Technology is only as good as the person using it. We try to educate the commercial real estate community about the best technology to help their business. For brokers, that means which technologies can help brokers find and close more deals. However, to focus only on the technology itself and not about the best practices for using these tools is like expecting the best golf club to improve your drive without working on the mechanics of your swing.
For this reason we were so happy to have Rod Santomassimo of The Massimo Group give his sales coaching tips at our last event. For anyone that doesn’t recognize the name, Rod is the closest thing we have to a broker whisperer in commercial real estate. He has written a series of bestselling books called Brokers That Dominate and Teams That Dominate. He also has 24 coaches that help thousands of brokers achieve success.
“How much can a little coaching help my business?” You are probably asking. Well, Rod’s clients outearn their peers by seven times the national average. So, the simple answer is, “a lot.” While many of his high profile clients don’t want to go on the record as being coached, alumni of his program include Bob Knakal who is somewhat of a celebrity in New York City.
What makes Rod so good at his job is the same thing that make some salespeople more successful than other: he examines what works and refines his process. Over the years he has determined the three most important things to focus on if you are a commercial real estate broker.
Like every good teacher, Rod has boiled down the broker’s duty to its most essential parts. Like every good coach he has given his plan a catchy equation. P+P+P=P3 is his mnemonic device for proposition, presence and prospecting.
Value proposition is the first order of business. Determining a specialty is the foundation of a broker’s business model. A sales strategy is only possible when you know what area, sector and customer base you are targeting. Here is Rod describing what he considers to be the first step to being a top broker.
The next part of the equation is presence. Rod has a great way of determining if you have market presence or not. He asks the audience, “Think of one person that you know of in real estate.” Then he asks if that person would name you if they were asked the same question. If your answer is no, then there is obviously some work to be done on this part of the puzzle. In order to increase presence Rod suggests having a list of the top one hundred influencers in your field. Then try and have a real, if possible in-person, interaction with each of those people.
Rod uses a pyramid to explain the ways to increase presence. On the top is personal; meeting someone face-to-face still has the highest value even in these increasingly technologically assisted times.
The tricky part of creating presence is that it takes time away from actually doing your job. Of Rod’s mentees he has noticed a sweet spot for how many presence related meetings to take. “You must go on at least two presence meetings a week, you may be allowed to go on three.” If you are going on more than 3 meetings per week with influencers, you will usually see your bottom line decrease.
A bonus from this part of his presentation was the realization that breakfast is now the favorite business meal for many top sellers. It seems the days of brokers sitting around drinking Scotch after work has been replaced by a morning cold brew at the local trendy coffee shop.
The next way to increase presence is ‘physical’. Sending out a physical piece of mail to clients and influencers is a valuable way to insure your name gets recognized. His suggestion here is to send out at least one piece of mail per month, but to make sure to change the type of physical marketing material each month. “Don’t send out twelve postcards,” he warns. Instead, one month do a market report, the next a brochure. He emphasizes the need to keep the audience in mind. Send things that benefit your audience, not things that just tout your accomplishments. Sounds straightforward, but I find this to be one of the hardest things for marketers to realize. Here is Rod talking about how to personalize communication and why we should not use the term ‘case study’.
Lastly, there is digital. This is the least personal form of communication and therefore the least effective, but can cast the widest net. He suggests sending digital pieces to absolutely everyone. There are no extra distribution costs for digital communication so it can be easily scaled up. Social media has quickly become one of the go-to ways to publish this, but e-mail lists are proving to be possibly even more powerful.
“Presence is marketing, but prospecting is the disciplined act of asking for business” according to Rod. The distinction is extra important in these times where people often confuse a large social media following or heavy personal branding with monetary success. Being a thought leader is great, but if it doesn’t bring new business in the door then it is wasted effort. Rod is quick to identify this disparity and sees prospecting as the final piece that sits on top of value proposition and market presence.
As I said earlier, technology is only as good as the people wielding it. We have been fans of Rod’s work for years now because we see that his strategies, laser focused on commercial real estate brokers, affects how we use the technology that is coming into the market. Rather than focusing solely on the hardware and software that can help professionals succeed, we feel it is important to study the best practices used by industry leaders. Technology is changing what those best practices are, so we need people like Rod to shine some light on how our most successful peers are adapting.