Cold calling isn’t the only way for a commercial real estate agent to generate leads! I’m going to list 55 ways to gather commercial real estate leads without picking up a single phone.
These options are great for getting a list of “cold leads”. People that have not contacted you but may be interested in your services.
- Reonomy. Has a great tool to search property owners by type, size, area, any filter you can imagine! Pull lists directly from their system.
- Local County Records Department. The information of who owns what building is public information. However, sometimes, it can be a pain to search through. Your local County Records Department will have all of this information. Most large cities will have the ability to search an online database. However, smaller counties may require you to come in and use their computer lab. Do a Google Search for your County Records Department or stop in to ask questions on how to gather this information.
- InfoUSA. If tenant rep is your game, InfoUSA is a great way to find business contacts in your area. Restaurant owners, industrial manufacturers and more can be easily searched and pulled from InfoUSA. However, I found you can get a better deal when dealing with a rep instead of the website.
- D&B Hoovers. It’s a little pricey, so you may want to request your broker get an account for the full office. Identifying your target market is easy and D&B will provide you alerts on news regarding your leads. This system also offers a lot of extremely in-depth information that the others will not, making starting a conversation quite a bit easier.
Website Lead Gen
If you don’t have a website you need to start thinking about it. It’s the #1 best way to generate leads without doing much of anything.
- Blogs. Writing a weekly blog is one of the best ways to gain rankings in search engines and bring people into your website. You can also repurpose the blog articles in your newsletters, advertise on social media, and post the information onto Redditt and other sites.
- Ebooks / White Papers. Offering a piece of educational information in exchange for signing up to a newsletter or mailing list is a great way to get active leads!
- Signup Forms. Every page should have some kind of “sign up” form for newsletters, Ebook or White Paper.
- Social share icons. Your blog pages, especially, should have the ability to share on social media.
- Chat ability. Click to chat icons are easy with Drift! Setup an app on your phone and it will text message you when someone fills out the chat request. Use your phone while your leads chat in the website.
- Contact Forms. Never underestimate the power of a contact form. Keep them simple and use a plugin like “Dynamic Fields” to see what page it was filled out on. No more asking “what property where you interested in?”
- Simple Contact Forms. The more fields you have, the less likely people are to fill them out. Instead of asking 20 questions, consider just the basics. You can also setup your forms to auto-populate, making it easy for leads to contact you.
- Comments. Allow for people to add comments to your blogs.
- Show your Listings. Whether you use an IDX or a listings plugin, showing your listings on a website is a great way to showcase your expertise and advertise your clients’ properties.
- CRE Listings Plugin. I provide a CRE Listings Plugin with every website! You can set the Brochure to only show after a lead has submitted his or her contact information. Great for additional lead generation! No additional cost, only available through me!
- Integrate your Social Media. Be sure to show all your social media accounts on your website. You can also integrate your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. accounts with your website to show active feeds.
- Market Reports. Does your brokerage offer market reports? Offer these on your website in exchange for lead contact information or joining your newsletter.
- Webcasts. If you create videos or podcasts, you can require contact info in exchange for access to this information. Like a login section.
- Free Valuations. Offer “free valuations” as an incentive for people to fill out you contact forms.
- Tracking Software. Use a robust tracking software to see where visitors are clicking, what pages are most successful, and how often someone has returned to your website. Prioritize your follow-up with the most interested leads first.
- Listing Brochures. Use those listing brochures as a lead generation tool! With my CRE Listings Plugin you can set your brochures to show after someone has entered their contact info.
Email Lead Gen
- Newsletters. Monthly or bi-monthly newsletters are a great way to keep-in-touch with your leads and current clients. Use your blog posts, interesting news articles, latest deals, market reports and more to keep people engaged.
- Drip Campaign. Set your website’s contact forms to automatically follow-up with a drip campaign. A set of 3-5 emails after a sign-up will ensure proper follow-up – even if you’re on vacation! Set it and forget it!
- Big Boys Blast. They claim to have 128,000 email in their database. Using this system to blast out information on your listings is a great way to advertise and gain exposure in the industry!
- Property Blast. This one says there are 90,000 emails in their database. One of the few options that allows you to choose emails by state (great for leases)!
- Property Send. Claims 120,000 emails in their database. They are one of the few options that allow you to see open rates of your individual emails. This feature makes it easy to track and test different designs and email subject lines.
- Catylist Emails. The sales rep claims about 50,000 emails in their database. They allow both single and multiple property emails, so if you’re sending out multiple properties, one email with multiple properties could be the best option.
- Cold Emails. With services like Woodpecker, it will simplify your cold emails and log all interactions in one user-friendly place. 7 Tips to Writing CRE Cold Emails.
- Email Signature. This means putting your name, phone, email, website, address, EVERYTHING in your email signature. Everyone hates your simple “– NAME” signature because we must look through all our files just to give you a quick call.
Social Media Lead Gen
- Setup Social Media Accounts. Ensure each of your social media accounts has the same basic color scheme, main photograph and information. You don’t want people wondering if they’re in the correct place. Consistency is key.
- HootSuite. Who has time to post individually in all your social media accounts? Hootsuite will integrate all your accounts, allow you to make one post and push it automatically to each account. Saves time and allow you to schedule posts for the future.
- Share your blogs. Each time you add a blog post, update your social media account.
- Create videos. Videos are becoming the next big thing. Stay ahead of the game by starting your video postings now.
- Share news articles. Did you find a news article interesting? I bet your colleges and followers would too! Share it on social media.
- Announce new tenants. Did you land a new lease for a building? Brag about it by announcing a “Welcome to the Neighborhood!” post for the tenant and landlord.
- Announce new sales. Announce your closed deals! Confidential? You can still announce that you closed a deal without divulging buyer info.
- Thank clients or colleagues publicly. Thank your clients and colleagues public ally by announcing how they helped you, what deal they managed or great lunch dates!
- Do a survey. Some social media platforms will allow you to offer a survey for people to vote in. Advertise this survey in your newsletters, on your blog and more to get participation.
- LinkedIn conversations. LinkedIn is where it’s at for B2B businesses. Be sure to stay active in conversations and post relevant information that your leads would find interesting.
- Google Reviews. Claim your business on Google. Note that Google reviews are only available if you have a physical address. While your broker can have a Google Review page for his/her business, as an agent you won’t be able to…unless you use a home address. (Not recommended! Weirdoes will visit your home!) Having the ability for clients to review your business will have a huge impact on your website’s local SEO and rankings.
- Google AdWords. Not for the faint of heart, but Google AdWords can be a great way to increase leads by offering your ebook/white paper in the ads and using a landing page to collect lead information.
- LinkedIn Ads. You can target for certain people like “Restaurant owners” or “Real Estate Developers” and hit only the people you want.
- Facebook Ads. Just as targeted as LinkedIn, and you can get them when their guards are down while they surf photos of their nephew’s birthday party.
- News Funnel Ads. News Funnel is a real estate news site with daily newsletter of “top stories”. While they aren’t specific to commercial real estate, most of their articles are CRE related. They have several options, but the one I recommended is the banner ad for $250 per week. News funnel claims they send to about 50,000 emails. Multiply the number of emails by 7 days and that’s a lot of eyes on your ad!
- LoopNet Ads. The banner ad on top of their weekly newsletter is for sale for a mind boggling $2,000 per week. They boast an average of 400 clicks per newsletter. Although the price is staggering, if their claimed click-thru rate holds true, one ad will get you significantly more clicks than most of their competitors combined.
- Attend a Real Estate Conference. While not the best way to get real leads, it’s an excellent way to learn more industry specific information and make connections with other real estate agents.
- Attend an Industry Conference. Does your target market frequent the Pizza Expo or the International Concrete Expo? Have a booth or scope it out for potential leads!
- Speak at a Conference. While not for everyone, requesting the opportunity to speak at a conference is a great way to gain exposure and get tons of leads. Remember when I suggested creating videos, this is a great way to showcase what kind of speaker you would be!
- Advertise at an Event. Practically every event will allow you to either show an ad in their booklet, have posters at a cocktail hour, or sponsor a lunch/dinner etc.
- Give out Swag. Bring Plenty of swag to a convention. Personally, I’ve noticed the higher quality swag has serious staying power. Purchasing the $2 pen versus 5-cent pen, will land your swag in a pocket for over a year. Quality tote bags also have some serious staying power.
- Apply for Awards. There are plenty of industry awards, apply for some of them! Who knows? Maybe you’ll win.
- Join a Brokerage. If you’re just starting out, this may be the #1 way to go. Yes, you’ll have to share a big chunk of your commission with the house, but if your pipeline is $0, you may not have a choice. Also, brokerages will often provide mentors and lead services to newbies. Just try not to get into a “cold call only” vortex. Keep in mind all these ideas while you build your leads.
- Referral Campaigns. This may also be a brokerage-only situation, but advertising your services within your brokerage network may bring on additional referrals.
- Guest Blogging. Writing quality blogs for industry related websites is a great way to gain traffic to your website and build trust.
- Social Groups. Join some social media groups and some local ones as well. Better Business Bureau and NAIOP have some great events!