Prospecting lays the foundation for success in the commercial real estate industry.
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 use those tools, translating them into communication and relationship building with property owners.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to master both the art and the science, no matter what type of professional you are.
We’re going to discuss the tactics that apply to all types of CRE professionals. You’ll learn how you can discover the ideal properties and owners to match your business, how to analyze portfolios and build a list of targeted owners, how to successfully get in touch with those owners, and how to win contracts with each of them.
Discovering Your Ideal Properties and Owners
First and foremost, real estate prospecting success comes from identifying which properties provide the most value for you and your business.
The best prospects are the property owners who most need your commercial real estate services. Furthermore, those owners have the authority, budget, and sense of urgency to act quickly.
Knowing how to identify such properties and property owners 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
Prospecting with Reonomy allows you to find ideal clients based on very granular property-level and ownership details.
Through the power of searching off-market, you can hone in on hyper-specific details, targeting the ideal property owner to match your services.
You can search properties on Reonomy using a variety of filters: 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.
You can further narrow your search by including filters for detailed debt and ownership characteristics.
For debt brokers, lender originators, or anyone else who would use debt filters, you might instead search for 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 potential leads, you can analyze the ownership records of those properties and build a list of property owners (see below).
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is another online tool that CRE professionals can use to discover new business leads.
The paid prospecting site allows users to search through thousands of relevant, targeted property owners. Users can then narrow search results using a series of Advanced Search features on the site.
This tool comes with lead recommendations, seamless CRM integration, and the ability to send InMail’s directly to users—i.e. property owners.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows business owners and CRE professionals to mix both art and science; users can stay in close communication with their network and with prospects.
Once you have used Reonomy or LinkedIn to find the perfect target properties, the next step is to fully understand the owners. Then, using the comprehensive contact information, build a list of those contacts likely to provide the most value to your business.
Researching Owners and Their Portfolios
You now have the strategies in place to consistently find target properties. Next, you need tools to help you build lists of property owners, allowing you to effectively 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 with the most potential 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
Your Reonomy property search gave you many promising leads. Now, you can export that data and easily create an organized list of property owners with whom to connect.
That list can be exported as a CSV file and integrated with your existing database or CRM.
Before you build a list of property owners with Reonomy, you may want to first analyze the owner profiles of your target properties. You can accomplish this task 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, simply click the Export button on your search page. From there, 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. 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 seamless transfer of data and more efficient communication with all of your prospects.
Connecting with Property Owners
It’s important to 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 before contacting an owner.
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. However, make sure to use your script as a guideline. Reading directly from the script, without creating genuine dialogue with a prospect, will sound rehearsed and robotic.
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. Sounding confident and collected 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 that asset?”
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, offer to send a recent blog post or free eBook containing advice or news they might find useful.
Offering up an actionable resource also plays nicely into psychologist Robert Caldini’s rule of reciprocity. This rule suggests 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
Even in this fast-paced, digital age, a commercial real estate prospecting letter is still one of the most reliable ways to connect with 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. Email gives your prospect some breathing room while gently reminding them that of your presence and interest. This is where you can best express the value you’re offering and turn prospects into clients.
Furthermore, with tools like HubSpot to manage your follow up outreach and monitor prospect engagement, you can make sure that property owners receive your messages.
Real Estate Email Scripts: The Follow-Up With Prospects
Similar to your cold calling scripts, email scripts should be tailored to suit your individual commercial real estate prospects. Your email scripts should be short, personal, and very relevant.
When writing a follow up email script, reference any previous interaction with positivity. Your goal is to build on that positive interaction. To do that, include some quantifiable results you have achieved for similar clients in the past.
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 interested, you’re still engaged, and that you’d still very much like to continue the conversation with them.
Back your email outreach with tools like Hubspot, and your full outreach process will be looking stronger than ever.
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, allowing you to effectively communicate with your prospects.
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 engage 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.
When you use the right tools, you can 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 – and your business – to a new level.