Getting Clients as a Commercial Real Estate Broker: A Step-by-Step Guide
Aspiring commercial real estate brokers need to earn certain licenses and certifications, as well as acquire commercial real estate experience, to help their clients effectively sell and rent out properties, like retail space for lease.
Once all that preparation is over, though, there’s still another hurdle before becoming a successful CRE broker: attracting clients.
One thing about becoming a CRE broker is that it is not doable for everyone; the industry requires the ability to know how to generate leads as successfully as possible.
Building a strong clientele is everything, and without sufficient lead generation, a CRE broker could have a horrible year.
With that being said, let’s go over some tips and tricks that can help aspiring commercial real estate brokers help grow their lead generation and maintain a strong clientele.
Finding Your Niche
The thing about commercial real estate is that every business has its own needs. Therefore, you should determine what you want your expertise to be very early on in your career as a broker.
Even though commercial real estate is its own niche in the industry, it’s still pretty specific.
Not every property that is available in the commercial industry will have the same requirements that potential clients need.
For example, think about how different the needs of a client would be if they owned a sushi restaurant compared to if they wanted office space for their start-up company.
Becoming an expert in a specific field is what can set you apart from others. You’ll be able to showcase your passions and knowledge to the exact audience that you are looking for.
The Power of Networking
Getting your name out there in your industry, especially in your local commercial real estate industry, is a huge part of growing yourself as a business.
It may take a while to build up your network, but it will give you the established name of a reliable commercial broker.
Some of the ways you can expand your network include:
- Join CRE associations and networking groups;
- Attend Chamber of Commerce meetings;
- Create a strong social media presence;
- Become a member of real estate based-Linked-In groups;
- Attend CRE events (as a guest or speaker).
In summary, you want to get yourself involved in as many groups and events as you possibly can.
Socialize with both new and experienced CRE brokers to maximize the number of people who could pass your name along, as you never know who other people know.
Pay Attention to What Other Local Businesses Are Doing
Sometimes using outreach as a sole lead generation tactic can lead to failures, so that’s why you should also keep track of any new businesses in your area.
When keeping track of new businesses popping up in the area, you may be able to assess and predict when they could possibly use your business. This is why it’s so important to become a part of your city’s community.
If you do begin to notice that a business is becoming successful, you should contact them without the purpose of generating a sale immediately.
Instead, you should simply introduce yourself and mention that you have a lot of information and advice to give to the company for free if they want it.
Get Familiar With Local and National CRE Investors
It’s also beneficial to work with other professionals in the industry too. Partnering with commercial investors, for example, can lead to a lucrative and beneficial partnership for both parties.
Investors and brokers working together mean that both parties are guaranteed to have a client in each other.
Maintaining Relationships With Past Clients
While your main goal with lead generation is attracting new clients, that doesn’t mean you should neglect to stay in contact with former clients. Referrals are a large part of the real estate industry.
A statistic found by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says that 68% of sellers found their agent through a referral. They also state that 53% of sellers used their agents more than once.
Therefore, you should maintain availability to answer any questions that a client has about the commercial industry.
The CRE industry is more complex than residential real estate; clients will want to learn more about the supply and demand of their property, as well as how much it could cost to relocate.
If you have established yourself as someone who is willing to take the time out of your day to assist clients with anything they need even after your deal has been closed, they’ll be likely to refer any of their friends to you.
Utilizing Social Media to Generate Clients
In today’s day and age, social media is a huge part of marketing yourself and your business.
Advertising yourself as a broker on social media with effective copywriting is also a great way to connect with other professionals in your industry.
Here are some tips to consider when marketing yourself as a broker on social media:
- Define your target audience;
- Offer valuable tips and advice for free;
- Use the like, comment, and share features to connect with other businesses;
- Don’t be afraid to publicly share successful deals;
- Post any listings to build your online portfolio.
To elaborate further on the “sharing your successes” point: people will make a mental note when they see that you have a positive testimonial and have successfully helped a client secure their dream space for their business (especially if you have a few successes in a row).
Boost Efficiency With a CRM
Keeping in contact with past, present, and future clients can get pretty messy and disorganized, which is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) comes in.
CRMs are a huge part of the commercial real estate industry since many brokers have so many different things to stay on top of.
They help organize your leads and clients so that your communication occurs as efficiently as possible.
Many of the various CRM software have automation features, which also helps brokers focus less on document sorting and more on chasing their leads.
Texts, emails, and marketing campaigns all can be organized within a single program.
Lastly, CRMs will generate reports that can help brokers analyze their data and know where they need to change their focus.