Commercial Real Estate Agent Prospecting Facts and Strategies

When you work as a commercial real estate agent or broker, it is essential that you develop and implement a prospecting program to generate new business opportunities. It is a personal process and it is not something you can or should delegate.

I am sometimes amused when I hear that an agent has paid a considerable amount of money to a marketing company to “cold call” their entire sales territory or market segment looking for leads and prospects. Delegating the prospecting process to a marketing company or other “unqualified person” is a waste of time and money. Commercial real estate is an industry built around personal relationships and trust; a marketing company or an employed colporteur cannot offer that level of communication or service.

So why would a real estate agent hire a “marketing company” to make prospecting calls? In most cases, the answer is remarkably obvious; the agent does not have the skill or discipline to make the prospecting process successful.

If you want to win the new business, you will have to do it yourself. Yes, it takes time to get results and you will need to develop some new skills, but discipline will help you get the results you are looking for.

Here one thing should be said; Commercial real estate brokerage is tremendously rewarding for sales people who can work hard on a system or plan. Searching for leads and opportunities is part of the process or game. It is personal and cannot be delegated.

Here are some ways to find new business, better property listings, and good clients:

  • Redundant Properties – Some properties will move to a redundancy level due to age, deterioration, zoning, or lack of tenants. When this happens, it’s time to move on to the next phase of the property’s ‘life cycle’. A good real estate agent can see the signs ahead of time and work closely with the owner as they begin to grapple with the investment shift issue.
  • Vacant Land – As a city expands or suburbs change, the vacant land will be rezoned for new development. Anticipate this opportunity by monitoring planning and development applications at your local planning approval office. Obtain copies of the public minutes of planning committee meetings.
  • Old Listings – Some listings won’t sell or rent on the first try. What you can do here is take the property off the market today and then revisit the property marketing effort a few months later with another, perhaps different, approach to marketing. Updating a list is a valuable business process.
  • Open Listings – The best way to sell or lease a property is through an exclusive listing process. Open listings are largely a process of luck; Most open listings stay on the market for a long time and are on average much less successful compared to the dedicated marketing efforts of an exclusive listing. Review old open listings to see if they can be optimized for a new marketing effort.
  • Larger Businesses – Local businesses are involved in the property, either as tenants or as owner-occupiers. Business owners will need help with the property from time to time. The best way to take advantage of that opportunity is through direct and continuous contact. Cold call all businesses in your town or city and talk to them regularly about needs and changes in ownership.
  • Other Surrounding Listings – When a competing agent puts a property on the market, you can use that listing as a reason to speak with all nearby and adjacent property and business owners. A property list can be the catalyst for talking to others and seeing if they would like to compete or do something themselves.
  • Street survey: Street by street, move systematically through your sales territory and research all owners. Eventually you will create a nice list of owners for your database. Continual contact will allow you to build valuable customer relationships and trust levels that help increase commissions and listings.
  • Cold calling: the telephone is still the most effective business tool we have. Professionally handled direct calls will help you reach new people. Selective research of landlords and entrepreneurs in your area will support the cold calling process.

A simple list like this will give you a wealth of property opportunities and opportunities. The secret to making things work for you is to do it yourself.

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