Cold Calling for Success

Try these simple principles to help build relationships and be more successful in cold calling your prospects.

As real estate salespeople, statistics show we work in one of the least trusted professions. In fact, I have actually heard that statistically we rank below sex workers. That to me is a kick in the guts – I know agents who work hard to improve their image, so for them to be categorised like that is crazy!

Cold Calling at Its Worst
After months and months of my own research I have found that if the local real estate agent adopts basic business and sales techniques they can overcome any trust or professionalism issue the public may have with them. I did my own version of the ‘secret shopper’ – I contacted five agents to come and appraise my home for sale. Only three called me back to book in a time to view the property. What were those other two thinking? I don’t know and to be honest I don’t care; they won’t be in business for long. Their unprofessional response means I would never let them handle one of my biggest assets.

My team and I have found a simple rule: build relationships, nothing less. Yes, unfortunately in some eyes we are not a trusted profession but vendors need us! If they didn’t they wouldn’t be calling. What you need to do is show them why they need you and not the next agent that is about to walk into their home. Apart from the systems you should have in place with your own personal touch, you must build a relationship with the vendor; once you’ve done that I can assure you they won’t look any where else because they will have what they want, a trusted professional ready to handle their biggest asset. Let’s take it one step at a time – how do we get into the client’s home to begin with?

Let’s start with ‘cold calling ’ or ‘sales calls’. What’s the standard procedure during a sales call? Generally, conversation starts with a cliché, such as:

  • How are you doing?
  • Is this a good time to talk?
  • Could I have a few minutes of your time?
  • Are you the person in charge of your home?
  • I was wondering if maybe you would be interested in getting your home appraised?

This is usually followed by the ‘I’ statements such as:

  • I’ll only take a minute of your time…
  • I’m calling because…
  • I’ve been told that…
  • I’d like to talk to you about…

Tips for Success
If you cold call, research shows that 99 per cent are likely to be busy doing something else at the time, which means that, when you call, you’re 99 percent sure to be disturbing them. Instead of ignoring the fact, I use it to my advantage by saying something like: ‘Hi John? This is James Tsimopoulos. Have I caught you at a bad moment?’ or ‘Did I catch you at a bad time?’

Be careful using those statements and be certain to use them with that exact wording. My experience with this has been that using statements like ‘Is this a bad time?’ or ‘Is this a good time?’ are far less effective. It’s only a small change but it works!

When you make a sales call it is always a bad time, so understanding and recognising this upfront is a cool change. When my team uses these statements at the beginning of a call, 92 per cent of the time we get the same answer – a laugh followed by ‘Yeah, it is a bad time but why are you calling?’ or ‘It’s always a bad time, but what is it?’

When a client or prospect feels like they are forced into a call they tune out and all they can think about is how to get you off the phone. Now they are on the phone by choice, and it’s up to you to show them why they need you. Keep an honest tone – I can’t stress this enough. I’ve always said to my clients, ‘I’m not in the real estate business; I’m in the service business and I just happen to sell real estate.’ If your goal is to service and make sure people are happy, your career will grow rapidly.

Adapt these simple principles and your cold calling will be much more effective. Love and focus on the core principles of good customer service and you will exceed well above your expectations.

James Tsimpolous

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