blog post

How to beat another broker in a competitive deal

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chess-beat-competition-1We started getting the barrage of calls and emails last summer.

Apto currently occupies the second floor of a building right in the heart of downtown Denver. Our lease is up later this year, and since we’re a growing company, we’ll probably need to expand somewhere a little bigger.

So it makes sense that it was last summer that brokers started pounding on our door. They would talk to whoever they could get a hold of on the phone―our customer support line, our salespeople, our operations manager…they even requested demos of our product just to make their pitch to us.

For better or worse, we already had representation in place, thanks to our founder. He was a broker himself and had connections to get us an experienced team.

But it got me thinking. What would it take to uproot an incumbent broker? Or just to beat another broker in a competitive situation? After all, our product promises to give brokers a competitive edge, and I do believe our technology lives up to that promise. But how exactly does it work? And what else does it take to win?

It comes down to this: If you’re up against another broker in winning a competitive deal, you need to be more knowledgeable, more proactive, or more organized. To find out where your gaps are and how you can win, ask yourself these three questions.

Do you know more than they do?

Clients aren’t just expecting brokers to have basic property and comp information anymore. They can do preliminary research on their market if they’re so inclined. They’re looking to you to advise them on the best course of action. You need to demonstrate that you know the market and you can find the property best suited for their needs.

As Brandon Geraldo, SVP at Colliers International, told us, “if you’re not going to be an aggressive broker, you have to know more than the aggressive broker to be successful. This has driven me to know my market better than my competitors and to be a great resource for clients.”

Are you more aggressive?

Alright, so maybe you don’t feel you have the competitive advantage when it comes to market knowledge. You know your stuff, but so does the other team. Maybe your advantage is that you ARE the more aggressive broker, and you won’t take no for an answer. You’re persistent rather than obnoxious, but you won’t stop following up until you at least get a meeting.

When the brokers started knocking on Apto’s door, it seemed that many of the brokers called a few times and then gave up. If we were even a little dissatisfied with the representation we had, we would have taken a meeting with someone who demonstrated consistency and offered value.

Do you have a system for outreach in place?

Of course, you can avoid many competitive situations altogether by having a system for communication in place that keeps you top of mind with the right people―so they reach out to you when the time is right. If you’re building the right relationships in your market and maintaining that connection for the long haul, you’re more likely to be at the right place at the right time. And that takes an organized approach.

We love this example from Jon Silberman of NAI Partners. “I’ve always been a CRM guy…You can’t possibly effectively manage a big enough base of prospects without an organized system.” He notes that the system reminds him of who he needs to talk to every day, and reminds him to check in with previous clients he would otherwise have forgotten about.

And it’s often small efforts spread out over months or even years that have yielded the biggest returns. One example Jon remembers is a 50,000 sq. ft. office lease with a $700,000 commission. “It was from a phone call I made three years ago…from that one activity one day when I could have been doing something else.” Many brokers don’t like to admit it, but they have people who slip between the cracks. But if you’re diligent about your system of outreach, you’ll find clients reaching out to you. And if you do come up against a competitor, who’s going to win―the one who just started calling, or the broker who has been reaching out consistently over months and years?