If you’ve been in the commercial real estate business for a while, you’ve seen the industry shift dramatically over the years—especially with the arrival of the newest generation of young brokers, some of whom definitely do things differently. From their ease with tech to their tendency to turn to LinkedIn and email for outreach, they’re relying heavily on modern tools to make life easier.
But you’ve been in this game for a while, and you know that timeless strategies like in-person meetings and follow-up phone calls never get old.
Meanwhile, if you’re a broker who’s never known a world before computers and cellphones, you may be wondering why some of your older counterparts do business in a way that seems to take more time and energy. After all, you can email 1,000 people by the time they finish one phone call with a prospect! But there’s a reason they’ve been in business this long, and that’s because their approach works.
The truth is that both generations have something to learn from the other. The best brokers rise to the top by pairing modern technology with time-honored sales and prospecting strategies seasoned brokers have used for years to build strong relationships and large networks of repeat clients and referrals. Pair today’s tech with these four classic sales tactics, and you’ll have the best of both worlds:
1. Make phone calls a priority—even if email is easier.
Email is quick, efficient, and easy, but it shouldn’t completely replace sales calls. The verbal communication that happens on the phone can actually help your chances of landing a deal. Studies have shown that when sales people emulate the tone and word choice of their client, they’re more likely to make a successful sale. Use your CRM for that initial email if you prefer, but then segment your contacts by those who responded and follow up with a good old-fashioned phone call. It may take more time than dashing off a note or an automated response, but it’s time worth investing in the personal relationship you’re building with each prospect. Those personal relationships are ultimately what lead to potential deals.
2. Invest the time it takes to show people you genuinely like them.
One of the first things most sales people learn is that if your prospect likes you, they’ll be more likely to do business with you. But here’s a very important reminder: it’s a two-way street. When someone feels that you genuinely like them, they’re more likely to trust you, as they assume you have their best interests at heart. A great way to create that positive rapport is to show real interest in something the other person is interested in, from their favorite football team to how they spend their weekends or where they went for their last vacation. These conversations also provide great fodder for follow-up talks, and lead to a better and stronger relationship over time. If you worry about remembering each and every detail for every contact, make note of each conversation in your CRM to jog your memory later.
3. Go ahead and automate some of your communication, but always add a personal touch.
One of the beautiful things about automated emails is that you can write a great message one time and automatically send it to the right people at the right time. But don’t neglect to add a personal touch whenever you can: nobody wants to feel like they’re just another name in your sales funnel. Why not include a link to an article about that interest of theirs that you’ve learned so much about? It’ll show them you’re a great listener and will help you gain their trust, and eventually—hopefully!—their continued business.
4. Have your business card on hand to facilitate referrals (and increase loyalty).
While useful connections can happen digitally, too, slipping a few business cards in your wallet means you’ll always be ready when an existing client wants to refer a colleague to you. Instead of hoping your client remembers to do an email introduction, handing them your card gives them a physical reminder to pass along your information. And facilitating that referral has an added bonus: not only do you gain a potential new client, your existing client’s loyalty to you is likely to increase, so that their actions (working with you) are consistent with their words (telling their colleague, “I love working with this broker.”)
What are some of the time-tested strategies you use to connect with prospects and clients? Leave a note and share your insights in the comments!