Salesperson's Corner

Old School Sales Tips to Reach Your Clients During The Pandemic

Sep 16, 2020


One of the biggest challenges my agents have is reaching their clients– both new and old. No potential new client seems to be answering the phone, responding to their emails or text messages. As a commercial real estate broker, it’s possible that since offices are still closed, clients are choosing to take a “wait-and-see” approach before they discuss office space requirements for their future. Building owners that could be good candidates to sell or buy buildings are also hard to get in touch with. So, what can a salesperson do to reach their clients when a personal visit is now out of the question? 

What I tell my agents is that “old is new” and that they need to study the old-school tactics and apply them to today. Here are four key old-school tactics that can help you find leads and get ahold of new clients. 

Tactic #1:  Be persistent in your outreach. Remember, it takes an average of seven connections with someone before you are “known” to them. So, if a lead is not returning your phone, text, or email messages the first time, do not give up. Keep reaching out at least seven times before moving on (which is usually six times more than the average salesperson wants to reach out).

Tactic #2: Review print options.  Post cards and handwritten letters could differentiate you from your competition right now.  A postcard campaign can be expensive if you do not follow up with a phone call. A post card campaign typically sees results of .05% but if you call within two days of the postcard delivery date, you can jump those results to 5%-10%. That’s a 1,000% increase!

Handwritten notes are rare. If you ever got a letter mixed in with your mail that was handwritten, the chances of the letter being opened jumps to over 15%. Handwriting services are readily available and much more cost-effective. All you must do is give them the copy and they take care of the rest -- including the mailer.  Similar to postcards, your results will drastically improve if you follow-up with a phone call within two days of the drop-off date. 

Tactic #3: Network, network, network. Find other vendors who work with the same client as you do and begin trading information on who is doing what and when.  In my business, copiers, architects, furniture salespeople, IT services etc. all want to know who is potentially moving. All offer good lead possibilities for us, so we keep in touch consistently.  

It’s also helpful to use LinkedIn when making new connections.   This isn’t necessarily an old school tactic, however, now is the time to use your sphere of influence. If you are having difficulty getting ahold of someone, check your contacts to see who may know them and see if they can help or ask if they can make an introduction for you. 

Tactic #4: Make sure you have a” hook” for someone to call you back. Yes, the commercial market appears to be on hold and yes, there is a lot of information overload going on. But your potential client could still be interested in speaking with you if you had something that stands out.  Rent and sale comparisons of spaces of buildings near your client would be something that could get them to call you back. There are several measures that could pass in November that would have a significant impact on businesses and a breakdown of how these measures could affect your potential client could be another “hook”.


At the end of the day, all the above is tied to a more basic old-school strategy. The more ###$ you throw against the wall, the more chances something will stick.  Commit yourself to seven points of outreach for each new client. If you do so with a plan and commitment each day, you will start getting clients to get back to you.

Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard Commercial Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 35 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

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