There’s no denying that we’re living in uncertain times. The COVID-19 outbreak has shaken things up, and trying to stay proactive in the middle of a pandemic is anything but easy.
For a large portion of the commercial real estate industry, day-to-day operations have changed. Investors, brokers and more are adjusting to remote work. But they’re not the only ones who are settling into new routines — property owners are, too.
While connecting with owners is a necessary part of the job for most real estate professionals, there is an art to doing it. But now, in the midst of a global pandemic where empathy and understanding are more important than ever, that’s an understatement.
Now, more than ever, it’s not enough to send an impersonal email or call an owner completely cold with no prior knowledge of who they are or what they own. Optimizing outreach to property owners isn’t an option during this time — it’s a must.
Below, we’ll discuss these five steps to optimizing personal outreach in quarantine, and beyond…
- Dive deeply into different markets and understanding prospects.
- Always be learning, especially now that you have the downtime.
- Empathize as much as possible, and don’t be pushy.
- Devise a plan for the long haul.
- Stock your toolbox with all the right resources.
How to Optimize Personal Outreach With Property Owners
Commercial real estate property owners come in various shapes and sizes.
From corporate investors with expansive business portfolios to independent hobbyists with a handful of properties, there is no definitive archetype for what a property owner looks like. Layer on specializations in location and asset class, and connecting with owners on a personal level can seem daunting.
Truth is, it’s not that scary, and can actually be done in five easy steps…
1. Dive Deeply to Better Understand Prospects
Cold-calling should never, ever be cold.
With today’s technology, investors, developers and other commercial real estate professionals have everything they need to dive deeply into an owner’s market, portfolio and more. In turn, real estate pros can suss out the out high-priority leads, while owners are assured their time is being spent valuably.
How can you do this? Property intelligence platforms like Reonomy make it easy to simplify your property owner search while still fueling deep, valuable insights.
- Quarantine Tip: Think outside the box. Now is the time to explore those different markets, asset classes and portfolios you normally wouldn’t. With Reonomy, it’s easy to get out of your comfort zone while, literally, in your comfort zone.
Each property is matched with a trove of people, property and company information, so you can fully acclimate yourself with the asset you’re interested in, as well as all the people behind it (even if they’re obscured behind an LLC).
Then, when you do finally want to make contact with an owner, you have an arsenal of contact information and insights to pull from.
Properties in Reonomy come with true owner contact information, like email addresses, phone numbers and mailing addresses. When you reach out, your conversations will be richer, which is valuable for both parties. Having this information in your back pocket allows you to both fully understand the opportunity at stake while making your connections more personalized and meaningful.
2. ABL: Always Be Learning
“Always Be Closing” might have worked for Glengarry Glen Ross, but to optimize outreach with commercial property owners, you should Always Be Learning.
While quarantine poses an array of unique challenges, one benefit is the downtime. Use this extra amount of time to your advantage to research and absorb as much as possible, especially since closes won’t happen right away. Who knows when you’re going to have this much downtime again?
Commercial property owners expect you to be knowledgeable. Like we mentioned before, cold-calling where it’s clear you haven’t done your homework is unacceptable and unattractive to owners.
Take the time to embrace learning, especially about the owners you connect with. If you’re reaching out to someone in a new market, take the time to learn about that area’s economy and market performance. Or, dive into their portfolio: what assets do they own? Have they sold anything recently? Are there any other opportunities there?
- Quarantine Tip: There are thousands of resources on the World Wide Web. Take an online course in multifamily investment. Download that market report on Austin’s growing tech scene. Better yet, dive into Reonomy’s research center for market briefs, investment trends, and more.
As with anything else, learning doesn’t stop. The more you know about a property owner, the better armed you are to connect with them and potentially close a deal.
3. Practice Empathy
Now is not the time to be pushy. Again, life has changed for a lot of different people, and sales are going to take longer than usual. Keep this in mind while reaching out to property owners.
When you do connect with a property owner, put yourself in their shoes: how do you like to be approached? What makes you want to continue speaking to someone? How would you like to be presented with a business deal in a time of uncertainty?
One thing to consider is your tone. Instead of a “here’s why you need this now” approach, be more compassionate (we’re all humans after all).
Maybe the need isn’t so immediate — you can certainly present future-oriented benefits to the opportunity. This will look different from owner to owner, so be prepared to tailor your pitch specifically.
- Quarantine Tip: This is where that trove of insights comes in handy. Find common ground to make a more meaningful connection — you’d be surprised how far even small talking points can go in warming up the conversation.
This goes beyond the pandemic, too. Real estate is a handshake business. It’s about who you know but also how well you know them. Take the time to get to know owners, build those connections and consider their needs — taking an empathetic approach instead of a pushy one will help you in the long run.
4. Plan For the Long-Haul
Closing deals with property owners doesn’t happen overnight — you need to play the long game.
That said, not everyone likes being cold-called. Most people are spending more time on the phone and in Zoom calls now anyway. This means you might have to get creative to get their attention.
That said, cold-calling isn’t the only way to connect with commercial property owners. If you want to optimize your outreach, develop a multi-pronged plan that reaches owners in different ways.
One easy way to do this is through email.
With more than 2.5 billion email users worldwide, email is clearly a popular channel of communication. From the introduction to conducting business transactions, email provides a convenient channel for communicating with property owners.
Using the email addresses you unlocked when sourcing for prospects on Reonomy, connect with property owners to get the conversation started.
- Quarantine Tip: Unsure of what to include in your introduction email? Like in cold calling, bolster your greeting with talking points from the information you’ve sourced. Explicitly describing property details shows you’ve done your homework and are prepared to work with your prospect.
Since you’re not speaking to someone directly over the phone or face-to-face, you need to give your property owner a reason to email you back. When creating your introduction email, explain how you can help them and why you want to work with them. Show off your value prop and give your property owners a reason to get back to you.
Additionally, follow up. If your contact hasn’t responded in a few days, send an email to follow up and ensure your last message doesn’t fall through the cracks. For the full run-down on email marketing, read our full guide here.
Another way to reach property owners is through direct mail collateral.
In an era where digital marketing leads the charge, direct mail marketing tends to slip under the radar. When strategically deployed though, letters, flyer, and postcards can be lucrative in boosting brand awareness and creating new business.
Similar to with email marketing, Reonomy allows you to export lead lists and mailing addresses to empower your direct mail marketing strategy. By identifying your target with the correct information, you’re empowered to send creative and engaging pieces of content to promote your business and keep your brand top of mind when owners are ready to take action.
- Quarantine Tip: You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create professional looking brochures and postcards for deployment. Take the time (now that you have it) to try out design resources like Canva and Vengage.
Ready to elevate your direct mail marketing game? Read our full guide here.
5. Stock Your Toolbox
Finally, you need to make sure you have the right resources in place. From finding property owners, to scheduling calls with them, to organizing relevant notes, you need to stock your toolbox with all of the right tools.
First thing’s first: get your prospecting strategy in order.
You can’t reach owners if you can’t find owners. Invest in property intelligence like Reonomy that streamlines your lead generation strategy and gives you access to millions of off-market opportunities.
Next is organization. Maybe you need a CRM to optimize how you connect with your leads. Or, maybe you need a way to simply clean up that overflowing inbox so communications with owners don’t get lost.
Luckily, there are a number of productivity apps to help you get organized — especially when working from home.
- Quarantine Tip: If you’re working on a team and connecting with owners together, Reonomy can help. With Reonomy, you can can streamline team workflows, share insights and keep track of opportunities all in one, secure place. It really serves as a one-stop shop for all your prospecting, research and outreach efforts.
Last but not least, there’s communication. Since more people are working remotely, you’ll need the resources to connect remotely. Consider how you will host that conference call between a prospective investment and the rest of your team, or make sure that Zoom plan provides the appropriate amount of minutes to get through that pitch deck.
And, of course, get creative. Are there content creation tools you can dabble with to amp up your marketing efforts? How about outreach itself?
Take note of your needs and then address them so when the time comes, you have the tools you need to maximize outreach.
Make Personal, Productive Connections
Owners are sitting in quarantine, too. Don’t be intimidated to reach out and start the conversation — just do it strategically. These five steps can help make more meaningful connections with property owners that drive the bottom line.