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9 Effective Methods to Prospect for Commercial Real Estate Leads

The team at Zonado sat down with some of the most experienced entities in the commercial real estate industry who showed us that there’s a proven science to the art of generating leads. There are several ways to generate leads, it’s up to you to pick a strategy and work with it. The most important part is to be consistent with your strategy over a long time. 

Harjaap Singh
Harjaap Singh
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Getting leads is one of the earliest challenges a commercial real estate agent would face in his/her career. A lot of agents with as much as 5 years of experience or more still struggle with generating leads. 

To understand this better, the team at Zonado sat down with some of the most experienced entities in the commercial real estate industry who showed us that there’s a proven science to the art of generating leads. There are several ways to generate leads, it’s up to you to pick a strategy and work with it. The most important part is to be consistent with your strategy over a long time. 

From all the conversations we had with the top Agents in Ontario, we drilled the list down to 9 effective ways a commercial real estate agent can use to prospect leads:

1. Join a Network:

Joining a network can be very beneficial to you especially when you are starting out. You get to have access to a community of individuals and organizations in the same industry as you are. Other benefits include staying ahead of the rest of the industry with insider information, learning from more experienced agents and organizations, and getting referrals for leads. In Canada, there are several existing real estate networks in existence. Each one with a unique process for joining. Some of the top networks are:

  • The Canadian Real Estate Network

  • REIN Canada

  • Rock Star Inner Circle Group

  • Keyspire


You can find out more details about these networks here.

2. Making Calls:

This is one of the first things you need to do and follow up with when starting out. Pick up your phone and call everyone on your contact list. Statistics show that one-third of the public does something related to real estate. Chances are that a handful of your contacts are part of this one-third, and you can pick up a lead just by calling them and talking about it. 

For those who are shy about self-promotion at this stage, think about this: would you not want your network to work with the best possible representation when working on their next deal? If you believe in your services and ability, you owe it to your network to make yourself available to them.

3. Online Advertising:

Putting yourself and your real estate brand on the internet would do you a lot of good. Social and digital platforms would give you more visibility than any other traditional method would. Depending on your budget and what you want for your business, you could choose from a variety of options that would yield different kinds of results for you. Some of the best options here are:

  • Google Display Ads

  • Google Search Ads

  • Facebook Ads

  • YouTube Ads

  • LinkedIn Ads

Instead of trying to become an expert in these channels, you’re best served working with a digital marketing agency, or a well-reviewed freelancer from a site like Upwork. Once you set goals for the professional and give them a budget to work with, you’re off to the races. Using some of the must-have tools mentioned above will also work for you here. Using a tool like Zonado will also get you in front of a targeted group of prospects. If you need to know more about online advertising and how to get started, check out this piece.

4. Partnerships:

Forming symbiotic relationships with certain kinds of organizations could set you up to receive as many leads as possible, as well as service the leads you have in your possession. This involves walking up to the organization, informing them of what you do, and proposing an agreement that would benefit both parties. Some individuals and organizations you may want to look out for here are:

  • Legal practitioners

  • Investment bankers

  • Banks

  • Advisory organizations

  • Insurance companies

  • Corporate lenders

A good way to get these individuals and organizations to listen to you is to incentivize the offer. You could offer them a referral fee if they send you a lead that eventually gets closed. That way, you’ve cast a wider net of leads that could come your way. 

5. Pitch to News Outlets:

The traditional means of spreading information through journals and newspapers are still very much relevant. More importantly, a good amount of people who read these newspapers belong to the class of individuals who can afford to invest in real estate. Therefore, you can pitch your listings to the biggest publications, newspapers, and journals in your region. This could get you a high number of leads if your pitch is approved. 

6. Meet People and Build Meaningful Connections:

Getting to know the right people is still a factor that affects the number of leads you get. You need to go out and mix with different social circles within and outside of your location. Referrals make up for a huge percentage of the leads gotten by agents today. 

You would need to develop a strategy to identify and connect with a certain range of people who can supply value to your career. What this does do for you is help expand your reach as much as possible. A factor that comes in handy more often than not. 

7. Find and Maintain a Niche:

Something about being an expert in a particular niche sits very well with buyers. What the niche is, depends on you. You could choose a niche for a particular kind of property category, or a particular location in Canada. When you do this, you can position yourself as an expert in your niche and get most of the leads targeted at your niche.  This will likely take years of learning and practicing to fully implement. But will be worth it if properly done.

8. Organize Events: 

The good thing about using this method is that you do not have to do it all alone. You can get support from organizations and professionals around you. Making your event an educational one would work best for you. When you do this, you can find multiple ways to bring your real estate offers into the event.  At a properly organized event, you could make relevant contacts as well.

9. Find Expired Listings:

Just 3% of listings advertised by owners ever get sold or leased within the desired time. Many of them expire and the owners tend to give up on the sale. This leaves a good number of properties that are unaccounted for lying void of any occupancy. This also means there's an opportunity to grab these expired listings and use them to your own benefit. Finding these expired listings, and pitching to the sellers to give you a shot may well land you a listing. 

Setting and Following a Strategy That Works

When you start out as an agent, it’s very important that you take time to plan your method of operations. You would need to do a bit of everything here:

  • Figure out your brand

  • Choose the most relevant tools to you, considering goals and budget

  • Select the lead generation methods that work for you

  • Plan out a process flow; how you would go from prospecting to closing

  • Gain as much knowledge as possible

  • Follow up, and follow-through

When you figure all these out, you are well on the way to landing your first few listings. In the future, you can always make changes to anything you wish to. You are in control of everything and you determine your own pace. 

The Need to Innovate with Growth

Like any other industry, commercial real estate is subject to rapid changes. The industry evolves with time. In the same way, you’ll need your commercial real estate business to evolve alongside the industry. Certain methods would grow obsolete and redundant with time. The technology factor is one that brings rapid changes. You could even be ahead of the industry, seeing clear signs of where it is headed and moving ahead of time.

When your business grows, it gets harder to innovate. This is why you need to make it an action point for you and your team. You could do this by setting a particular period in the year to study different variables including the industry, your team, your structure, and your methods, with an aim to make improvements that would help you stay on top of your game.

Harjaap Singh


Harjaap Co-Founded Zonado in 2020 with the simple goal of helping fix the information asymmetry in Canada's commercial real estate market. He's passionate about building stunning user experiences, martial arts and fast cars.

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