Real estate agents prospect for listings by cold calling because compared to other methods the costs are low and the results measurable and consistent. By phoning homeowners in a neighborhood 3 or 4 times a year and only selecting the most motivated sellers to work with agents put in less work hours, less miles on the car, and make more money while working with motivated people who are happy to work with them.
There is an excellent discussion about cold calling ongoing since 2009 at the AgentsOnline Realtors Forums and reading through the thread may be the best prospecting, lead management, follow up, and closing education available for free anywhere. The thread covers a lot more than just cold calling and it is certainly worth your while to read through it whether you are a new agent or have decades of experience.
To give you a bit of an idea about the art of cold calling I have distilled some of the basic information shared in the thread.
Agents who make cold calling their primary source of listings call for at least a couple of hours every day and have refined their technique so they talk to a hundred or more potential sellers in those few hours. Only people who are not registered on the Do Not Call List are contacted. For many, calling for a couple of hours a day 5 days a week results in 50 to 60 deals a year!
When new to prospecting by phone it is easier to learn in a market area where the turnover is good and the home prices are below average because there is less competition from other agents.
The goal of cold calling is to find a prospective seller who is motivated to move in the next six months. Although it would be nice to have that call result in an immediate appointment to sign a listing agreement that seldom happens. The listing happens later during the followup phase.
Agents look for strong motivation and nice easygoing people who value their professionalism and carry on a nice productive conversation. This is the type of lead that results in business.
Agents stand up when they call. They speak confidently with a cheerful energetic tone just as they would in a face to face meeting. If they reach voice mail they hang up and do not leave a message. If someone answers the phone they say something like…
“Hi Mr or Mrs so an so? This is ______ with _______ real estate and I have some serious buyers for your area….do you have any plans to sell your home in the next 6 to 12 months?” Then shut up. If they say “no” thank them and hang up. That was easy, wasn’t it?
Saying you have buyers should be a true statement as every active salesperson always has 5-10 buyer leads they are working with. You will not know if the house is suitable for then until you see the inside.
It is very rare that someone will say “no” or “not interested” and then list within the next several months.If they are thinking about selling they WILL engage in conversation.
The next step would be to ask a few qualifying questions to help determine their motivation such as “when do you plan to list your home for sale?” and “when do you plan to interview agents for the job of selling your home?” and “when do you want to have your home sold by?”
If you determine that a prospective seller is motivated they are flagged for followup which can include a pre-listing package, emails, phone calls, notepads, market updates, voice mail messages etc. The majority of leads need to be followed up with 7 to 15 times. 99% of your business will come from great persistent and creative follow up.
If you are looking for ways to increase your business without breaking the bank maybe it is time to begin prospecting for potential sellers using the telephone!