When making a sales pitch, remember, it’s not about you – Daily News

on Apr23
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During certain cycles of prospecting, I present a lot.

Generally, this involves someone with whom I’ve not done business. If a client and I have done business and she knows my capabilities, the need for formal presentations is lessened.

But take away any familiarity and the pitch is needed. Today, I’ll explain my presentation style and show you a few tricks of my trade. I believe you can learn from these – as chances are – you’ve been on the receiving end of one.

Clients typically engage commercial real estate brokers for one of four tasks: to help them find a building to lease or buy. Typically, referred to a “tenant rep,” this assignment can also involve assisting in a lease renewal. (We’ll call this task No. 2.) The last two tasks involve the representation of an owner of commercial real estate.

You see, when a building loses its occupant, another must be found. Involved is an agency agreement or “listing” to market the parcel to potential tenants or buyers. But that’s only three tasks. So, what’s the fourth task?

Well, the fourth is the preparation of a “broker opinion of value” or BOV. Usually, a BOV precedes a presentation to list a building for sale or lease. After all, you gotta know what it’s worth.

Each of these tasks comes with its own brand of presentation. However, I like to think of them in two broad categories – owner-centric and broker-centric. The former zeroes in on what’s important to the person being represented – occupant or owner, and the latter centers upon the experience of the broker and what he can do for you.

While either can be effective, I enjoy presenting in an owner-centric format. Why? I’ve found most clients “don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Corny? Maybe.

But think about it this way. If your company is desperate to find a new location and your service provider comes in hot, guns blazing, and launches in about his experience — without even a question or two about what YOU are facing — the emphasis is misplaced. YOU are the client, the one with the challenge. And, therefore, shouldn’t it be about you?

So, my pitches take an owner-centric approach. I start with a discovery meeting, preferably in person. The last couple of years has made in-person meetings difficult. But, things are a bit looser nowadays.

We typically discuss a few facts: how long have they occupied the address, confirm their lease expiration, and gain an understanding of their need. We then explore some opportunities such as what doesn’t work with the location and how a new address might be better. Consequences of moving or staying put are next followed by a summary of our understanding and a suggested next step. Now, the framework of your owner-centric presentation is set.

We follow a guideline of an agenda, situational review, discussion of their building, review of the market, a plan, our specific capabilities, and finally a look at our compatibility. Start to finish, these take about 20 minutes. Since the presentation is “centered” on the client, all the fluff is eliminated and we spend our time together discussing what’s important to them vs. having a brag fest on how many buildings we’ve sold.

Maybe you don’t own or occupy commercial real estate. But you certainly buy stuff, right? Let’s say you replace interior doors at your house or get a new air conditioner. Start paying attention to the folks who ask for your business. What approach do they take? Is their pitch all about you or all about them?

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at abuchanan@lee-associates.com or 714.564.7104.

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