In our connected, 24-hour world, leveraging social media, online networking, and the latest CRM tools, is critical to advancing your business and staying relevant. Yet, even the
most diligent of professionals can get bogged down with the
constant need to update databases, stay on top of social media,
and manage the nuances of each transaction. As a result, some
of the more traditional sales techniques are often pushed out or
replaced with newer, more modern strategies. While it’s important
to adopt the latest techniques and sales tools, these should be seen
as complimentary to, not in conflict with, more traditional or “old
school” tactics and strategies.
Here are five fundamental techniques that should not be overlooked.
1. KNOCK KNOCK
There is nothing more powerful than face-to-face contact with the
prospects you are trying to reach. The key to good door-knocking
rests in your approach and what you have to bring to the table. My
goal in door knocking is to always leave with a contact name and
number, ideally the company’s decision maker. Whether I know the
name of the key decision maker beforehand (a good cloud-based
CRM is very helpful here) or I uncover this information upon my
arrival, I always try to speak with that person while I am there.
Whether you get the opportunity to meet someone at that moment
or not, it is important to offer leave behind materials. If done right,
a door knock can be the beginning of a fruitful relationship.
2. WHO’S CALLING?
When meeting someone in person is not possible or if you simply
need to keep the communication lines open, picking up the phone
can be your in-road to establishing or strengthening relationships.
Like door knocking, it is important that a phone call is less of a
solicitation as it is a strategic contribution. Your prospect is likely
to brush you off (or worse, hang up) if you lead with, “Are you
looking to expand?” or “When is your lease up?” However,
the same person is likely not too busy to hear about how their
neighboring tenant just struck a deal that saved their company
thousands of dollars in rent. Whether it’s a cold call or a “check
in” with a current client, make sure you have something to offer – a
piece of information that may pique their interest and start the real
3. LOOK WHO’S HERE!
There’s no doubt that there is probably some kind of professional
4. I’D LIKE TO THANK…
networking event offered nearly every week. Of course, if we are
doing what we want to be doing – making deals – then there is
limited time for schmoozing at the latest real estate gathering.
However, while you can’t be at everything, carving out time to
attend a select few events can not only help in developing and
affirming relationships, but can also help to uncover important
market information. And while keeping yourself relevant among
your peers is important, let’s face it, the real opportunities are more
likely to be uncovered at those events that your prospects attend.
For example, because my firm focuses on companies that work
with intermodal transportation, we are actively involved in the
Intermodal Association of North America. It is at these events, as
well as through the organization’s LinkedIn and other social media
outlets, where we can meet our prospects and clients to launch
meaningful discussions about their business and real estate plans.
It may seem too traditional or mundane, but the thank you note
is something that never goes out of style. If the standard hand
written note is not your style, then rethink the standard and go with
something a bit more bold or different. Whenever I connect with
someone for the first time in person or on the phone I send a hand
written thank you note. A bottle of wine or a good book are also
good ways to say thank you.
5. SNAIL MAIL IS YOUR FRIEND
Who isn’t feeling the strain of daily email management? How many
e-mails are never even seen because they go straight to Junk? If
you can relate to this, you can bet that the people you are marketing
to via e-mail are in the same boat. Believe it or not, in our world of
cyber communication, good ol' snail mail may be something that
can set you apart. I’ve found that most clients want information on
available properties. Ask your clients what they want to see from
you and cater to their preferences.
Make no mistake, a robust website, blog page, and social media
strategy are critical in creating your image and promoting your
company’s message. Your ability to stay on top of the most current
sales and marketing trends will help you elevate existing client
relationships and forge new ones. But don’t forget what got us here.
Striking a balance between “old school” and twenty-first century
business development techniques is the key to winning clients now
and sustaining those relationships for years to come.
KICKIN' IT OLD SCHOOL
YOUNG PROFESSIONALS SEE WISDOM IN CLASSIC BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
DANIEL SMOLENSKY, SIOR, Principal at The
Modal Group, Chicago, Ill., has been working
in commercial real estate since 1994. Dan is
active with Independent Brokers Group (IBG)
and Young Professionals (YP) and he is director
at large for the Chicago SIOR Chapter. Dan
has completed transactions in excess of $200
million and 10 million square feet primarily
in industrial properties and office projects.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR