Last Updated: February 13, 2024
The world of commercial real estate is a lot different than regular real estate. It’s a different market and a different ball game.
In this article, we focus on how to generate commercial real estate leads, and how to successfully convert them into prospective clients. And with some guidance, you can learn how to close the deal.
As a real estate agent, you must have a firm grasp of the following if you want to be successful in commercial real estate:
- Lead magnets
- How to network the old-fashioned way
- Content creation
- Social media networking and skills
- Sourcing data on prospective leads and clients
- Google ads
- Referral and lead sharing/generation
- Differences between commercial and domestic real estate
We’ll also share some great real estate lead generation ideas.
How to Generate Commercial Real Estate Leads
Finding people who are looking to buy commercial real estate generally means having a good understanding of how to position your real estate lead magnets.
It’s best to reach out to the broader business community, as you’re likely to find commercial building owners, prospective businesses, or clientele looking to buy or lease such property.
You also want to focus on demarcating the various types of property you list within your brand, i.e., upmarket commercial properties (large scale properties) vs. smaller, cheaper properties. This gives you more flexibility when attracting potential clients and generating leads.
We’ll focus on a few methods of generating leads that are tried and trusted—given that you consistently use them.
10 Ways to Generate Commercial Real Estate Leads
Generating leads in commercial real estate can be done through several means. From knowing how to utilize social media statistics, big data analytics (prospecting software, navigating a commercial real estate database) to regularly engaging in trusted networking methods and learning how to exhibit at conferences, here are 10 well-researched methods for generating good, high-yield leads.
1. Network Locally
First things first, you should focus on networking, and here are some suggestions:
Join Local Chamber of Commerce
Finding the time to attend local Chamber of Commerce meetings, debates, or budgetary events can be a great way to meet those associated with local businesses. It’s a good way to connect with people of the area to formulate a bigger picture of monetary matters and various developments (or gaps) in the market. Think rebates, incentives, price drops, or price hikes.
Join Local Business Organizations
Depending on the type of business you conduct, being able to connect with local businesses can be beneficial to your brokerage. This is especially good for the possibility of tapping into local commercial real estate sales.
Just be sure to have delineated contractual agreements before embarking on any business venture, including commission charges, responsibilities, and shares.
Exhibit at Conferences and Events
During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, we learned the importance of digital conferencing and the power that online meetings have in the world of business. There are, however, a variety of ways to generate commercial leads in real estate.
Looking forward, exhibitions and conferences will still be significant venues for a wide range of useful functions. Being able to exhibit at conferences will help garner more attention and networking capabilities.
- Attend real estate and non-real estate events, where you can talk about business and provide free helpful advice to curious listeners.
- Host your own events.
Even if you’re not comfortable talking at large-scale conventions, being able to host your events is always one of the tried and trusted commercial real estate lead generation services you can provide.
You can often help build long-lasting relationships and partnerships by learning how to host your regular events. You never know who you could be helping by doing so, or what you could garner as a result.
2. Network on Social Media
Social media is a highly effective method of reaching potential leads and clientele. Each platform, however, offers different advantages and disadvantages—knowing how to get the most out of these is important. What is the best time to post on social media? What should I post on which platform? Who do I connect with?
LinkedIn is a great platform for reaching professionals interested in commercial real estate. You can use this platform to sell or market real estate or get leads on a consistent basis. It’s also great for maintaining or sourcing professional blogs about the industry as a whole.
You’re likely to find a lot of business-related leads on this platform—it’s a great place to reach companies and individuals alike.
Facebook is one of the more user-friendly data sources for a real estate broker, and it’s an ideal platform for marketing your real estate and sourcing leads. It’s simple to use and offers a reliable way to reach a wide audience, allowing you to find leads from all walks of life.
You can also reach a wider demographic target through Facebook, quickly and easily reaching many people. Use the platform’s stylish features to help create presentable ads that can be used to directly market listings and garner leads or sales, as well as receive local business news.
Twitter is a good place to reach out to local organizations and businesses, as well as to generate leads and follow local business news. You can use it to help celebrate sales (along with Facebook and LinkedIn) or reach out to fellow professionals.
3. Provide Valuable Content on a Website or Blog
Without a doubt, having your own website can help you in many ways, and be sure to incorporate in your strategy the following:
Create Gated Content
Offering your services, advice, or listings through a lead magnet is a good idea. Gated content is a digital document that viewers can only access after exchanging their information. It offers contact details for a fee. It’s a great way to generate leads for your business and offer valuable content for a reasonable tradeoff.
Broaden Your Horizons
Provide content that is not necessarily directly connected to real estate but also to industries that tenants and commercial building owners rely on, such as local and national retailers, business lawyers, or doctors. Be sure to link your content through more than just commercial real estate platforms.
Live Video Tour
A good way to generate leads is by hosting a live video of the property. This will help to give prospective leads a good impression of the property you’re selling to determine whether it’s best suited for them.
Use video marketing statistics to help better craft your online videos to ensure the most professional and engaging product.
4. Keep Track of Evolving Companies
Now, take a look at the things you can use while conducting research:
Use Google Alerts
Google Alerts allows you to create news-related alerts or notifications based on various subjects, topics, or companies you’d like to keep track of. They can be quite helpful when you’re trying to get a feel for the market.
Research CRE News Sites
Using dedicated commercial real estate news sites offers a lot of new information regarding housing deals, incentives, company decisions, or other newsworthy info that may be helpful when trying to gauge the market. CRE news is a good example for gauging American commercial real estate prospecting and market news/analysis.
Use Prospecting Software
Prospecting software, such as ProspectNow, helps identify sales and deals in advance while listing a variety of leads and potential deals through a large database that you can access at a cost.
5. Celebrate Wins Publicly
Let’s see in what ways social media and being present online can help:
Show Off on Social Media
Social media is a great way to showcase recent deals that have been closed. As commercial real estate brokers, having a good history of successful deals can be enticing to potential leads. Indicating the type of work you’ve done in the past can help increase conversions. And you could also generate a lot more leads in the process.
Ask Client for a Testimonial
Receiving a written testimonial from a client can be beneficial in promoting your business. Showcasing these on social media or your website will help show potential clients or tenants that you have a history of successful deals and good customer relations.
Ask Client to Leave an Online Review
Whether you tend to generate most of your business online or directly in person, your website or social media page should allow for online reviews. Research online reviews statistics to improve your online reviews. Encouraging clients to leave a review on your website can help boost your SEO rankings and guide new clients towards making a conversion.
6. Use Commercial Real Estate Data Sources
When learning how to generate commercial real estate leads, it’s important to remember that today’s technologies have provided a lot of assets for us to utilize for lead generation.
Today’s commercial real estate data centers—such as Real Capital Analytics (RCA), Reonomy, and Corelogic—will grant you access to data on various developments, commercial deals, and other useful information that you might need for lead generation or to help find new sales and customers.
These are some of the best lead generation companies in the world that provide accurate, specific, and highly valuable information for a price.
7. Expired Commercial Real Estate Listings
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Nothing could be more true when sifting through various expired listings. These contracts have otherwise failed to take-off or have run aground, due to financial reasons. Sometimes, these properties are old, under-used, or in a bad area.
Either way, knowing how to buy, lease or sell real estate that has expired can prove to be highly profitable when you know how to create leads for commercial real estate buyers.
8. Reach Out to Previous Commercial Real Estate Investors
While hosting deal anniversaries may seem like a tedious process, doing so (even digitally) can help maintain good customer relations. For large deals, consider hosting a networking event or sending a gift to previous clients. It’s a kind, thoughtful way to show your gratitude for a successful deal.
Use social media to make posts that celebrate previous deals. This is a great way to promote your business and that of your clients’.
9. Ask for Referrals
While using a commercial property owner’s database can be a great way to garner leads, using referrals from friends, family, colleagues (or even fellow realtors) can lead to great business.
Be sure to research referral statistics to get a better impression of what tends to work best when sourcing or offering statistics.
10. Use Google AdWords
Google AdWords is a great way to market yourself, your lead magnets, and the various aspects of your business associated with digital marketing.
Google AdWords makes it easy to target a specific demographic and showcase your marketing material, which is essential for learning how to market commercial real estate. You are, however, expected to pay-per-click when using it to advertise.
Automating your AdWords account will allow you to maintain consistently higher rankings and traffic, bringing the cost of your ad down over time, based on how much traffic you generate. The more traffic = the lower price-per-click.
Landing pages with data tags allow you to track how many people click on your ads and what they do on the pages these ads direct them to. This is how to generate leads, solely from organic traffic, and it’s highly invaluable information for lead generation, as it gives you a much better idea of who you’re dealing with and what they’re interested in.
Real Estate Leads and Commercial Real Estate Leads
The worlds of commercial and private real estate are quite far apart. While both favor professionalism in realtors, the commercial real estate world requires a more business-orientated mindset and technical skillset.
Private Real Estate
Private real estate tends to be straightforward. It’s largely about connecting a buyer with a seller or finding tenants on behalf of owners. You can often find leads quite easily and be quite successful, even with limited understanding.
Commercial Real Estate
Commercial real estate means having to be able to see the bigger picture and understand how to incorporate a business’s needs or a corporate entity’s needs into your lead generation or for sourcing clients.
You will often do business with other brokers who are trying to find commercial properties to sell to potential buyers or a real estate investor seeking to make a deal on a property.
Networking at the right business-orientated events, knowing where to place adverts (AdWords, LinkedIn, Facebook), and learning how to directly reach out to potential clients is very important.
Consider commercial real estate cold calling as an effective way of garnering more leads, as those in this line of business tend to prefer one-on-one conversations.
Starting Out in Commercial Real Estate
The commercial real estate business can be challenging at first. Starting from the bottom often means building up to lead databases from scratch—networking with people from the bottom up. Be sure to:
- Print commercial real estate business cards. (We can recommend a couple of good places.)
- Create useful lead magnets and market them online.
- Regularly update your social media accounts.
- Monitor your digital platforms to ensure you’re in constant communication with potential customers.
- Utilize commercial real estate data centers to help generate leads and get the edge in the market.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t succeed at first. Keep networking; get yourself out there. Try to source as many leads as possible. The more data you have to work with, the more you can achieve.
Commercial real estate is a challenging market to break into. You need to know how to generate commercial real estate leads and how to market them correctly. You’ll also need to have good networking ability and be creative about how your network and source potential clients.
You should rely on social media and forums—such as Craigslist and various other big data analytics—for learning how to get commercial real estate listings. This means that the quality of the leads is likely greater and that you’re more likely to generate a sale of some kind of business from each one in turn.
When starting, it’s important to:
- Network locally.
- Network on social media.
- Provide valuable content via your website and blog.
- Keep track of evolving companies that may need your services in the future.
- Celebrate wins publicly.
- Use commercial real estate data sources.
- Look through expired commercial real estate listings.
- Reach out to previous commercial real estate investors for the anniversary of the last deal.
- Ask for referrals.
- Use Google AdWords.
It’s also important to understand how to find buyers for commercial real estate and match them with the correct listings. This can take time to learn but can be accomplished with practice.
Following these basic guidelines and learning how to use customer experience statistics from other businesses might help you to develop your own unique style of business.
Finding buyers for commercial real estate is about lining up the correct potential businesses or clients with the commercial properties that you have listed. Buyers are more likely to start searching for properties that are listed for sale. Check out any listed properties via online platforms or through referrals from fellow agents and try contacting people that have expressed an interest to buy.
It’s not an easy industry to become successful in. It will take time and effort to manage your business and allow it to grow. You need to be consistent at sourcing leads and marketing yourself. Focus on frequently networking and be sure to study CRE news to get a bird’s-eye view of the market.
Use prospecting services—such as Real Capital Analytics and CoreLogic—to help source various listings that are available to be marketed. You can also utilize social media and such services as Craigslist, LinkedIn, and Facebook to source leads. And you can learn how to develop commercial real estate by connecting developers to investors.
A lead is any potential customer or client who has shown interest in your business services. When finding out how to generate commercial real estate leads, it’s best to study content marketing statistics to get a better understanding of how to market your business and generate more leads. Be sure to frequently use social media and Google AdWords.