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What makes a good target prospect? How to identify top opportunities in your market.

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broker-building-phone-tablet-320x213Have you switched to the top-of-mind prospecting system?

The concept is appealing. Outlined by Blaine Strickland in his book, Thrive: Ten Prescriptions for Exceptional Performance as a Commercial Real Estate Agent, the strategy involves less cold calling, and instead outlines a method that focuses on identifying 125 high-value targets in your market to build relationships with so you’re “top of mind” when they need an expert CRE advisor. Over time, they’ll give you a healthy income, and you don’t have to spend all day on the phone.

But what exactly makes a good target prospect for that list?

According to Strickland, there are two criteria. They “must be willing to eventually interact with you. If they won’t take your call, or are already committed to someone else…they don’t qualify.” And then they must also have a deal arise once every five years.

It makes for good numbers. But it also can take time and effort to find the right people in your market. To help you identify the right prospects for you, we outline a few potential traits to look out for.

Past clients

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating. If you’ve already worked with someone on a deal, you have to keep in touch. Whether it’s once a month or once a quarter, put in the effort to connect so you do not let the relationship dwindle.

We’ve talked to plenty of brokers who don’t like to admit it, but they’ve had these clients fall between the cracks over the years. But in order for the top-of-mind system to be successful, you have to be diligent about following up. These contacts are incredibly valuable as a source of repeat business and referrals.

Industry in your market

Each market is different, but considering growth potential by niche is important to consider when looking for top prospects. Whether it’s a relatively new concept like data storage centers, marijuana dispensaries, or on-demand workspaces―or growing verticals like senior housing, self-storage, or healthcare―see if there’s a specialization that is taking off in your market. Then track down the key players involved.

When assessing potential focus areas, be sure to think long-term by factoring in demographic, legislative, and investment trends. For example, the Affordable Care Act had implications beyond insurance. New payment structures, combined with a generation of consumers who prioritized convenience, led many healthcare systems to decentralize their facilities and open more urgent care clinics. Savvy commercial real estate brokers capitalized on this trend.

Top owners and recent transactions

When figuring out who to target in your market, you can also look at specific activities. The more you analyze your prospects, the more you’ll notice who the top owners are in any given area. Those contacts might be open to purchasing additional properties and/or selling their current assets. They might already have representation in place, but that only means you need to dig a little deeper to learn if those brokers are serving their clients well. You might have more to offer.

You can also take a look at recent transactions. Sellers have the proceeds from the sale and a substantial tax incentive to redeploy that capital quickly. An organization that has decided to sell an individual asset may be undertaking a portfolio disposition effort. Similarly, a buyer in these transactions may have a larger acquisition strategy. It’s a good chance to get your foot in the door.

Or you can look at prospects who have owned for long period of time. Whether you are working with an experienced investor or a high net-worth individual, money talks. After owning a property for a length of time, there may be a lot of equity. You can demonstrate your value by talking with the client about how they can leverage the equity to invest in other properties and grow their portfolio. Plus, if they’ve owned for a long time, chances are lower that they have a reliable broker who’s kept in touch over the years.

Once you have your list, keep at it

These are just a few places to start when identifying top prospects in your market. There are plenty of other factors to consider. But once you do have your prospect list, you must be diligent about following up and making meaningful connections. It helps to have a system in place that keeps everything organized and reminds you who you need to call and when. Take a look at Apto to see how we can help you do just that.