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Defrosting The Cold Call

September 20th, 2011

I’ve heard of the 3 biggest lies in the world, but one has been forgotten….” I love cold calling!” Sure, there’s always the commercial broker at a party or in the office who proclaims his love for making cold calls and all of the justifications. He’s lying. Nobody likes making cold calls for one simple reason…. Nobody likes BEING cold called. There are a number of ancillary reasons, rejection, time consuming, low payoff, etc., but when we really think about it….. it just isn’t any fun. Maybe because of the “cold” part. In the context of calling someone you don’t know and who doesn’t know you, a “cold” call implies that you are simply going to spew your commercial real estate agent 30 second elevator speech to whoever correlates to the name on your list and the voice on the phone. Isn’t that what every cold call you’ve received sounds like?

What we need to hear the person on the other end of the phone say (right after “hello”), is “WHY AM I LISTENING TO YOU”. You have very little time to deliver the answer to that question. “I’m a great commercial real estate agent and you should work with me” isn’t going to cut it.

In order to turn the cold call into a warm call and thus enjoy some positive results, you have to put a little work into what makes up each call. Think “quality” as much as “quantity”.  As commercial real estate professionals, I assume we are not calling out of the phone book. Effective business development starts with building a data base and populating it with as much information as possible about the target prospects in your market. This must include the obvious, owners name and contact information, but also should include a complete property record, photo of the property that YOU take, loan info if available, market data such as rental rates, market concessions, and your notes from visiting the property. When you are physically visiting the property you plan to enter into your database, envision yourself touring it with the owner. Note anything and everything you can make a comment about…….. new landscaping, broken sidewalk, remodeled lobby, vacancy on the directory. These notes must be in your database record along with all of the previously mentioned information.

Now your call goes something like this….

“Hi Mr. Owner, this is CRE Superstar with Superstar Commercial Real Estate. I was over at your shopping center at 123 main street and noticed that you recently installed a new building directory facing the street. The new landscaping looks great too and I was wondering if you’ve been able to ask a higher rental rate for your vacant space because of the improvements?” Is this a cold call? No, you’ve started a conversation by demonstrating familiarity with this persons highly valued asset. You’re not likely to get hung up on after asking your first question. Guiding the conversation toward an appointment is the subject of future posts, but this is a simple way to increase your success when calling new prospects.

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