The world as we know it is nowhere to be seen right now. For most, trying to conduct business as usual is anything but easy, and can even seem a bit unsettling.
It’s our belief that with a more off-market-focused, nuanced approach, you can continue to have success with your commercial real estate prospecting efforts.
Here, we’ll offer our keys to finding continued success among the current COVID outbreak, showing you how you can leverage Reonomy and other tools to evolve your entire prospecting process in ways that will last well-beyond our current economic strife.
Our four keys to prospecting success during quarantine are:
- Use your downtime to dive into deeper levels of research.
- Take time to understand nuance and eliminate the “unknowns.”
- Carefully prioritize your lead list.
- Serve. Don’t sell.
We’ll cover each in detail below.
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 lead generation, research, and outreach are the “science.”
The “art” is the craft that you apply to using those tools (and the data you can source from them) to turn simple conversations with property owners into something much more powerful.
During quarantine, it’s important that you inform all of your prospecting decisions with real data, and take a more “hands-off,” human-first approach to prospect outreach.
That is what we set out to highlight in our four keys to prospecting success below.
1. Use your downtime to dive deeper into your research.
One thing most of us have in common right now is that we all have a lot of extra downtime. Not to mention that the way we are allocating our time is much different, as well.
A great way to improve your prospecting in your downtime is to set aside more time for research and analysis.
Use the time to review your current prospecting processes:
- What new software tools could you implement for faster, better-quality lead generation and outreach?
- How can you better organize your CRM?
- How can you create better information sharing and lead tracking amongst different members of your organization?
- Do you have reliable ways to accurate property owner contact info?
- Do you have effective ways to measure success (of lead gen, marketing outreach, and phone calls)?
You can also use the time to dive deep into off-market research, better understand your market, and expand your area of opportunity.
Two tools you can dive into during quarantine to find more commercial real estate leads? Reonomy and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Reonomy Off-Market: Discover Leads and Opportunities
Prospecting with Reonomy allows you to find ideal clients based on very granular property-level, financial, and ownership details.
Through the power of searching off-market, you can hone in on hyper-specific details, and find new opportunities that you (and your competitors) normally wouldn’t.
For example, with Reonomy, a broker or investor could quickly build a list of industrial properties in Boston, MA, that:
- Have/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.
Debt brokers, lender originators, and other debt professionals 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 a list of leads set in place, you can begin to analyze them at deeper levels and prepare for outreach (which we’ll discuss below).
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is another online tool that CRE professionals can use to discover new business leads.
Using a series of LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature filters, you can identify your target audience and discover new potential opportunities.
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 and Reonomy allow business owners and CRE professionals to mix both art and science. And amidst quarantine, they are both great ways to keep some momentum rolling for your business.
2. Take time to understand nuance and eliminate the “unknowns.”
It can be especially hard to discern valuable opportunities when the economy is in turmoil.
So, while that is the case, take your analysis to the next level.
Whether you’re looking to mitigate risk, find property owners that need repairs, broker a sale, anything… There are layers and layers of data at your disposal.
While it’s always important to use data, it’s never more important than amidst economic turmoil when business is hard to come by.
First off, eliminating the “unknowns” allows you to more accurately assess whether you should be pursuing an owner as a prospect.
Second, understanding the nuances of your prospects helps build more personal messaging, so that your outreach appears less abrasive (hopefully not abrasive at all).
- Quarantine tip: Utilize the Reonomy platform to access property intelligence atop your off-market lead search. With it, you gain access to data and insights on properties, owners, and full markets. Find leads, study them, and see owner contact details, all in one place.
3. Carefully prioritize your lead list.
In times of drastic economic downturn, there are more factors that weigh into prioritizing your outreach than there typically would be.
It’s not just about services.
Instead of your list just being, “who presents the most immediate value to us,” it becomes, “who presents the most immediate value that we feel comfortable reaching out to.”
Once again, that’s all rooted in data.
Also important to note, is that the way that you actually reach them is important here, too.
So, for a quick example… Perhaps you’re a solar installation company. Historically, you’ve worked with retail and industrial properties.
During COVID-19, where the retail sector is especially feeling the pain, you may want to prioritize industrial owners first. Furthermore, if and when you did reach out to those retail property owners, you might want to send some light marketing materials before reaching out directly.
- Quarantine tip: Score your leads based on more factors than you normally would. Use the data you’ve compiled in your research to weed out those less likely to be receptive to your call.
4. Serve. Don’t Sell.
With something as significant as COVID-19 hanging the balance, you need to focus more heavily on building relationships with owners, and less on just selling them something,
That means, go out of your way to do something kind. Have regular conversations with them. Be more compassionate.
Prove to your prospects that you’re there for them as a person before you try to push them into a deal.
One “hands-off,” yet personal way to reach out to a large list of leads is to send them a letter expressing how you can serve them during quarantine and beyond.
Commercial Real Estate Prospecting Letter
Direct mail, postcards, and letters can still be very effective ways to reach property owners.
And amidst quarantine, you know that almost all of those property owners are going to be home, with no gatekeeping employees that would intercept mail you send to an office.
- Quarantine tip: Use Reonomy to access property owner contact details (including mailing addresses) and quickly send your prospects a hand-crafted letter that expresses your understanding of what is happening, while prefacing the fact that your business can help them.
Whereas normally you’d want to use a tone of, “I understand your properties and needs as an owner, and here’s how I can help,” in this case, you can approach owners with a tone of, “I understand times are tough, and frankly strange—if you’d like to chat business, give me a call.”
Even if you’re not landing new business during quarantine, you should at the least have a nice list of very warm prospects to reconnect with once the economic downturn begins to lift.
And by the way, just because we’re all quarantined, doesn’t mean you can’t still buy a prospective client a drink…
If you’ve connected with a prospect and intend to set up a meeting, order them a bottle of their favorite liquor or wine, and send it to them prior to your call.
With apps like Drizly, Minibar, Delivery.com, and Instacart, getting booze delivered is relatively simple.
See some concrete examples of templates that you can use for your commercial real estate prospecting letters (during quarantine or not) here.
Mastering the Art and Science of Commercial Real Estate Prospecting
Commercial real estate prospecting might be harder, but does not need to be halted during COVID-19.
With the right tools, and access to the right data, you can efficiently use extra time to re-evaluate how you’re currently finding new business, and set yourself up for greater success once quarantine begins to be lifted.
There’s always something to be done, and there are always improvements to be made. Right now, even if you’re not connecting with prospects directly, that doesn’t mean you’re lacking in success.