Follow us:

Archive for the ‘Sales Skills’ Category

Cold Calling: Finding The Proper Quantity – Quality Balance

February 24th, 2014

How important is a business development call or as it is more commonly known, a “cold call”? Is it more important to dial the phone as many times each day as humanly possible or is it more important to make each call truly meaningful by researching the prospect, property etc.? In reality, it’s both. The irony is that the two concepts are somewhat at odds with each other. Perhaps you work for a firm that requires a certain number of cold calls be made each day or each week and tracks that activity as a metric of your production. The theory there is something like “the more calls you make the more money you make”, believing that it’s a numbers game and if you call enough prospects the business will come. This has merit but only to a limiting degree. If the quality of your initial client contact is poorly planned, unprofessional, “salesy” or otherwise ineffective with the prospect, you are actually doing yourself more harm than good. The damage gets compounded if the only focus is quantity because you will continue to burn bridges with prospects by making poor calls and leaving the client with a negative impression of you and your company.

The most successful commercial real estate sales professionals find a proper balance between making enough new business calls and delivering a positive impression to the person on the other end of the phone by knowing something about them and having a relevant purpose for making the contact. These successful agents realize the importance of each and every call. Why? Because each and every call is a treasured opportunity for the commercial real estate agent to build a client relationship that can foster long term revenue, referrals, positive branding and a countless number of other benefits that cumulatively defines success. I suggest replacing the concept of “quantity” with a more effective concept…consistency. If you simply create a well thought out plan each day or each week that consists of whom you want to make contact with, a relevant purpose for (more…)

The Commercial Real Estate Broker’s Value Proposition

November 21st, 2013

Why do we buy things? Whether it is a need or a want we buy things because for whatever reason we have identified value. The value (in whatever form it takes) must be compelling enough for us to make the commitment to exchange our hard earned dollars for whatever product or service we value in that particular situation. In the time leading up to the making of that commitment, we do our own evaluation of whether or not the value is there.

As commercial real estate brokerage professionals, we must deliver a value proposition to the prospective client which is compelling enough to move the prospect to take action. When making that first contact with the prospective client, a number of unspoken questions exist that must be answered in order to move the relationship forward. The prospect needs to know:

Why should I listen to you?

Why should I do business with your company as opposed to the other companies I’m speaking with?

Why should I trust you?

Why should I take your advice?

Crafting your value proposition for each prospective client is an important key to winning more quality assignments as well as building the foundation of a long term agent/client relationship. It all begins with a clear understanding of what the prospect needs and how you can help him achieve the positive outcome he desires. Your value proposition also demonstrates your capabilities and delivers the message to the prospect that you are the best person for the assignment. Once the prospects’ needs are identified and you as the problem solver has a clear picture of how you can be of service, then and only then should you begin to articulate your value proposition. Spewing a lot of rhetorical features, statistics and other information related to you and your company prior to learning what the prospects actual needs are equates to nothing more than an infomercial. The prospect needs to be heard. He needs to know that you have listened to him and that you have his best interests in mind as you take the information he’s shared with you and applied the appropriate and relevant services to his needs. Doing so positions you as a trusted advisor who is aligned with the goals and objectives the prospect has outlined for you.

The services and capabilities you articulate for the prospect must be directly related to what they hope to achieve or they are meaningless to the prospect. Personalizing your value proposition for the prospect in front of you also goes a long way toward building the individual relationship that is vital to creating trust. Prospects will not do business with someone they don’t trust, so it is crucial in the early stages of your interactions with the prospect that you listen, understand and empathize. Once a foundation of trust has been clearly established, delivering your value proposition to the prospect will be more effective and have a greater impact on your prospects, resulting in more assignments won not to mention stronger client relationships.

“HALF OF U.S. HOOKERS ARE SPACE ALIENS”

September 28th, 2013

Did that get your attention? Make you want to read this post? Probably. That is just one of the many outrageous headlines found on the cover of the tabloid Weekly World News. You’re probably asking what the heck this has to do with commercial real estate brokerage. Well in this post I want to talk about marketing, mainly email marketing. Email has become such a prevalent form of communication these days, especially in business, that most people are forced to filter through the bombardment of emails we get on a daily basis. Still, email can be a very effective tool for commercial real estate agents who want to market their listings, services or client needs. So the question becomes, how do you set yourself apart and rise above the noise?

When most people receive an email, the first thing they look at is the sender. Then, and almost immediately, they look at the subject line. If the sender isn’t immediately recognizable and the subject line sounds “spammy” or is irrelevant, that email is most likely either ignored or cast off to the trash bin without being read. All of this happens in a second or two.

Commercial real estate agents should put a great deal of thought into what goes into the subject line of every marketing email sent. I’m certainly not suggesting that you become the Weekly World News of commercial real estate brokerage with false or outrageous subject lines. I am suggesting that you really think about a “headline” for that space that will set you apart from all of the other stuff we see day in and day out…..and usually ignore. Think about how (more…)

What’s Your “BIG WHY”?

May 5th, 2013

You may have heard this one before, but it is a powerful demonstration of my point. You’re standing at an open window on the 75th floor of a skyscraper. There is a narrow plank stretching about 100 feet across to the 75th floor window of an adjoining skyscraper. There is a man on the other side and he is holding a huge bag of cash. You don’t know how much but you know it’s a lot. If you can make it across, the cash is yours. You’re told that only 10% of the people who have tried to make it across were successful and 90% plummeted to their death. Are you going to try it? How much money needs to be in that bag for you to risk it?

Same scenario but this time the man isn’t holding a bag of cash. This time he’s dangling your child (or mom, or someone you love very deeply) and threatening to let go. You are the only person who can stop him IF you can rise to the challenge and make it across in time. Are you going to try it now?

The point is clear. When we think about it, there are plenty of things that transcend money in our lives. Our family, our health…… but the distinct, pre-defined measure of success in business is virtually always money. That’s fine, but if you do a little soul searching, it’s not really the money that creates a passionate drive that get’s you motivated every day. There are lots of ways to make money, and lots of ways to make large amounts of money. (more…)

What’s In It For THEM

April 30th, 2013

My good friend and colleague Larry Pino wrote a blog post last year where he related a wonderful story that also serves as a great lesson

Lawrence J. Pino

for commercial real estate brokerage professionals. With his permission, I have posted it here and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. There is a big difference between talking to your prospects about features and talking to them about how your services will benefit them, solve their problem, improve their situation, etc. Learn how to get on the client’s agenda so you can talk about “what’s in it for them”. One last observation……it takes practice! Notice that Isabella role played her new found sales techniques over and over until she was confident in her approach! Great lesson from a 7 year old. Enjoy:

We had quite a bit of drama in the household a few evenings ago.

Isabella, newly installed into the 2nd grade, expected some family and neighborhood lay-downs when she started pitching magazine subscriptions for the annual contest.

Apparently, depending on how many subscriptions you sell, and how much money you collect in a two-week period of time, you get to be invited to the Dippy Dot reward party where extra spiffs are handed out to the 2nd graders who did particularly well. (more…)

Ten Clichés To Stop Using On Clients

March 2nd, 2013

By Nellie Day, Featured Contributor

There are certain lines that we rely on when making a point, particularly if it happens to be a selling point. While clichés will never disappear entirely from our vocabulary, commercial real estate agents seem to fall privy to these word traps quite often, particularly after the Great Recession. In the interest of your client’s sanity, here are 10 overused (and often misunderstood) business clichés you may want to lay off of.

1. Delay and Pray

Also known as “extend and pretend,” this cliché refers to the strategy some lenders have adopted in a down market whereby they hold commercial loans at pre-cash values instead of taking a loss on the books. This is done in the hopes that the market will soon turn around.

2. Main Street, not Wall Street

This phrase gained popularity during the Great Recession. Though there are many interpretations, it ultimately pits Middle America and everything associated with it against the “corporate greed” that many blame for the Great Recession. Agents often use this cliché when discussing the pros of a local real estate market. Others use it to emphasize the services in place that can help smaller or independent investors achieve their financial goals. Whatever the context, this phrase is as tired as “The Great Recession.” (more…)

The Relationship Between Trust and Success

September 18th, 2012

Last week, luxury Swiss watchmaker Tag Heurer became the latest corporate sponsor to announce that they were ending their relationship with golfer Tiger Woods after 10 years. They join other major corporations such as AT&T, Gillette, Gatorade and Accenture. Since Tiger’s infamous Thanksgiving “car accident” which spiraled his career and personal life into a public circus, it is estimated that he has lost between $40 and $50 Million in endorsement deals. There is even talk of him struggling to meet his financial obligations at this point.

What I found very interesting was the statement released by Tag Heurer when they announced the end of the relationship with Tiger. The Company’s Chief Executive, Jean-Christopher Babin was quoted as saying “We are confident that Tiger will eventually regain full trust with the public, and that his huge talent and mental strength will help him overcome his difficulties.”

It occurred to me that all of the scandal, embarrassment, negative press, sensationalism, etc. are byproducts of the real reason these companies are no longer doing business with Tiger Woods…TRUST. The reason corporate America pays enormous endorsement fees to athletes and celebrities is because they feel that the person endorsing their product or service has the trust and admiration of the public. (more…)

5 Questions to Ask Every Prospect

June 3rd, 2012

There is a powerful axiom in the sales world that goes something like this: “If you are telling, you are not selling”. Sure you want to unleash your value proposition on the prospect and dazzle him with your capabilities, track record and all the reasons he would be a fool not to list with you. But what the client really wants to hear is how you are going to SOLVE HIS PROBLEM! That’s what we do…..we solve problems for our clients. So in order to present a solution to the prospects’ problem, we first need to be sure we understand very clearly what that problem is what the prospects’ expectations are of us.
The process leading up to earning a new assignment has many facets, but effectively questioning the prospect about their current situation, problems or needs and expected outcomes is a major key to winning the business. Commercial real estate agents and brokers can dramatically increase their success ratio through some basic training on how to ask strategic questions that will draw out the prospects’ motivations, problems and needs. You can word them in such a way as to make them feel natural to you, but here are 5 important questions every commercial real estate agent should be asking the prospect when working on a potential new assignment:

1. What was your original investment strategy when you acquired this asset? Asking this question forces the prospect to review why they purchased the asset and what their vision was for the future benefits they would derive from owning it. This will allow you to potentially contrast that vision with the prospect’s current situation. If the investment hasn’t performed up to their expectations or has deteriorated in some way, this question will help accentuate the prospects’ current motivations for disposing of the asset or his need to accelerate the leasing process.

2. If you could change anything at all about how this investment is performing or any other aspect of your current situation with this investment what would that be? In other words, tell me what’s wrong with this investment for you. This question will help the prospect clarify the shortcomings of the investment or his current situation. Perhaps the management of the property is weighing on the prospect and interfering with his personal life. He may tell you that if he (more…)

6 Traits Commercial Real Estate Brokers Should Learn From Tim Tebow

January 11th, 2012

No matter what you think of “Tebow Mania”, you have to admit it’s been interesting to watch. Love him or hate him, the guy is a proven winner which is what most of us certainly try to be when it comes to our commercial real estate brokerage practices. I’ll admit, I’ve been on the Tebow bandwagon and I’ve developed a few parallels that I think can be applied to what we do to be “winners’ in commercial real estate. I’ve identified 6 traits that Tim Tebow exemplifies and that you will also find in almost every successful broker:

 

  1. ATTITUDE: Tebow has always had the attitude of a winner. He knows what it takes to prepare and he goes about his business with a positive mindset, even though he is under tremendous scrutiny and pressure. It’s been hard to have a positive attitude in the commercial real estate business over the past couple of years, but the attitude you project day in and day out reflects how you approach your business. I believe you either project a winning attitude or a losing attitude.
  2. ENTHUSIASM: Tim Tebow loves the game and it shows. He has been displaying a childlike enthusiasm on the field and off since he was at Florida. That enthusiasm is contagious and makes everyone from his teammates to his fans want to be a part of it. Dale Carnegie said “Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence is the quality that most frequently makes for success”. Be enthusiastic about everything you do. When you make a cold call, meet a client for the first time or make a marketing presentation exude enthusiasm that tells the person on the other end that you LOVE what you are doing. More importantly, enthusiasm is the reinforcement of belief.
  3. COACHABILITY: Throughout his football career, Tebow’s coaches have raved about him. Why? Because their job is to coach and he is a coachable kid. Even when he was experiencing championship success at the University of Florida, he remained disciplined and open to the coaching he was receiving. (more…)