CRE Radio Event: Social Media Best Practices for CRE Professionals

This Friday at 3pm EST/Noon PST, I have the privilege of being one of a few featured guests on the National CRE Radio Show – Commercial Real Estate Radio with Howard Kline.  We are going to be talking Social Media Best Practices for CRE Professionals.  I have been connected with Howard Kline for a couple years via Twitter.  His radio shows are packed full of great content for CRE professionals.

courtesy of iStockPhoto

courtesy of iStockPhoto

I am also excited to be on this panel because it includes some of my favorite people in CRE:  Barbi Reuter, Michael Lagazo, and Sarah Malcolm.

Barbi (www.twitter.com/barbireuter) is the CRE Marketing & Operations Executive for PICOR Commercial Real Estate Services in Tucson, Arizona.  She is a social media all-star and one of the true pioneers of social media use in CRE.  She is also one of my favorite people.

Michael (www.twitter.com/michael_mba) is the guy who I watched to learn how to use Twitter.  He is a CRE all-star in San Diego and has forgotten more about retail than I will ever know.  He also may be the nicest guy on Twitter and will send you coffee.  What could be better??

Michael and Barbi are both founding members of the #crejavaclub on Twitter.  If you love CRE and a hot cup of joe, look us up!

Sarah Malcolm (www.twitter.com/icsc) is the Director of New Media for the International Council of Shopping Centers.  She is a social media power house.  Reading her bio on LinkedIn will force you to be out of breath.  I can’t wait to hear what she has to say about social media best practices.

I hope that you can join us on Friday as Howard normally takes questions.  You can call in with yours at (619) 393-6492.

The show description is below.  This is your opportunity to submit your social media questions ahead of time that Howard may cover.  Use the comments section below!

Show Description

Social media, social media, social media.  You hear it everywhere you go and everyone is telling you that you have to do it. Everyone else is telling you how to do it, but is anyone getting through? Is there any value to it and how much time do you have to spend on it to be of any value to you?

What about sales?  Really, isn’t that what this is supposed to be about, selling and making money?  What good does it do you if you spend 2 hours a day schmoozing online and haven’t picked up a client in 3 months?  Are there any shortcuts and gimmicks that you can rely upon to make it worth your time?

Isn’t social media all about advertising?  How many eyeballs see your name is all that counts, right?  What about relationships and trust, nice words to include in your repertoire, but do those words put food on your table or pay your mortgage?  And let’s not forget the two most chic words of 2013, “engagement” and “collaboration”. Oh, how the experts like to throw those words in your face, if for no other reason then to show you how much more they know than you.

But enough of my ranting, listen in as I discuss these issues and words and the meaning of life, (in social media), with, Barbi Reuter, Sarah Malcom, Bo Barron, Michael Legazzo and I, some of the most well know and most influential commercial real estate professionals utilizing social media to bring in the money.  We are not the social media experts.  We are the pilgrims, the veterans, the ones with the scars with stories of the things we didn’t understand, we don’t understand and what we are figuring out as we go along. We are you after you start “getting it.” We are students of social media and cre, learning as we go along, trying to figure it out and willing to share our experiences with you so that you do not have to get the same scars as us.

During the show, we will also discuss why you should be interested in social media for your business and what services, (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest, among others), you should use and for what purposes.  Property manager, logistics expert, investor, property manager; this is not a one size fits all lecture.  We will help you figure this out for your purposes.

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!

Technology and App Review: IFTTT

Do you remember when you were a kid?  That feeling you got when you walked into the candy store?  Or the toy store?

I remember when I enlisted in the Marine Corps.  I owned a 1994 Honda Accord.  It was a great car.  I knew it would be a couple of years before I would see it again so I sold it.  I also sold my Takamine (it’s an acoustic guitar).  It was beautiful.  When I arrived at the language school in Monterey, CA, I had no car and no guitar.  I did have a wad of cash, though.

My entire life I’d wanted a Taylor guitar (I have a 1959 Gibson J45 with a J200 neck now – awesome!).  Like it was yesterday, I remember what it felt like to walk in that music store on Alvarado St. knowing that I was leaving with a Taylor.

I’m being a bit hyperbolic, but I am just about that excited with my new discovery.  Let me introduce you to IFTTT!

IFTTT:  If This Then That

The idea of this website is to allow users to create if-then automated tasks between multiple social media platforms.  If This happens Then That happens.  Got it?  Let me give you a popular example:

  • If Facebook profile picture changes, then update Twitter profile picture.
  • If you are tagged in a photo on Facebook, then it will be sent to Dropbox

Can you see the possibilities?  The Grovo Blog calls it “programming for dummies.”

Vocabulary

  • Channels – channels are the building blocks of IFTTT and are the social media platforms themselves – like Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Evernote, Dropbox, etc.  They currently support 53 “channels.”
  • Triggers – triggers are the ‘This’ in the ‘If This Then That’ formula.  It is what must happen first.
  • Action – action is the ‘That’ in the ‘If This Then That’ formula.  It is the effect in the cause and effect relationship.
  • Recipe – the recipe is the connection that is made when you put the above together.  Here is a screenshot from the IFTTT website.

How to Get Started

The user experience of IFTTT can’t be much better.  It is clean and simple – super easy.  Follow the steps below to get started.  Then get to simplifying your lives!

  1. Create an account – Create a username, enter your email, then your password twice.  About as easy as it gets.
  2. Link Your Channels – Frankly, I was really surprised at how easy this was.  I use 22 of the 53 channels, and I had them all linked in under 5 minutes.  The only one I had problems with was WordPress.  You must enter your URL without “http://” or “www.”  So for me, it was just “bobarron.com.”
  3. Create Recipes Use Other People’s Recipes – OK – you can create your own, but why bother?  According to IFTTT’s blog, over 1,000,000 recipes have been created as of April 30, 2012.  There’s no telling how many there are now.
  4. Search for Your Favorite ‘Channels’ – Since IFTTT is a social site, you can see other people’s recipes.  That is great, but with over a million, a search function is crucial.  The search auto-populates and is super fast – like a Google search.  As I love Evernote, I did a quick search to find that there are 3,999 recipes.  Kid in a candy store!

A Few Notes

I want to highlight a couple other points.  At the end of Sept ’12, Twitter shut down IFTTT’s ability to use Twitter as a trigger. Again, a trigger is the ‘if then’ part of the formula.  Twitter can still be the ‘then that’ part.  Essentially, you can not use IFTTT to auto-respond for you every time someone follows you or retweets you.  As I don’t particularly like the canned thank you ‘DM’ (direct message), not a biggie for me.

Google+ is not a channel.  I’m not sure why that is, but there are workarounds using other channels like Hootsuite.

Verdict

I’m excited.  I think there are some great efficiencies to be had here – especially with Evernote and Dropbox.  I plan on exploring more of this in the coming weeks.  I also think that as IFTTT gains a broader base of users, the recipes will expand as well.  I easily see many posts in the future along the lines of “Best 10 IFTTT recipes for Evernote.”

I’d like to hear from you!  Had you heard of IFTTT before?  If so, what are some of your favorite recipes?