Beth Azor started intensive prospecting for business 37 years ago—and hasn’t stopped. Some might call that a rookie move, but it has contributed to her ownership of five shopping malls, says Azor, an investor, trainer, coach and owner of Azor Advisory Services and Azor Academy in South Florida.
“Most people in commercial real estate think they should get to a point where referrals drive their business,” she says, but when you stop canvassing, you stop learning. “If I’m out in the marketplace finding that every other shopping center has an acai bowl, I have to learn what that concept is.”
Personal touch. Azor likes to check out stores in person to see if they might be a good fit for her properties. The owner or gatekeeper is typically receptive, she says. “I say that I own or lease or rep real estate properties and ask, ‘Are you expanding?’ ” Even if they aren’t, they still have to renew their lease and want information that will help them.
Social media prospecting. The platforms that offer Azor the best traction for prospecting for tenants are Instagram and Facebook, she says, noting that she gets a 10% response rate on posts. Here are two of her tips:
- Use a personal account to send direct messages. “People like to do business with people they know and see a little bit behind the scenes. My account shows my kids, my travel and my business posts.” If that idea is off-putting, she suggests creating a new personal account and populating it with business pictures and information.
- Keep DMs short and sweet, with no hyperlinks. “I write, ‘Hi. I have a former sub sandwich shop in Daytona. Are you interested in expanding?” If they say, ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘OK, give me your email, and I’ll send you a flyer.’ ”
Azor has recently begun using Twitter to prospect for business partners. “I’ve been on it for only three months and have made over six figures. I post canvassing stories that aren’t all success stories; some are about when I screwed up.” Most business has come from companies with 30 or fewer employees that are ready to take action, she says.
". . . wherever rent controls are introduced, two major things always happen: First, the supply of properties to rent falls as landlords pull out of the market. Who wants to see their returns significantly lag inflation? Second, the quality of the housing deteriorates. What’s the incentive to improve a house if you aren’t making any money and the tenants aren’t leaving until they die?”
-Merryn Somerset Webb, Bloomberg Opinion senior columnist, April 21, 2023.