Is prospecting dead? Certainly not! In fact, I would say it’s more important than ever! With most sales agents or (in my world) commercial real estate leasing agents continuing the asinine habit of email blasts (I’ll tell you how I really feel!), it’s more important than ever to meet with and call—yes, I’m talking phone call—your prospect!
Here are 16 ways I prospect:
- Facebook: This is THE best way to prospect that I’ve seen in 32 years of leasing space! It gives a 33% return rate within 24 hours; where have you seen that?
- Target canvassing: Pick a use and hit the streets. Go see all the bike stores in one county, for example.
- Market canvassing: Pick a market and hit the streets. Canvas center by center, store after store.
- Cold calling: I like to call AFTER I send valuable market info to the prospect. For example, send to the prospect a map of his locations and those of his competition’s; this will definitely get you a call back!
- Chamber of commerce meetings: Out of 300 average members, 10 – 30% of members usually are businesses that pay rent to a landlord, and not ONE shopping center owner or leasing agent is there.
- ICSC conferences: Set meetings in advance. Do research on the company: How many square feet do they want? What demos? And so on. Contact them through LinkedIn vs email to get an appointment.
- Tenant rep brokers: Meet with them for a portfolio review regularly to see who they are repping and where can they fit in your portfolio.
- Neighborhood peer leasing agents: Start a club and share leads. They have exclusives that you may not have!
- Meet with competitors: Meet with competitors & peers once per quarter and have a “dead deal” meeting. Share deals that died for you; the other agents may be able to revive them for their own assets.
- Top uses: Keep a top five list of uses that you want in your centers and share it with everyone! Your company, your neighbors, your church, your kids’ teachers, everyone! Your kids’ teachers nail salon may want to open a 2nd location, and your center may just be the perfect fit!
- Nextdoor app: Ask this site for recommendations for the best pizza restaurant (you need to be a member); ask all your employees and friends to ask for pizza ideas (or uses you need) on all of their Nextdoor sites.
- Facebook moms’ groups: Ask for best of retailers, service users, and restaurants in their area.
- Create your own Facebook page: For example, create a page on the best places to shop in Davie and invite posts; this is a fabulous list of places to prospect.
- Craigslist: If you have a space that has 2nd generation value for a use such as restaurant, office or medical, Craigslist is awesome. Make sure you post pictures!
- Your tenants: Ask them! They may have some great ideas. Give them a month free rent if their prospect executes a lease with you.
- Your vendors: Ask your vendors if they know anyone; your attorney, your insurance agent, your GC, your landscaper, your sign company, etc. They all know businesses that are expanding!
And last, I’ll say that you MUST have a CRM to start accumulating these prospects names, contact info, and notes about them! Without the ability to collect this information, so you can pinch yourself when you should follow up again and remind yourself what they told you, all the time you originally spent prospecting will be wasted.
We conducted my 3rd annual Leasing Agent Survey recently and it is incredulous to me that only 35% of all the companies who responded to the survey have agents who regularly use a CRM. That just shows me they don’t prospect regularly because if they did, they would undoubtedly have a CRM system in place to keep track of all the contacts and leads accumulated.