Cold Calling Your Way to Success

Okay, I know cold calling is not your favorite thing. But it works! Inman News published an article called Agents, there’s gold in calling cold by Bernice Ross. Admitting that cold calling is boring and tedious, Ross points out that a study from the Keller Center at Baylor University showed that cold calling for 15 hours a week resulted in an average of almost $300,000 additional income per year. Does that change your attitude just a bit?

Reframing cold calling

You can rename cold calling to something that suits you better. Maybe a term like sales call or marketing call or dialing for dollars or getting to know my farm area calls… anything is fine as long as it moves you toward a willingness to call. For a truth is, cold calling in your farm area offering your services is a great way to both introduce yourself and find out what’s going on out there. You can remember that you’re in a service business and if folks don’t know about you, you can hardly be of service to them. Calling is a pretty good way to break down barriers when you do it thinking about serving the potential customer.

Timing your calls

Most of us think about evening calls that interrupt dinner or precious family time when we think about making marketing calls. According to the survey, however, calling between 10 am and 2 pm is most effective. That’s good news because to reach your 15 hours a week of calls, you only need to call for three hours a day five days a week – a rational schdule.

Don’t quit before you succeed

Another interesting data point Ross reported is that in the study, all 134 participating agents quit by the time they’d made 11 hours worth of calls. Yet the data also showed that it takes 12 hours of calling to make the connection that will lead to a completed deal and a commission. Twelve hours of calls can be done in only four days of calling three hours each day – a four day week!

Who you gonna call?

It’s easiest to make a series of calls if the goal of the calls is the same. For example, you can call only for listings, which can be a good approach that will often lead to information you can use. You can call expired listings, paying attention to your office and local MLS rule. You can call For Sale By Owner (FISBOs) ads you find. You can call those who have responded to ads but not sold or bought yet.

Build your database

The best approach is to call in your farm area using any of the approaches above. Find a way to capture the numbers you’re going to be calling ahead of time so you’re not spending calling time researching.  You can start using a phone book or reverse directory and making notes in it. There may be a list you can buy, or your office may have the info. You’ll probably want to start using your computer to manage your leads, calls and followups before you’ve made a week or two worth of calls. Managing the followups well and in a timely manner is critical for success. Your office may already have something for you in place. If not, both insightly and Zoho have good reputations and they’re free for the first thousand or so entries.

Write your own phone scripts

You can find bunches of real estate phone scripts on the internet – spend a few minutes reading through several. When you find one that you think sounds like you, download it. Now rewrite it. I like to use all uppercase and double spaced which makes it easy to read. I generally just write out the first part, like this: HI! I’M ANNE WAYMAN, A REAL ESTATE AGENT SPECIALIZING IN THE CITY HEIGHTS AREA. YOU MAY KNOW WE SOLD A HOUSE NOT FAR FROM YOU AND I WONDERED… If you or your office has sold or listed somthing in the area, great – don’t lie. Better just to skip that and move on to what you’re wondering about. Things like:
  • How long you’ve lived in the neighborhood?
  • Where did you move from?
  • How did you pick the area?
It’s these kinds of questions that can get a productive conversation going. Remember, your goal is to introduce yourself, your service and find out if they, or anyone they know in the neighborhood can use you now or in the near future.

Tally your calls

Just tally each time you dial the phone – soon you’ll know about how many calls you can comfortably make in an hour which will help you set your own goals. Later you can track how many people you actually talked to if you want that sort of information. Remember that this is a game of numbers. Chances are in any one hour you’ll have a couple of nice conversations, a whole bunch of no-answers, and maybe one person who hangs up on you. Keep it up for at least 24 hours, preferably 36 – over three weeks or so before you decide to throw in the towel. With that many calls you’re likely to find you’re getting  be getting enough decent leads to continue. What been your experience in cold calling? Let’s talk about it in comments.
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