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Archive for the ‘Prospecting’ Category

Handling Objections in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

October 6th, 2014

Any sales professional must be able to overcome legitimate objections put forth by the prospect in front of them. It is one of the key factors necessary to keep the sales process moving toward a successful outcome. In commercial real estate, there are a few objections that we will hear repeatedly from prospects. Objections to entering into an exclusive representation agreement, objections to fee, objections to price and a few others are fairly typical in our industry. We will cover methods for overcoming many of these objections at another time, but the purpose of thisGetting Over No Overcoming Objection to Win post is to talk about how we handle the objection when it is raised by the prospect. How we handle objections, in the moment when they are presented to us, could be the difference between winning the business and losing the business.

 

First, we have to look at the timing of the objection. Perhaps you’ve made a cold call and the prospect is objecting to meeting with you because he is too busy. Is the prospect really too busy to meet with you or is this his way of telling you that whatever you’ve said up to that point has not offered enough value for him to give you some morsel of his time in return? Probably the latter of course so think about how you can then make the prospect feel that meeting with you would be a valuable use of his precious time. Express empathy for how busy the prospect is and that you respect his time, but at the same time deliver a value proposition that compels the prospect to WANT to meet with you. Then make it easy for the prospect to accept a meeting. Offer to meet before or after business hours. I had a prospect tell me that he was headed out of town early the next morning and I offered to buy him coffee at the Starbucks in the airport terminal (which he accepted).

 

In many cases, objections that the prospect may raise early in the process of developing the business relationship can (more…)

Digital Marketing For Commercial Real Estate Brokerage (Part 2)

September 15th, 2014

This is the second in a three part series discussing Digital Marketing For Commercial Real Estate Brokerage. In Part 1 we discussed how to effectively establish an online presence through the building of a dynamic website. We also discussed the power of strategic email marketing to keep yourself in front of clients and prospects. This week we are going to get even more pro-active and talk about branding yourself as a “trusted authority” within the commercial real estate brokerage industry.

Newspaper Icon with News Title on Blue Arrow.Imagine two scenarios where you are exposed to the same information. First, you see an ad in the newspaper or in a magazine. The ad is from a commercial real estate brokerage firm and the headline of the ad is “ABC Commercial Brokers Grand Opening….Full Service Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Seeking New Listings” or something to that effect. It may get your attention and the message is clear.

Alternatively, you see a post when you do a Google Search for commercial real estate in your city. The post is from Yahoo News or Newswire or some other “news” source on the web. The headline reads FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: “ABC Commercial Sees Growth Potential For Anytown, Enters Market With New Office”. What follows is an informational article with quotes from the broker discussing all of the positives related to the commercial real estate market in your city and how this growth has led them to offer their acclaimed commercial real estate brokerage services to new clients (more…)

Digital Marketing for Commercial Real Estate Brokerage (Part 1)

September 8th, 2014

My client was a global executive suite company and we were negotiating on a 10 year lease for a 22,000 square foot space in Atlanta. “We can’t sign the lease until we know when our Yellow Pages Ad will come out. Our opening needs to coincide with when the Yellow Pages books are delivered.”  We had missed the deadline by 5 weeks so our expansion into the Atlanta market had to wait until next year. That’s how important the physical Yellow Pages Ad was for my client in 1992. Why? Because in 1992 the Yellow Pages Book was the “go to” source for finding products, services, restaurants and any other type of local business you were looking for. That was then….this is now.

Marketing concept. Red hot key on computer keyboard with loud spDelivery methods for marketing messages are dominated by digital communications. You may be reading this blog on your laptop, desktop, tablet or smart phone but you are most likely not reading it off of a sheet of paper. So it goes with modern marketing and branding. Commercial real estate brokerage is just beginning to catch on to the idea. We take for granted that a search for information about a company, an individual and yes, a property is but a few clicks or taps of a digital keyboard away. If the connection is too slow (meaning it takes more than about 5 seconds to show up on our device) we grit our teeth in frustration.

As technology continues to evolve at a dizzying pace, we as commercial real estate brokerage professionals will need to harness the tools available to us so that the marketing and branding messages we put out to the world remain relevant and dynamic. This will provide commercial real estate agents and brokers a competitive edge almost as important as their skill set.

This will be the first of 3 posts where we will layout the most basic fundamentals and (more…)

Figuring Out Where To Start

September 1st, 2014

I was asked to provide some coaching and guidance to a young man (we’ll call him Tim) the other day. He had been asked to meetstart line with a prospect (a friend of the broker) to discuss a possible sale or redevelopment of several parcels of land. Tim had spoken to the prospect when he set the appointment but got the basic information about the property and the assignment from the broker.

“I don’t know where to begin. The prospect is going to ask me what I think he should do. What do you think I should tell him?” he said.

I asked Tim what he knew about the property. “It’s over near the stadium. On West Street”. That’s a start. I asked Tim if he had been to the property and he said he had not.

So let’s dissect the answer to Tim’s very first stated dilemma….”I don’t know where to begin…” First we will look at the information we have and what we know.

  1. We know the address of the property;
  2. We know the owner’s name (or at least one of the owner’s names);
  3. We know that the owner is interested in taking some form of action related to the property, i.e. selling it or redeveloping it;
  4. We know that Tim has an appointment with the prospect at 9:00 tomorrow morning.

What can we do with the information we have? The very first thing we want to do is physically visit the property. Take some photos for future reference. Make notes or use your voice recorder to (more…)

Focus On Exclusive Listings & Control Your Destiny

July 14th, 2014

The phone rings. “Hi, I’ve got some money I need to invest into a good commercial real estate deal. I’m ready to buy right awaysays the very authoritative prospect on the other end of the phone. If you are relatively new to the business, this certainly sounds like an exciting call right? Maybe….maybe not. You begin to qualify the prospect by asking some questions about their specific needs.

“I’ve got a few hundred grand to put down, and I have a great relationship with my bank so financing won’t be a problem. I want a 20 – 30 unit apartment building within a 30 minute driving distance from my home. It has to be low maintenance and have a high occupancy. I don’t like problems and I want a nice cash flow right from the beginning. It should be located in a good neighborhood near public transportation and nice amenities like shopping and restaurants. Ya got anything like that kid?”

Pretty specific and the prospect certainly sounds real. Based on the info you’re now armed with, you set out spending your valuable time researching and tracking down qualified properties. You scour Loopnet and CoStar. You drive the market. You call other brokers who have similar listings. Maybe you make a few cold calls to owners of properties that fit the bill. Hours, days maybe a week or two of work and you’re ready to show the prospect 3 solid prospects that fit what he described perfectly. You call to set an appointment for showings.

“Oh yeah, hi kid. Hey listen, my brother in laws cousins girlfriend turned me on to a great deal on a distressed shopping center in Ohio that I could buy for cheap. Plus it’s only 50%  leased so there is plenty of upside. The market is a bit dicey but it’s turning around so I’m just in time for the upswing. And the seller will hold the financing so I don’t have to try to qualify for a bank loan. But thanks for looking….I’ll call you again if I ever want to buy something else.”  Time and effort, down the drain.

While this may be an extreme example, it happens all the time. Combing the market looking for (more…)

5 Keys To Consistently Generating New Listings

June 30th, 2014

Forgive the overused metaphors but:

  •  If our bodies don’t constantly pump new blood, we will die;
  • If our cars don’t get refilled with gas, they won’t run;
  • If you don’t recharge a battery, it will run out of power;

And if commercial real estate agents don’t constantly engage in new business development, they will go broke! All too many times, we let our days get filled up with “busy work” or we are consumed with all the little details involved in a deal or two we are working on. Because these activities feel like they are moving us closer to a closing, we let our daily business development activities take a back seat, delaying those activities to an unknown time in the future……that usually never comes.

Probably the single most important thing that we as commercial real estate agents and brokers must focus on consistently in our careers is new business development. It should be a daily scheduled activity with a strategy attached to it. Here are 5 keys to getting and maintaining a focus on new business development:

  1.  Have a Business Development Plan – As an independent commercial real estate brokerage professional, you should have a business plan that reflects your goals and methodology for reaching those goals. Clearly mapping out your plan for developing new listings should be an integral part of that plan. A detailed, written outline that (more…)

Bringing The Best “You” To Every Commercial Real Estate Sales Opportunity

June 9th, 2014

I had a nice chat with my friend Jeff today and we were discussing varieties of “secret sauce” that make up the keys to success in selling. Jeff is a consummate sales professional so I wanted to hear what he thought was the most important factor that was present in every successful sales situation. His answer was simple but very profound.

“Be yourself, but be the best “you” possible in every selling opportunity” he said. I asked what he meant by the “best you possible”. He told me that there are plenty of days when he got up in the morning and there were about a million things he’d rather be doing than speaking to new prospects.

“On those days I just have to tell myself that I have to be here and the only way I will have a successful day is to shake it off and give the prospect my very best”. He went on to tell me that means assessing his positive attributes and strengths, then taping into those things when he interacts with the prospects.

“You know when you are at your best and you know how it feels to succeed during those times. That’s the energy you have to draw upon every single day when you are prospecting. But being aware of your strengths is key. If you know you (more…)

5 Methods for Turning Prospects Into Client Relationships

May 12th, 2014

I recently had the pleasure of coaching a new agent who had secured several prospect appointments. Needless to say, he was excited about the opportunity to win these assignments and we discussed his strategies for engaging the prospects in these first appointments. He had spent several days gathering competitive market data, creating spreadsheets, charts, graphs and collecting marketing flyers from other properties all of which was designed to support his position for convincing the prospect to list the property. He told me how he planned to show the prospect that his company was active and enjoyed a good amount of success with similar properties. He explained how he planned to explain to the prospect how the prior listing agent did not do a good job in representing him. This new agent felt fully armed with all the ammunition he thought was needed to nail the prospect and win the business.

My advice to him? Walk in to the initial meeting with a single blank sheet of paper. Ask permission to take a few notes and tell the prospect that you’d like to get to know as much about him or her and their situation as possible. Then…..LISTEN. A mountainous barrage of facts and figures delivered in presentation format does not a relationship make (or build). Before the presentation, there needs to be a CONVERSATION! Taking the time to develop a relationship that is based on trust is what will pave the way to earning the business. Once trust is established, the supporting data that you share with the prospect becomes far more believable and powerful that it would be as a first “impression”. So here are 5 key ways to begin the process of building a client relationship based on trust:

 

  1. Differentiate yourself from your competition – There are so many ways that you can set yourself apart from the competition. Many times, just taking the time to listen and ask probing questions will show the client that you are deeply interested in helping them, not just advancing your own agenda. Take a video of the prospect’s property, have color photos blown up to 8 X 10 and have them framed as a gift, visit the planning and zoning board to gain a better perspective, research the history of the building, etc. Think of creative ways to show the prospect that you are personally vested in building a relationship with them and that you’re not “just another broker” looking for another listing.
  2. Make it personal – If appropriate, tell the prospect a little about you personally, your family, your goals, why you chose this as a career. Ask the prospect for advice about how you can (more…)

3 Ways to Assess Probability Before Taking a Listing

April 28th, 2014

This short cartoon is an example of how to “walk away” from an unrealistic client.

On a raining morning this past week I decided to watch a television show called “Million Dollar Listing” where these young, hot shot real estate brokers work on luxury residential deals in L.A. Reality TV isn’t really my thing, but this one caught my attention.

In this particular episode, this guy named Josh started by talking about a $5,000,000 listing that he had. In giving his commentary on this listing, he emphasizes that the house is “way over priced” and that he didn’t think that anything in that market had ever sold for more than 3 or 4 million dollars. He also said that the seller was difficult and eccentric but was “a really good person” for reasons I’m still not particularly clear on. After hearing this, my first thought was “so why did you take the listing Josh?” I assumed that since this was reality television, Josh was probably going to pull a rabbit out of his hat and find the perfect buyer who would pay full price and set a record for highest sales price in that market. The whole dissertation about the property being way overpriced was just a setup for the happy ending right?

Josh and his co-listing partner get an offer for $3,000,000 from an investor who wants to refurbish the property and is willing to share the profits with the seller. They decide to meet the seller to present the offer and before meeting him Josh says to his partner “you know he’s not going to like it and it’s going to get ugly” to which his partner (more…)

Delivering “Shock & Awe” To Win More Business

March 17th, 2014

The field is crowded. How many listing emails do you get each day? How many deal flyers and postcards clutter your mailbox every day? What percentage of what you see stands out to you?

Our prospects and clients experience the same thing. As commercial real estate agents and brokers, I believe we have become far too predictable in our approach to business development. Everything from the features and benefits we talk about to the new business proposals we present to our prospects and the marketing packages we deliver to our buyers, very few truly stand out from the crowd. Competing in the commercial real estate brokerage industry is difficult enough. Do you have a strategy for differentiating yourself from the competition?

Occasionally I am told by a potential user of our Proposal Generator software something along the lines of “I don’t want to create a report that is more than 3 or 4 pages” or “The package is too thick”. I always find this perplexing when considering the end goal of every agent’s presentation. Needless to say, our business contains it’s fair share of complexities and the proposal is our opportunity to showcase our value proposition to the prospective client by delivering a package that is complete, well thought out and professionally presented. More importantly, the proposal we present is our first chance to truly differentiate ourselves from our competitors. Why wouldn’t you want to do that every single time you interact with your prospects?

The expression “Shock and Awe” originated as a description of what would be expected during the second military confrontation with Iraq. The vision speaks for itself. In terms of commercial real estate, “shock and awe” can happen if we truly differentiate ourselves by exceeding our prospects’ expectations in an extreme way. This is not that hard to accomplish, especially if the prospect bases those expectations on the same old song and dance they have seen and heard from most of the other agents out there. This tends to set the bar fairly low. Advantage you.

Shock and awe happens when you begin by truly listening to the prospect’s needs and wants. Conducting an in depth and serious discovery process where you ask several levels of questions that will allow you to clearly understand the prospect’s situation, problems and needs demonstrates to the prospect that you sincerely care about helping them. Gathering a complete (more…)