5 Ways to Improve Your Cold Calling in 2019

Cold calling is easily one of the most time consuming and stressful parts of working as a real estate agent. Maybe you feel you will encounter a gatekeeper or maybe you don’t think you have enough information to land a meeting – no matter the reason you are fearful of cold calling, there are ways to improve this sales tactic. The key thing to remember is that the call isn’t meant to close a sale, but rather establish a relationship with the client.

Here are five ways to improve your cold calling in 2019.

Just breathe

Don’t hold your breath while the phone is ringing. What is the worst that could happen? Get out of your own head and just relax. All you need to do on this phone call is to show that you know what you are doing and that you can help the client reach their real estate goals. Smile and keep a natural tone of voice. When you are relaxed, the client will be too.

Don’t Attempt to Close a Deal

The phone call is opening the door to closing a sale, but it isn’t the final stop. Use this conversation as a way to establish rapport and listen to what the client’s wants and needs are. Make notes so that you can follow up with the client and show that you are dedicated to helping them reach their goals.

Use Their Words

Use the same phrases and words they use on the call in your follow up. If they say they are looking for a deal, say you found a deal when you follow up. If they say they want listings in an excellent school district, tell them you have found multiple listings located within an excellent school district. Copying their words will help them trust that you are listening to what they want and applying this to your work.

Send Them What They Request

On the cold call, you should be asking what type of information they would like in order to assist in their home search. If they you want you to send them all of your listings or are looking for a specific home size or type, send them the info. Will they likely look through all of this? Probably not but don’t try to skimp on sending information simply because you don’t think all of it is necessary. You may rub them the wrong way if you don’t provide the information they are asking for. They may not know what they want, and this info can give them context to help them determine their wants and needs.

Follow Up on a Consistent Basis

One call or email isn’t enough of a follow up after a cold call. Frequently update and touch base with the person to build rapport and provide value to them. Be an agent who is consistent, but not pushy.

4 Ways to Improve Your Cold Calling to Get Over Cold Feet

One of the hardest parts of any sales job is the dreaded task of cold calling. Picking up the phone and not knowing how the person on the other end of the phone is going to respond or react to your call can certainly make anyone have cold feed, but fear no more because there are ways to improve your cold calling to get over those cold feet.

Smile

This may sound silly, but you next time you dial a cold call, smile for at least twenty seconds. Research has shown that wearing a smile brings benefits that can help you get over your cold feet when it comes to cold calling. Smiling can reduce stress, lower your heart rate and can build rapport, as smiling changes the way you sound when you speak.

Be Prepared

ProspectNow can help you be more prepared for cold calls by providing you with background information on the lead. The more you know about who you are calling, the more you will have to speak about and the more the prospect will trust you and be willing to listen to you.

ProspectNow can help you navigate through a cold call by providing you with valuable information. Without the right information even a pro cold caller will fail. Take a minute to search the prospect on Google, look up their LinkedIn and utilize all of the tools ProspectNow offers to really get a feel for who the prospect is.

Release Negative Thoughts

One of the biggest obstacles to overcome for cold calling is going into the call automatically assuming the prospect will not be interested. You should go into every call prepared and organized, while also thinking positively that your call will accomplish your goal of setting up a meeting to discuss their real estate needs. Negative thoughts will cause you to lose before you ever even pick up the phone. You will have to face rejection no matter how great of a cold caller you are. Don’t let rejection define you, let it teach you to help you in future cold calls. Rejection can work to your advantage if you let it.

Have a Plan

A big mistake many cold callers make is having a script and only reading from the script. Reading off of a script is not personable and it does not give the impression that you are knowledgeable. Have a plan that allows you to move off topic and go with the flow of the conversation. What happens if the prospect asks a question that is not answered in your script? You will look unprepared and may come off as disorganized to the prospect. Create a framework for your call that calls out specific bullet points and common questions you may need to answer.

ProspectNow is the most effective prospecting system in commercial real estate and can help you expand your brand online. Contact us today with any questions you may have and try out a demo to see how our software can help you boost your sales.

3 Reasons You Don’t Need a Script When Cold Calling Prospects

The cold call is a time-honored way to find new opportunities and clients, but like many long-standing practices, we sometimes view it very narrowly. Methods for cold calling can differ; how the task is accomplished is up to you.

For many of us, there’s a certain level of security in having a script for making calls. We feel prepared for various questions or objections that the prospect might make, and scripts provide some structure to keep us on track even if we get flustered.  There are a plethora of services providing scripts and templates that are a “magic” solution to cold calling.

The desire for a cold calling script is understandable, but do you really need one to get results?  Certainly not. In fact, there are some compelling reasons for abandoning scripts all together. Ari Galper advises us to ask these questions:

  • How do you really feel when you use a script?
  • How do your prospects feel when they know you’re using a script? (And they do know.)
  • Most important, how many sales are you losing because you’re using a script?

If your own experiences with using scripts are not particularly positive, and they’re not enhancing your ability to connect, then you should consider working without one. Here are some ways that ditching the script can be make prospecting easier and more productive.

#1. Look for needs

A cold call should be a conversation, not a pitch. Scripts can make prospects defensive because they focus on what you can do for the customer rather than what the customer needs.

You don’t need a script to be a good listener. Come up with a few open-ended questions that you can use to get the prospect talking about their business and situation, and then LISTEN.

#2. Use your long game

Your goal in calling is to create an opening and start a relationship, not make a sale. Particularly in real estate, client relationships are a long-term proposition.  Working without a script makes for more authentic connection and allows each conversation to be unique, so it’s tailored to the person on the other end of the line.

#3. Be more nimble

A problem with using a linear script is that it can’t anticipate all of the twists and turns that a call can take. Relying on the script can leave you flummoxed as to how to proceed if the conversation takes an unexpected turn. By keeping in mind your goals for the call (find out more about the prospect and open the door for future contact), your course is clear.

Many in the industry recommend using a script only as a backup. This point was made in an interesting discussion on Quora:

…use scripts as a fall back, not as gospel. The purpose of script is that when   someone says something that is confrontational, rude, challenging or otherwise makes you nervous or throws you off your game, instead of freezing up, you have something you can say confidently instead of stuttering like an idiot.

Nobody wants that. But rest assured that even with the most bulletproof script there will be calls that don’t go well and leave you feeling frazzled. Keep at it, learn from your mistakes, “fail forward,” and you will get results.

Prospect Follow-Up is Not a Sprint – It’s a Marathon

Today’s commercial real estate landscape looks far different than it did a decade ago – even just a few years ago, in fact. While personal connections and relationship management are still solid and traditional ways of communicating with your prospects, the Internet has changed the way we do business.

We’re connected in ways that we never thought imaginable. As such, consumers have become accustomed to near instant responses, unparalleled information and transparency, and expect sales professionals to go above and beyond in all new ways. These aren’t options in today’s market; they’re requirements. If so, how do you stand out from the crowd?

It’s in the follow-up. In many industries, it’s estimated that it takes between 7 and 13 sales touches to convert a prospect into a client. Whether you’re calling, sending drip emails, touching via social media, or work tirelessly for the in-person meeting, follow-up is a marathon – not a sprint. It requires a plan – and your dedication – to see it through to fruition.

How to Make Your Follow-Up Go the Distance

When it comes to making your follow-up go the distance, a good CRM system can do wonders for your closing rate. Not only will it keep you organized, many great systems will alert you when it’s time to make a touch and will allow you to make notes on pertinent information and your most recent interactions – thus allowing you to tailor your contact to be more personable.

But what else can you do? Here are a few tips:

  1. Follow-up immediately after the first contact. Just last week a customer of mine called and said “Steve, you have to talk to Mr. XYZ, the CEO of ABC Co.  I just told him how great your product is and he’s expecting your call.”  I called him about 2 minutes after that conversation.  There have been a number of studies on lead follow up that indicate time is of the essence.  I know if I had called Mr. XYZ even a few hours later, he would not have remembered the conversation with my customer. Whether you’ve just met a prospect for coffee, spent some time on the phone or exchanged business cards on the subway, be sure to follow-up right away.  Even a quick “thank you” to show appreciation for the prospect’s time can go a long way.
  2. Create value for the prospect. During your follow-up, always try to create an immediate value for your prospects. Maybe this means you introduce them to a contractor who can make repairs to their property or to a mortgage lender you know does a great job. You’ll instantly bring something of value to the relationship, and your prospect will remember that.
  3. Use technology to your advantage. With so much technology available to you, why not use it to your advantage? Reach out to your prospects via social media. Connect with them where they’re interacting and you’ll find yourself in the middle of the conversation.  Social media is not a silver bullet…but not being on a social media is a good way to ensure you are not even a part of the conversation.  Technology for the sake of technology is just noise, but technology with a very defined objective and  purpose is a game changer.  
  4. Don’t underestimate the importance of lead intelligence. Lead intelligence, or gathering as much information on the prospect as possible, is hugely beneficial when making follow-up connections. When you know more about your lead, you can custom tailor your responses and interactions.
  5. Keep going … and going. Follow-up takes time, patience and a plan. Just because a prospect has seemingly fallen off, it doesn’t mean you stop interacting. Develop a plan for prospect follow-up – maybe using technologies that help with drip campaigns – to stay on top of your game.
  6. Know when to quit.  While this may seem entirely contradictory to item #5, there is a time to give up.  We have a sales person in the office here who is consistently number one in her weekly calls.  She makes more calls than anyone, but when we drilled down on her call to closing ratio it was clear the quality of her calls were not as good.  As we investigated further, it became obvious that she was spending too much time on follow up with unqualified leads and not enough time focused on new business.  There is a time to give up the ghost.

 

Happy prospecting!

Finding Property Owners by Prospecting Smartly

If you’ve been in commercial real estate for more than…about 15 minutes, then you know prospecting for leads is the number one critical task in your career. If you’ve been in commercial real estate for more than 30 minutes you know prospecting for leads is time consuming, laborious and painstaking. This article gives some tips for finding property owners by prospecting smarter, not harder so you spend more time talking to ready decision makers and less time chasing rabbits down empty holes.

Let’s face it, lead generation is not the sexy part of the job. The fun is being out there, meeting with people, doing deals. That’s what gets the blood pumping and puts money in the bank.  But, without the lead generation, the deals don’t happen. You have to commit to lead generation daily. You need to be calling property owners and/or tenants every day. You need to find out who is making a move? Who has space? Who is ready to sell one building and buy another?

The good news is prospecting is not hard. You just have to be smart about it. Before you make your calls, you need phone numbers. If you don’t know where to find people to call, you will struggle.

Which Property Owners to Call?

Here are two sources of targeted people you can call every day to keep your real estate career on track.

Your number one source for phone numbers is your personal database of key contacts and decision makers. These are people you have met before and done business with. These are people you know and, more importantly, already know you. These are warm calls. “Hi Ted, it’s me, Robert, from Keller Williams Commercial. How is it going? I’m just checking in to see if you are thinking about expanding your operation this year like you mentioned last time we spoke.”

Stay in touch with your database. It’s your job to make sure they think of you when a real estate need comes up. Don’t for a minute assume they will remember to call you if they haven’t heard from you in the last 90 days. Your competition is trying to reach them, too. Even your best friend from college who owns the shopping center can be wooed to another broker if you are not current and top of mind. Stay in touch! You should plan to call 5-10 people from your own database ever day to check in.

Getting More Phone Numbers

Once you have a good system for staying in touch with your own database, you need to research other people to call. On top of calling 5-10 people from your own contact database, you need another 40-60 names and numbers to call every day. You need phone numbers for the decision makers – the property owners, tenants, and LLC partners who can ink the deals. That information (good phone numbers and emails for the right people) is out there if you will spend the time looking and if you have access to the right sites.

In the past, agents had to comb the internet, hopping back and forth between sites like title companies, to county records, to white-pages sites, etc. tracking down phone numbers. This brute-force approach still works if you have access to all the relevant sites and know which ones have good data and which don’t. Depending on your county and other factors, you may have to pay for access to some of this data. Also, with this approach it is difficult to fine tune your search to just those properties and owners you are interested in.

The alternative is to use ProspectNow.com’s database of commercial property owner information to build a targeted call list. Basically, ProspectNow does all the research leg work for you, collecting data from multiple sources into a single database of over 8 million properties with owner contact info. Not only is all the data on one single website, you can target your list by searching on detailed parameters such as location, type of property (office, industrial, hotel…), owner-occupied, size, loan type, etc. If you already have a list of properties and just need phone numbers, you can even paste your list into ProspectNow and get all the numbers with one click.

However you build your call list,  you should be able to dial about 50 numbers in 2 hours. Depending on the quality of the data you researched, you should get through to between 10-30 people.

Prospecting takes time. Calling takes time. Lead generation takes time. The winning secret is to be smart and make your time count. Every day, when you first get into the office, make the decision to prospect smart and to prospect now.

Make Fewer Cold Calls & Close More Deals

What?  How can I make fewer cold calls and close more deals?  When we first started building ProspectNow, I found I was always hammering the point that the more calls you make, the more deals you will do.  There is no question that sales activity and production are related.  This will never change, but technology is making it possible for us to target in a much more effective way.

As we have progressed in the development of ProspectNow, our focus has been to help our customers make fewer calls, and send less mail…but make the RIGHT calls.

What are some ways to target building owners that are more likely to sell, buy, or refinance?  Here are a a few of my favorite targeting methods:

1.  Owners that own more than one property.
These are great opportunities to find owners that own lots of assets and but may fly under the radar by  owning smaller assets.  If you can call one owner that owns 5 properties it’s the same as calling 5 owners that own one property.

 2.  Owners that manage properties out of state.
 Sometimes owners that are not in a position to easily manage or maintain their properties are more likely to sell.  These are great calls to make, especially on apartment buildings.
3.  Loans coming due in the next 12 months.
 Clearly building owners that have a ballon payment coming due are going to have motivation to either sell, refinance  or pay the loan off with cash.  This is another way to increase your probabilities.
There is never a magic answer in business, but you can definitely improve your chances by focusing the scarce resource of time and effort in the right places.