the conversation with questions like these:

“Wow, I don’t hear that very often. Can you share some of the details of what you’re doing so I can understand what’s working so well (and maybe use it for myself!)?”


“If changing your approach isn’t a top priority right now, what are your top priorities?”




“It sounds like things are going pretty well. Are you ever concerned about [INSERT COMMON PROBLEM]?”

Meet a Need

When the prospect shares a concern, respond with:

“That’s exactly why I called. Our clients experience a lot of the same   dilemmas and obstacles. You may never become a customer, but when we meet, you’ll gain some good ideas either way.”

Suggest a follow-up

If, despite your charm and professionalism, the prospect declines to schedule a meeting, indicate that you’d like to follow up. You can even suggest calling back in 3, 6, or 9 months, depending on their preference.

Know when to fold ‘em

Finally, always be prepared to accept a “no.”  When you hit that wall, move on and get in touch with another good prospect.

Here’s How Predictive Analytics Can Help You Land More Listings

Getting an edge on the competition is always a challenge, and the speed of innovation in digital tools means that new opportunities and strategies emerge frequently. For many of us, the first step in evaluating these is to get a handle on just what they are, and how they will apply to CRE.

One such strategy that’s creating some buzz is the use of predictive analytics. We can deduce that this somehow involves the use of data to make forecasts, but to really understand how this is a new idea, we need to explore more deeply.

Predictive analytics can be defined as the practice of evaluating and interpreting data to predict future outcomes and trends. It’s different from traditional analytics, which provide a picture of past events. This analysis applies data from a range of sources to the question of what will likely happen in the future. As our ability to gather and aggregate enormous amounts of data improves, this practice becomes ever more useful.

In a strictly practical sense, the use of predictive analytics can help you land more listings, and retain clients for the long haul. Here are some ways that happens.

Casting a wider net

One factor that makes predictive analytics so powerful is that the data provided comes from an incredibly diverse range of sources. Using management platforms, many industry professionals are working together, pooling their figures for aggregation. They’re finding that in many cases, sharing information makes everyone stronger, and removes barriers to closing deals.

The information also comes from some new sources. Data are constantly being collected from inanimate objects –the “Internet of Things,” like building sensors and monitors that track pedestrian or vehicle activity in various locations. Social media are being monitored and mined electronically, along with other “unstructured” data sources.  

This information is being folded in with data from more traditional sources -like professional associations like the NAR and government agencies -to cover the gamut of topics that relate to CRE –social issues, economic trends, climate, demographics, and more.

It’s this combination of information that makes these data reliable and powerful, and we can use them to direct our efforts more effectively.

Solving problems in real time

Predictive analytics provide the tools to solve real problems by referring to the appropriate mashup of data.  The information can be used to address client issues that may not seem to be related to real estate. For example, an office tenant may be considering relocating, but wants to base the decision on more than a hunch.  Big data can supply answers and clarify whether the space and location is actually the problem or if the issue is more related to available parking, scheduling issues, or other relatively simple issues.

Evaluating property is also facilitated by predictive analytics, and this data can be invaluable to clients.  Data aggregators provide easy to understand reports that give insight into market outlooks and economic trends in various locales so that choices can be made with more assurance.

Supplying clients with this sort of useful information helps make CRE professionals indispensable. This is the sort of customer service that gets you key referrals and allows you to maintain long-term partnerships.

Organize Your Real Estate Prospect List in 4 Steps

In real estate, a prospect list never rests. If you’re on your toes, that list is a live thing, evolving and shifting almost daily to reflect what’s going on in your work. Keeping your prospect list up to date will help you avoid missed opportunity, and the secret is organization.

Taking the time to get your list organized will allow you to prioritize your contacts, schedule calls and communication, and eliminate dead ends and time wasters. Follow these steps to get your prospects organized, lean, and productive.

Step #1: Identify Priorities

Before you even look at your list, consider your ideal client. What would their characteristics be? Who is looking for what you’re selling? Where are they? What are some of their habits and activities? Contacts that fit this profile should be among your priorities, so identify them.

Priority prospects will be decision-makers in their firm. Strive to secure direct contact information for these gatekeepers, if possible. If their location, size, and current activities line up with your goals and interests, these prospects should be on your mind.

Step #2: Divide and Conquer

A good strategy for handling your list efficiently is to break it up. One method is to create just 2 categories: warm and cold.

The warm (or primary) list is composed of your “ideal” prospects –people you already know about and may already have a relationship with. These can be past customers, referrals, and partners in previous projects.

The cold list will be made up of people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer, but with whom you have yet to make contact. They may be potential clients whose situation is evolving and will soon create a need for professional services. A cold (or secondary) list can be generated in various ways, including closely monitoring social media. Another approach is provided by online services like ProspectNow, which compiles millions of contacts for property owners and CRE tenants.

Step #3: Subdivide

To go further, create categories within these lists to identify these contact types:

Contacts: This will include ALL of your contacts, and can be further broken down by the function or nature of your relationship with that person. You might have categories like these: Other brokers, Construction, vendors, personal, etc.

Prospects: This category is for those contacts with whom you could potentially do business: buyers, first-time buyers, multi-family, industrial, sellers, etc.

Clients: These contacts are people that you’ve worked for. Your goal should be moving  people here from the Prospects list above.  A good practice is to categorize them by the year in which they used your services.

Referral Partners: These are the people on whom you can rely for a glowing review. They generally “graduate” from the Client category, and can give new contacts a realistic picture of your services and performance.

Step #4: Repeat!

Remember that a healthy prospect list is not static. Setting aside some time to regularly update and overhaul your list will make it dramatically more effective and save you buckets of time in the long run.

5 Mistakes You’re Making on the First Cold Call Contact

Cold calling is one of the most tedious and stressful forms of prospecting, but it’s necessary. To become a pro at cold calling, you’ll need to brush up on your phone etiquette, people skills and of course your charm. Cold calling can be a highly effective method of prospecting, as long as it’s done right. Make sure to avoid these five mistakes on the first cold call contact.

You Can’t Manage Objections

You will likely be faced with objections, but it’s how you handle these objections that truly matters. If you cold call a prospect and cannot handle their objections with solid responses, you will fail at cold calling. If necessary, write out a script of responses for common objections so that you aren’t drawing a blank when they come up in the conversation. If time is an issue – ask for another specific time and date for another call.

You Don’t Leave a Compelling Voicemail

If the prospect doesn’t answer, you have around 30 seconds to leave a compelling enough voicemail to entice them to call you back for more information. Keep your message short and to the point. Give them a way to reach you back and be sure to leave your email address in case they don’t have time to call you. Give them enough information to call you back, but not too much.

Poor Telephone Etiquette

Eating, chewing gum, listening to music or being in a crowded and noisy room will turn your prospect off immediately. Go into a quiet and private space where you can hear your prospect clearly. You will have a zero chance of having a productive cold call if you are distracted and practicing poor telephone etiquette. This will also show the prospect that you aren’t professional and prepared for the call.

Moving Too Quickly

One of the biggest mistakes an agent can make is asking for an appointment too early in the call. You have to build a relationship and a foundation during the call by laying out what you can offer to the prospect before ever seeking to make an appointment. Prove yourself and tell the prospect what you have to offer before asking them to commit to an appointment. Moving too quickly on a cold call will ultimately result in the prospect being turned off and you losing a potential sale.

Poor Preparation

Do you think any reputable professional would go into a meeting without preparing beforehand? Absolutely not. Before you dial the phone, do your homework and research what the prospective buyer wants and needs. The more information you can offer in the conversation that pertains to what the buyer is looking for, the more impressed they will be with you and the more likely they are to schedule an appointment with you.

Be prepared for a cold call by finding out as much information as you can about the prospect to prove that you are serious and willing to go the extra mile to find them the perfect property.

Help master your cold calling by having the right contact person’s information from the beginning. See what ProspectNow can do to put you in touch with the right people.

Big Data + Analytics = Big Pipeline: Find Likely Sellers Using Predictive Analytics [Webinar]

 

I know what you’re thinking.  The commercial real estate market is forecast to remain strong in 2016.  How do I maximize my efforts? How do I reach potential sellers and borrowers before the competition?

PREDICTING LIKELY SELLERS:

The next few weeks is critical to your business.  See how using the latest big data and predictive analytic technology can help you grow your listings pipeline. On this webinar, ProspectNow Founder Steve Wayne will share how ProspectNow in 2016 is the realization of his original vision: to help commercial real estate professionals build a high-potential territory quickly by marketing to owners that are most likely to sell.

Ready to start 2016 off right? Join us to learn how to make your marketing efforts more efficient:

LEARN:
    • How to find LIKELY SELLERS
    • How spend LESS time researching and prospecting
    • How to eliminate wasted marketing spent on owners that will not be selling
    • How to optimize your prospecting process

GET STARTED:

Save Your Seat and Register Now:

Work With the Company, Not Just the Contact

Don’t make the mistake of only working with the lead, make sure to work with the company as well. There are plenty of ways you can contact the company and establish relationships with both the lead and the company. Make sure that you have the decision maker’s decision, but also the attention of the company as a whole as well. Both are vital to being successful in real estate.

Here are a few ways to work with the company and the lead.

Interact on Social Media

Find the company on social media and interact with them. Tweet to them, post to their Facebook page and take the time to learn about their goals and connect with them via social media. Social media has become a large part of marketing and advertising and is a vital source of communication, so it’s important to connect with both the lead and the company on social media.

Make an effort to make your name known to them through social media interaction. In a world that is driven by technology, it’s a wise business decision to make sure you are the center of the action by employing social media in your business strategy.

Utilize LinkedIn

You can learn a lot about a company and the company’s owner through LinkedIn. View the owner’s LinkedIn profile – find out where they went to college, find out where they’ve worked previously and get a feel for the type of person they are so that you can more easily connect with them. Do the same with the decision maker. View the company’s profile as well to learn the ins and outs of the business and what their short term and long term goals are to gain a better understanding of how you can help them reach those goals.

Take the time to study up on these profiles and in turn these people will notice that you have taken the initiative to check out their profiles and they will more than likely view your profile as well. This interaction keeps your name in the mind of the owner and can empower them to reach out to you.

Network

Nothing can be more beneficial to your business than networking. Spend time reaching out to people within the company and find ways to network with them to establish a solid relationship foundation. Attend events that the company is attending and make yourself noticeable to the company and the lead. A good way to begin networking is to utilize social media and follow the company’s updates and happenings. You surely want to keep a solid line of communication with the lead, but you also want to establish good rapport by communicating and networking with other members of the company.

You want to maintain the attention of the decision maker while also working with the company as a whole through social media interaction, LinkedIn connections and networking. You will be able to grow your business and become more successful if you establish relationships with decision makers and companies themselves.

3 Things To Do Immediately After You Set an Appointment

Real estate agents are always looking to make their next appointment and focusing all of their energy on getting those appointments, and in turn neglecting the steps that should be taken after setting the appointment. Immediately after you make an appointment with a client make sure you are doing these three things to ensure that your meeting is successful and beneficial for both you and the client.

Send an Invitation

Technology is vital in setting and managing appointments. Whether you use Google or Outlook, it’s important that you send the client an invitation to the appointment thanking them for their time and telling them that you are looking forward to meeting with them.

This will remind yourself and the client when the appointment is and can help you manage multiple appointments. This tool can help you communicate more efficiently with clients and keep your own schedule neat and organized. Following up is a huge key to having a successful appointment and ensuring that you don’t face cancellations that could hinder your sales.

Sending Advanced Information

Gather marketing collateral and information documents to send to the client before the appointment so that they can review and learn more about what will be discussed during the appointment and perhaps anything they may need to bring to the meeting. Sending advanced information helps you and the client better prepare for the appointment and helps keep both of you organized.

Just as you want to learn about your client, your client will want to learn about you, too. Send anything you think may be beneficial to the client for the appointment, but don’t clog up their inbox.

Gather Sales Intelligence

Learn about who your client is and what their goals are. Find out who your client’s audience is and find out specific key benefits your service can do to help them accomplish their goals. The more you learn about your client and their wants and needs, the more successful the appointment will be.

Your client will truly be impressed with how much you already know about them and that you have taken the time to truly understand their wants and needs. Gather as much sales and lead intelligence as you can and your appointment will be sure to run smoothly and successfully, creating a positive outcome for both you and the client.

Setting appointments is important for gaining clients and increasing sales, but what’s more important are the steps you take immediately after you set an appointment. Make sure to send an invitation to your client including a short thank you message and the date and time of the appointment. Send your client marketing collateral and information documents ahead of time so that they can review them before coming to the appointment.

And most importantly, make sure that you put forth the effort to gather sales intelligence and learn as much as you can about your client’s wants, needs and goals to ensure that you are targeting exactly what they need.

How to Land a Meeting via a Cold Email

You’ve deleted enough of cold emails to know that it’s tough to get the attention of a hot prospect via a cold email, but with the right strategy, it is possible to land a meeting. Here are some tips to help you land more meetings with cold emails.

 

Lead With a Relative and Personal Subject Line

A cold email is only as good as its subject line. Many people will delete an email if the subject line doesn’t interest them. For a cold email, it is extremely important that you have a subject line that peaks interest and is personable if possible.  Use their first name, and after all, what’s more personal than their name?  Do some social research – if you are looking for listings, use the address of their property.  If they write a blog, refer to that.  Would you open an email with the subject line of “Robert, re: Your Property at 123 Main Street” or “Robert, re: your blog post?”

The shorter and more concise the subject line, the better. Place yourself in the shoes of the prospect – does the subject line entice you to open the email? If not, then there’s a good chance the prospect won’t want to open the email either. Be clear, personable and informal with your email subject line.

 

Cold Email Copy: Be Short and Sweet and Demonstrate Value

After you’ve conquered the subject line, it’s time to write the email content. Prospects don’t have a lot of time to spend reading emails, so you need to get your point across in two or three sentences.  That’s all that shows in an email preview or on a mobile device.  Your goal is to get them to the call-to-action.

Be brief, give context and tie to your subject line with a value proposition.  I find the “share” technique works well: “My name is Steve with ABC Commercial Real Estate and I’d love to share with you how we helped other investors like you maximize their investment in commercial property.” Incorporate bullet points to help make a strong argument and make it easier for the prospect to digest the information presented. Be direct and leave out minor details that can be discussed during the phone call.

The point of a cold email is to give the prospect enough information to interest them in contacting you or taking your follow up call, but not enough that you have nothing to discuss during the call.

 

Bring it Home With a Strong Call to Action

Make it clear what the next step is. Should the prospect email you back or should they give you a call? Let them know how they will benefit if they contact you. The chances of the prospect getting in touch with you increases when you repeat the call to action at the end of the email. Be reasonable in your call to action. Ask for a few minutes of their time for a phone call, rather than an in-person meeting.

Make things easy and simple for the prospect by offering a clear and strong call to action at both the beginning and end of your email. Something as simple as “give me a call at your earliest convenience,” or “What’s the best way to get 15 minutes on your calendar?” will work.

 

Don’t Forget to Express Appreciation

Always thank the prospect for taking the time to read your email. The prospect may not be interested in pursuing further contact at the present time, but in the future they may contact you. It’s best to always express appreciation to your potential prospects because you never know when they may want to do business with you in the future. Leave a good impression with every cold email.