Now, THIS will be an interesting blog on Prospecting in Commercial Real Estate since I’m co-writing this piece with Duke Long, aka, “The Godfather!” What does that mean?
It will come at you with the straightforwardness of Duke and with the delivery of a woman raised in the south who has been working behind the scenes in #CRETech.
I asked Duke 4 questions late last Friday. He razzed me a couple times (I have lineman brother’s so I’ve heard it all), but I wanted to make sure that the broker perspective was accounted for in the blog and it wasn’t just another lead generation person preaching at brokers.
It’s the same reason Ascendix wanted to co-host our upcoming webinar, Prospecting and Nurture Marketing in Today’s Commercial Real Estate Firm, on Valentine’s Day with Duke.
What are the best mediums/sources for brokers to use for prospecting?
Duke: Email and contact database. Still, in my opinion, the number one source. Outgoing emails are said to be 25% more effective. It’s all about timing. How do you know when it’s the right time? You have to ask.
Camille: Agreed! And I also highly recommend segmenting your leads, prospects, and customers based on key data points. Segmenting is important so you don’t lose your audience to the dreaded unsubscribe by blasting them information that wasn’t relevant. As a marketer, I’ve learned that one the hard way, but by putting in a handful of long nights cleansing, the return was clear in our pipeline. I’ve also used my email history in CRM to see the timing of emails where I have had the most success. Then, I used an automated email nurture campaign to recreate the cadence with multiple prospects to stay in touch.
Duke: Also use the email and contact database and social media to connect to contacts and friends of a prospect and get a warm intro. There is nothing stronger or more effective than a recommendation from a professional colleague
Camille: LinkedIn provides you some ability to see how you’re connected to your target, but you can also take it a step further with a tool like InsideView for Sales. To be transparent, we are a partner, but it was an easy choice to make because of their accuracy rating. They have multiple techniques that make prospecting much more effective. One example is if I see on a “Watchlist” I created that Jane Doe got a promotion, I send a quick email or card congratulating her. Notice I said writing a card…an art form that has been overlooked, but goes a long way!
Duke: Public data sources: Local tax assessor, title, and mortgage records. Construction permits and land survey records. Of course, good old divorce records. Pure Gold.
Camile: Divorce records?? Who knew?!?! That could lead to a whole other type of prospecting…
Why does the phone and/or other traditional resources still work so well for brokers?
Duke: Wow, this one is hard. “Traditional” means what? Cold calling with a script? Playing golf? Attending the same church? Coaching the little league team? If you are looking for a $30-$50 deal what would you do?
Camille: Not for CRE Tech silly, for brokers. I’ve always seen CRE as unique in that traditional lead nurturing methods, including the phone and event networking, is still key to success. Because of the size of the deals and the amount of time they take, prospecting is a lot like dating…you need to like and trust who you are dealing with. And much like dating, technology now has a hand in how these introductions are made. However, a lot of the tools to help you keep your database up-to-date are expensive. That’s why Ascendix created DataAmp, a free add-on for Salesforce users, which we will touch on during the webinar.
What prospecting methods work in CRE, but not necessarily other industries?
Duke: Wow, these are hard questions. Making me think. Ironically, it’s the one’s outside that usually works best. Salesforce comes to mind.
Camille: I personally would be lost without CRM. Because we provide our CRM product on both Dynamics 365 and Salesforce I spend time in both solutions. They both have their strengths and weaknesses, but you need to look at your specific set of requirements, tools you need integrated and address head on the issues that have caused users not to adopt the tool in the past. When you do a real side by side comparison without biased up against your requirements, people are often surprised which platform is best for them. Then put in the work to cleanse and format the data before importation. If you skip this step, you will be disappointed no matter the CRM. And keep that data clean! 25% of your data goes stale each year, so keeping it clean is key. Start segmenting, integrate with an email marketing solution, track your activities, and set those reminders! When a reminder pops up that you set 9 months prior, review the historical activities, then send a message that is relevant to that prospect to show you remember your past conversations. I usually hear, “I was just thinking about you too!”
Camille: What partnerships have made prospecting more successful for you?
Duke: IT sales and prospecting with partners. Example: Internet hardware and software providers need the same clients as CRE. Work together. Man, did I use this one to KILL!
What are the new prospecting tools (besides DataAmp, of course) that are a broker must have?
Duke: Now we are in my ballpark. Personalized content, pay to play social media, VR Virtual Reality, newsletters with permission-based content, SEO/keywords by location and address (think about that one), video strategy, a quality website (and that’s a 5000 word answer by itself!) Blog, Nah wait that’s a complete waste of time, don’t do that. Quality professional visual marketing (property company and personal) with professional Infographics. Testimonials that are well written and placed strategically with video.
Camille: People initially get overwhelmed by the options, especially with social media. But once you get involved with the conversation and research the tools available to streamline some of the activities you mentioned above, it’s really rewarding! And when setup correctly, it does the prospecting for you, which is especially important when your time is focused on the current big deal so they have to trust that someone else is keeping up with prospecting. And that goes back to user adoption. Make it easy or it won’t happen! We have various partners and have created add-ons, all with the goal of improving user experience and increasing user adoption. Most of them don’t require that you use an Ascendix CRM either. For example, using DataAmp to sync company and contact intelligence from InsideView into your Salesforce instance for under $0.85 a record. On top of accurate data, it eliminates the majority of data entry and provides more complete records to improve reporting. We also are currently taking our mapping and reporting feature and making it an add-on for the Salesforce Appexchange. Ascendix Search will work for any industry and with any Salesforce instance, but was inspired by commercial real estate, of course!
So what is your next step? Duke and Ascendix CEO, Wes Snow, will co-host a webinar on February 14 at 1:30 PM CST. Using their combined experience in Commercial Real Estate and Technology, they will discuss a variety of ways to increase your prospects in 2017. Then how to use new solutions and best practices that will assist you in building a relationship that will lead to your next deal. By the way, “The Godfather” is checking the registration list and knows who has (or hasn’t) registered to spend a little time with him on Valentine’s Day….I’m just sayin’….