The Beyond Multifamily series is hosted by non-residential commercial real estate investor and Best Ever Show host, Ash Patel. Ash’s goal for this series is to introduce you to the world of non-residential commercial real estate investing and teach you how to look at and underwrite different commercial asset classes.
In this episode, Ash talks about broker relationships and how to secure deals from brokers. Anyone can develop great broker relationships, he says — it’s all about how you approach them. Ash takes time to go through his LinkedIn inbox to demonstrate examples of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to reaching out to brokers.
- Use an introduction like, “I’m happy to be connected with you.” It makes the reader question whether they reached out to you first.
- Start a conversation by finding some commonality — a property, a mutual connection, an experience, or a conference.
- Begin a conversation by reaching out to ask about a property, even if you know it already sold.
- Give examples of deals you have worked on. Make sure you portray to the broker that you can effectively close.
- Portray yourself as an expert in your field.
- Show genuine interest and ask them about themselves.
- Offer to do something for free that might add value.
- After connecting on LinkedIn, like and comment on their posts often to either ask a question or add value to the topic.
- Find new connections by searching hashtags for important conferences like the International Council fo Shopping Centers Conference (#ICSC) or the Best Ever Conference (#BEC).
- Be respectful of people’s time by saying something like, “I know you’re extremely busy. A four-minute phone call is all I ask — I’ll even set a timer.”
- Add scarcity — instead of “Feel free to reach out anytime,” try something like, “If you’re interested in discussing [specific topic], please book a call.”
- Start out by talking about something irrelevant to the broker.
- Begin a conversation by asking general questions that demonstrate you haven’t done your research.
- Directly ask someone for their contact information or to sign up for your mailing list.
Compile a list of brokers in your target area — search LinkedIn, Facebook, big brokerage sites, CBRE, Marcus & Millichap, Keller Williams Commercial, and even Twitter and Instagram. Put this list into a CRM system and start reaching out, liking their posts, and trying to connect with them. This way when you send them a message, they will already be able to recognize your name.
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Ash Patel: Hello, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Show. I'm Ash Patel and this is an episode of Beyond Multifamily, where we will dive into topics other than multifamily investing. Today, we're going to talk about broker relationships and how to secure deals from brokers. Very often, when I interview people on the Best Ever podcast, I ask them how they find deals. And often, I hear, "We have great broker relationships." And in the back of my mind, I think, "Well, you're already successful, you've done a ton of deals, you've got a great track record, you've got a big team, or you're otherwise established in the area."
Today, I'm going to teach you that anybody can develop these great broker relationships. I'm going to share a story with a young man that I mentored about a year ago, and I taught him non-residential commercial real estate, mostly how to find deals. And all of a sudden, after about eight to ten months of me working with him, he started throwing a ton of deals my way, and they were off-market listings from brokers. I questioned how he found these deals or how he got the brokers to send him the deals. Because these brokers, in a hot market, already have a ton of people they can be sending deals to... And these were pretty legit deals. His response to me was, "I just keep hitting them up on LinkedIn and I keep having conversations with them."
So if you think about it, hopefully you're all on LinkedIn; think about how people approach you. When you get instant messages or direct messages on LinkedIn, often they are copy and pasted, form letters, "Hey, here's a link to my Calendly link." "Here's my website." "Here's my bio." And most of us probably pay no attention to them whatsoever. And think about lenders as well. I get a ton of direct messages from lenders, saying, "Hey, we've got this great program, we're competitive, we've got great rates." And because they're copied and pasted, I never really get past the second sentence.
I read through dozens of LinkedIn messages, and I pulled some out that I want to share with you. Here's one: "Hi, Ash. I'm happy to be connected with you. My focus is to provide added value to my clients. I believe I can do that by helping you with your insurance. Dun dun dun." What I like is "Hi, Ash. I'm happy to be connected with you." It makes me question if I reached out to this individual, or if they in fact reached out to me. Other than that, the rest is a fail.
Another one. "Hi, Ash. A lot of clients tell me that finding the right lender for the first time is important to their business." Alright. Here's why I don't like this. I want to have a conversation between you and I. I don't want to hear about a lot of clients.
Here's another one: "Hey Ash! Hope you're feeling great." Alright, do you really hope that I'm feeling great? Anyway, "I wanted to see if you're actively buying real estate assets. If so, we come across several off-market opportunities nationwide. Here's some of the assets we market for: commercial, land, mobile home parks, self-storage, and multifamily. Occasionally, we get some residential, but our main focus is the other assets that we market for. If you don't mind, please provide your buying criteria by either clicking this link..."
Sorry, I'm not going to take the effort just to be added to your list, your database for whenever you find deals. What I would have preferred is if you had given me an example of a deal, and say, "Hey, we just presented this to our buyers list" and told me some of the pros and cons about the deal itself. That would have intrigued me a little bit. I might have even doven into some of the numbers. But when you're just generally soliciting to fill your database, that doesn't fly with me.
Here's yet another one. "Hi, Ash. Have you ever invested as an LP in multifamily? I would enjoy learning more about what you look for when investing in real estate and seeing what value I might be able to add. Feel free to book a time at the link below." Alright, "Have you ever invested as an LP in multifamily?" Now, let's say that's their target audience, is LPs. I don't know that that's a great way to start out your paragraph. Instead, again, talk about your last deal, talk about something tangible, or truly be intrigued about the person you're speaking with or interacting with. They did that on their second sentence, "I would enjoy learning more about what you look for when investing in real estate and seeing what value I might be able to add." I love that sentence. I just don't like starting out with "Have you ever invested as an LP in multifamily? If so, happy to add you to my list."
I would also try to add some scarcity to this. The "Feel free to book a time at the link below" means you're willing to talk to anybody and everybody. I would qualify that. "If you're looking to invest in this specific market" or "If you're looking to hear about our latest opportunity with these returns, please book a call." It's one of those things where I don't have time to talk to everybody, but if you're the right person, I would enjoy speaking with you.
Here's another one that's a little better. "Ash, so great to connect with you." Again, I don't know if I reached out or they reached out. Love that opening line. "I had a quick question about your current deal." Now, now we're talking. How do you know that I've got a deal? Have we spoken? Has somebody on my team talked to you? "I work at a premier mortgage brokerage with a database of over 3,000 lenders." Okay, so that almost usurps the first two sentences. Let's keep reading. "I'd be happy to send your current deal out to all of them for free if you want." Now, they're offering to do something for free, that might add value. I think rewording this just a little bit could make this an effective direct message. And again, maybe giving a real-world example, or having a link to a case study, maybe. But this one's got some potential.
Next one: "Hey, Ash. I see you like to invest in STNL," which stands for single-tenant net lease, "I'd love to connect." Okay, now we're talking. This person actually looked at my profile. STNL is one of the asset classes that I invest in, and it's clearly listed in my profile. Good for them. Even if they just did a mass search for STNL, I came up, I love the opening line. They put some effort into this message. It's not just a mass copy and paste.
They then follow it up with "Thanks for connecting, Ash. Do you invest in any single tenant triple net retail properties with investment-grade tenants?" Okay, so the very first direct message was when they sent me a LinkedIn Connect. They prefaced it with that opening line. And now, truly, they can copy and paste that. "Hi, Jane Doe. I see you like to invest in STNL. I'd love to connect." They can do some damage by copying pasting that into a lot of people's profiles. Good for them. And then they followed up with "Thanks for connecting, Ash" again. That little bit of obscurity makes me question who reached out to who? And then, "Do you invest in any single tenant triple net retail properties with investment-grade tenants?" And we subsequently continued that conversation, so good for this person.
I'm going to tell you some things that I've used to connect with what I consider are pretty high-profile brokers. There's one in particular in Cincinnati who is just the absolute rockstar of getting national tenants into Cincinnati, and what I did was obviously connected with them. But when I connected with them, I said, "Hey, I've worked in the past with Mike Goldstein. I would love to connect with you." Now, how did I do that? I simply looked at what mutual connections we had, whether it's on Facebook or LinkedIn, and I circled back on LinkedIn and sent the connection request. And just the fact that I brought up a mutual friend, acquaintance, colleague, would ensure that I get to connect. If it's somebody that doesn't just blink and go through connecting with people, this will ensure that I get it.
I followed up with... Every time he posted something that I saw, I would like it. And if I had a comment that would either thank him or add some kind of value or ask a question, I would comment on his feeds often. And over time, I was able to get a meeting with this individual, and he's now marketing some of my properties, which was the initial intent and goal of mine. And it was quite simple. Again, connect with some commonality, some reference to a property, a person, an experience, a conference. And then get them to see your name often on their feeds by liking, commenting. And then when you reach out to them, they hopefully jog their memory and know that they've seen your name before
Break: [00:11:33] - [00:13:21]
Ash Patel: Here's another one. "Do you invest as a general partner, capital raiser or limited partner? Can you share your contact information?" Oh, my God. So you ask some very general questions, and then just go in for the kill, "Can you share your contact info?" Obviously not. Again, I don't want to be added to people's databases.
Here's something else that maybe only my twisted mind comes up with, but I received a direct message again on LinkedIn. The message read, "Unfortunately, we didn't meet at the Best Ever conference, but I would still like to connect." Now, here's why I like this. A couple of different reasons. One, the Best Ever conference - we had access to the whole roster of attendees. I think it was like 1,500 people, and it's the same thing as LinkedIn, where you can send out copy and paste messages, and most people will probably respond, because there's some commonality. You're at the same conference. But what I'm thinking is you can send this out to the entire group, and even if you had no intentions of meeting, you can still say, "Unfortunately, we didn't meet at the Best Ever conference, but I'd still love to connect."
Now here's a way of really twisting it. Imagine you get a list of attendees from somebody else to a conference you never even attended. You can then connect with all of these people, saying, "Unfortunately, we didn't meet at so and so conference." You can leave out the part that I didn't even attend the conference, but it's still unfortunate that we didn't meet. Anyway, I liked that one; it's simple. You can essentially connect with the entire audience that was there. It's not intrusive, and people don't know if it's genuine, or if it's just a copy and paste, so I really liked that one.
Back to getting deals from brokers. Think of this as if you're recruiting somebody. You're an HR representative and you're trying to hire somebody, or you're a job seeker at an interview. One of the things that I learned early in life is that people love to talk about themselves. So if you get a conversation with a broker, ask them about themselves. "How long have you been in commercial real estate?" Better yet, "How did you get started in commercial real estate? What was your last deal? What do you see the market doing?" Ask questions about themselves. "Have you always worked in Cincinnati? Do you do any deals outside of Cincinnati?" Ask targeted questions, because you're genuinely interested. Don't ask questions just because you want to make conversation.
Here is an action item. Compile a list of brokers, all the rockstar brokers, really, all the brokers, period, in whatever target area you want to find a deal in. Go to LinkedIn, go to Facebook, do searches, go to all the big brokerage sites. CBRE, Marcus & Millichap, Keller Williams Commercial, whatever specific apartment brokers are out there, or commercial brokers, or whatever asset class you're looking for, compile a list of them. And then put them into some kind of CRM system. If you don't have a CRM, put them in Excel. And start hitting them up, liking their feeds, trying to connect with them on both LinkedIn and Facebook, see if they're active on Twitter or Instagram, and start connecting with them so that when you send them a message, they're already used to seeing your name out there.
Now, if you call them up and say, "Hey, I'm looking for the coolest value-add deal on the market that's way below market, that everybody's trying to seek," how are they going to know that you're the right person to send it to? Why would they pick you over their other loyal buyers? And the answer to that question is, they may want to not put all of their eggs in one basket. Imagine they have one client who buys everything that they throw their way. But what if that client stops buying? What if they have a life event? What if they start looking at different markets? Now, they have nowhere to move these deals.
So in my opinion, most brokers will share the wealth and give deals to anybody they think they can do future business with, and has the ability to effectively close on deals. You need to make sure you portray to that broker that you can effectively close on deals. If you're brand new, have a partner, or have a potential partner and say, "The last deal that my team and I did was... I'm working with a team that is looking for..." Just do whatever you can to build confidence in the broker that you're not going to embarrass them and that they made the right decision in terms of being able to do future deals with you.
Always separate yourself from the herd. Another tactic that's great to use is even if you find a property that's already sold, but it was appealing to you, whether it was the size, the location, the numbers, whatever it is, and it's already sold, call the broker and say, "Hey, I'm inquiring about this deal." Let them tell you that it's sold. And be like, "You know what? That's a great deal. Good for you. Congrats for moving it."
And any good broker that will intrigue them more about you. But there's a fair number of brokers and be like, "Okay, thanks for the call. Bye." The good brokers should ask you questions. "Tell me what you're looking for? Is this the type of deal you normally take down?" The brokers that say, "Sorry, it's already sold," push them. Ask them. What kind of deals do you do normally? Can I get put on your buyers list? The next time you find a deal, can you send it to me first? Just probe and ask, but have a narrative about yourself. So important that they somehow connect with you, they know your story, and they have confidence in your ability to close.
Now all over social media, people love taking pictures, announcing that they closed on whatever. When that happens, write them a message saying, "Hey, congratulations. That was a great Ideal. Great job when the closing," and see if they follow up. If they don't, it's your job to follow up. Say, "Do you have any more deals like this?" Go through the spiel, try to build that connection, and keep putting these interactions into your CRM system.
For us non-residential investors, there is a huge conference. The holy grail of commercial shopping centers, was the International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas, and the who's who of commercial real estate is there. An easy way to start building connections is just do a search for #ICSC. If you're a multifamily investor, do a search for #BEC or #BestEver, or some of the other conferences that are out there, and just start connecting with people. Build up your database of people that you can connect with, find deals from, have as potential investors, partners.
The most important thing is just differentiate yourself from all the other people that are vying for the attention of those brokers. I've even hit people up on Facebook that wouldn't follow up with me on LinkedIn, they wouldn't interact with me on LinkedIn. So I get them on Facebook and I find something, maybe it was their hometown that they grew up in, and I make a comment about that and get the conversations going. It doesn't always work, but I've used a lot of different tactics.
Always be very respectful of people's time. Another LinkedIn message: "Hi, Ash. Hope everything is well. We help investors to obtain funding. I would love to see how I can help. Feel free to message me to discuss further details. Thank you". All right, I liked that it's short and sweet. "I hope everything is well." Pretty general. "We help investors to obtain funding. I would like to see how I can help." Awesome. "Feel free to message me" is where you lose me. This person has to know that there's hundreds of people sending messages like this. I would have rather seen something or read something that says, "I know you're extremely busy. A four-minute phone call is all I ask. I'll even set a timer." Something that nobody else is doing. So just change your approach and stand out from the crowd.
You also want to try to portray yourself as an expert in whatever your field is. So for me, if I call a broker... Just recently, there was a Walmart-anchored strip center that we were too late on. It was under contract very quickly. One of my teammates actually initiated this call, and the broker now is sending us additional deals, because this broker was one that knows what they're doing and said, "Tell me what you're looking for." But ask specific questions. "Hey, I know the property that you sold, were they semi-accessible loading docks?" Ask questions. "Just out of curiosity, was the roof new, or had it been replaced recently?" Just something that continues the conversation and shows that you know what you're talking about.
Best Ever listeners, I hope I was able to add some value. And again, when I hear people saying, "Oh, our deals all come from broker relationships." You don't have to be a superstar to build those broker relationships. I've seen it from people on my team where they literally just interact with people on LinkedIn, and have genuine conversations, and are respectful of the other person's time, and they're getting thrown some great deals. So please, if there's more that you want to hear, any specific questions, use the comment section below, and I'd be happy to do a follow-up or answer these questions in a future podcast. So Best Ever listeners, thank you so much for listening today. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a five-star review. Share the episode with somebody you think can benefit from it. And as always, like, subscribe, and have a Best Ever day.
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