Tim Rios  /   June 13, 2023

Reinvigorate Your Business Development

The history of commercial real estate has consistently demonstrated one fact – no matter how many headwinds a market faces, the number of deals never goes to zero. In every cycle there will always be tenants, buyers, sellers, and lenders. However, in a challenging market, there are two truths that many brokers face:


    1. The deals are significantly harder to find
    2. While the market may not go to zero deals, your core clients may very well be on the sidelines permanently.

There is a good chance you find yourself in the position of needing to significantly up your business development game. There is just one problem – you did not realize how atrophied those muscles had become. Calling repeat clients, past clients, and referrals is NOT cold calling. Chances are it has been a while since you had to pick up the phone and dial for dollars. You may even be thinking, “man, this is harder than I remember.” Anyone who works closely with me knows I often say, “there are no magic bullets.” But here are some tips as you veterans dust off that phone, download all the updates to your CRM, and reenergize your business development.


      • Avoid the “quit cold turkey” mentality – I call this “Sunday Night Repentance.” You overate, stayed up late, and are nursing a hangover. You swear to yourself that come Monday everything is going to be different. Fresh spring water, organic kale, boiled chicken breast, early bedtime, rise before the crack of dawn. How long does it last? Probably Monday at noon. It’s just too much all at once. Yes, there are examples of people who make overnight transformations. Brokers are prone to thinking they can, too, because they are people used to beating the odds. I would suggest you don’t play that game. My observation and experience are that the odds are not in your favor. Instead…


      • Start small. Do you feel you need to be making 100 calls per week or more? If you haven’t been anywhere close to that in recent history, try a moderate ramp to that number. Perhaps start at 25 and build over the next month.


      • Check your ego. One thing that is terribly off-putting for experienced brokers is the rejection of cold calling. You aren’t used to it anymore. You’ve helped dozens or even hundreds of clients save or earn millions. Your road hasn’t been easy, but you’ve proven yourself in the market. But these new prospects don’t know that, and that isn’t their fault. I’ve experienced this as I’ve expanded my practice across the globe in the past five years. I’m 28 years in the business, but it isn’t a prospects fault if they are skeptical at first. It is my job to swallow my pride and help them see how I can be of service. It is easy to do this when you are new because you are unproven to everyone, and you don’t know any better. But after a bit of success, your tolerance for what feels disrespectful is super low.


      • Practice. Remember how you used to role play when you were new (I hope)? Yeah, you need to do that again. Nothing invites injury than the old athlete who steps back on the field after a long hiatus and tries to perform like they did at 18. Ruptured Achilles? Hamstring tear? Do not pull your cold calling hamstring. Warm up and practice.


      • Have an accountability partner. If nobody knows you started your diet on Monday, then nobody knows when you break it at lunch. We all benefit from social pressure. Tell someone what you are doing and give them license to hold you accountable.


      • Set blocks on your calendar. BD is not for “when you have time.” There will always be reasons not to do it. So put it on your calendar and treat like any other important appointment.


      • Stick with it. All change is disruptive and hard at the beginning. Make a commitment to stick with it. I would recommend at least 60 days. Remember how long it took you to break through when you were new? It won’t be that bad this time around, but it will take longer than you’d like.


Here is the best part of being a veteran and re-energizing your BD muscles – you know you can do it. When we hire a new person, there is a significant question as to whether they can prospect. You’ve already proven yourself. Now you just have to revisit that part of you that may have been dormant for a while.

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