How to Prospect in Commercial Real Estate?

February 28, 2024
11 min

It’s becoming increasingly challenging to find commercial real estate prospects, a change you must have noticed. The reason is obvious: many people are postponing their real estate decisions, whether to buy or lease, due to the unstable real estate market. The situation isn’t expected to change much, so what needs to change is your commercial real estate prospecting approach. To identify promising commercial real estate prospects in 2024, you need to:

  • automate data collection (e.g. employ AI tools to sift through external databases and listing websites)
  • extract value from your existing data, as collecting new data proves to be quite difficult. This can be achieved by employing CRM technology.
  • be persistent in your outreach, email automation being key here.
  • make your marketing collateral stand out from competitors by employing real estate document generation software like Composer.
  • boost your online presence.

But let’s start out from the trends driving commercial real estate prospecting in 2024.

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What Drives Commercial Real Estate Prospecting in 2024?

To get a sense of commercial real estate prospecting, you need to understand its drivers and triggers. In this passage, we describe the top 3 drivers that we’ve experienced through constant communication with commercial real estate brokers and agents.

The Generation of Tech-Savvy CRE Prospects

Since non-tech baby boomer CRE prospects are being replaced by tech-savvy Gen X and Y, CRE prospects more and more often rely on the web for their CRE sale/lease/investing decisions, meaning that agents should be on the same page with them. However, the reality is that many CRE agents are still working off Excel spreadsheets and flip phones and thus missing out on many commercial real estate prospects out there.

To align with the new generation of tech-savvy commercial real estate leads, agents should:

  • Employ trigger-driven automated email campaigns and calling instead of random outreach for more targeted and relevant communication.
  • Drive online visibility by starting accounts on platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram or establishing a blog for better online engagement.
  • Utilize landing pages and automatic lead capturing on your property portal.
  • Submit your properties to listing platforms in your area to expand property visibility and attract a broader audience.

Ubiquitous Access to Information

With easy access to any kind of data, modern prospects are more informed and educated about the commercial real estate market. Brokerages are no longer in an educational mode.

Why does that matter?

By knowing that brokers must approach clients differently. While talking with clients, they must add incremental value to their offering and differentiate themselves from other brokers.

For example, by harnessing real estate document generation software, brokers can go beyond merely presenting a list of properties. They can curate this information into professionally designed leaflets, incorporating accurate property comps and polished visuals.

Affordability of CRE Technology

Two decades ago, only several commercial real estate companies could afford high-octane, high-horsepower, industrial-strength software. But with the advent of cloud software accompanied by a streaming evolution of software tools, those financially unviable tools are now more affordable and easier to deploy.

What took months to deploy can now harness that same type of horsepower and be deployed in a few weeks for the same price as a monthly cellphone payment.

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Book a demo to explore how AscendixRE CRM can improve your prospecting efforts in commercial real estate.

Tips on How to Prospect in Commercial Real Estate

Modern commercial real estate prospecting requires creative approaches aligned with automation software. As a commercial real estate CRM software vendor, we believe in technology and innovation, helping brokers automate CRE business according to their demands.

In this passage, we’ll share 9 tips on how to prospect in commercial real estate at a higher value.

Tip #1. Adopt CRM Software

CRM software adoption is a #1 commercial real estate prospecting tip.

When it’s super tough to get new leads (way fewer people are now making CRE decisions), it’s crucial to keep an eye on the ones you already have in your system. Say someone contacted you a year ago with an inquiry that their lease would be coming up in XX months. In CRM you have a possibility to save that info as a comment and schedule a reminder to renew that communication in a year’s time.

Notification about upcoming lease expiration in AscendixRE

Notification about upcoming lease expiration in AscendixRE

Apart from this, CRM for commercial real estate brokers serves as a centralized and actionable data storage (opposite to stale data records across spreadsheets). It keeps all data related to clients, properties, and preferences in one place, allowing brokers to use it differently.

All Property-Related Data in one Place | AscendixRE

All Property-Related Data in one Place | AscendixRE

For commercial real estate prospecting, brokers can also set up an organizational system within a CRM and group contacts based on their industry segments, preferences, budgets, lease expirations, etc. You can define your target audience and start personalized marketing campaigns.

Target Audience in AscendixRE Mailchimp Integration

Target Audience in AscendixRE Mailchimp Integration

CRM system provides better insights into existing data (dashboards and clear numbers like conversion rates, ROI, etc). By having that in one place, brokers can analyze their commercial real estate prospecting efforts and allocate areas to be improved.

Broker's dashboard in AscendixRE CRM

Broker’s dashboard in AscendixRE CRM

How Can CRM Improve Commercial Real Estate Prospecting?

To answer this question, we’ll take AscendixRE CRM as an example. Tailored to the needs of commercial real estate brokers, AscendixRE automates the following tasks required for effective prospecting:

Contact Management

AscendixRE CRM allows brokers to maintain detailed records of contacts, including property owners, investors, tenants, and other relevant stakeholders. Brokers can organize contacts into categories based on criteria such as location, property type, and investment preferences, making it easier to target specific segments during prospecting efforts.

Property Database

AscendixRE CRM includes a centralized property database where brokers can store and manage detailed information about available properties, including listing details, property characteristics, photos, and financial data. This database enables brokers to quickly identify suitable properties to present to potential prospects based on their specific requirements.

Advanced Search Filters

AscendixRE CRM offers sophisticated search filters integrated with Ascendix Search. It allows brokers to narrow down properties based on specific criteria such as location, property type, size, and price range. With such a tool brokers can also quickly identify properties that match their clients’ requirements during prospecting.

Saved Search Preferences

Brokers can save their search preferences within AscendixRE CRM, enabling them to access and reuse predefined search criteria for prospecting purposes quickly. This feature streamlines the prospecting process and ensures consistency in property selection.

Property Tracking Dashboard

AscendixRE CRM provides a centralized dashboard where brokers can track their prospecting activities, including properties viewed, inquiries made, and follow-up tasks. This dashboard helps brokers stay organized and prioritize their prospecting efforts effectively.

Prospect Interaction History

Brokers can view a detailed history of their interactions with prospects within AscendixRE CRM, including emails sent, phone calls made, meetings scheduled, and property viewings arranged. This feature allows brokers to maintain a comprehensive record of prospect engagements and tailor their follow-up strategies accordingly.

Prospect Segmentation

AscendixRE CRM enables brokers to segment their prospect lists based on various criteria such as buying preferences, budget constraints, and geographical location. This segmentation allows brokers to personalize their prospecting approach and target specific groups of prospects with tailored property recommendations.

Automated Follow-Up Reminders

AscendixRE CRM includes automated follow-up reminder features that prompt brokers to follow up with prospects at predefined intervals. This ensures that no prospect falls through the cracks and helps brokers stay proactive in their prospecting efforts.

Integration with Marketing Tools

AscendixRE CRM integrates seamlessly with marketing automation tools, allowing brokers to create targeted email campaigns and track prospect engagement metrics directly within the CRM platform. This integration streamlines the prospecting process and enhances the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Book AscendixRE CRM Demo

Book a demo to explore how AscendixRE CRM can improve your prospecting efforts in commercial real estate.

Tip #2. Be Persistent in Email Campaigns

Emails are an effective means of outbound prospecting, following-up with current leads, and nurturing past clients.

For outbound prospecting, integrate your CRM with Mailchimp, HubSpot, SendPulse, or any other tools to make a compelling start to the marketing campaign.

For following-up with current leads, segment your email campaigns based on clients’ preferences / inquiries, and start sending mass emails through a CRM to your target audiences.

A standard email should include:

  • photos;
  • promotional property description;
  • link to the property listing page;
  • link to the property flyer;
  • your contact information for inquiries.

For nurturing past clients, launch automated campaigns for lost leads / leads who expressed interest in your services but never converted into clients. It becomes possible and super easy with a CRM that has an integrated email module like Mailchimp.

By having such a tool, you can inform past clients about your current offerings or send relevant collections of properties, saying: “Hello! Last year, you were interested in property ABC, but at that time, there were no leases available. This year, property ABC has vacant leases you may be interested in. Therefore, I’m sending you a collection of leases that will be available in 3 months. Glad to talk to you again.

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Tip #3. Use Commercial Real Estate Flyer Software

Using the CRE document generation software, you can create property flyers, professional documents, embedded emails, or landing pages with property descriptions that will be used for all aspects of CRE marketing.

While choosing the best commercial real estate flyer software, consider the solution that is synchronized with your current CRM software. In this case, you’ll generate all necessary reports/flyers/brochures within your CRM.

Library of Templates in Composer Online

Library of Templates in Composer Online

Other benefits of using commercial real estate flyer software:

  • Custom real estate flyers, brochures, reports, emails, and landing pages in a few clicks
  • Ability to generate documents from any device
  • A great library of ready-to-use templates.

Tip #4. Use AI Technology

One notable shift in prospecting methodology involves integrating artificial intelligence (AI) technology. By harnessing the power of AI-driven algorithms and predictive analytics, CRE professionals can gain valuable insights into market trends, identify promising leads, and prioritize their outreach efforts more effectively.

This data-driven approach also enables brokers to streamline their prospecting process, minimize guesswork, and focus their resources on opportunities with the highest potential for success.

Tip #5. Market Your Property on Listing Platforms

Market your property listing on commercial real estate listing sites because it is the first stop for CRE specialists looking for vacant spaces for their clients. Listing on Loopnet/CoStar, Crexi, and any other relevant listing website in your market helps you to reach greater audience.

Make sure to have clear and attractive photos of the building, amenities, interior spaces, floor plans. Write a promotional property description, property location, contact information, and a link to download the flyer so that your listing attracts attention.

To make your commercial property listing more advanced and optimized for MLS, include a link to a virtual tour, a video, an inquiry form for interested tenants and brokers, and specify current availability and occupancy rates.

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Tip #6. Use the Power of Social Media

Social networks boost your online presence and let you reach the target audience. It helps brokers explain why this specific property is better than the rest on the market.

Among the most effective social media for brokers are LinkedIn and Facebook. They’re right in front of your face every day you can get a hold of.

Then, there are other sources that brokers may use:

  • Crunchbase: to get access to the base of all the companies within it;
  • Google Alerts: to set up alerts for specific keywords related to the target market or niche;
  • Twitter: to participate in communities, check relevant events, comment on posts by industry leaders, etc;
  • Mattermark: to access its comprehensive database of companies and identify potential tenants, investors, and clients.

Tip #7. Networking

By actively engaging in networking events, conferences, CRE trainings, and industry associations, brokers can stay updated on market trends, gather market intelligence, and access potential leads and opportunities. Moreover, networking facilitates collaboration and partnership opportunities, which can lead to referrals, joint ventures, and access to off-market deals.

Tip #8. Landing Pages and Automatic Lead Capture

Landing pages about properties are like digital storefronts that offer detailed information, high-quality images, and virtual tours of available properties. By directing prospects to these pages through various marketing channels such as email campaigns, social media ads, or search engine optimization, brokers can attract interested parties and encourage them to inquire further about the property.

Automatic lead capture mechanisms embedded within these landing pages streamline the lead generation process by capturing visitor information, such as contact details and property preferences, automatically.

With captured leads seamlessly integrated into the broker’s CRM system, brokers can efficiently follow up with prospects, nurture relationships, and guide them through the sales process.

Tip #9. Integrate AI-Based Property Info Chatbots with Your Website

AI chatbots can boost commercial real estate prospecting by providing immediate assistance and information to potential clients visiting a broker’s website or digital platforms.

These chatbots are equipped with natural language processing capabilities, allowing them to engage in real-time conversations, answer queries, and provide relevant property information based on user preferences.

 

 

CRE Prospecting Best Practices

#1. The rule of Harvest (Grow the relationships with clients)

People you’re trying to attract are like crops you’re trying to grow – they require different approaches and cannot be treated the same way or cared for in the same manner.

They require different cadences of communication and interaction depending on the relationship type. For instance, engaging with an investor demands a different tone and frequency compared to that with a prospective tenant.

To scale your efforts in commercial real estate prospecting, think about how to automate the manual tasks involved in this process. Otherwise, you will not do prospecting much because it is a mammoth and daunting task that you’ll rather avoid doing.

Practice the fundamentals of farming your commercial real estate prospecting efforts by exercising patience and persistence for relationship growth.

#2. Conversion Rates to Plan Commercial Real Estate Prospecting

Not all seeds will be planted or harvested. The same goes for prospecting.

Experienced brokers know that X number of meetings turns into X number of prospects, which then turns into business pursuits. However, if brokers aren’t honest about conversion rates, they will never bear the fruit and close the deal. So, they’ve got to know their conversion rates and numbers that motivate doing an appropriate prospecting.

Final Words

The tips presented for effective prospecting and prosperous selling of commercial property are straightforward and practical. Although they require some upfront investment, the efficiency and the volume of generated deals make them worthwhile.

For 16+ years, Ascendix has been focused on the commercial real estate vertical and creating solutions that brokers can use to streamline their business.

We know that in prospecting and commercial property marketing, it’s essential to stay flexible and be patient because the results have a long-term effect.

We always advise our clients: “Work now for the future you. What you prospect now is planting the seed for what you’ll reap a year down the road. Try “testing” marketing tools and follow the tips for fruitful commercial real estate prospecting.”

Remember, the more automized you make your CRE workflows, the more profitably you’ll market your commercial property and get more prospects.

If you’re looking for a one-stop commercial real estate prospecting solution, try AscendixRE CRM. Schedule a call with our manager to explore how AscendixRE CRM can assist you in commercial real estate prospecting and property marketing.

Good hunting!

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