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Cold Calling: Still a Viable Prospecting Tool?
By Barbara Pronin
Cold calling was never popular with new or experienced agents – primarily because few people are eager to deal with rejection. Today, with the added burden of complying with Do Not Call list requirements, cold calling remains unpopular with agents.
Yet, real estate researchers at Baylor University contend that an agent who makes 1.5 hours of calls each day for 5 days will secure one appointment or receive one referral – not a bad return on investment, and one reason why many sales managers still ask agents to get on the phone.
For those willing to put in the time and effort, the researchers suggest three cold calling tips that may help up the odds:
  • Warm up the list – There is an increasing supply of data online and inside social media conversations that can tip off a listing agent about homeowners who are ready to sell. You can also check out predictive analytics tools that crunch existing data to identify potential sellers – and try not to leave any past clients without getting a few references. Dialing from a ‘warmer’ list can help increase your success rate.
  • Share, don’t sell – Adjust your approach so you are not selling, but have something to share with those you call – i.e., neighboring homes that have recently sold or buyers who are searching for homes, especially when inventory is tight. A new mindset could win the ear of prospective clients.
  • Ask for permission – A growing trend in marketing is ‘permission-based marketing.’ “I’m John Jones, a local real estate consultant, and I have some news about property values in your area. If you have 30 seconds, can I tell you about it?”
  • Know the rules – Before making any calls, make sure you understand federal and state Do Not Call rules so that you don’t make the mistake of violating; a mistake that could results in monetary penalties. 
Some agents who don’t find cold-calling viable still get results from door-to-door prospecting, where the goal, however outmoded it may seem,  is to introduce yourself as a local real estate resource and leave your card with the homeowner.

In-person contact can be especially effective with FSBOs. Briefly introduce yourself and start the conversation with something like, “I don’t blame you for wanting to sell on your own. I like saving money, too. But if I can’t fulfill my buyer’s needs, would it be all right to bring them to you?” If the response is positive, ask to preview the home at a convenient time, and add that if they find they are unable to sell it on their own, you would be happy to market it for them.

You may not be the only agent a FSBO will hear from, but this is a case where your positive approach and winning personality may just win you the listing.

And always think in terms of numbers. If you give your business card to 20 people each week, that’s 1,040 new prospects. That may just be enough to bring results.
Barbara Pronin is an award-winning writer based in Orange County, Calif. A former news editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism and corporate communications, she has specialized in real estate topics for over a decade.

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