Sourcing leads for commercial leasing and shopping center sales

4 Replies

Its my first week as a commercial broker and in my brokerage we focus mostly on leasing of shopping centers, investment sales of buildings as well as shopping centers, and tenant rep. Although those are the main focuses, there is still room for wiggle as far as exactlly where I want to focus my energy (i.e. raw land for example) We don't do anything with multifamily apartment buildings.

Now, that all being said, Im struggling to figure out exactlly where to begin sourcing leads. With Apartments and even SFR it seems a little more straight forward, however alot of brokers in my brokerage are representing either one side or the other in deals with companies like Mcdonalds, Ulta, Verizon and other big multinationals. I don't expect to hop in day one and be working on these deals, of course, but as Im moving forward, what could be some good ways to source my first 18 to 24 months of deals?

Currently Im working on putting together a list of local businesses that are smaller and may not be represented. I am confident that after 12 months time and a few deals I will be able to prove myself as an effective broker and hopefully at that point will begin catching some traction through referals and repeat business but that still leaves me a little turned around on how to source a call list to begin calling tomorrow.

Any help would be awesome!

Best Regards,

Jameson M Sullivan

Tacoma, Olympia, Seattle, Puyallup, Washington, State, Oregon, Pierce county, King county, Thurston county, Bremerton, Silverdale

I certainly understand the struggle Jameson! I would say your best bet at this stage is the smaller local businesses like you are saying. Most local businesses appreciate face to face interaction so if I were you I would go to a local coffee shop when it isn't super busy, order coffee and just chat up the barista. Then ask for the manager/owner and if they are not there at least ask for the owners' information and/or pass your card along. 

The whole idea is to be personable and to have the right approach. It may take 10 coffee shops until you get a decent lead but that may come down to changing up your approach. 

You are going to have to grind like a beast the first 2 to 3 years in the business.

No free lunches in the commercial world.

Hope you have reserves as closings take longer to happen.

Does your brokerage specialize in retail? If so they should already have connections and you should be training up on a team where for example there is a senior director, director, and then you the junior broker or agent. Typically the return is small for the agent starting out.

The experienced brokers there might be able to send you (feeder deals). These are buyers typically buying stuff under 2 million in price that are difficult to work with. The established brokers are working on larger deals. They will do under 2 million but not when buyer is looking for 1 in 1,000 property. They have many clients so cannot devote all their time to such ventures but the new agent typically can work those deals hard and see if they can pull off a miracle to close it and get paid.

Good Luck 

@Jacob Wathen Thanks man! Ive been out driving and am gonna start with that strategy early next week!

@Joel Owens The brokerage I'm at is where my stepmom has been for 30 years so weve gone through a lengthy process of bringing me on just for that reason, they wanted to make sure I could survive financially until a deal goes through. So yeah, on that front I'm good. Yeah we do specialize in retail although I can reach out into raw land, investment sales, warehouses, etc.... My plan is to be around the office first every day and leave last to try to pick up any scraps the other brokers may have but I also want to get my own list going ASAP, So I'm just reaching out everywhere to see if there's any "better ways" to find leads. 

I was in a similar situation six months ago when I got my license. Do you all subscribe to a data service like Costar? It can be a great list building tool, and the reps can give you good advice on how to go about targeting specific market niches.

When I first started and didn't have access to Costar I compiled lists of businesses using Hoover's, Google, etc. that had some relation to my own personal or professional background. I used that as my call list. My broker fed me a few leads to get me started and I was able to establish a focus area for myself based on my interests and skill set. The brokerage itself doesn't have a particular focus on any one commercial asset class, but the individual agents all have their own niche. We're a small shop so it works well for everyone.

In terms of sourcing deals I think @Jacob Wathen 's suggestion is a good one: get out into the community and make yourself known. Going door to door is definitely one option. I also attend various small business networking events, startup conventions, and chamber of commerce events. One good approach for us has been to work closely with our local economic development organization so that they feed us leads whenever small businesses come to them for startup help or out of state businesses contact them about relocating. In terms of investment sales, holding seminars or information sessions targeting specific demographics that are likely to invest in real estate is a great way to provide value and hopefully capture some of that market share. Setting up some type of direct mail campaign targeting small business owners and investors might also be another strategy. The possibilities are only limited by your creativity. 

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