As commercial real estate professionals, we have two commodities – our time and our information – aka our market knowledge. Therefore – we must spend our time wisely – on profitable activities and share our knowledge with those who need our services. My philosophy is to be stingy with my time and generous with my knowledge.
So, just how do I spend my week to monetize activity and gain market knowledge? Today – I’ll share with you a formula that has served me well. The percentage of time spent on each category each week may vary according to tenure – but should include all of the components highlighted below.
Prospecting. Knocking on doors and calling on prospects on the phone. Sure. There may be a more high tech way to go about prospecting but I have found the old fashioned way of looking for new business still occupies a large part of my week.
Canvassing. This is quite different than prospecting although some use the term interchangeably. Canvassing is viewing the stock of inventory within your market. Whereas prospecting is about business development. My differentiation between canvassing and prospecting? Canvassing is gaining knowledge about the building and prospecting is gaining knowledge about the occupant or the owner of said building.
Networking. Chambers of Commerce, BNI, Society of Office in Industrial Realtors, National Association for Office and Industrial Parks, Provisors, Vistage, all provide great platforms from which to meet professionals who are complementary to your profession but not competitive. Remember, networking is not selling. Networking is creating strategic referral relationships. A successful referral relationship should work both ways – you should be willing to give in order to get.
Research. Conducting a search for a potential purchase or lease requirement, finding out members of a company who have a LinkedIn profile, reviewing quarterly reports of publicly traded companies, and updating your contact relationship manager fall into the category of research. Many companies have a research department whereas smaller brokerage houses conduct their research individually. Mine tends to be a combination of both.
Meetings. Our commercial real estate industry is a contact sport – meaning we must conduct face-to-face negotiations, building tours, and prospect discovery meetings. I have used video conferencing to accomplish this when a face-to-face meeting is impractical.
Food and drink opportunities. Each workweek contains at least three food and drink opportunities per day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Additional opportunities could be cocktails after work or a midday smoothie at the gym. Don’t eat alone! It will be your most expensive meal ever. I generally conduct these on a one to one basis with a strategic networking partner. I have found these informal face-to-face meetings are a tremendous way to generate activity.
Transaction coordination. A certain amount of each day must be spent actually closing the business that you generate. I employ a full-time transaction coordinator who can deal with some of the nuts and bolts of the deal such as contract preparation, fielding inquiries and forwarding information, document circulation, tracking of key dates, and general closing conditions. However, if the dealer hits a snag and additional negotiation is needed – I am always ready to re-engage.
Marketing. Digital, physical, and personal. The marketing of your services should include a good mix of digital – email marketing, social media marketing, and content creation or curation. Mailed to potential prospects and referral partners should be newsworthy articles, gifts, market information, or success stories,. All of these mailed pieces increase your physical presence. You also must be known in your marketplace. Your personal presence – open house attendance, group functions, networking events, and other community activities will boost your personal presence immensely.
Guest post contributed by Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR. Mr. Buchanan is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 714.564.7104. His website is allencbuchanan.com.