The number one question I get is, “How do I generate more leads?” Most commercial real estate agents have no problem closing the deal, the issue is finding a deal to close. Don’t worry, I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve!
Finding Potential Clients
Opt #1: Reonomy is the best thing since sliced bread. Where have you been all my life, you beautiful database?! With handy options like searching directly for commercial property owners in your area (or around a particular building), there’s little wasted time and effort. Reonomy has taken documentation from Country Records Departments and placed them into an easy to search database. With Reonomy’s intervention we now have a user-friendly database and skip the trip to the records department. While a little pricey, I think the ease of researching potential clients is well worth the price.
Opt #2: InfoUSa.com has a great tool to search for particular businesses within a state, city, neighborhood, or radius around your office. If you’re not comfortable with using their automated system, their friendly sales agents will help you narrow your contact list down to exactly what you need. The final excel spreadsheet can be used in mailers and cold calls (depending on state laws, it may be illegal to sell phone numbers). An average sized list of 100-300 contacts will run you about $100 to $300.
Opt #3: County Records Department information is free! While some larger counties may have the ability to access property information online, smaller counties may not. Usually these databases are not user-friendly or easily searched, so don’t be afraid to walk into your local County Records Department and ask someone how to gather information on property owners. This is public information and they’re not allowed to deny you access. If the information is not available online, usually they’ll provide you access to a computer with access to their database. For a small fee, you may be able to get a county records employee to print a record of all properties that have changed hands from <date> to <date>.
Making Contact with Potential Clients
Now that you have your contact lists, let’s do some prospecting!
Cold calling. I know, ick. Agents complain that voicemail is their number one fan; they’re always talking to it. What if I told you there’s a system that leaves a message for you? First, it calls the phone numbers in your database. If a live person picks up the system can be setup to say, “Sorry, wrong number” and hang up. If the system gets voicemail it leaves your pre-recorded message. How many cold calls could you bang out in a single day? Probably 80 to 90 percent! This system is helpful and extremely cheap. Call Fire’s Voice Broadcast system is 3.5-cents per minute. If you have a 60-second message, 1000 connected calls will total $35. The “Sorry, wrong number” feature keeps people from knowing you’re using a pre-recorded message, it looks like an authentic call directly from you!
Mailers. Most agents have this horrible sales letter they wrote up in like 5-minutes and it goes like this, “My name is John Smith and I specialize in selling / buying / leasing commercial property. You know I’m an expert because I used a thesaurus on every descriptor and picked the biggest word. Services include, Analysis of Comparable Statistics and Demographic Compilations. Call me today for your free consultation!” Oh my goodness, these sales atrocities need to stop.
Separate your mailers and add call-to-actions to increase effectiveness.
Landlords with properties want to know how you’ll fill their vacant space. Tell them your techniques for ending their vacancy issues and offer something in return for their contacting you, “Call me to receive my Free PDF: 5 Tips to Lowering your Vacancies”.
Commercial real estate investors want to know how you’ll sell their property quickly. List your strategies for selling and marketing properties for sale and offer a free PDF in exchange for contacting you, “Call me to receive my Free PDF: 5 Tips to Sell your CRE Property Fast”.
Tenants want to know how you’ll find their perfect space and location. Write down your tenant rep services and offer a helpful PDF if they call you, “Call me to receive my Free PDF: 5 Tips to Leasing your Perfect Space”.
Emails. National and state laws prevent the sale and mass distribution of emails. You’ll have to build your email database yourself. Calico Marketing provides emails to help you advertise your properties and build your opt-in email list! Exchange a white paper for a potential client’s email and let the automated email system follow-up with (1) Thank you for downloading, (2) Follow-ups, and (12) Newsletters. That’s 1 year of follow-up to your leads! Easily import directly into MailChimp and setup the automation. (Download template.)