Survey: Please Help Me Choose My Book Cover

I am very excited to announce that I am almost finished with my first ebook.  In the coming weeks, I will make it available here at BoBarron.com.

Right now, however, you can play a role in helping me choose my book cover.

Below is a simple survey with four choices.  Please take 15 seconds and let me know which one you prefer.  I would be so grateful!

All you need to do is click on the cover you prefer and click the button at the bottom.  Thanks so much!

Who Else Wants to Sell More Property Faster?

If you want to really maximize your income in commercial real estate, this could be one of the most important posts that you read this year.  But first – a story.

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I remember when airbags in vehicles became widely accepted and used.  It was the late 80′s.  That made me about 11 years old.  I remember being fascinated with them.  How did they work?  How could they pop out that fast?

By the mid 90′s, however, airbags were a standard feature of all cars.  At their onset, airbags were a selling feature.  They provided such added safety during collisions.  But once they were standard, that dynamic changed.  You would never buy a car because it had an airbag.  You would hesitate to buy a car without it.

Last week, I wrote a post on the three P’s of real estate:

  1. Put up a sign
  2. Put it online
  3. Pray

The three P’s are the airbags of Commercial Real Estate – or all real estate for that matter.  This list of 3 is what anyone and everyone does.  It is a commoditized feature set.  It is the opposite of a differentiator.

You may have heard of the Broker Continuum – Finding, Winning, and Fulfilling Business.  What I am referencing in this post is moving a listing or assignment from being won to fulfillment.

So here are the steps that top performers execute with extreme discipline when they win a listing.  This is proactive marketing.

The 5 Steps of Proactive Marketing

  1. Profile the ideal buyer/customer – This is a best practice of all salespeople.  What does your ideal buyer look like?  The same applies to a piece of property for sale.  What are the top 3 best uses of that property?  Build your profile and give it a name.  Not only will this clarify the next steps, but it a great way to educate your client and demonstrate your expertise.
  2. Build a list – Once you have the profile of the ideal buyer, build a list of those prospects.  This is just like building a database for your prospecting efforts.
  3. Pursue the list
    • Direct mail – Post card use is a dying tactic, but it is so effective.  Send the ideal buyers on your list something in the mail – a post card or something else.  The mail is a cost-effective way to hit everyone on your list quickly.
    • Email Blast – I am amazed that every advisor or salesperson doesn’t have an account with iContact, MailChimp, or something like it.  You can email your list through these services and almost guarantee it will hit their inbox.  Most importantly, you can see who actually opened the email.  You can see how many times they opened it.  You can see if they clicked on a link, downloaded a package, etc.  These services are super affordable, by the way.
    • Phone Call – Use your email blast analytics to triage who to call.  If someone opened the email more than once or clicked on a link…top of the call list.
  4. Engage the Brokerage Community
    • Contact brokers with similar listings – Advisors don’t do this enough.  Make sure that all brokers who have similar listings know about yours.  Then ensure them that if they bring you a buyer who didn’t like the other listing, you will be happy to share your fee.
    • Host a broker forum – Broker forums are a lot of work to put together.  However, they produce results.  They offer the opportunity to put deals together.  They proactively encourage cooperation.  They build relationships and trust.  All of these are huge wins for your business.
    • Email blast – Don’t forget to blast the brokerage community.  Follow up with them the same way you would the ideal buyer.  The single best way to access the largest buyer pool is through the brokerage community.  Turn your competitors into your de facto agents.
  5. Utilize online ads – I’m not going to unpack this, but look into Google AdWords.  These give you the ability to buy ads that only show up to the demographic you specify.  You can seriously target your ideal profile.  This is cheap and potentially very effective.

I ask you to do two things with this information.  First, apply it to your business.  Build a system and then execute.  

Second, share with theBarronBlog community what else you do to proactively market your listings. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

April’s Top Posts from theBarronBlog

In case you missed them, here are the top posts from April on the topics of Next Practices in Life, Business, and Commercial Real Estate.

I do want to invite you to subscribe to this blog just to the right of what you are reading now.  This will make it so easy for you to get my new posts without having to remember to check my site.  And I will never violate your privacy!

 

April’s Top Posts:

 

Make the dang call! via iStockphotot.com

Make the dang call! via iStockphotot.com

The Anatomy of a Cold Call - While I don’t believe in scripts, I do believe in crafting your opening statement before you call.  Most salespeople have the most problems with how they start the call.  ”Uh, hi.  My name is Bo Barron and I’m with ABC Co.  Uh….how’s it going?”  Terrible!    Read more…

 

 

 

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The first face to face!

The 5 Steps of the Initial Meeting - With some experience and some great coaching, I learned a better way.  Remember, if you are following my system, this initial meeting should be short.  Actually, you told the prospect that it would be short.  If you connect and the prospect starts asking questions – great.  You may be there 2 hours.  However, you told them short.  Prepare for short as you are making an impression as someone with integrity…or not.  Read more…

 

 

 

It is go time!  What do you do?

It is go time! What do you do?

The Winning Presentation - You have now landed a meeting to make a listing presentation (or whatever presentation applies to you).  You have worked through the entire prospecting process to get to this point.  Your put in the work becoming a market specialist.  Building a database.  Sending letters.  Making cold calls.  Conducting the needs analysis.  It has all led to this moment.  You sit in front of the prospect.  The business is there for the taking.  You have the privilege of potentially improving the life of the person in front of you.  What do you do?  Read more…

 

Bo Barron Speaking

Bo Barron Speaking

Why Do We Fall? [Video] -This week I had the privilege of traveling to Salisbury, MD to visit SVN Miller Commercial.  This group is the Sperry Van Ness 2012 Firm of the Year.  They are a study in how to build a team with incredible culture.  They like each other.  They have tradition.  They have camaraderie.  They absolutely dominate their market.

I had the pleasure of training their entire company primarily on prospecting.  At the end of our afternoon together, Brent Miller played this video.  I was so moved that I wanted to share it with you.

  Read more…

 

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

Clarity Series – Prospecting – Summary & Conclusion – When I was 15, my dad hired me to clean out a concrete drainage ditch.  That ditch ran behind the houses of a street he had developed.  We agreed on a price and I started digging.  I soon discovered that I could hire my friends at a rate higher than minimum wage.  I made all the income when I did the work.  I made half that amount when they did the work.  Read more…

Thank you so much for reading.  Towards the end of May, I will be introducing another Clarity Series on Presence.  As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

Question:  What is the single most important activity that drives your business?  I challenge you to articulate and explain your answer in the comments below.

 

March’s Top Posts – Prospecting

In case you missed them, here are the top posts from March on the topics of Next Practices in Life, Business, and Commercial Real Estate.

I do want to invite you to subscribe to this blog just to the right of what you are reading now.  This will make it so easy for you to get my new posts without having to remember to check my site.  And I will never violate your privacy!

 

March’s Top Posts:

 

via iStockPhoto

via iStockPhoto

The Purpose of a Cold Call - The purpose of a cold call is very simple and there is no debate.  It is to get a meeting.  That’s it.  It is not to spend 20 minutes on the phone.  It is not to build a lasting relationship.  It is not to make the sale.  The purpose of the cold call is simply to get a meeting..  Read more…

 

 

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

How to Write a Prospecting Letter - So, here is a not so short letter to my children.  I share this because I believe intentionally communicating with our children what they should know is a great idea.  Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life, but it could also be my last.  I want to intentionally take steps to share certain things with my children that could make a huge difference in their lives.  I share this to encourage you to do the same.  Read more…

 

Don't I look smart?  My wife thinks so!

Don’t I look smart? My wife thinks so!

Introducing the Clarity Series: Prospecting - Clarity is such a powerful thing.  It allows you to act with direction and focus.  It gives you the ability to maximize your efforts and your results.  Clarity of purpose allows you to say ‘no’ to good things and ‘yes’ to great things.

I am introducing the Clarity Series.  Let me explain what the Clarity Series is.

Read more…

 

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

Preparation for a Cold Call - I recommend that you take 2-3 minutes before you make a call and see what you can find out about your prospect.  There is way too much information out there not to.  Your goal is to find something quickly that you can use to establish common ground.  Remember, cold-calling is a numbers game.  Don’t spend too much time researching your prospect.  And don’t spend too much time on the call itself.  Read more…

 

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

5 Steps to Build a World-Class Database - In 2004, I got out of the Marine Corps and moved home with my family.  The next day, I started working with my dad in his CRE brokerage business.  As we would be driving around town, he would share with me the histories of the properties we drove by.  He knew everything.  He knew who owned the property.  He could tell me what they paid for it.  He could tell me how big they were.  We would pass some properties he had sold multiple times.  He defined encyclopedic knowledge of a market.  I remember thinking that I would never get there.  Read more…

Thank you so much for reading.  April will continue the Clarity Series on Prospecting.  We will then get into how to create a dominating presence in any market.  If you have any ideas on what I should write about, please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

 

CS: Prospecting – Anatomy of a Cold Call

The Clarity Series is a series of posts all on one subject.  This particular subject is prospecting.  While the context is commercial real estate, these steps and principles can be applied to any sales.  To read the introduction of this series, click here.  To read an overview of the entire prospecting system, click here.  Thank you for reading!

In the last two posts, we have discussed the purpose and philosophy of cold calls as well as how to gain confidence by solid cold call preparation.  In this post, we are going to talk about the ideal anatomy of a cold call.

Make the dang call! via iStockphotot.com

Make the dang call! via iStockphoto.com

Anatomy of a Cold-Call

Opening StatementMike Lipsey calls this the IBS – initial benefit statement.  The key here is to get right to the point. Communicate quickly and with clarity why taking this call will benefit the prospect.  In Part 2 of this post, I discussed that you want to find the prospect’s website.  What you are looking for is their mission statement, core values, etc.

For example, let’s say the prospects mission statement is to “Add value to the lives of our clients by providing unmatched products and world-class service.”  Your opening statement could then be:

“Mr. Prospect.  My name is Bo Barron.  The purpose of my call is to help you add value to the lives of your clients by providing you with world-class service and unmatched expertise.”

Notice that I didn’t completely plagiarize their mission statement, but I’m talking the language of the prospect.  The prospect will know that I’ve done my homework.

While I don’t believe in scripts, I do believe in crafting your opening statement before you call.  Most salespeople have the most problems with how they start the call.  ”Uh, hi.  My name is Bo Barron and I’m with ABC Co.  Uh….how’s it going?”  Terrible!  

Knowing your opening line will give you confidence.  It will also grab the attention of your prospect.  This will give you a much better chance of landing the meeting.

Follow Up QuestionOnce you have gained the prospect’s attention with a killer opening statement, it is now time to ask the perfect question.  What is that question, you ask?  It is one that gets the prospect talking.  If you can get them talking about a problem or an opportunity – even better.  Here are some sample questions:

  • What problems are you having with your vacancy?
  • Many owners are struggling with their management.  What difficulties are you having?
  • When you purchased this property in 2004, what were your thoughts about how long you would keep it?
  • I see that you own 3 properties in this area.  What are your continuing growth plans?
  • How long do you feel like your current capacity can handle your growth?

I suggest that you have two questions ready.  If you bomb with the first, then you are ready to fire with the second.  Also, human dynamics make it very difficult to say no twice.  That is why a door-to-door salesman always has a second item to sell you when you shoot down the first.

And do not ask ‘yes/no’ questions.  They will tell you no.  Ask the prospect a question that leads them to share a little bit about their property, their plans, their frustrations, etc.

Value for Free - Here is where you can set the hook.  Have something of value to offer the prospect for free.  This could be a market report, trend report, or something in the news that could affect their property.  The best thing, though, is a comp.  Ideally, you have just sold something in the neighborhood.  Owners want to know about deals that have happened.  They want to know the details.  They want to know who was involved.  If you have that information, they will talk to you and meet with you.

Your thinking should be, “Even if I don’t uncover a possible relationship or transaction, this prospect is going to gain something valuable from taking my call.”

Close for the Meeting - At this point, you have shared with them the purpose of your cold call.  You got them to share a little bit about their property or their business.  Now you have piqued their interested in some information that you have.  Now it is time to close.

Most of you stop here.  Don’t.  You have to ask for what you want.  Ask for the meeting!

Now, you have just offered the prospect information that they want.  Do not give it to them over the phone.  Do not email it to them.  Require that they meet you face to face.  But make the requirement as whimsical and gentle as possible.  I use the assumptive and alternative calendar closes the most.

First, I assume the prospect will meet with me.  Then I give them two different dates and times that I can “pop by.”

  • I like the alternative calendar close because the answer to the question is not “no.”  I am asking the prospect to choose between two dates and times.  This increases the likelihood of a positive answer.
  • The term “pop by” is one I learned from the book How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins (affiliate link).  This is a great book on the tactics of selling.  The term “pop by” just sounds quick – like you will just be there for a few minutes.  Maybe you will.  Regardless, it is easy for the prospect to agree to.

Within these 4 steps of the anatomy of a cold call, the conversation can go anywhere.  You need to be ready to improvise and go where the cold call may take you.  But remember, you have to actually ask for what you want.  Ask for the short meeting.

I would love to hear some of the questions that you use on a cold call.  Or how you ask for a meeting.  My way suits my style and personality.  Yours will be different.  Leave your comments below!

CS: Prospecting – Preparation for the Cold Call

The Clarity Series is a series of posts all on one subject.  This particular subject is prospecting.  While the context is commercial real estate, these steps and principles can be applied to any sales.  To read the introduction of this series, click here.  To read an overview of the entire prospecting system, click here.  Thank you for reading!

If you are like most salespeople, cold calls are the low point of your day.  You don’t like them.  You know that top producers cold call all the time. But you aren’t exactly sure what to say.  What you need is confidence.  Confidence comes from preparation.

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

I remember my first cold call.  I had just earned my license.  I was calling the owner of a small office/retail stand alone building that had a for sale by owner sign.  I was clueless about what to say.  I remember sitting in my office and staring at the phone.  It was a like I would be electrocuted if I picked it up to dial.  I had these thoughts running through my head:

  • What if he answers?!
  • I’m not going to know what to say!
  • I’m going to sound like a complete idiot.
  • What if he asks me about my fee?

In Part 1 of this post,we discussed the purpose and the philosophy of cold calling.  To review, the purpose of the cold call is to get a meeting.  That is it.  The philosophy that I teach and coach my clients is that you want to connect and add value.  You do not want to use scripts or try to manipulate.

Just like anything else, cold calling needs a system that marries solid preparation with an understanding of the anatomy of a call.  This post deals with the preparation.

Cold Call Preparation

Preparation really means putting your P.I. hat on.  What can you find out about your prospect before you call?  Remember, you goal is to quickly connect with your prospect and land a meeting.  Ideally, you can do this in just a few minutes.

I recommend that you take 2-3 minutes before you make a call and see what you can find out about your prospect.  There is way too much information out there not to.  Your goal is to find something quickly that you can use to establish common ground.  Remember, cold-calling is a numbers game.  Don’t spend too much time researching your prospect.  And don’t spend too much time on the call itself.

Google

This is somewhat of a no-brainer first step, but too many of us don’t do it.  Search for the name and city of your prospect.  By including the city, you are more likely to quickly find the correct person.  Take a few seconds to scan the links.  Click through on one or two and see what you can learn.  Have they been in the news lately?  If so, you can reference that article when you call.  Have they been in any financial trouble?  This can give you a clue to possible motivations to sell, etc.

LinkedIn

google search bo barron

One of the links that will likely come up in the Google search is the prospect’s LinkedIn profile.  This is what you want to find.  On their profile, you can learn where they went to school.  Especially around NCAA tournament time, their school is often an easy way to build rapport and connect.

linkedin profile bo barron

You can also see their work history.  Is there a common company that you both worked for?  Have they had a position in an industry that interests you?

You can also see if they are a connector.  A connector is a person that can be a gateway to get in front of many other people.  Connectors can be much more important to you and your business than one particular deal.  If you find one of these, purpose to build a lasting relationship.  Give lots of value for free.  Their friendship could lead to scores of deals in the future.

how I'm connected to Tony Robbins

Maybe the most important information you can find on LinkedIn is if you have any common contacts.  I would veer from my numbers game mentality of cold calling here.  If you are calling a whale (think Gordon Gekko), it may be worth slowing down if you discover you have a mutual friend.  Attempt to get an introduction from that common connection.  An introduction is much more effective than a cold call as the clout and rapport of the common connection can rub off on you.

Website

LinkedIn can also lead you to the prospect’s website.  If you find that site, you are looking for one thing – their purpose for being in business.  If you can find a mission statement, core values, etc., then you have valuable intel you can use to craft your opening statement when you call.  I will get into that in the next post dealing with the anatomy of the call.

Keep in mind that these tasks can be delegated.  I know a guy that has his assistant run through these steps.  On his cold call sheet for the day are not only names and numbers, but information his assistant found through a little online research.  Remember what you are worth.  If you have a team member to whom you can delegate this step, do so.

Now I would love to hear from you about how you prepare before a cold call.  What do you do?  Or what is something that I have left out?  Leave you comments below!

CS: Prospecting – The Purpose of a Cold Call

The Clarity Series is a series of posts all on one subject.  This particular subject is prospecting.  While the context is commercial real estate, these steps and principles can be applied to any sales.  To read the introduction of this series, click here.  To read an overview of the entire prospecting system, click here.  Thank you for reading!

via iStockPhoto

via iStockPhoto

I may have told this story before.  About a year ago, I was riding with a couple of guys through rural Kentucky.  As we drove through this one-stop-light town, we passed a Dollar General Store.  Because I was clear on my specialty and had built my database, I was able to look up the owner.  Before we were out of that small town, I was talking to the owner.  What started off with, “Hi, sir.  My name is Bo Barron and your Dollar Store in Perryville is not on fire,” ended with me in his office the next day.  Cold calling works.

The subject of the cold call is a big one.  I expect to break this up into at least three parts – the purpose of a cold call, the preparation of a cold call, and the anatomy of a cold call.  In this post, I want to address the purpose of a cold call and my philosophy of a cold call.  This first part will be a bit more philosophical.  The next posts will get into how to practically pull off a cold call

The Purpose of a Cold Call

The purpose of a cold call is very simple and there is no debate.  It is to get a meeting.  That’s it.  It is not to spend 20 minutes on the phone.  It is not to build a lasting relationship.  It is not to make the sale.  The purpose of the cold call is simply to get a meeting.

I had a guy who worked for me for a time.  Cold calling was not his favorite thing.  When he would call, though, he would make a new best friend.  These would be 30+ minute conversations.  He would have two of these in a day and think he cold called for an hour.  No!  Cold calling is a numbers game.  These calls should be short.  The more calls you make, the more meetings you will have.  The more meetings you have, the more proposals you will make…and on and on.

I want you to build lasting relationships with your clients and prospects.  I want you to know about their kids and their dreams.  It simply should not happen on a cold call.

My Philosophy of a Cold Call

I am going to give you the secret script to wealth and riches.  Regardless of what you are selling, if you use this script, you are golden.

Wrong!  I can’t tell you how many of my coaching clients have asked me for scripts.  Scripts don’t win in sales.  Connecting wins.

Many of you have probably read How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins.  This book is full of great sales tactics, closing techniques, and scripts.  I have read this book and use it as a resource.  You should too.  It is one of the best.  However, it was written 33 years ago for the previous generation.  It suggests that if you know the right words to say in any situation, you will always make the sale.  I disagree.

Sales is not manipulation.  Sales is about connecting and providing something of value that makes someone’s life better.  A cold call is the first touch of that process.  You need to have a plan for the call.  You need to prepare for that call.  You need to have great questions ready.  You need to be ready to listen and adjust.  You don’t need a script!

My next post will deal with preparing and the anatomy of the cold call.  But before that, what are your thoughts about scripts?  How do you try to connect with someone on your first call with them?  Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

And on the note of comments, this Clarity Series on Prospecting has been generating some great sharing of information and has led to conversations off-line.  I encourage you all to keep leaving those comments and engaging with each other!

The 3 Benefits of a Well Done Prospecting Letter

I previously wrote a post on The 8 Steps to a Killer Prospecting System.  Step 4 in that process deals with the use of a prospecting letter.  In my business, we sent just 20 letters to Dollar Store owners every week.  Then we called them the following week.

iStockPhoto from cosmity

iStockPhoto from cosmity

For the past 2 years I have used this system religiously.  It has had 4 different types of results for me:

  1. It hits the trash immediately.
  2. They see my name on the envelope before it hits the trash.
  3. It is opened and read. 
  4. It motivates the reader of the letter to call me first.

You have to assume that at least 50% of recipients are not going to read your letter.  They just won’t.  And that is fine.  All I’m trying to do is warm up my initial cold call.  When I call those who actually read it, my ratio for getting a meeting goes up.

On average, they will call me first about once a month.  70% of those calls turn into listings – that is our close rate when they call us from the letter.  That is a huge number for the cost of paper and a stamp.

I want to share 2 things in the remainder of this post:  why send a letter, and how to increase your open and read rate.

3 Reasons/Benefits to Sending a Prospecting Letter

  1. Letters warm up the cold call – This is obvious, but it works.  Not only do I have a higher success rate in getting meetings with those that read the letter, it gives me something to refer to right off the bat.  ”Hi Mr. Smith.  I’m Bo Barron and I’m calling to follow-up on the letter I sent you last week…”
  2. Letters force you to follow-up with a call – How is that, you say?  The letters force me to call because I tell them in the letter that I will be calling in about a week.  This is built-in accountability.  It gives you your first opportunity to follow through with integrity – or drop the ball.
  3. Letters force you to be intentional and systematic with your prospecting – This is a huge benefit for most.  To send out a certain amount of letters a week means you must have your database set up.  It means you are intentionally signing X number of letters a week.  It means that you are planning ahead.  It means that you are differentiating yourself from 95% of the rest of the brokerage community.

Now that I have covered why to send the letters, let’s discuss how to get more people to actually open and read the letter!

  • Handwrite the envelope – Studies show that more people open mail that is handwritten versus printed.  I generally had my assistant do it.  She has much better handwriting.  Once a week, 20 letters appeared on my desk.  I signed them and gave them back to her.  She addressed the letters and sent them.  She logged into my cloud-based CRM system and scheduled the cold calls to the recipients.  I made the calls.  Clockwork.  Simple.  Effective!
  • Write a scannable letter – This is a scannable blog post.  I utilize simple sentences.  Short paragraphs.  Lists.  Bullet-points.  A friend of mine runs a local Packages Plus business.  He was sharing with me that studies have been done on increasing the read rate of a letter.  The second most likely thing that is read in a letter is bullet points.  I will tell you the first in a second.  Use them.  That is where your most important information belongs – written in a benefit statement for the reader.
  • Keep the letter short – Anything longer than a page is way too long.  Three-quarters of a page is what I think is best. You have about 15 seconds of eye-ball time.  After that, you lose their attention to something else.  Short and simple works best.
  • Talk about them – Don’t send a letter all about you.  They don’t care.  They care about themselves.  Talk about what is happening that affects their property – their bottom line – their lives.  If you don’t do this, you are wasting your time.
  • Use a Postscript – That’s right – the P.S.  The postscript is the single most read thing in a letter.  Therefore, put the most important thing in the postscript.  I suggest to you that is where you tell them you will call them.  If they read nothing but the postscript, and you tell them you are going to call them, they are much more likely to then read the letter.

Most of you will not do this.  Some because you are lazy.  Some because you don’t know where to start.  Some because you won’t pause long enough to build your database in the first place.

I challenge you to try this for 90 days.  I think you will be blown away with the results.

Let me hear from you.  Have you used prospecting letters in the past?  What worked well?  What didn’t?  Comment below!

The 8 Steps to a Killer Prospecting System

In last week’s post, the Difference Between Top Producers and the Others, I made the case that top producers prospect.  That is the difference.  They schedule time to do it.  They have a system that they execute.  It works.  It sets them apart.  I have also written a post on the benefits of systematizing your business.  Both of these posts deal with the “why.”   Before you go any further, I encourage you to take a few moments and take a look at those posts.  Knowing “how” without believing in the “why” will lead to burnout and letdown.

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

I highly recommend coaching.  Regardless of your level of success, a coach and mentor can provide you with great benefit.  At the beginning of 2010, I hired the Massimo-Group to coach me in my commercial real estate business.  Up until that time, I had never systematized my prospecting efforts.  There was no rhyme or reason.  Often, there was no prospecting at all.  My coach helped me change that and revolutionized my business in the process.

I want to clarify what I mean by prospecting.  Prospecting is a form of business development.  Networking and building a presence – or a platform – is another form of business development.  Their activities are similar.  Their purpose is completely different.  (To read about the difference between prospecting and networking, click here.)  Prospecting involves asking for the business.  That is its only purpose.

Since my last post on prospecting, I’ve received a number of questions about how to do it.  My way is not the only way, but any effective prospecting system will have elements of these 8 steps.  This is exactly how I built my core business.  You can do it too!

How to Build a Prospecting System

  1. Define your geography – This is as simple as it sounds.  You have to know what geography you are working in.  I come from a small tertiary market.  To have enough Single Tenant Net Lease (STNL) properties to go after, I built a state-wide database.  I’ve heard different numbers, but you need at least 350 properties in your farm area.  If you are in Los Angeles like one of my clients, you may just have a section of such a large city.  Regardless, you need to be able to articulate it with clarity.
  2. Choose your specialty – If there is one thing true of top produces, other than they prospect, it is that they are specialists.  Use this test.  What are you good at?  What do you like?  And where is the deal velocity?  Your specialty should be where these three answers intersect.  A quick note:  it is OK to be a geographical specialist.  The number one broker from the number one CRE firm in New York City is a geographical specialist.  And he kills it!
  3. Build your database – Once you know your geography and your specialty, it is time to build your database.  It should include all the properties in your farm area.  You need to know who owns what, how long they’ve owned it, what they paid, and their contact information.  I’ve heard brokers talk about how they used to have all that information on notecards.  My assistant built mine using Excel.  We then imported it into my cloud-based CRM solution.  All of that info is now in my iPhone.
  4. Send them something in the mail – This could be a book, a letter, anything of value.  The whole idea here is you want to raise your chances that they will take your call and talk to you.  Letters are cheap.  There is no reason not to send them.  Get creative.  You want them to want to take your call.
  5. Make the dang call – This is the scary part for most brokers and salespeople.  Fear of rejection.  Fear of sounding and feeling stupid.  You must overcome those fears.  You must prepare – but not so much that you never make the call.  The entire goal of the cold call is to get a meeting.  That is it.  If you spend 30 minutes talking, you have missed the point.  Get the face to face meeting.
  6. Have the meeting – Face to face is where the top producers excel.  These meetings can take two forms.  I prefer the first meeting to be a needs-analysis meeting.  I am asking questions of the prospect and it is all about them.  Then the second meeting is where I make my proposal.  That isn’t always possible, but it is certainly ideal.
  7. Make the proposal – Sometimes, step 6 and 7 happen at the same time.  Ideally, you have had the needs-analysis interview and then gone and crafted a custom proposal that addresses the specific needs of that specific prospect.  This beats a canned-presentation every time.
  8. Win the listing/Make the sale – this is what success looks like.  After a while of doing this, you will know that if I make X amount of calls, I will get this many meetings.  If I get X amount of meetings, I will make this many proposals.  If I make X amount of proposals, I will win this many listings.

How do you prospect?  Do you have a system?  What can you add that I have overlooked?  Please don’t hesitate to comment.  We want to hear from you, and it will benefit the entire community.

How Physics is Similar to Your Business

The Avengers came out yesterday.  Big moment for my family.  I would be Iron Man – coolest cat on the planet.  My wife is a big fan of Thor.  I’ve tried to pull of that accent but it doesn’t do it for her.  My 10-year-old would be Captain America, and he should.  He already has that True North sense of right and wrong.  My 6-year-old goes between the Hulk and Hawk-eye.  My daughter still doesn’t understand the rules and ran into the living room with a Spiderman costume on.  It is futility explaining to a 3-year-old that Spiderman wasn’t an Avenger – not to mention he didn’t have a pony-tail.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I bring up the Avengers for a different reason, though.  I feel like the Hulk is sitting on my face.  I have the distinct pleasure of having both nostrils out of commission.  So, I’m going to tell a quick story and then ask a few questions.  Then I’m going to bed.

 

The Story

This may be hard to believe, but my favorite subject in high school was physics.  I am a thinker.  I’m not sure why.  I’m not much of a feeler, a bit more of a doer, but definitely a thinker.  I want to know why stuff works the way it does.  Physics was full of ‘Aha’ moments for me.  I remember when Mr. Claypool showed me the formula behind why a curved road is banked at a certain degree.  This was super cool to me.

I remember toying with actually majoring in Physics in college.  Turns out that I majored in playing guitar into wee hours of the morning and dropping class….  My youngest brother is currently studying physics at my college right now.  In some ways I envy him.

But enough about physics.  Do you know how Physics is like Commercial Real Estate – or any other business?

If A=B and B=C then A=C

What do I mean, you say?  Consider this about your business.  What works?  What led up to that big sale – that big deal?  Did you know that if you repeat certain patterns you will get certain desired outcomes?  My business of CRE is just like yours in this regard.

The question is how do we do more of those patterns to get more of those desired outcomes?  You need a formula that works.

In my business and with my coaching clients, we call these systems.  I understand that if I send out this many letters and follow-up with this many cold calls, then I will get this many meetings.  If I get this many meetings, I will win this many assignments.  This is prospecting, and it needs to be a system.

Repeat certain behaviors to achieve desired results.

A Few Questions

Why don’t you systematize your business?  One of my hero’s in the business spends 2 hours a day cold-calling.  He’s the boss of is office.  He is working a system.  And he’s killing it.

Have you ever sat down with your team to brainstorm what works – and what doesn’t?  You’d be shocked at what you find out.  That is, if you’ve created a team that trusts enough to tell you truth.  Break things down to their smallest parts.  Delegate.  Maximize efficiencies.  Spend more time with clients and prospects.  Let your staff do anything that they can do so that you can do the tasks that only you can do!  Systematize!

What’s keeping you from taking that time needed to work ON your business instead of IN your business?  Something to think about:  top performers have accountability and coaches.

Let me hear your thoughts.