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Here’s Why You Should Be Taking Your Commercial Real Estate Clients to Lunch

By Jim Gillespie | September 13, 2011

Commercial brokers need to be leaving no stone unturned these days in their quest to uncover leads for solid new transactions. What I’ve always found to be amazing within our industry, though, is the high percentage of brokers who close a transaction with someone, and then they drop out all communication with them for months or even years. This almost guarantees that you’ll be competing against other brokers to work on the next transaction with the same client, because these other brokers will be doing a much better job of staying in relationship with your people than you are.

This is why in times like these you need to be taking your past clients to lunch and socializing with them. When you do this you maintain your relationship with them, you help to position yourself to close their next transaction along with them, and you put yourself in a great position to obtain referrals.

Make a list right now of the people you’ve already closed transactions with who you’ve been out of relationship with for awhile, then begin calling these people and inviting them to lunch. If they ask you why you’re inviting them to lunch you could say, "There are some important real estate trends developing within the area and I want to keep you informed on what’s been going on." Or as an alternative you could say, "I’ve just published a report showing you the current real estate trends in the area along with the most recent comps, and I want to give you the report and explain to you what’s been going on." Or for one more alternative you could say, "I want to check in with you and see how you’ve been doing, and at the same time I want to tell you what’s been going on in real estate within our area."

When you’re out to lunch with your people, this is a perfect opportunity to bond with them and position yourself to work with them again on their next transaction. Show them that you care about them, find out how they’ve been doing, and find out what’s important to them in their life outside of just working at the office. When you begin talking to people about their family, their hobbies, and their personal interests, you become much more like a friend to them, and people like doing business with their friends.

But when you’re doing what many brokers do, which is dropping out communication with their past clients for months or even years, or just calling them sometime down the road when their contact management program says it’s time to call them, you risk not creating the all-important glue that bonds you with your clients and positions you to close multiple transactions with them in the future. In effect, you seem much more like all the other brokers who have been prospecting them, because their memory of your transaction together has now faded.

When you’re at lunch with your clients, this is also a great time for you to obtain referrals. When you’re maybe 2/3 of the way through the lunch say something like "Bob, I really enjoyed working with you on our transaction together, and I’d like to work with more people who are just like you. So who do you know who may be interested in buying, selling, or leasing commercial real estate?"

If Bob can’t come up with anyone to refer you to, then you could consider asking something like, "As I mentioned before I’d like to work with more people who are just like you. So who do you know who I can call who may have commercial real estate needs sometime down the road?"

When you contact the people your clients refer you to, you come into that relationship along with the credibility of the person who made the referral. Which is a much stronger place to begin a relationship from when compared to just making cold calls without any referral.

So begin reconnecting with your old clients. Call them, invite them to lunch, and when you do this regularly you’ll form the kind of relationships with them that will lead to ongoing transactions and solid referrals for new business.

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This Wednesday, September 14th, I’ll be interviewing a top SIOR member on the subject of Power Brokering and taking your commercial real estate brokerage business to the next level. My guest for this interview is a 27-year industry veteran, he was a top broker for both CB Richard Ellis and Grubb & Ellis for more than 20 years, and he now owns his own brokerage company that’s been designated by CoStar as being a top "Power Broker" office within the entire Los Angeles area. In addition, his clients include Kraft General Foods, The Walt Disney Company, and Prudential Insurance Company.

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When you’re registered for this teleconference, even if you can’t attend it we’ll still send you the audio CDs, written transcription, and written highlights from the teleconference, all in the mail to you!

If you’re not already registered for this live teleconference and you want to get your hands on all of this information, click here.

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If you’re interested in one-on-one coaching to take your commercial real estate brokerage business to the next level, click here to contact me.

"Jim has me much more focused on doing the activities that generate new listings for me, in addition to doing the activities that have me sell those listings."

Chris Sands
KW Commercial

Click here to see more testimonials from my coaching clients.

 


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