By Alexis Craig
For a long time, I couldn’t make a cold call. I have a stutter and it’s noticeable when I’m nervous or talking to strangers. But I wanted to see if I could use cold calling as a lead acquisition and growth strategy.
I initially expected cold calling to be a large waste of my time. I believed all of the “anti-calling” messages: “cold calling is obsolete,” “cold calling is dead,” and “never make a cold call again.”
My results were quite the opposite. I realized, if done right, cold calling can be effective. Here are three reasons cold calling is still alive and well.
Fastest Way to Get Started
I love building email marketing campaigns and an SEO strategy as much as the next gal, but it takes time. A lot of time. SEO experts believe it takes a new website about 12 months to rank with competitive keywords.
If you’re not generating leads organically, then how else will you grow your business? Cold calling allows any agent to get started immediately while they wait for their SEO to take off.
Since I started cold calling, I’ve been able to add about 120 people to my database and take four listing appointments over eight weeks. It’s been one of the fastest and cheapest ways to add more people into my sales pipeline.
Marketing is Not Selling
Things like content marketing are just that — marketing. Any agent who spends time creating blog articles, drafting emails, and completing administrative work is avoiding their most important task: talking with potential customers. For some, “marketing” becomes an avoidance strategy.
Listen, I still hate cold calling. Even after placing more than 600 calls, my palms still sweat, my heart races, and I stutter on the phone. I’ve been made fun of a few times by rude people who think I stutter out of fear. But I get over it because I prefer winning. I’d rather win than chase some shiny object.
@FirmBee, 2015. Pixabay.com
You can use cold calling to build your pipeline while you wait for your marketing platforms to replace your prospecting efforts. But that should only be done when you’re generating enough leads to reach your income goals. And many of us aren’t.
Enter a Buying Process Already in Progress
How long does it take for you to get an email address and turn it into a sales conversation? If you target FSBO, expired listings, or neighborhoods with high turnovers, you could enter a sales conversation today.
Ever been in that situation where you’re months into a sales discussion? You probably sat down with the client, filled out a CMA, then suddenly, another agent swoops in and lists your client. It’s fair game. Why not be that guy or gal? Cold calling can allow you to benefit from the months someone else spent nurturing a lead.
Final Note on Pure Cold Calling
Okay, I agree. Pure cold calling is dead. Picking a random number, knowing nothing about them, and then calling is a terrible way to prospect. The market is too competitive and you’ll just make people angry. Here’s what I’m doing that has had some good success; I call it my 1-2-3 punch.
First, send them a sales letter with an offer. This increases the probability that they heard about you before you ever call, making the call less “cold.” Plus, it gives you something to talk about, other than listing their home. Sending a sales letter improved my results nearly 800 percent. Without a sales letter, I was like the nerdy kid looking for a prom date — all I got was rejection.
Second, find out as much about your prospect as possible. In a world of social media, calling blind is lazy. Here’s what I do for FSBOs: I look at their Zillow listing. I write about three or four things I noticed about the home that potential prospects would want to talk about. The observations I pick vary based on who I think I going to talking to. For women, I try to focus on interior topics. For men, I’ll focus on the garage or other features.
One last note, it’s important to be sincere. If you aren’t interested in talking about their garage, don’t try to do it. Prospects can tell. Instead of building rapport, they’ll see you as rude.
Well, there you have it. Pure cold calling is dead, but smart sales calling can be one of the fastest and cheapest ways to fill up your pipeline. If your business is looking anemic, consider adding cold calling.
Alexis Craig, founder of Mocha Homes, leads a team of real estate rebels in Lansing, Mich. Connect with her at mochahomes.com or facebook.com/MochaHomes.