There’s an argument to be made that cold calls are not the most current way of getting that sweet lead generation going for you and that SMS, social media, and cold email marketing have a much higher percentage of lead generation success than cold calls, but hey… sometimes you have to try them all, right? Maybe your real estate market is more technology adverse; maybe you are the one who feels better over the phone. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are here to give some cold calling tips for you, the real estate agent that wants to know how to make cold calls.
First, we believe that the most important thing for you to understand is the intent these cold calling techniques serve. If your goal is to “close” with a client via cold calls, you're being too unrealistic. Yes, it will happen from time to time but you should pop a bottle of champagne when it does; the realistic goal behind cold calls is to shift the power from the person receiving the call to you. That’s actually great advice on how to make cold calls, and we didn’t even really begin the article! Cold calling is all about setting a next meeting, where the receiving end will be the one coming for you; even if you’re the one who calls them for a second time. So, whenever you sense they are driving or busy with something, note that and ask for a better time for you to call them: they are likely to give you a time, and they’ll feel they didn't let you down and be attentive to you whenever you call them back.
But let’s go to our actual tips on how to make cold calls, because just like it is when you pick up the phone to dial someone you never met in real life… time (and attention) is of the essence!
Don’t just randomly call a number; your failure success will be at 98% by doing that. Try to discover as much information as you can from the person you’re making the cold call to. Using the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)? That’s great; it gives you a lot of details to the possible client. But also try finding some personal information online and social media. Don’t stalk them and get into too many details of their lives – in fact, you should pretend you know almost nothing about their personal lives – but know a little bit about what makes them tick, so you can strategize how you can turn them into a client. The very least: know their name and last name by heart. Be focused and call them by it more than once during the conversation – should a conversation develop. Don’t overdo it, as they will feel it’s a ploy; but every now and then call them by their first name to bridge a proximity to them and you will come across as friendly. Their name should be the first brick of the road that leads them to you, and every new detail you get from them is a new brick. Pay attention to everything he/she says! It’s a cold call, but a hot listen; if that makes any sense.
However slick you are with the words, however good you are at improvising… don’t leave it to chance. Sometimes we’re not at our best game: write cold calling scripts and print them so you have them by your side while cold calling. Your cold calling scripts should be composed of something like:
This is the very opening part of the call, it’s the make or break where you hook the person to what you’re selling or you just lose him/her. The trick here is aligning the client’s needs and expectations to what you’re selling – your services as a real estate agent. So, say the client is a possible home seller: Call them by their name, introduce yourself, say you’ve been talking with a lot of home buyers interested in the area where the client lives, and ask directly: “Have you ever considered selling your house?”
This should be enough for the person to understand what this is about and for you to move on from there. The ending is open; there’s no answer that ends the call there. If he says “no”, you can go on and say “well, then maybe this call will make you start thinking about doing just that…”. Just one important thing before moving to the next part of the cold calling script: don’t over introduce yourself. Just say your name and the company you work with – if you think it adds value to your persona. No need to go all “I’ve been working with real estate for X years and close many deals blah blah blah”. That will make you sound obnoxious. That’s not how you show how competent you are; the next step is how you do that.
Do you know why we needed to come up with these cold calling techniques? Because the sales industry has done it so much that we’ve just became wired to instinctively refuse those calls. Even if we do need the professional aid of a real estate agent, chances are that we’ll just start giving reasons not to go into business with you. So, it is important that you predict those pitfalls and have the rebuttals to every one of their “Nah, I’ll just do it myself; the commission is just ridiculous”. And have them fast. Every “ well… erm… you see…” will make the client lose confidence in you. Every straight-shooter answer will make him think you’re on top of your game and prove he’ll be better served by hiring you as his real estate agent – or at least meeting with you so he can steal a little bit more of your brain; which is fine, because then, just like we said at the beginning of the article, you’re the one now who has the power.
Don’t forget that the final goal (not of the call, but the introducing process) is for you to become his/her real estate agent. So, have a section of the script where you basically acknowledge that and say something like “hey, we could spend all day here talking, I don’t mind; but let’s do this over a cup of coffee so I can show you some of my work so you can see with your bare eyes some of the numbers etc.”
Don’t just say “alright, bye bye”. Show your gratitude for their time – whether they told you to take a hike or they decided to get into business with you. There’s always next time and if they remember you as appreciative of their time they will see that as a good thing whenever they make their time available to sell a house or buy a house. In the end, they all expect exactly that of a real estate agent: that they make their money and time worth.
If you repeatedly call someone, they might even file a complaint against you at the Federal Trade Commission, which, of course, is no good. Check if the number you’re calling is not on the “Do not call” registry before you call it. But also to the quality of the work you are doing: write down a brief summary of every call. Sometimes the conversation was good, but the person on the line was not living an ideal moment, having just sold (or bought) their house; a year from now (or when the market changes) you can call that person again and come in fresh. They will appreciate you remembering details from the talk and feel you as someone they already know, even if they have never seen your face.
You don’t want to disturb your future clients' work, nor their leisure. Truth is there’s no good time to make cold calls; you’ll always be an inconvenience to that person. What you need to do is be prepared so you don’t waste their time. Have information about their real estate market nearby (the cold calling script rebuttals) so you can give them stats and come across as an informed real estate agent. But if you’re wondering how to make cold calls at the least bad time for your future client, we’d say right before the most common work hours - so, around 8-9am - and right after work (5-6pm); if he or she commutes to work, chances are he/she won’t mind talking with you while driving home. Now, there’s an absolute no-no, regarding hours: the lunch hour and around it are the worst! That’s an important cold calling tip; let them have their time for lunch and rest. A hungry person does not want to do anything else besides feeding themselves; it’s a natural need. Plus, let them rest a little bit from the work. Their excitement will be better early in the morning and late in the afternoon when their work is done, and they are happily heading back home.
And, finally, our last cold calling tip is…
If 3 to 5 people picked up the call and talked to you - whether they were interested in what you had to say or straight out said “thanks but no thanks, do not call me” - just close the cold call day there. Don’t try to push for more; it will end badly for you and, don’t forget this is not your actual job. You’re not a sales telephone operator. The life of a real estate agent is too busy and diverse to get caught up on this game of calls. These cold calling techniques are nothing but a complement to your lead generation. You still have open houses, social media work – if you’re targeting millennials, for instance, wouldn’t it be much more interesting to learn how to use Instagram to take your real estate business to the next level? – not to mention other straightforward and more efficient tools like The Official Real Estate Agent Directory® where your name and brand will be much more easy to find for home buyers and home sellers!