Commercial Real Estate Lead Generation: Is Online Marketing The Smart Way To Go?

by | May 30, 2019

a commercial real estate agent launching a rocket

Is there a better way to start an article about the importance of online marketing for commercial real estate lead generation than to recall the words of one of the greatest entrepreneurs nowadays, Gary Vaynerchuk:


I couldn’t agree more.

That’s not because I’m in the industry for around 10 years, but because the man is just right about this. This doesn’t mean I like the guy… but he’s still right.

Online marketing has changed the way businesses present their brands.

Failing to acknowledge the fact that we have all become media companies above anything else, can only slow down our success. Not bring us closer to it.

And yet somehow, there are still CRE agencies that tend to look the other way when the issue about commercial real estate lead generation is on the table.

The Online Marketing For Commercial Real Estate Lead Generation: What Are You Leaving On The Table?

If you are a company manager, I’m sure you don’t go around checking the trend of the topics on Google Trends.

That’s your marketing team’s task.

But just for the sake of the argument, take a moment to see how the trends have changed for the term ‘commercial real estate’ from 2010 until now.

commercial real estate keyword on Google Trends

It holds one steady position over almost 10 years. A lot of other industries are longing for such a steady market.

It’s an even more interesting curve if you type in commercial real estate leads.’

commercial real estate leads keyword on Google Trends

Both of these analytics are showing that in 10 years, people have not once lost interest in searching for commercial real estate properties or leads online.

This might not be news to you if you have a reliable online presence as a commercial real estate agency.

But what if you’re not that lucky to have a stellar marketing team that’s bringing you a steady flow of high-quality commercial real estate leas?

Or, you still think that doing stuff online is just a waste of time, or that it doesn’t work for your niche?

Well, in that case, I have some stats to show you.

Just take a second to look at the number of Internet users in January 2019:

worldwide Internet users in 2019 statistics

Image Source: Number of worldwide internet users as of January 2019, by region (in millions)

The numbers are in millions.

And this is the number of social media users by 2019.

These numbers are in billions, just to be clear.

By the year 2021, it’s expected the number of social media users to reach around 3.02 billion users, which is approximately one-third of the world population.

worldwide Internet users in 2021 statistics

Image Source: Number of social media users worldwide from 2010 to 2021 (in billions)

There’s only one thing to say after this: if you are not present online, you are missing out on a really important piece of cake, with a chocolate filling and a golden cherry on top – because a regular cherry is too mainstream.

Heck… you’re barely getting the crumbs if you’re not online.

Make no mistake: the commercial real estate leads that agencies want, they’re all hanging out somewhere online.

Anyone who thinks differently is bound to miss out on great opportunities for its commercial real estate business.

What You Lose By Not Having An Online Marketing Strategy For Your Commercial Real Estate Lead Generation

I’m going to recall another great name in the book.

As a CEO of a commercial real estate company, you are probably familiar with the name Jeb Blount. His books might even get you to create a quality commercial real estate lead generation.

In his book, Fanatical Prospecting, a book about opening sales conversations, he talks specifically about the touches that one business should give to a prospect in order to become a customer.

It goes like this:

Build Familiarity

Our data and data that we’ve gathered and analyzed from a diverse set of source indicate that it takes, on average:

  • 1 to 3 touches to reengage an inactive customer
  • 1 to 5 touches to engage a prospect who is in the buying window and if familiar with you and your brand
  • 3 to 10 touches to engage a prospect who has a high degree of familiarity with you or your brand, but is not in the buying window
  • 5 to 12 touches to engage a warm inbound lead
  • 5 to 20 touches to engage a prospect who has some familiarity with you and your brand – buying window dependent
  • 20 to 50 touches to engage a cold prospect who does not know you or your brand

Source: Fanatical Prospecting

He says that it takes up to 50 touchpoints with a cold prospect to turn that person into a client.

And up to 10 touches if the prospect is quite familiar with your brand and your product or service.

Of course, this is no news for you, if you’ve been using cold-calling to get through to your commercial real estate lead generation.

However, let’s see the situation from a numbers perspective:

If you spend 15 minutes on the phone with a cold prospect (which is equal to 50 touches) that’s roughly 750 minutes of conversations with a cold prospect.

That’s 12 hours of talking to ONE person, to convert them into a client.

Or to put it like this, that’s a day and a half of one employee of yours to sit down and basically attack that one prospect until they get a yes.

Think about it for a moment: a day and a half for one commercial real estate lead to convert to a customer.

That’s exactly what your agency is losing – time.

Precious time, the most expensive resource nowadays.

And here you are, spending it on rather ineffective strategies for your commercial real estate lead generation that give you no results whatsoever.

The big question to be asked here is this one:

How’s That Cold-Calling Working Out For Your Commercial Real Estate Lead Generation Lately?

That scenario we presented about 12 hours per lead is based solely on our assumptions.

And this is around the idea that you actually get on the phone with this person that’s interested and close to a purchasing decision. And… that’s a tall order from making phone calls at random.

Someone actually took the time to work the numbers.

It was way back in 2011 and it’s a Keller research study done by a Baylor University, Texas.

I won’t go too much into details right now, but these were the main results from the survey:

‘Over the course of a two-week period in November 2011, 50 participating agents made 6,264 phone-based cold calls, collectively. Of the 6,264 cold calls placed, 28% were answered, 55% were not answered, and 17% were non-working numbers.’

And this was in 2011, way before social media and online marketing took over our companies and turned them into a media business.

There is an entirely new generation of people who’ve made their money elsewhere and are now part of the commercial real estate investment world.

There are new kids on the block.

And they’re not kids anymore.

Another related study on how sales reps spend their time have shown results of this kind:

typical sales REP % of weekly hours

The employees dedicated to getting leads and closing sales are spending 23% of their time on administrative work, 10% on planning, and 22% on selling!

Which basically means that instead of spending time on what actually will bring profit to the company, sellers are busy putting their notes in order from random phone calls.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg of the ‘good side of cold-calling.’

The truth is, there’s no silver lining neither with these two studies nor with our 12 hours per lead scenario.

Absolutely NO ONE will spend so much time with you on the phone.

Even you won’t want to spend so much time warming up a lead.

So why would you spend so much time on a cold lead, when you can make 10 deals in those 12 hours, and make tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions?

What’s been working out for you in the past may not work out right now.

Times are changing… and if you don’t adapt and overcome, your commercial real estate agency will be the one who will fail to succeed.

Not because you’re doing something essentially bad. But because competitors will be outpacing you in talking to the hot leads, while leaving the warmup period to automated processes using online marketing tactics.

I will talk in my next blog post specifically about the new ways to reach to your desired audience and get a quality commercial real estate lead generation.

But For Now, A Conclusion:

As Gary Vaynerchuk is saying, every business nowadays is a media company above anything else.

If you’re not actively managing your web presence using your website and social media, you’re leaving most of the money on the table.

For example, if you check on Google Trends, you’ll see that the interest for commercial real estate is steady for 10 years now.

That’s a piece of high-quality information for anyone who likes to get valuable commercial real estate lead generation.

Sadly, not every CRE agency is of that kind.

Despite the constant rise of the number of Internet users and the number of around 3.2 billion social media users, some CRE agencies still believe that their audience is not present online.

And they are still hooked on cold-calling techniques which are showing no reliable or desirable results.

Few research studies are even showing the negative results of cold-calling.

Which only leads us to one question: why are CRE agencies still focused on spending resources on cold-calling when there’s a more effective way to reach commercial real estate lead generation with online marketing?

Wait for our next blog post for more answers to this question.

But, if you already know that cold calling is not working for you, let us help you with commercial real estate lead generation.

by | May 30, 2019

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