How You Can Turn A Cold Call Into A Warm One

How You Can Turn A Cold Call Into A Warm One

Unlike residential real estate, where it is challenging for brokers to cold call owners in the area to see about selling or renting their property, in the commercial world calls are commonplace. That’s because there are non-solicitation laws to protect consumers in residential real estate. Commercial real estate, on the other hand, is a business-to-business occupation, and you’ll often find brokers calling up owners/investors, companies, or tenants, to see if they are interested in buying, selling, or renting.

For this reason, if you’re a sales or leasing broker working in commercial real estate, you’re likely familiar with cold calls. When starting out, if you don’t have strong relationships in the business, you’ll typically be reaching out to many, often on a daily or weekly basis. Having a good strategy in place can help you make the most of those conversations.

Consider these best practices as you pick up the phone, to turn a cold call into a warm one.

Know Who You’re Targeting

Before making a cold call, take some time to think about who you should be contacting. If you’re selling a property in a certain neighborhood, a good starting point might be to call the owners on the same block or nearby. When selling an apartment building, you could reach out to owners of other apartment buildings in the area. Let them know you have a property for sale and want to gauge their interest. Owners who are close in location might be interested in hearing what you have to say, and they could also be curious about how the sale relates to their property. They might even ask you what you think their property is worth. This helps build the relationship and you might be able to carry out a transaction on their behalf in the future.

You can also reach out to others who are further away, based on the asset type that you are selling. For instance, if we’re hired to sell a property that has a credit tenant like a drug store, fast food place, or bank, we’ll look for a national list of buyers who purchased properties in the past with similar tenants.

Share Relevant Information

I find one of the best ways to start a conversation is to share an update. Perhaps you just finished a research report on where retail rents are headed in the area, or have information related to zoning changes that could impact the owner. It shows that you’re not just calling to make a quick sale. Instead, you’re reaching out to inform them, and in doing so, you’re also establishing yourself as an expert.

In metropolitan areas, owners tend to get regular calls from brokers who are looking for their business. Sharing information helps you differentiate yourself from the other callers. In addition, that owner may start looking to you as an ally, and someone who is looking out for their best interest.

Look for the Meeting

Rather than end the conversation on the phone, check for opportunities to set up a different time to connect. I like to say that the point of these calls is to get the meeting, which is hopefully in person. There’s no substitute for meeting an owner in person at their property. It gives you a chance to understand what they have done with the place, and you could learn about what they want to invest in.

Reach Out through Different Channels

In addition to calls, you may be able to connect through other ways, like an introductory email or social media message. You might have someone you know introduce you to an owner, investor, company representative, or tenant. This can create a sense of trust and lead to a conversation to help you learn more about what they are looking for. It could also be the start of a relationship that can build over time.

Keep Perspective

At the end of the day, cold calling can be a numbers game. When you’re starting out, you’ll likely make many every week. Don’t be discouraged if you get hung up on. And remember, it’s not uncommon for highly successful brokers to make 200 to 300 calls per week that might only yield two dozen quality conversations.

Now that I’m 25 years into my career, I rarely make cold calls. That said, I might pick up the phone and call a neighbor if we’re selling a nearby property to learn about the situation on the block. However, I tend to now call contacts who I have known for years. They’ll pick up the phone and have a conversation with me to see what’s going on and hear what I have to say.

Whether you’re starting out or have been in the real estate business for a long time, you know the importance of valuable phone calls. When done well, these conversations can be mutually beneficial. Owners, investors, companies, and tenants will learn what’s going on in the area, and you can find out what they’re interested in buying. Over time, the relationship can continue and lead to future transactions.