Finding Property Owners by Prospecting Smartly

If you’ve been in commercial real estate for more than…about 15 minutes, then you know prospecting for leads is the number one critical task in your career. If you’ve been in commercial real estate for more than 30 minutes you know prospecting for leads is time consuming, laborious and painstaking. This article gives some tips for finding property owners by prospecting smarter, not harder so you spend more time talking to ready decision makers and less time chasing rabbits down empty holes.

Let’s face it, lead generation is not the sexy part of the job. The fun is being out there, meeting with people, doing deals. That’s what gets the blood pumping and puts money in the bank.  But, without the lead generation, the deals don’t happen. You have to commit to lead generation daily. You need to be calling property owners and/or tenants every day. You need to find out who is making a move? Who has space? Who is ready to sell one building and buy another?

The good news is prospecting is not hard. You just have to be smart about it. Before you make your calls, you need phone numbers. If you don’t know where to find people to call, you will struggle.

Which Property Owners to Call?

Here are two sources of targeted people you can call every day to keep your real estate career on track.

Your number one source for phone numbers is your personal database of key contacts and decision makers. These are people you have met before and done business with. These are people you know and, more importantly, already know you. These are warm calls. “Hi Ted, it’s me, Robert, from Keller Williams Commercial. How is it going? I’m just checking in to see if you are thinking about expanding your operation this year like you mentioned last time we spoke.”

Stay in touch with your database. It’s your job to make sure they think of you when a real estate need comes up. Don’t for a minute assume they will remember to call you if they haven’t heard from you in the last 90 days. Your competition is trying to reach them, too. Even your best friend from college who owns the shopping center can be wooed to another broker if you are not current and top of mind. Stay in touch! You should plan to call 5-10 people from your own database ever day to check in.

Getting More Phone Numbers

Once you have a good system for staying in touch with your own database, you need to research other people to call. On top of calling 5-10 people from your own contact database, you need another 40-60 names and numbers to call every day. You need phone numbers for the decision makers – the property owners, tenants, and LLC partners who can ink the deals. That information (good phone numbers and emails for the right people) is out there if you will spend the time looking and if you have access to the right sites.

In the past, agents had to comb the internet, hopping back and forth between sites like title companies, to county records, to white-pages sites, etc. tracking down phone numbers. This brute-force approach still works if you have access to all the relevant sites and know which ones have good data and which don’t. Depending on your county and other factors, you may have to pay for access to some of this data. Also, with this approach it is difficult to fine tune your search to just those properties and owners you are interested in.

The alternative is to use ProspectNow.com’s database of commercial property owner information to build a targeted call list. Basically, ProspectNow does all the research leg work for you, collecting data from multiple sources into a single database of over 8 million properties with owner contact info. Not only is all the data on one single website, you can target your list by searching on detailed parameters such as location, type of property (office, industrial, hotel…), owner-occupied, size, loan type, etc. If you already have a list of properties and just need phone numbers, you can even paste your list into ProspectNow and get all the numbers with one click.

However you build your call list,  you should be able to dial about 50 numbers in 2 hours. Depending on the quality of the data you researched, you should get through to between 10-30 people.

Prospecting takes time. Calling takes time. Lead generation takes time. The winning secret is to be smart and make your time count. Every day, when you first get into the office, make the decision to prospect smart and to prospect now.