Cold calling can be intimidating, hard and painful work. So it is very tempting when somebody tells you that you don’t have to do it. But, actually, if you want more business, then you really should devote time to it because, still, amongst all Estate Agent marketing ideas, cold calling is very effective, when done correctly. It takes some time to get good at it, but the payoff is huge.
Your aversion to cold calling may be increased by annoying cold calls you have received. As an estate agent, with your cell number online everywhere, you probably get dozens of bad cold calls, one of the most annoying things you can receive. So, how do you avoid being annoying? The answer is not, don’t cold call. The answer is, learn to be helpful, not annoying.
Surely you won’t open the phone book and dial randomly: there are plenty of places where you can find people who have shown their likelihood to make a real estate decision soon. After you have found some promising phone numbers to dial, always approach the call bearing in mind that the person on the other end of the phone is a human being, with their own personality, not a roll of cash. Keep in mind that you have something valuable to offer: you are a talented professional who helps people make good real estate decisions. How can your services be of help to this person today?
If your services cannot be of help to this person today, can I at least make them laugh, brighten their day a bit, and get some form of permission to stay in contact?
Scripts are helpful; if they sound too pushy to you, adapt them to your own personality and keep them as a last recourse, when someone says something that makes you nervous, so you may have something you can say confidently instead of stammering. With time, you will recognise a pattern: same questions, objections, reservations, challenges come up again and again and again from potential clients. This way, you will develop a script of your own, whether you like it or not, simply from repetition. You may as well start with some that have worked for others instead of wasting time on trial and error coming up with your own.
Here’s an example. You’re on the phone with a For Sale by Owner and they say “Oh, you’re a real estate agent. God, there’s a lot of you. I must have had 5 phone calls today just from estate agencies. And my friend is trying to get me to list with him, too.”
At this point, you could laugh and say “I’m sure that get’s annoying, huh? There sure are a lot of us in town. You know, we have a joke in my office, if you don’t have a friend who’s an estate agent, you don’t have very many friends.” You could tell this silly joke several times a day and people would always laugh at it. It’s simple and prevents you from stuttering and nervously apologising for bothering them. When people laugh, they generally decide you’re not so bad and they don’t mind spending 5 more minutes talking to you, especially if it gives them an excuse to avoid doing whatever they were in the middle of, since they were probably about to start doing something else to distract themselves anyway.
The success rate for cold calls depends on how you define success. You can consider any in-person meeting as a real success and some form of permission to follow-up is also a success. For example, if someone tells you they’ve just bought and plan not to change house for several years, you can warmly congratulate them, and tell them: “Well, it doesn’t sound like there’s anything I can do for you right now, but why don’t I try you back this summer and see how things are going? Also, I’ll grab an email address so I can send you my contact info in case you need anything in the meantime. What’s your email?” In this way, you will leave the phone conversation with their name, their new address, their email address, and permission to stay in contact.
With cold calling, you will develop a full supply of possible business leads, but also some killer phone skills that will be very useful when you have incoming calls. For example, when if you have listing signs out and the calls from interested buyers start arriving, you would already be comfortable talking to strangers on the phone, gaining their trust and getting a meeting, having practised on the random strangers, not on motivated buyers.
Surely the Estate Agent marketing ideas can’t just be limited to cold calling as the only thing you should be doing. Check our Career articles for more Estate Agent Marketing ideas about online advertising, open houses, mailings, networking, blogging, etc. But, since all of these techniques will eventually require that you talk to somebody, either on the phone or in person, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to practice your communication skills with cold calling.
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