This article is designed to help commercial lenders and commercial mortgage brokers close more commercial real estate loans.
First let's define a term: Lead nurturing is the process of repeatedly touching a sales prospect and gently encouraging him to buy. Commercial real estate loan officers are salesmen, and financially-strong commercial property owners are our sales prospects.
To understand the concept of lead nuturing, let's consider an example. Suppose you're a commercial mortgage broker, and you receive a lead call from a good, potential, commercial mortgage borrower, who is kicking around the idea of borrowing against his free-and-clear office building. It's a really good deal, and you are sure you can provide him with an excellent commercial loan. You make your sales pitch over the phone, and your potential borrower tells you that he'll think about your offer. Now what?
The wise commercial mortgage broker will then nurture this lead. He will touch the borrower at least six times over the next six weeks or so. A touch can be a personal visit, a phone call, a letter, or an email. The Notches on the Belt Theory of Marketing suggests that people seldom buy until they have thought about buying on at least six, separate, independent occasions. Hence our strategy is to touch this borrower at least six times.
Your lead nurturing campaign might start with a follow-up email. "Dear Mr. Swartz: Thanks for chatting with me today about your commercial loan. I am sure that we can accomodate your needs. Below is my contact information for future reference."
Then, because snail mail takes a day or two to arrive, you might print out a copy of this email and throw it in an envelope hand-addressed to the borrower. You should also probably throw in two business cards. This will be your second touch.
Three days later you might telephone the borrower and see how he's coming with his loan package. That's touch number three.
You could send him a second email thanking him for chatting with you again, which would be touch number four.
For several decades I kept an envelope box, filled with envelopes addressed to potential borrowers. In the upper-right-hand corner, right where the stamp goes, I wrote in pencil the date that the envelope was scheduled to go out. None of the envelopes were sealed, but each contained a follow-up letter and two busines cards.
Every morning, right after I made my coffee, I would sit down and go through these pre-addressed envelopes that were scheduled to go out that day by snail mail. If I had already received a package from the borrower, I did not send out a follow-up letter. Instead, I opened the envelope and saved the two business cards. Later I would re-use the envelope by covering the address with a label.
If I had NOT yet received a package from the borrower, I would glue a stamp over the date and send it out.
Now let's go back to our lead nurturing example. So far we have touched the borrower four times. Using a "Timed Mail Piece" follow-up system (the envelope box), I might send him two more snail mail follow-up letters.
Modernly I no longer use snail mail at all. Instead I use this wonderful software designed by Hubspot.com. I have already written six follow-up emails, and to nuture a good lead, all I have to do is enter the borrower's or broker's email address into Hubspot. It's pretty cool.
You now know one of my greatest marketing secrets. Once I find a good lead, I nurture that lead religiously at least six times.