Whether you’re talking to someone who is a client, or to someone who is a prospect, a good question to ask them at just the right moment in time is, “Who do you know who I can talk to about their commercial real estate needs?” Or, if you want to be even more specific to your own commercial real estate specialty, and to the exact type of lead that you may be looking for right now, you could say something like, “Who do you know who may be interested in selling a multi-family property?”

What’s great about asking people this question is that you’ll come into the new relationship through a referral, meaning that you’ll come into it with the credibility attached to the person making the referral, which is definitely much better than cold calling the person you’re being referred to.

In fact, something that could be a very good idea for you to do, would be to write down a list of people who you know, including your existing clients, who you believe know others that you would like to be introduced to. Then, one-by-one, take these people out to lunch at a nice restaurant, with you picking up the tab for the meal, and then ask them a question like the ones I’ve described above to you. Because these specific people who you’ve identified are oftentimes known as “centers of influence”, meaning that their opinions and recommendations have influence on other people, so when they refer you to someone, you are now very likely to begin that new relationship by having a very positive impression within the person’s mind.

In addition to this, another approach could be to make a list of important commercial real estate decision makers who you would like to be introduced to, and then determine the people you know who could make these individual introductions for you. While it would be great to have someone personally make the introduction for you, at the minimum it would still be good if you can get that person’s OK to call the person you want to be introduced to, and then tell that person that the referring individual had recommended that you speak with them.

So in putting all of this together, tremendous opportunities exist for you to utilize your existing network of people you already know, and having them introduce you or refer you to people you’d really like to be doing business with. But the key here is you recognizing this opportunity, and then taking the appropriate action to make it happen.