Saturday, November 9, 2013

Get more #CRE referrals...five GREAT sources

I provide Location Advice to owners and occupants of industrial buildings in Southern California...AKA, I sell and lease commercial real estate for a living and have since 1984.

I have to confess, there is NOTHING better than a qualified referral! You walk in to the meeting, present your engagement agreement and get the business...many times without having to compete!

Today's post discusses five GREAT sources and ways to generate more qualified referrals for your commercial real estate services.

...A brief review,

First, if you don't have a specialty...either in geography, CRE product type, building or employee size range, industry type, or occupant or owner, you might want to read this great post by Bo Barron which will enable you to define your specialty by answering three simple questions. By the way, Bo coaches commercial real estate practitioners, speaks on all things commercial real estate, etc...so he is a bit of an expert...you think?

Second, the reason a specialty is soo important is because your specialty defines your target which forms the basis of your message which should be easy to understand by EVERYONE who asks...not just fellow brokers. The message should be simple, easy, and delivered in 25 words or fewer.

Example:
What do you do? I provide location advice to owners and occupants of industrial buildings in Southern California...I keep companies in California by helping them save on real estate....OK that is 26...close enough!

Finally, who do want to be referred to? If you cannot define that, referrals will be scarce!

Alright, we have our specialty, our message and the "who"...on to the five great sources.

Fellow Brokers: If you examine your referral sources over the years, you will discover the greatest source for #CRE referrals is from other commercial real estate brokers...OK, we get that. Here is a spin that you may not have considered. What do the office guys in your office do when they encounter an industrial deal or vice versa? What if the lease you just accomplished for an owner becomes a leased investment sale? If you make sure that your fellow company brokers, your "tribe" of cooperating brokers, etc. are clear on your expertise...and they "like" you...chances are you will get referred.

An aside...The like factor...I don't care how good you are (or you think you are), if you are an asshole, nobody will refer you!

Strategic Network Partners: Your target (owners and occupants of industrial buildings) is a target for other professionals that don't compete with you, yet supplement your efforts. Commercial bankers, commercial insurance agents, business attorneys, wealth advisors and CPAs all have clients that need location advice. Easy enough? Here's a suggestion. Ask the most recent deal you accomplished (an owner or an occupant) who handles their insurance or provides their tax advice. See if they will introduce you to the professional. If so, schedule a meeting, a call, a Skype conference, or face time conversation to discuss what you accomplished for your (their) client, how you might assist others AND how you might refer other of your clients to them...HUGE!

Existing Clients: In addition to the above idea, ask your clients (immediately after you complete a transaction) to introduce you to three people...real estate need or not. They will naturally gravitate to professionals in a similar industry.

Friends and Family: Nothing is more embarrassing...and costly..than to discover a friend made a real estate deal without you. When Coy Davidson and I met recently, he relayed a story to me about a friend of his who bought an office building and later confessed..."I didn't know you did that". I say shame on you! PLEASE make sure your friends and family know what you do, how you do it AND how to reach you...which leads  us to the ever powerful SOCIAL!

Social Media: Blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ all provide different formats for "subtle" advertising about what, where, and how you do what you do. A resi broker friend of ours recently saw a Facebook post about a deal I accomplished and mentioned to my wife..."oh, so that is what Allen does"...and she sells real estate! Please don't race out and flood the airwaves with commercials OR your latest listing OR a deal you just did...most won't care...BUT an occasional reminder, link, video, etc. is a great way to stay top of mind.