NEW YORK CITY-My wife’s name is Joanne. I bring this up only for a particular reason. If I was a corporate space user in the Tampa market, and Joanne LeBlanc came knocking on my door to discover my space needs, this tidbit would end up in her database.
“It’s something we have in common,” explains Joanne (the broker, not the wife) and as such this tidbit becomes an icebreaker and a point of reference for the potential client. Joanne LeBlanc is an office leasing specialist in the Tampa Bay area for Colliers International.
The 29-year-old, who majored in mass communications and public relations at the University of South Florida, started at Colliers nearly five years ago and moved from marketing into brokerage early last year. It is her second job in the industry (she interned for two years at what was then Capital Partners before coming to Colliers).
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LeBlanc is a big believer in keeping a tight, complete, accurate and current database, going far beyond name, rank and serial number. She calls it her “Touch-Point Campaign.” “If I reach out to a company, I keep information on who the receptionist was I spoke with, what we spoke about and any personal information. If I was putting you into the contact database I would put that your wife has my name and it’s spelled the same way. It’s those little touches you record that give you a platform to build on.”
And as you build that platform, you build your database, updating as you go. “If there’s one piece of advice I could share, it is to stay organized,” she says. Toward that end she actually breaks her database into categories, with the top category of course being Top Targets, “people I have spoken with or met who have a need or an interest in something we spoke about.” Other categories include other clients, tenant reps and brokers and vendors.
But keeping a good database starts with building a good database and for LeBlanc, that means shoe leather. She regularly walks the hallways of office buildings, knocking on doors and dropping cards at the desks of receptionists, cards with market reports attached, and chatting them up for that all-important database intelligence. In the relatively short time she’s been a broker, she’s accrued roughly 1,000 names, mostly because “I’ve really hustled.”
She once chatted up an executive at a firm that happened to handle staffing for biomed companies. “So when I recorded his information and that he had an interest in what was happening downtown.” She sent a thank you as follow-up and included an article she had found on a new Tampa project, a new biomed building in town called CAMLS: the Center for Advanced Medical Learning Simulation.
Now, his lease doesn’t expire until sometime next year, so LeBlanc won’t be at his doorstop weekly. “But I try to send him information that’s relevant to him,” and in so doing, remain top of mind.
She also creates a weekly e-newsletter that she sends to various categories within her Touch Point campaign. “It’s just got news feeds, a featured listing and a recent success story,” she says, “all trying to provide pertinent information, whether it’s real estate or industry related.”
It seems odd in a way that her strategy mixes such technological devices as e-letters with old-school cold calling, especially for someone who grew up in the digital era. But to LeBlanc, they’re not opposing efforts, but all of a piece. She compares the exercise to a game of chess: “Mailers are like the pawn and cold calling is the queen. Pawns are spread all across the board. But the Queen is very nimble and if someone has a need you can move around the board in any fashion you choose.”
But despite the strategy, planning and straight-up hustle, remember there’s no science to it. “It’s all a roll of the dice,” LeBlanc says. Just remember to “make sure you stay organized with your contacts.”