How important is a business development call or as it is more commonly known, a “cold call”? Is it more important to dial the phone as many times each day as humanly possible or is it more important to make each call truly meaningful by researching the prospect, property etc.? In reality, it’s both. The irony is that the two concepts are somewhat at odds with each other. Perhaps you work for a firm that requires a certain number of cold calls be made each day or each week and tracks that activity as a metric of your production. The theory there is something like “the more calls you make the more money you make”, believing that it’s a numbers game and if you call enough prospects the business will come. This has merit but only to a limiting degree. If the quality of your initial client contact is poorly planned, unprofessional, “salesy” or otherwise ineffective with the prospect, you are actually doing yourself more harm than good. The damage gets compounded if the only focus is quantity because you will continue to burn bridges with prospects by making poor calls and leaving the client with a negative impression of you and your company.
The most successful commercial real estate sales professionals find a proper balance between making enough new business calls and delivering a positive impression to the person on the other end of the phone by knowing something about them and having a relevant purpose for making the contact. These successful agents realize the importance of each and every call. Why? Because each and every call is a treasured opportunity for the commercial real estate agent to build a client relationship that can foster long term revenue, referrals, positive branding and a countless number of other benefits that cumulatively defines success. I suggest replacing the concept of “quantity” with a more effective concept…consistency. If you simply create a well thought out plan each day or each week that consists of whom you want to make contact with, a relevant purpose for your call and a preliminary idea of how you could be of service to the people you call, then the calls you make will be far more meaningful and far more effective than simply dialing for dollars so that you can tell your broker or manager that you made 500 calls in a week. Look at your database. Focus on a strategy based on a reason to reach out. Is there a new development that will impact an area? Call the surrounding property owners or prospective tenants and discuss how this development could benefit or create challenges for them. Is there a relevant governmental development regarding roadways or zoning that could affect surrounding owners and tenants? Newly listed properties, recently sold properties, move in or move outs of major tenants….these are all relevant reasons to reach out to prospects who could be affected in some way by these events. Once you have identified a reasonable number of prospects that you could discuss these topics with, be consistent about making contact with each and every one of those prospects until you have gone through your entire list. This is what your business development or cold calling methodology should consist of. Making relevant, quality contact on a consistent basis.