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 – How to Write a Prospecting Letter

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!

iStockPhoto

iStockPhoto

In the previous posts for this Clarity Series on Prospecting, I wrote about how I prospected on dollar stores in KY.  After choosing my geography and specialty, and then building my database, it was then time to start contacting people.  This post is a slight revision on a previous post I wrote titled The 3 Benefits of a Well Written Prospecting Letter.  It fits perfectly here.

In my next post, I will go over the anatomy of an effective cold call.  But I prefer to warm up that call.  Writing a letter is a fantastic way to do that.  Determine how many prospects you plan to cold call a week.  That is how many letters you send the week before.  Twenty was my number.  You can certainly do more.

Sending letters 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 would 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.

I have a couple more thoughts to leave you with.  First, systematize this process.  If you are prospecting on similar properties, there is a good chance that you can use the same basic letter over and over.  If not, take the time to customize the letter to the owner.  Your close rate going from call to meeting will go up.  Take the time.  It is worth it.

Second, delegate everything you can.  I initially wrote the letter.  My assistant would print out 20 a week.  She would lay them on my desk on Wednesday.  I would sign them and give them back to her.  She would then address the envelopes and send them.  Then she would log in to ClientLook and record who was sent a letter.  Finally, she would schedule my calls for the following Tuesday.

Note that all I did was initially write the letter and sign them each week.  Everything else was done by her.  When I show up on Tuesday, my call list is already waiting for me.  Delegate everything that anyone else can do so that you can focus on what only you can do.  Systematization at its finest!

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 before?  Did they work?  What would prevent you from doing it now?  Please share your comments!

January’s Top Posts

In case you missed them, here are the top posts from January.  Key to note – January marks the first month I’ve expanded the topics of my blog – from Commercial Real Estate best practices to Next Practices in Life, Business, and Commercial Real Estate.  Thus, please enjoy the post below on marriage as well as other business and CRE topics.  Thanks for reading!

I also want to invite you to sign up just to the right to receive my new posts straight to your email inbox.  Don’t worry about remembering to check my site.  I will do the work and make sure that you never miss a post.  I will also never share your information.

 January’s Top Posts

iStockPhoto via Erikona

iStockPhoto via Erikona

Why You Should Use a Simple CRM – ClientLook – CRE Tech & App Review - On the front-end, I must confess to being a CRM-hopper.  I started my career in 2004 with a legal pad – literally.  Then I moved on to Outlook.  Please pay attention when I say this.  Outlook is not a CRM system – sorry Dad.  It is simply email with contacts and a calendar.  Read More…

 

2012-12-21 22.10.31

12th Anniversary Trip

What 12 Years has Taught Me About Having an Awesome Marriage - I’ve had a crush on my wife – still do – since the day I laid eyes on her.  I was 10 years old in youth church choir.  She sings like an angel, and I liked being around girls that could sing like an angel.  It took me 8 years to ask her out.  Two reasons caused the delay.  I was sort of a dork, and she was intimidatingly beautiful – still is!  After 5 years of me proving that she is the most forgiving person on the planet, we got married.  (This is by far the most condensed version of ‘our story’ that I’ve ever pulled off).  Read More…

 

iStockPhoto from cosmity

iStockPhoto from cosmity

The 3 Benefits of a Well Done Prospecting Letter - 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.  Read More…

 

 

iStockPhoto by hidesy

iStockPhoto by hidesy

The One Secret to Winning the Business Every Time - When I started in the Commercial Real Estate Business, I knew that the listing presentation was important.  Very important. I wrote and rewrote.  I practiced and then practiced some more.  I would record myself and play it back while I was driving.  It was canned…  Read More…

 

iStock_000010779625Small

iStockPhoto

5 Reasons to Develop Decisiveness Using the 70% Rule - You will experience failures in your personal and professional lives.  It should not be the failed goal that defines the experience but the way that we respond to the failure.  Consider reflecting on these questions…  Read More…

 

 

January’s Stats

I’ve read on some other sites where they post their stats.  I have always appreciated this – as much as a benchmark as anything else.  It is difficult to know how well you are doing sometimes.

  • 2,371 Unique Visitors
  • 6,761 Page Views
  • 65% Percent New Visitors
  • 61 Countries
  • 30% from a mobile device
  • 81% of those from an iPhone or iPad
  • 119 Subscribers to my email list

I wish you all a fabulous February.  I turn 36 this month!  If you have any comments on the posts above or would like to make a suggestion on what you would like to read, leave a comment below!

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!