Conversation Starters

What does it take to get you to stop and listen—really listen—to a coworker, a friend or even a family member? What about a stranger? Being a good listener takes effort, and our minds are often preoccupied with the to-do lists and distractions of today’s world.

For us to turn our attention to something, it has to be interesting, relevant and timely. For property owners and tenants, this could be a number of things based on their current position. The job of a broker is to craft messages that are macro enough to address the market but micro enough to strike a chord with your prospects. 

Anatomy of a conversation starter

Conversation starters have to work for your client, not you. Make sure your messages meet these criteria:

    • Be interesting—fast. You only have a few seconds to capture your prospect’s attention.
    • Be contextually relevant. Deliver macro trends and/or phenomena with local implications, or scalable region trends or developments
    • Add value. Whatever you share should be news to your client. It can be either completely new or an interesting take on information they already know.
    • Invoke action. Use information in a way that forces a decision on your prospect. Make it so the need to take action is necessary.

The good news is that there’s a very manageable number of conversation starters that will interest your clients and prospects regardless of their property needs or location. Just keep this formula in mind.

Event | Universal Impact | Opportunity | Benefit/Action

Here's an example of how you can use that formula to get the attention of a prospect—and hopefully schedule a meeting.

Conversation starters best practices - EVENT    


Initech is relocating its corporate headquarters two miles from your property.

Conversation starters best practices - IMPACT    


This is expected to bring 1,500 new residents to your area.


Conversation starters best practices - OPPORTUNITY    


With housing supply tightening, this will have a positive effect on rents and occupancy for your property.

Conversation starters best practices - ACTION    


Would next Tuesday be a good time to meet and discuss how you can maximize this event?


Categories for common conversations

Top-performing brokers have a list of potential conversation starters on hand for their prospecting efforts. They can generally be broken down into these categories:

  • Economy
    • Debt Cycles
    • Lending Practices
    • Interest Rates
    • Jobs
  • Legislation / Policy
    • Economic development
    • Zoning changes
    • Tax changes
  • Market Disruption
    • New development
    • New competitor
    • Competitor activity
    • Infrastructure changes that may impact traffic count, accessibility, etc.
  • Market Events
    • Comparable sales
    • Comparable rents
    • Big employer moving in/out
    • Mass closings/layoffs
  • Market Trends
    • Pricing
    • Rents
    • Vacancies
    • Velocity
    • Volume
    • Demographic shifts
  • Workplace Trends
    • Workplace efficiency examples
    • Workplace efficiency studies
    • Notable TIs