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.

6 Tips for Improving Email-Opens and Click Through Rates

If you have been running an email marketing campaign, you are probably wondering how you can improve your open and click through rates. These six tips will help you increase your open and click-through rates so that your email marketing campaigns become even more successful.

Target a Specific Audience

The best way to get email-opens and good click-through rates is to first make sure you are targeting the right audience.  This blog will go through the mechanics of getting your target audience to open, read and then take action in a moment.  Select your target audience thoughtfully and carefully, ensuring that they have a same or similar problem and/or opportunity that you can solve for.  This allows you to craft a concise and specific value statement.  Once you have that profile, a tool like ProspectNow’s Advanced Predictive Analytics can get you that information quickly.

A/B Test Subject Lines and Email Content

Click through rates refer to the amount of clicks you receive from the body of your email. But in order to improve your click through rate, you have to get people to actually open the email. A/B testing can help you determine whether a shorter subject line or a longer subject line is more effective and what content receives more opens. This is the best way to improve your open rate. Be sure to also A/B test on the content of the email with both longer and shorter email copy.

Reduce Clutter

The shorter your email – the better. Keep your copy short and to the point to reduce clutter in your email. Shorter emails will increase the likelihood that recipients will actually read through the entire email all the way down to your offer before becoming bored and hitting the delete button. Put the most important information first to ensure that the reader sees it. It’s important to get rid of distractions within your email. Leave out the header that includes your website navigation and leave out multiple call to actions with the hopes that readers at least click something in the email. You only need one call to action – the rest is clutter. Think back to the goal of them email and center your copy around it without including excess information that may distract readers.

Personalize

The best way to grab people’s attention is to personalize the email you send. Include their name in the subject line and in the body of the email. The more you know about the lead, the easier it will be to get their attention. Target your prospects and include information that is personalized to their wants and needs. The last thing anyone wants to read is a generic and mundane email.

Sense of Urgency

Readers will want to react quickly if you include a sense of urgency in your email. This will encourage more click-throughs and will create a sense of competition among recipients.

Mobile-Friendly

Make sure that your emails are mobile-optimized. In a technology-driven world, most people check their email on their phones. If your email isn’t mobile-friendly, it will likely be deleted. Increase your click-through rate and open rates easily by ensuring that your email is compatible with mobile devices.

Add a P.S.

Including a P.S. at the bottom of your email is a great strategy for reiterate your point and to attract the attention of those who are simply skimming your email. Our eyes are naturally drawn to this visual call out and it’s a great opportunity to A/B test whether you receive greater or fewer click-throughs with this inclusion.
Want to take your emails to the next level? Discover what ProspectNow can do for you. Our database of more than 100 million property owners and Likely Sellers feature can ensure your emails are going to the right people.

ProspectNow Predictive Analytics Product Launch

I normally don’t write blog posts for every new feature of ProspectNow since we are constantly adding and updating the capabilities of the application.  However, in this case I felt it necessary to discuss a new product that will have a huge effect on your marketing efforts as a CRE professional.

When I started the company, I was motivated to solve a core problem that I had as a CRE broker.  That problem was that I was spending a lot of time researching the contact info for commercial buildings. My goal was to market to them to see if they wanted to sell their building.  I think it’s fair to say ProspectNow has made it a lot easier to get to the key decision makers of a given building.  The challenge now is centered around marketing to the right building owners that actually have a need to sell or buy.  Prospecting for sellers of real estate is a numbers game and a lot like throwing darts.  If you talk to enough owners, eventually you will find someone that needs to sell.  But talking to owners that have no intention of selling is wasted effort.

What if you could filter out the properties with virtually no chance of selling?

In a perfect world, the goal of marketers is to read your mind and present to you the perfect product that you are in need of at the exact time you need it.  Just a few years ago this seemed like an impossibility, but now as the world of big-data grows…it’s becoming more and more possible.

Many of you who follow this blog may remember a post we did on a survey of CRE brokers as to why their most recent client sold his property.  I have re-posted the results below:

Investment Property Survey

What we learned from that is that there is a correlation between a property that sells and particular events and conditions.  About a year ago we set out to see if we could build a predictive algorithim that would take into account the way a property looked before it sold, and then apply these similar characteristics to properties that have yet to sell.  The goal is to filter out the non sellers.  For example, if a property was just purchased 10 days ago…it’s unlikely that the owner is going to sell it any time soon.  So why bother sending a post card to this owner or call the owner?  If you have been in real estate for a while, you know there are lots of different triggers as to why an individual might sell.  But, we wanted to stop guessing and actually prove it using hard data and analytics.

We decided to start running our model each week for a year.  After the model was trained, we then looked at a group of properties we tagged as “likely sellers”.  Then we continued running our model and updating scores on properties each week.  We did not want to launch a product we had not tested, so we wanted to see if the list of properties our model generated 10 months ago, actually resulted in a higher percentage of properties sold.

Sure enough we found that in some cases more than twice the number of properties sold in the properties we tagged as “likely sellers”.

The following graphic is a good analogy.  The top graphic is a normal market, and the bottom graphic is a group of properties tagged as likely sellers:

 

Average-Turnover

What does this mean for our customers?

If you focus your marketing efforts on the “likely sellers” group, it’s possible you will see a 100% increase in results.  This is a game changer for those looking to get more listings and represent more sellers.  As of this writing….if you are a ProspectNow customer, you have access to this data.  All you have to do is login, search and select the check box “likely sellers” in the search and you are on your way.  We are looking forward to your success!

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:

4 Ways to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Salesforce

Your brokers and agents should be on top of their selling game if they want to be successful in the real estate industry. Whether they need to improve their cold calling, master property tours, or simply follow up with their clients better, you should be using these five ways to measure the effectiveness of your salesforce.

Doing so can help you determine better strategies for education and training, as well as where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Call Effectiveness

It’s easy to track how many calls your agents are making, but how effective are your agents at converting these prospects into new clients? It isn’t how many calls your agents are making, it’s how effective your agents are at turning these cold calls into meetings with potential clients.

A great way to measure your agents’ calls is to listen in on calls to see how your agents are approaching each prospect and place more value on the amount of appointments your agents are setting from these calls, rather than the amount of phone calls they are making.

Pay attention to how your agents structure their calls: are they leading with a value statement? Are they garnering interest by using a “what we find” or a “sharing” statement? Are they probing for pain or opportunity?

Meetings to Proposals

Are your agents preparing for their meetings enough to turn those meetings into listings or new clients? Measure how successful your agents are at selling by taking a closer look at what they discuss in each meeting with a potential client and what their plan of action is to take the meeting to the next level.

Have your agents work on outlines for their meetings with potential clients and discuss their thoughts and approaches to the meeting beforehand. This will keep your agents focused on tackling the meeting and coming out with a new client.

Proposals to Listings

The right proposal will produce an agreement for a listing. Clients want to know that your agents understand their wants and needs and care enough to develop a proposal plan that helps them reach their goal for the transaction.

Your agents can improve proposals by making a specific list of all client needs and ensuring that in their proposal they are explaining every aspect and why it is the best option for their client. This will result in the client feeling comfortable enough to advance the proposal into a listing.

Listings to Closings

Closing a deal requires a lot of communication with the client, marketing strategies and research. For your agents to be successful at turning a listing into a closing, they need to market the property, continue to monitor the market and speak with the client often.

Getting Started

Qualify your target prospects tightly.  Use your marketing and sales resources in the appropriate manner – high value resources to high-value prospects, more leveraged approaches to broader audiences.  Measure how effective your agents are at turning calls into deals and every step in between – this will determine how successful they will be in the real estate industry and how many clients they will have.

Choose and use a CRM that best suits your business.  It’s important to track all agent activities – calls, meetings, proposals, listings, marketing activities and closings.  That way you can forecast your firm’s business and have visibility into each stage of the sales process.  With a marketing platform like ProspectNow, you can compress your sales cycle, have total visibility into your process, and be able to evaluate how successful your salesforce is.

4 CRE Technologies That Simplify the Sales Cycle

Commercial real estate technology is making the sales cycle simpler now more than ever before. Brokers and agents can now sell and list properties more efficiently because of these new and innovative technologies in the commercial real estate industry. Whether you’re looking to simplify the time it takes to qualify a prospect or want to improve your organization, follow-up and closing ratio, check out these four technologies that are simplifying the sales cycles for brokers and agents.

ProspectNow

ProspectNow is an online commercial real estate marketing platform utilizing predictive analytics to identify likely sellers, resulting in more listings, buyers and borrowers.  The platform database consists of over 120 million property owners and decision makers,  as well as their contact information including mailing addresses and phone numbers. Leasing specialists have access over 30 million commercial businesses to search for potential tenants. Banks, insurance companies, investors, roofers, and solar companies can all benefit as well.

ProspectNow is a complete marketing platform, including click-to-call capabilities, mailing tools and a CRM.

3D Technology

The sales process has never been simpler with 3D technology. If you are working with foreign investors looking at multifamily properties, the sales process can jumpstart with 3D technology that allows them to tour the property before visiting the property. This saves both you and the investor time and money during the sales process.

Matterport 3D virtual tours, one of the leading players in 3D tech, produce high quality video fly through of your listing to enhance the viewing of the property with drones that capture the context of the listings’ area to show the world around your listed property.

The Cloud

Leveraging the cloud means leveraging efficiency for brokers. Information about the client, property and sale, along with comps, presentations and photographs, etc. can all be accessed with the click of a button on any mobile device. Brokers and agents are no longer restricted to their desks to work – they can be at home, on the go or travelling and still be able to access all of their information. The cloud has shaped commercial real estate because of its easy access and the efficiency it offers brokers who work in multiple areas.

Customer Relationship Management Systems

CRM platforms specifically designed for the real estate industry come fully loaded with core features to help your and your business become more successful. You’ll have features such as reporting, email marketing, commission tracking, action plans, transaction management, document and media storage and more.

CRMs offer pipeline management, deal tracking, tenant/landlord matching, comparable reporting and an investor database to make the sales process easier and more efficient for brokers and agents. Many CRMs can be accessed from anywhere, making the sales process easier and more efficient.

Get Going in the Right Direction

Technology has etched out the new landscape for commercial real estate and has changed the way brokers and agents work through the sales process for the better. Whether brokers are dealing with foreign investors, are constantly travelling or simply have too many clients to keep up with on their own, technology has made the sales process easier and more efficient.
With systems like these brokers can sell more properties, keep up with clients and become more efficient in order to grow their business and become even more successful in the commercial real estate industry.

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.