Three Approaches to Prospecting

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When you think about prospecting, is cold calling the first thing that comes to mind?

It is for many commercial real estate professionals, and it’s easy to see why — if you want to find new prospects, you first need to call them, right?

It’s hard to argue with that, and while cold calling does play a role in every prospecting strategy, it shouldn’t be your entire strategy. Instead, the best prospecting strategies are rethinking the use of cold calling, transforming it from an end in itself to just one part of a larger approach to securing new business.

From building your market presence to using technology to segment and systematize your efforts, use these three prospecting strategies to move beyond cold calling and make more meaningful relationships in your market.

  1. Top-of-mind

The traditional approach to cold calling is all about volume. The logic goes that more is better, so 200 calls a week is better than 100, but worse than 500. That may be true if every call is a shot in the dark, but what are the chances of actually connecting with the right person at the right time?

It happens, but it doesn’t happen often.

So instead of playing a tedious, time-consuming numbers game, try the top-of-mind approach outlined by Blaine Strickland in his book Thrive: Ten Prescriptions for Exceptional Performance as a Commercial Real Estate Agent. The key idea is that instead of trying to reach the perfect person at the perfect time, you should aim to become the first real estate advisor prospects think of when they decide to look for trusted counsel.

To put this approach into action, begin by identifying about 125 of your best prospects. These are the people who are likely to interact with you and will need a broker at least once every five years. Try to make a high-quality connection with at least two of these people every day, and work towards connecting with each person at least once a quarter.

Don’t focus on making a hard sell; simply build the relationship, make a connection and provide value each time you talk. After a year of this you’ll have made several strong connections with key prospects in your market, and when they eventually need professional counsel, don’t be surprised if you’re the first person they call.

  1. Build your presence

It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

You’ve probably heard that saying before, and the next time you’re about to dial some cold calls, take a moment to ask yourself the question: How many key players in my market know me?

If you’re a junior broker, the answer is probably few to none. There’s nothing wrong with that, everybody has to start somewhere, but you don’t want that to be the answer forever. Use the presence approach outlined by the Massimo Group to change that and elevate your name in the market.

Building your presence is all about getting out there and making the right connections. There are many ways to grow your network, but if you’re a junior broker, start by finding the right mentor. Not only will a strong mentor share experience and strategies — their network will open doors for you and create opportunities to build your presence.

Once you’ve started building your presence, you’ll notice that cold calls are turning into warm calls. While you should always try to learn something about your prospect and know how you can provide value, the conversation changes when your prospect knows about you.

This strategy’s end game? Transform your presence until you’re seen as a source of information and expertise in your market. At that point, the prospects will come to you.

  1. Segmentation

To make your prospecting efforts as efficient as possible, segment prospects into actionable lists.

How effectively you segment prospects has a lot to do with the quality of your databases and technology — you could create lists with nothing more than an Excel spreadsheet and a post-it note (we don’t recommend that), or you could leverage your databases through a commercial real estate-specific CRM to segment lists according to real-time data.

Either way, you want to segment prospects into the key groups that will fuel your success. That means different things for different commercial real estate professionals, but if you’re looking for ideas, start by breaking prospects into these groups: previous clients, top owners and market principals. You should always keep in touch with past clients, many will prove to be consistent sources of business, and you definitely want to be building relationships with the key players in your market.

Segmenting prospects boosts your efficiency and helps you build your market presence. If you’re using software that tracks your prospecting efforts and prompts you with follow up dates, you can also effectively segment prospects to stay on track of the top-of-mind strategy.

Cold calling isn’t going away. Picking up the phone and reaching out to someone new is a fundamental part of what it means to be a broker, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

But thanks to technology and some clever strategies, prospecting is evolving into more than just a numbers game. Sure, volume is still a key part of it; but whether it’s winning the top-of-mind game or building a presence in the market, brokers who move beyond the traditional prospecting mentality will outperform the rest.

 

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Apto website.

 

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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The Data Big Tech Companies Have On You

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About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

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Ideas That Align and Strengthen Your Organization

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To have another conversation about the benefits of open plan versus private office is missing the point. There are countless established advantages and disadvantages of both types of workspaces. For 2019, we need to change and elevate the conversation about our workplaces. Facility and HR professionals need to focus discussions on how to make strategic decisions together to strengthen the workplace experience for employees.

The following ideas are changes FM and HR leaders can put into immediate practice to develop collaborative behaviors and mindsets. We seek to inspire a new way for leaders to intentionally build intra-departmental relationships and influence how their teams can work together so their workforces can reach a higher potential in the workplace every day.

Idea 1: Build a Joint Agenda by Starting with Transparency

Recommendations: Most Facilities leaders understand the basic daily role of HR. Attraction, retention, benefits, compliance, and suddenly, eyes get hazy and glazed over. Most HR leaders understand Facilities is about space plans, layouts, furniture, fabrics and finishes, HVAC, IEQ and then snoring commences. To start aligning agendas, Facilities leaders should ask HR leaders to share their strategic plan for 2019. Then, ask for HR’s perspective on areas where they see future opportunities to collaborate in capacities to benefit employees. Make sure you are prepared to reciprocate and share your facilities and real estate plan too. Over coffee or lunch build your relationship by offering feedback to each other on the plans and determine where they converge through efforts that will uplift and benefit your workforce. Also determine how you can build a fully integrated HR and Facilities plan for the next fiscal year based on strategic organizational goals.

Idea 2: Develop an Integrated Facilities and HR Journey Map

Recommendations: Consider the employee, recruiting, and visitor lifecycles and map out all touchpoints where real estate and facilities have the potential to impact employees, prospective employees, and guests. As an example, consider the following types of spaces to begin your mapping:

Lobby/Reception areas – What message does the reception area send to visitors, recruits and employees? What should each constituency feel, think, and do when they enter and after? Is your brand well integrated? A recent study by Proxyclick indicates that we’re not delivering in our lobbies and reception areas.

Interview Rooms and Office Tour Paths – What message are you sending to employees? Does the quality of these spaces strengthen or hurt your employer value proposition? How integrated is your brand in your workplace? How does your culture show up in the attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs demonstrated in shared spaces and when observed?

Amenity Spaces – Whether your office has a rooftop with BBQs or a five-star gym that has capacity for yoga and meditation classes, what messages do these spaces send to employees on how your organization prioritizes wellness, work-life balance, staff engagement, and fun? Do your amenities complement the culture you’re grooming or work against it?

Conference Rooms – Determine what each unique audience (employees, clients, board members, prospective employees, etc.) should experience in your conference spaces. What should these spaces look and feel like? What call to action are you asking of them after they leave the meeting or event?

After you map the employee lifecycle and corresponding spaces, determine which spaces require immediate attention and make these your priority through budget allocation and resource designation. Note: these should align with your integrated Facilities and HR strategic plans.

Idea 3: Become a Force Multiplier by Amplifying Your Joint Agenda, Efforts, & Results

Recommendations: Demonstrate collaborative practices you want to see inside your Facilities and HR teams and then elevate the practice by talking about this approach across your organization. Get the message out to other leaders that you are leading and executing in this new unified way. Whether you present a joint agenda at Monday leadership meetings or update staff quarterly via town hall meetings, deconstruct the parts and pieces of your integrated Facilities and HR agenda. Not only will this create a cadence of new practices, it also has the potential to inspire other operational leaders in accounting, IT, marketing, etc. to adopt this kind of approach.

This soft internal PR has the potential to change the perception of Facilities (ticket takers) and HR (rules and tools) to organizational resources that create distinct business advantages. This won’t happen though unless you get the word out! Find your partner in FM/HR and do it together! And, if you need help with the marketing messages and vehicles, here is another great opportunity to partner with another department.

Idea 4: Initiate a Deeper, More Meaningful Conversation with Industry + Organizational Peers

Recommendations: To achieve more long-term impact and results, this dialogue must be sustained; this isn’t a one and done effort. To advance this agenda and offset teleworking, we must change the caliber and quality of the conversations we are having with each other and with our colleagues who lead other departments.

Consider asking these types of questions to other Facilities leaders to learn from each other:

  • How do you currently collaborate with HR inside of your organization?
  • In what efforts would you like to start partnering with HR?
  • What are the biggest benefits you could bring to your organization if your Facilities and HR teams joined forces?
  • How could Facilities leaders potentially impact practices, policies, procedures inside of HR?
  • Consider asking these types of questions to your internal HR leaders to strengthen outcomes:
  • Do you understand the benefits for the workforce if HR and Facilities teamed up?
  • What currently prevents our agendas from aligning?
  • What benefits will our workforce experience from a joint Facilities and HR agenda?
  • How could our aligned agenda strengthen attraction, retention, brand and culture as well as the overall impact of Facilities/CRE on the organization’s goals & objectives?
  • How could we begin to build a stronger working relationship?
  • How could our integrated approach become an inclusive practice across our organization?

Collectively, these practices are intended to yield benefits that elevate your workforce, strengthen the impact of your workplace and build a more integrated approach to your employee experience. Prospective outcomes of this Facilities and HR collaboration have the potential to result in:

  • Stronger brand and culture demonstrated in the physical space
  • Consistent and clear employee experiences
  • Employee referrals for new hires
  • PR from clients and prospective clients after tours
  • Enhanced employee morale and pride in the physical office
  • Reduction of interest in teleworking
  • Space perceived as an employee benefit

Portions of this article originally appeared on the Work Design Magazine website.

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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How to be Invisible Online

February 19, 2019 Leave a comment

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About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

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A Tenant-Centric Mindset is Reshaping the Commercial Real Estate Industry

February 12, 2019 Leave a comment

There is a growing trend in the commercial real estate industry to develop a more customer-centric (or tenant-centric) strategy to help improve returns. This shift in strategy is now starting to reshape the entire property landscape which in turn determines which technologies get adopted and which don’t.

The influx of millennials into the workforce is driving change in every aspect of how firms do business. These workers have an increased reliance on technology and significantly different expectations for work/life integration than older generations. This influences their expectations for a workplace. Consequently, workplace design impacts corporate performance.

These prospective workers want an appealing office setting. But they also want amenities that simplify their lives and make their work more comfortable and enjoyable. So, in order to recruit top talent, companies are looking to make the workplace as appealing as possible.

Property owners know that a tenant’s effectiveness in recruiting and retaining top talent directly affects lease performance. So, they’re working more closely with tenants to provide technology and amenities that make locations attractive for new recruits and support their tenants’ business operations.

To support this more customer-centric approach, new specialized ventures pop up every few months. These companies serve a wide range of functions including building and space design, improved leasing and tenant communications, more flexible leasing options, creating a community to reduce turnover, and even giving real-time insight into and tenant control over their use of amenities.

These PropTech technologies enable real estate investment firms, property managers and owners to better support commercial tenants. Here are just a few of the current trends in the commercial office space markets.

Building design
In order to attract and retain talent in a tight job market, commercial tenants need to make themselves as attractive as possible to employees. Building owners are responding with creative new designs. “It’s not so much about making work fun, it’s about making life more livable,” said Amy Millard of VTS.

Property managers can support this by making the workspace inviting and providing access to amenities like coffee shops, common areas, building wi-fi and supporting infrastructure.

In June 2018, Equity Office, owned by Blackstone’s real estate funds, launched a new identity focused on tenant success – EQ Office. They focus on addressing evolving workplace needs to help companies attract, retain and inspire talent. According to EQ’s website, “While other real estate owners talk about square footage and floor plans, we focus on the experience—how space feels, activates, and performs…to bring humanity back to the workplace.”

At their Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles, EQ is partnering with Industrious to provide collaborative workspaces. They’re adding lifestyle amenities including health-centric initiatives and programmed fitness options, a farmer’s market, dog-friendly elements, and a conference and entertainment center. Industrious’ office space will be a key component of the overhaul because it adds flexibility and collaboration.

Site selection
If a company is doing site selection for a new office location, they can leverage data from Megalytics. They can figure out where the talent they need lives, the commute patterns, local amenities, education levels in the submarket and surrounding areas, the abundance of similar companies in the area, and the job growth. This gives companies a more comprehensive understanding of the differences between sites that will have a long-term impact on their growth.

Pre-leasing and marketing
Some builders and property managers are using Inreal Technologies to help prospective tenants visualize a space before it’s built out. This supports both the pre-leasing and marketing phases. Developers and property managers can use its 3D modeling to let a prospective tenant virtually walk through a version of the prospective building and space, experiencing it as if they were there in person. Users can change room variants, offering different floor plans, décor and amenities to gauge interest when meeting with potential tenants.

Commercial real estate specific CRMs
Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms have been heavily adopted in most other industries for decades. But real estate operators and owners have been slow to adopt this type of technology, largely because the horizontal CRM platforms don’t support the business needs of the CRE space.

Amy Millard, CMO for VTS explained, “Commercial real estate has been slow to adopt CRM, not because of a lack of understanding, but because their needs are difficult to support. They have very complex permissioning needs, and traditional tools don’t cater to them.” For example, a building can be owned by multiple companies, and subsets of these companies co-own other buildings. Let’s say Company A co-owns 50 buildings with 100 tenants in each building. They partner with Company B in Building 1. Company B has rights to see the lease data related to Building 1, but not data related to the 49 other buildings.

So, the permissioning is complex in terms of how they’re partnered and who needs what data. In addition, the nature of the leases themselves is very complex with many variations between tenants in a single building. A CRM needs to support these extra layers of complexity.

There are now quite a few CRM platforms designed specifically for the real estate industry. Each serves a distinct niche in the market – from brokers to property managers to leasing to investment managers, so it’s important to evaluate them based on your firm’s specific needs. Firms like VTS, REThinkCRE, Apto, IMS, AppFolio, and Juniper Square all provide elements of CRM in their platforms.

Leveraging existing relationships
VTS allows property owners to manage all leases, deals, and tenant information centrally and leverage existing relationships to support the leasing process. If a firm like Amazon is looking for a building in a particular submarket, the owner can quickly figure out if they or a partner already has a relationship with this company. Then the broker can call their partner and leverage the relationship, existing terms and other advantages to expedite the leasing process in the next building and make it simpler for the tenant.

Flexible leases
Business cycles are short, and companies can rarely predict how big they will be in 2 to 3 years, let alone in 10. This makes it difficult to commit to a 10-year lease. Co-working spaces have been capitalizing on this, offering short lease terms and flexible space. But co-working operators disintermediate building owners, capturing a substantial margin just by offering more flexibility.  Now property owners are looking to meet this demand more directly by offering shorter term leases and more flexible office space.

Convene is helping Class A building owners to offer this same type of flexible leasing directly rather than being disintermediated by a co-working company.

Improved property management
Property managers are also finding ways to make the tenant’s life easier. If a tenant needs to have a few employees work over the weekend, they normally have to submit a change request 24 hours in advance to ask the property manager to adjust the HVAC. But some buildings are now providing an app like Genea.  This gives the tenant the ability to request overtime HVAC and approve the additional charges on a mobile app. The application then fulfills the request through the building’s existing systems, eliminating the need for an engineer to manually program and monitor every request. Tenants view and must approve extra charges upon submission of the request, so there’s no haggling over the bill later. Then, taking into account any complexities and exceptions in the lease, the software generates monthly sub-metering invoices to support tenant billing.

Property firms must adapt
These are just 7 specific scenarios of how firms can become more customer-centric. But rapid developments in technology and in tenant expectations signal more disruption (and more opportunity) ahead.

In January 2018, Deloitte published its 2018 projections for the CRE market. The article points out that, “The real estate industry is on an accelerating disruption curve that will challenge industry leaders to look differently at the ways they do business and interact with their tenants and end-user customers….The industry sits at the intersection of some of the biggest shifts taking place in business, like smart cities, mobility, fintech, robotics, and cognitive automation advance at an accelerating pace.”

This disruption opens new doors for innovative business models. But it’s also a threat to commercial property owners that are not prepared to adapt, embrace innovation and focus on improving the customer experience at every touch point.

This article originally appeared on the propmodo website. 

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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Signs of an Unhealthy Work Environment

February 5, 2019 Leave a comment

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About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

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How Automation is Changing CRE

January 22, 2019 Leave a comment

Automation is unquestionably changing the many moving parts of commercial real estate (CRE). A notable sector being positively impacted by innovative technology is Real Estate Valuation. While a very specialized sector of commercial real estate, valuation relies heavily on technologies to become increasingly efficient and produce quality appraisals in a timely fashion for financial institutional clients. By automating data inputs, appraisers can interpret and analyze information that impacts property value conclusions at ever increasing, market-demanded speeds.

In comparison to other CRE professionals, appraisers execute an exceptionally high volume of assignments monthly and are expected to produce final reports in a short timeframe. This fast turnaround, combined with the high volume, has increased the focus on one-click downloads and automation to increase productivity while maintaining quality and consistency.

DEMOGRAPHICS WITH THE CLICK OF A BUTTON
While a relatively standard component, demographics can tell an important story about the immediate market area in a valuation report. Historically, appraisers spent anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes tracking down relevant data to prepare a comprehensive report regarding the market. Colliers Valuation worked to automate the process so that with an address only, the click of a button results in a wide range of demographic information that auto-populates into the report. In under 30 seconds, demographic information within a 1, 3, and 5-mile radius of any given property can be compiled in a clear-cut, easily transferable way. Doug Stafford, Colliers Valuation and Advisory Services’ Director of Business Innovation, indicated this streamlined process “ultimately equates to at least 2,000 work hours saved in a year.” This time can now be better filled with analysis and advising clients instead of basic data entry.

RAPID MAPPING
Another integral part of the appraisal process is mapping. In an appraisal report, maps are essential to understanding the surrounding market, submarket and competitive properties. Not too long ago, an appraiser would print out a hard copy of a map and place stickers on the spaces where all similar properties were located, along with detailed information for each. The map was then scanned back into the printer. Over the years, this process slowly became more automated, eliminating manual steps and digitalizing certain aspects. Now, it takes just a few seconds to generate a complete competitive property map with the click of a button.

UNDERWRITING IN FEWER STEPS
As an organization who values service excellence and a client-centric mindset, Colliers looks to not only streamline the process for appraisers but for our clients as well. Throughout the entirety of an appraisal, most clients need to utilize the data obtained for their own underwriting purposes. Before automation, data shared between appraisers and their clients was an inefficient process at best, with data input happening at many phases on both sides of the process, leading to a greater risk of manual input error as well as more time spent manipulating the data itself. With automation, appraisers can now near-instantly compile all of the raw data obtained and share it directly with the client via system-to-system communication, eliminating all the unnecessary back-and-forth. This seamless data integration allows clients to complete their underwriting processes much quicker, making automation a win-win for appraisers and clients alike.

WILL AUTOMATION HELP TO BRING YOUNGER TALENT TO VALUATION?
In today’s climate, innovative technology is a must for attracting new talent to an industry, and crucial to sustaining a healthy and robust workforce. According to Forbes, to attract and retain talent, businesses must adapt to accommodate millennials’ tech-driven approach and stave-off costly turnover.  With that said, the appraisal industry does not currently have a large influx of young professionals entering the field, with more than 60% of appraisal professionals over the age of 50. However, with the incorporation of technologies such as the ones outlined above, Colliers Valuation is looking toward the future of the industry and attracting fresh faces in the business. Only time will tell, but it’s likely that adopting new technology will continue to mean positive changes for the valuation side of commercial real estate.

This article originally appeared on the Collier’s website.

About The Sundance Company                                                      
Established in 1976, The Sundance Company has the experience to help you with your commercial real estate needs throughout the Boise Valley. If your requirements include property management, leasing, real estate development, project planning, construction or space planning then look to us. The Sundance Company has more than 1.5 million square feet of office and industrial space available in prime locations in the Boise metropolitan area. More information is available at www.sundanceco.com or 208.322.7300.

 

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