Five Best Practices for Real Estate Prospecting

Before you start strategizing your next prospecting plan, be sure to consider these five best practices for real estate prospecting. Your Rolodex will thank you.

#1: Ask for Referrals

Referrals are one of the easiest and most effective ways to make a sale because the referral already has trust in you due to your current client’s positive feedback to them.  However, even “cold referrals” can be really valuable.  For example, say you are cold calling and you get someone that says “I am not selling my property”….you can always say, “Ok, no problem.  I am representing a few buyers right now that are looking to invest…you would not by any chance know anyone who might be selling would you?”  Often times, you will get a positive response.

One of the most interesting things about childhood is that children are always asking for what they want.  If I had a nickel for every time my son asked me, “Dad can I play Minecraft?”, I would not be writing this blog right now.  Somehow adults lose this skill, so we really need to channel this and get comfortable asking for what we want.

There is no shame in doing so. Whether you’re looking for an online testimonial or want to be connected to a client’s sphere, it never hurts to show your ambition and drive.

#2: Time is of the Essence

Prospects need to be contacted quickly.  A recent study by InsideSales.com indicated that even waiting five minutes longer in contacting a lead can reduce your chances of making contact by 400%!   The same is true with referrals, very day you let pass by without contacting your referral, the less chance you have of making a sale. Contact your referrals within two business days, or sooner if possible.

#3: Prospecting from every resource

As mentioned, the days of real estate prospecting via telephone only are over. By limiting your prospecting to only phone calls you lose a lot of potential prospects. Reach out with other avenues such as text, email, snail mail, and  media.  Lately, I have found that DMs on Twitter are a great way to make contacts.  The wider your range, the more prospects you open up to gaining and building your client list.

Depending on the type of prospect, you’ll want to evaluate and choose which method you think would be most effective for that type of prospect. Many people will via their preferred medium.

#4: Deal with Rejection

Rejection is a badge of honor!  The world belongs to those willing to put themselves out there.  This is how we grow and learn and get better.  Dealing with rejection is like exercise, the more you do it the stronger you become.  I actually think this may be one of the most important skills in business.  It means you can be resilient and nimble.

#5: Devote Time

If you take nothing else away from this blog, take this:  Go to your calendar and set a time where you plan to prospect.  Block it out as if it’s the most important meeting of the day.  If you do this daily, you will see huge changes in your business.

The amount of time each real estate agent professional spends on prospecting may vary depending on how long they’ve been in the business, what their immediate goals are, etc., but you should dedicate at least an hour a day to prospecting. This will give you better consistency and results, while reducing your chances of a dry period.

About ProspectNow

ProspectNow is an online real estate database of 100 million property owners, including phone numbers, mailing addresses, building details and 30 million commercial tenants. The platform caters to anyone marketing to property owners or businesses – including brokers, investors, banks, insurance companies and more. Unlike other databases, ProspectNow provides phone numbers and names of the key decision makers of the property, as well as a CRM or export capability. Learn more!

Prospect Follow-Up is Not a Sprint – It’s a Marathon

Today’s commercial real estate landscape looks far different than it did a decade ago – even just a few years ago, in fact. While personal connections and relationship management are still solid and traditional ways of communicating with your prospects, the Internet has changed the way we do business.

We’re connected in ways that we never thought imaginable. As such, consumers have become accustomed to near instant responses, unparalleled information and transparency, and expect sales professionals to go above and beyond in all new ways. These aren’t options in today’s market; they’re requirements. If so, how do you stand out from the crowd?

It’s in the follow-up. In many industries, it’s estimated that it takes between 7 and 13 sales touches to convert a prospect into a client. Whether you’re calling, sending drip emails, touching via social media, or work tirelessly for the in-person meeting, follow-up is a marathon – not a sprint. It requires a plan – and your dedication – to see it through to fruition.

How to Make Your Follow-Up Go the Distance

When it comes to making your follow-up go the distance, a good CRM system can do wonders for your closing rate. Not only will it keep you organized, many great systems will alert you when it’s time to make a touch and will allow you to make notes on pertinent information and your most recent interactions – thus allowing you to tailor your contact to be more personable.

But what else can you do? Here are a few tips:

  1. Follow-up immediately after the first contact. Just last week a customer of mine called and said “Steve, you have to talk to Mr. XYZ, the CEO of ABC Co.  I just told him how great your product is and he’s expecting your call.”  I called him about 2 minutes after that conversation.  There have been a number of studies on lead follow up that indicate time is of the essence.  I know if I had called Mr. XYZ even a few hours later, he would not have remembered the conversation with my customer. Whether you’ve just met a prospect for coffee, spent some time on the phone or exchanged business cards on the subway, be sure to follow-up right away.  Even a quick “thank you” to show appreciation for the prospect’s time can go a long way.
  2. Create value for the prospect. During your follow-up, always try to create an immediate value for your prospects. Maybe this means you introduce them to a contractor who can make repairs to their property or to a mortgage lender you know does a great job. You’ll instantly bring something of value to the relationship, and your prospect will remember that.
  3. Use technology to your advantage. With so much technology available to you, why not use it to your advantage? Reach out to your prospects via social media. Connect with them where they’re interacting and you’ll find yourself in the middle of the conversation.  Social media is not a silver bullet…but not being on a social media is a good way to ensure you are not even a part of the conversation.  Technology for the sake of technology is just noise, but technology with a very defined objective and  purpose is a game changer.  
  4. Don’t underestimate the importance of lead intelligence. Lead intelligence, or gathering as much information on the prospect as possible, is hugely beneficial when making follow-up connections. When you know more about your lead, you can custom tailor your responses and interactions.
  5. Keep going … and going. Follow-up takes time, patience and a plan. Just because a prospect has seemingly fallen off, it doesn’t mean you stop interacting. Develop a plan for prospect follow-up – maybe using technologies that help with drip campaigns – to stay on top of your game.
  6. Know when to quit.  While this may seem entirely contradictory to item #5, there is a time to give up.  We have a sales person in the office here who is consistently number one in her weekly calls.  She makes more calls than anyone, but when we drilled down on her call to closing ratio it was clear the quality of her calls were not as good.  As we investigated further, it became obvious that she was spending too much time on follow up with unqualified leads and not enough time focused on new business.  There is a time to give up the ghost.

 

Happy prospecting!

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.

3 Activities Sales People Should Never Have to Do

If you run any type of sales organization, then you know that the larger that organization gets, the more small inefficiencies become major problems as you scale.

In short, activity that is not directly revenue producing needs to be automated or reassigned so sales people can focus on the task at hand. If you think about your own organization, I am sure you can identify tasks your sales people are doing that slows them down and prevents them form achieving their goals.

Sales operations is like a company within a company. The customer is the sales person and the vendor is the sales manager. The objective of the sales manager is to empower the sales people to focus on deal production.

Because of the very independent nature of commercial real estate brokerage, sometimes agents do not get the training and the support that will help them close more business. This helps the agent and the broker since there success is connected. If you are running a CRE brokerage, this is a great opportunity to review your processes and think about what you can do to make your agents more effective.

The following are 3 common inefficiencies that sales people should never have to do:

  1. Manual researching leads
  2. Manually dialing, leaving voice mails, and sending emails
  3. Manual data entry

Clearly ProspectNow is focused on solving item number 1 above, but there are also other tools to help you with automating the other processes. There are great dialing tools for automating the calling process such as Mojo, Phoneburner or Insidesales. With regard to data entry, this can be a killer as your organization grows. Even the smallest manual operation can cost you huge dollars as you scale. If there are certain items which must be done manually, I’d recommend setting up a support team for your sales team that handles these operations so they can stay laser focused.

Every business is different, but when you become aware of inefficiencies you will see you huge opportunities to improve the performance of your sale people and yourself.

Good luck and happy selling!