Prospecting lays the foundation for success in the commercial real estate industry.
From brokers, to roofers, to lenders, and so on—all kinds of commercial real estate professionals stand to gain from optimizing their incoming flow of new commercial real estate leads.
Commercial Real Estate Prospecting
Regardless of industry, you’ve likely heard it before… “Selling is an art and a science.”
When it comes to commercial real estate prospecting and sales, the tools you use to fuel your research and outreach are the “science.”
The “art” is your ability to effectively communicate and build relationships with property owners.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to master both, no matter what type of professional you are.
We’re going to discuss the tactics that apply to all types of CRE professionals—how you can discover the ideal properties and owners, how to analyze portfolios and build a list of targeted owners, how to successfully get in touch with those owners, and, how to follow up and win business with them.
Discovering Your Ideal Properties and Owners
The commercial real estate prospecting process begins with the ability to identify the properties that provide the most value to you.
Target prospects are those most in need of your commercial real estate services, with the authority, budget, and sense of urgency to act.
Knowing how to identify those properties is simply a matter of knowing how to search for them.
By using tools like Reonomy and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, your search can become more fluid and powerful.
Reonomy Off-Market Property and Owner Search
By using Reonomy, you can find properties based on very granular property-level and ownership details.
Through the power of searching off-market, you can hone in on hyper-specific target property owners.
You can search properties on Reonomy by location, asset type, sales history, debt history, ownership records, business tenants, whether the asset is in an Opportunity Zone, or all of the above.
For example, with Reonomy, you can run a search specifically for industrial properties in Boston, MA, that:
- Have not been sold within the last 10 years.
- Have a most recent sale price that does not exceed $10m.
- Have been renovated or newly built within the last 20 years.
- Have at least 100,000 square feet in building area.
The above search even neglects the possibility to include filters for detailed debt and ownership characteristics.
For debt brokers, lender originators, or anyone else who would use debt filters, an example of a search might instead be industrial properties in Boston, MA, that:
- Have a most recent mortgage amount that does not exceed $1m.
- Have a mortgage that originated somewhere from 5-7 years ago.
- Have a mortgage with Eastern Bank.
Once you have identified target properties, you can begin to analyze the ownership records of those properties and build a list of property owners (see below).
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator can also be used to search for promising prospects of different kinds.
On the site, you can search through thousands of relevant, targeted users, which can be found using a range of categories in the site’s Advanced Search feature.
The tool also comes with lead recommendations, seamless CRM integration, and the ability to send InMail’s directly to users—i.e. property owners.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a tool that mixes art and science very well, as it is a terrific way to stay in close communication with your network and with prospects.
Once you have used Reonomy or LinkedIn to find the perfect target properties, you can focus on spending time understanding the owners and building of list of those that are most valuable to your business.
Researching Owners and Their Portfolios
Once you have the strategies in place to consistently find target properties, you need to provide yourself with the tools to build lists of property owners so you can prioritize and prep for outreach.
Having a list of property owners and the ability to analyze their portfolios in-full helps you narrow down and prioritize those of the most value.
The easiest way to research and build a targeted list of property owners is to use the results you’ve generated in your Reonomy property search.
Reonomy List of Property Owners
You can take the results from your Reonomy property search and easily turn them into an organized list of property owners to contact and connect with.
That list can be exported as a CSV file to be integrated with your existing database or CRM.
To build a list of property owners with Reonomy, first, you may want to analyze the owner profiles of your target properties by visiting their individual property profile pages.
In any property profile page, simply click the Ownership tab to see the owner details and contact information associated with the property at-hand.
Once you’ve done so, you can label that property as one you’d like to export.
You can either export a list of designated properties that you’ve labeled, or you can export an entire list of search results.
Whatever the case, by simply clicking the Export button on your search page, a Reonomy list of target properties quickly becomes a downloaded CSV that’s ready to be uploaded to your CRM.
Having a CRM is an integral part of maintaining your prospect list and outreach.
Salesforce simplifies the commercial real estate prospecting process by allowing you to easily manage your prospects and track your outreach and marketing campaigns, all from one database.
Salesforce can easily be integrated with your email provider, making for easy transfer of data all around, and making for easier and more efficient communication with all of your prospects.
Connecting with Property Owners
It’s important to ensure that you dedicate a set amount of time for your daily prospect outreach, as well.
The best way to prepare for and ace a CRE pitch is to build a script beforehand.
A well-prepared script will ensure that you confidently deliver your pitch without fretting about what you have to say next, or worrying whether you have presented your services in the best light.
A great commercial real estate prospecting script will ensure that you ask the right questions to build rapport, and pack your talking points with data and salient information that you derived from your initial research process.
The strongest commercial real estate prospecting scripts include granular details about the prospect, their property, and their portfolio. Personalized commercial real estate prospecting scripts help your contacts warm up to you and open up conversation.
Real Estate Cold Calling Scripts
There are several ways to optimize your cold calls for success.
Prepping for a cold call is an integral part of ensuring that you feel self-assured and energized on your call, which will endear you to your prospect and allow you to present your pitch in the most persuasive manner.
Your opening statement should include an introduction and a brief summary of the value you offer clients like your prospect:
“Hi (prospect name),
My name is (your name). I am calling to discuss (include a brief statement of the commercial real estate service you provide, noting your key expertise, and an example of some quantifiable results you have achieved for your past clients).”
Next, include a follow-up question to open up conversation with your prospect.
Draw on relevant data to ask a question about the prospect’s business. Examples might include:
1. “When you purchased your Green St property in 2007, what were your goals for the property?”
2. “I see that your apartment building on Amsterdam Ave and 108th St. has a mortgage expiring in the coming months, and I can assure you that our rates are better than what you’re currently getting at Bank ABC.”
3. “Do you plan to expand on the four retail spaces you currently own in Lincoln County?”
Follow that question by offering to send them something relevant to their initiatives. For example, a recent blog blog post containing advice or news they might find useful.
Offering up an actionable resource also plays nicely into psychologist Robert Caldini’s rule of reciprocity.
The rule of reciprocity holds that we feel a strong psychological pull towards repaying acts of generosity, in terms of time, gifts, or favors. Providing something of value helps to warm your relationship with your prospect and subtly markets your firm as a promising business option.
Commercial Real Estate Prospecting Letter
A commercial real estate prospecting letter is still one of the most reliable ways of reaching out to promising prospects.
Your letter should include a short introduction explaining who you are and the commercial real estate services you provide.
Utilize software such as LinkedIn, Google search, and Reonomy to research each one of your prospects and tailor each letter to their pain points and interests. Keep your letter short, yet detailed.
For concrete examples of templates that you can use for your commercial real estate prospecting letter, take a look here.
Following Up with Property Owners
While your initial outreach is what gets your foot in the door, follow up is also extremely important.
Your follow up is the culmination of “art” and “science” meeting near the end, to push a prospect through to conversion.
Typically emails are the best form of follow up, as they give your prospect some breathing room while reminding them that you’re still present. This is where you can best express the value you’re offering and turn prospects into clients.
Furthermore, with tools like ActiveCampaign and HubSpot to manage your follow up outreach and monitor prospect engagement, you can make sure that property owners understand the value you’re offering them.
Real Estate Email Scripts
Similar to your cold calling scripts, email scripts should also be tailored to suit your individual commercial real estate prospects. Your email scripts should be short, personal, and again, very relevant.
When writing a follow up email script, reference the previous interaction you had with positivity. The goal here, is to build upon that interaction. To do that, you can include some quantifiable results you have achieved in the past for similar clients.
The opening statement of your email script might look something like this:
I must say—I really enjoyed our conversation the other day. I understand the difficulty in finding reliable terms on vacant land mortgages, but let me just say this…”
You can follow that opening statement with your most recent achievement, backed by numbers that Frank would care about.
A follow up email is a great way to let prospects know that you’re still very engaged with them, and that you’d still very much like to continue the conversation with them.
Back your email outreach with tools like ActiveCampaign and Hubspot, and your full outreach process will be looking stronger than ever.
ActiveCampaign is a highly affordable email management system that offers several benefits for your email outreach initiatives.
Designed to work well with a large number of workflows, ActiveCampaign can be used to automate your email marketing processes. They offer an easy-to-use database and a budget-friendly price plan, beginning at $9.00 per month. In addition, ActiveCampaign can also be integrated with several other apps and integrations, including your email, CRM, and analytics server.
Content marketing is one of the most powerful ways of drawing new prospects to your commercial real estate business.
HubSpot is one of the most popular content management services available, enabling you to easily create, edit, and optimize lead-generating content for your CRE business.
You can create custom-designed emails for follow up, build a website, and much more to communicate with your prospects in both inbound and outbound manners.
HubSpot has a reputation for being easy to use, offering drag and drop edits and a bevy of educational content and courses.
The site is great for both building and monitoring outreach with prospects, assuring that they’re engaging with what you’re sending, allowing you to optimize for future outreach.
Mastering the Art and Science of Commercial Real Estate Prospecting
Commercial real estate prospecting can be mastered by adopting the right tools and data.
Using the right resources lets you consistently fuel your outreach with in-depth, relevant, and up-to-date information on your most targeted property owners.
Those resources handle the “science” of selling, giving you the opportunity to truly master the “art” of communication with prospects. The right combination of the two can take your prospecting to a new level.