Cold Call The Right Way

inside sales agent cold calling
inside sales agent cold calling

Cold Call The RIGHT Way

Cold calling is a scary prospect for a lot of people. Even for good sales people who spend a lot of time on the phone every day.

The reason for this is simple, talking to unsuspecting strangers on the phone sucks. The prospect is not prepared to hear what you have to say, and you know in the back of your mind that they have very little patience or time for strangers. Especially stranger sales people. You expect resistance on their part and think, before you’ve made the call, that they are predisposed to say “no”.

You need to overcome this.

It’s All About The Mindset

Your mindset is the key factor that will determine your success as a cold caller. It doesn’t matter how many scripts you study, how many objections you practice handling, or how much research you do on your leads. If you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t be successful on your calls.

And the critical element is positivity. Staying positive about your role and about the disposition of the lead is paramount. What this means is that you need to be telling yourself the right stories in your head about what you doing and what you are trying to accomplish.

Because let’s face it, our heads are filled with crap when it comes to cold calling. It has an almost visceral negative connotation. Put that to bed for you and any agents or ISAs you have working for you.

If your sales person has good stories in their head—if cold calling has a positive connotation—they will be unstoppable. If they have negative stories in their head about cold calling, lead generation, setting appointments, etc. and what those things mean about them as a sales person, then no matter what you do or say, they won’t cold call successfully and they won’t generate leads.

Here are three things you can do to help cultivate a positive mindset and interaction:

  1. Know and understand the benefits you bring to every person BEFORE you dial them. Know what you are offering them and how it is going to palpably improve their lives.
  2. Live and breathe mantras like “they are waiting for my call” or “they need my help”. Repeat these between each dial to keep your energy up on your entire list of leads.
  3. When you feel yourself becoming negative, take a break and focus on your commitment to helping others. Remember, they are benefitting from your call because what you are offering is valuable to them.

Enter Your Calls Confidently

This may seem obvious, but if you don’t project confidence when you get on the call you will not be successful. This means that when the lead picks up the phone always sound as though you know exactly who the person is that just answered.

Believe me, they will tell you if they are not the right person. Quickly identify who you are and ask your most important question, usually some form of “are you buying” or “are you selling”.

Remember, you are a stranger and most people typically do not want to talk to strangers on the phone. So you are fighting an uphill battle. The minute you hesitate, the minute you sound like you don’t know exactly what you are talking about, or the minute you sound like you don’t want to be on phone, you have given them the excuse they are looking for to hang up.

So build a positive mindset before the call, and use that positivity to enter the call confidently and with a sense of purpose. They need you and you are helping them. Have the attitude and sense that you belong on that phone with that person and that you are making their lives easier. Know what you are talking about and get to the point quickly.

Objection Handling

You’re going to hear a lot of “no’s”. You can’t escape this, it’s the nature of the business and the nature of cold calling. But what you can do is learn how to properly deal with objections and turn more of those “no’s” into “yes’s”.

To do this, you need to understand where objections come from. At Smart Inside Sales we have a technique we call the PPO Process. PPO stands for Perspective Process Outcome (See the PPO process video in Module 5 of the free trial of Conversion University to learn more).

The prospect’s perspective is their past experience, knowledge and speculation. Examples of perspectives that may lead to objections are “I’ve sold my home myself before”, “I’ve already met with an agent”, and “I can do what an agent does, you guys don’t do much.”

The prospect’s process is their own plan that they have for their situation. Examples of a process is “I’m going to sell my home myself”, “I’ll just use the agent I used before”, and “I am just going to wait until spring to sell my home and get a better deal”. The process is typically what will lead to an objection. They have their plan and you are not a part of it in their mind, so they turn you down.

And finally, the outcome. This is the unique result or benefit the prospect believes their process will deliver for them. Examples of these are “not wasting time”, “avoiding disappointment”, and “proving to my neighbors or real estate agents or to the world that I am right”. 

These are the three components that make up an objection. The key here is to understand these three parts of the objection from the lead’s point of view, not just from your own. Below are the five most critical aspects of dealing with an objection once they tell you it:

  1. Acknowledge – Listen to what they say and let them know that you understand it.
  2. Paraphrase – Restate what they said without leading and without interpretation.
  3. Inquire into their perspective, process, and outcome – This is where you dig into their thought process how they see it. Get them to walk you through their knowledge, plan, and the unique thing they hope to accomplish. These are the three things you need to know in order to counter their objection, so ask questions that get you the answers.
  4. Determine the unique benefit or result they hope to achieve – this is their sought after outcome.
  5. Close if appropriate – Close if the lead does not bring up another objection as a result of the PPO process or if it becomes obvious that meeting is the next logical step in your conversation.

Follow this process, understand where the prospect’s objection is coming from (from their own point of view), and respond in a way that makes sense given the lead’s perspective and goal.

Become A Cold Calling Master

In the end, cold calling is a numbers game. To have results you have to put in the work, pick up the phone, and make calls. Cultivate a positive mindset, enter your calls confidently like you know you’re meant to be on the phone, and handle inevitable objections by studying and practicing the process above.

Cold calling does not have to be scary or dreaded. It is a skill that can be learned and perfected like anything else. When in doubt, focus on the value you are adding to yourself, your company, and your client with each call.

 

Inside Sales Agents: How To Make Them Effective

successful inside sales agent training
successful inside sales agent training

Inside Sales Agents: How To Make Them Effective

Effectively training Inside Sales Agents is the key to success with your real estate business. Once you’ve built up enough sales and new business to warrant hiring additional agents or ISAs (inside sales agents), and are ready to hand off some of the responsibility of running your business, you need to learn how to train.

Even if you hire the best people, you still need to know how to train them effectively on the ins and outs of your particular business or market so they can achieve success for themselves and for you. They need to understand your sales model, your sales funnel, your philosophy and your values.

But on a practical level, the most important thing that your Inside Sales Agents have to do effectively, is being able to successfully make calls to set appointments. And the two biggest barriers to this are call reluctance and effective objection handling.

Overcoming Call Reluctance

Both call reluctance and successful objection handling have to do with mindset. This is your inside sales agent’s or real estate agent’s overall perception of their work, and how their perception of themselves, their role, and the business affects how they pursue leads.

Critical to this is the story that your new hires tell themselves in their head. Regrettably, most people have a lot of trash in their minds with regards to calling leads, what it means to pursue leads, and about sales in general. You need to put all that to rest. 

The biggest determining factor for whether a sales person will or will not be aggressive with generating leads, setting appointments, asking for contracts, and closing deals is the story they build in their heads.

Emphasize the fact that their careers and lives are in their own hands. When they are busting butt making calls and following up on leads, they are building the lives they want to live. In doing so, they are creating value for the client, for the business, and for themselves. Selling and productivity are noble endeavors.

This is where the business philosophy and company values come into play.

If your sales person has good stories in their head—if doing those activities that lead to productivity have a positive connotation—they will be unstoppable. If they have negative stories in their heads about lead generation, setting appointments, etc. and what those things mean about them as a sales person, then no matter what you do or say, they won’t lead generate.

Objection Handling And Closing Skills

After self-perception and head stories, this is the area that holds most real estate agents and inside sales agents back from crushing their goals. If the agent/ISA doesn’t know what to say, or how to convert a lead from a “no” to a “yes”, they will not feel comfortable or confident lead generating. At that point, they will make all sorts of excuses for why they can’t or won’t bring in new business.

Objection handling often stops inside sales agents in their tracks. They are afraid that they won’t know exactly what to say when the lead objects to them or objects to an appointment. The old school way of handling objections with snarky scripts is so 1990. 

These days we handle objections in a much more sophisticated and conversational way. Teach your agents to ask questions to get to the bottom of a lead’s objection. Offering leads a different solution to reach an even bigger and better outcome is the best way to handle a negative response.

Circumvent the natural fear of objections with a comprehensive training on what to say and when to say it. Focus on training them to ask powerful questions that compel the lead to almost ask the sales person for the appointment. 

Let Your Inside Sales Agent Grow Your Business

Alright, so let’s bring this all back home. Even if you are killing it, if you are the best person at your business or too critical to the daily grind, you are going to hit a ceiling. You can only do so much! And as the owner and leader of the company, you need to have time to look at and consider the big picture. That’s how you will grow your business.

But in order to be able to grow your business, make more money, and create more time for yourself, is if you can effectively hire and train awesome people. And of those two things, training is the most critical. You don’t need to hire sales experts, hire people who are ready to work and then build a consistent and effective training system.

Train your inside sales agents to be masters of your sales process and masters of their craft. They will bring in the leads, nurture the leads, and set appointments with the leads. You will be amazed at how much awesome ISAs will be able to grow your company without you in the trenches each day. They will flourish and your business will begin growing to a degree you hadn’t thought possible. Hire go-getters, and concentrate their training in these areas to make them unstoppable.

Telemarketers vs Inside Sales Agents: Who Should You Hire?

telemarketer or inside sales agent ISA training
telemarketer or inside sales agent ISA training

Telemarketer vs Inside Sales Agent: Who Should You Hire?

Telemarker vs. Inside Sales Agent

Let’s face it, we all hate telemarketers. They seem to call us at the most inopportune times (like during family dinner), they try to sell us things we have no interest in, and their scripts often scream sleazy salesman. On the surface, the job of a telemarketer and an inside sales agent can seem similar. But aside from both using the telephone to connect with potential leads, they don’t really have too much in common.

Telemarketers

When thinking about a telemarketer vs. inside sales agent, it helps to first understand the distinction between the two. A telemarketer is typically more like a hired hand. The necessary qualifications include being alive, being able to talk on the phone, and being able to dial quickly to make it through their lists. They don’t necessarily have any sales skills or experience, and are definitely not sales professionals. That being true, they don’t generally have a very intimate knowledge of the product they are selling. They just call, read from their script, hang up, and call again. Speed is the key.

More often than not, telemarketers deal with single call close deals, selling business to consumer goods. The nature of the job means that they are predominantly selling small-ticket, impulse buy goods. There is no warming up of leads and no building a relationship with potential customers. The job of a telemarketer is to take an unqualified prospect and turn them directly into a customer.

This is an extremely difficult task to accomplish, which is why telemarketers focus on volume rather than strategy. A telemarketer can probably only expect to close 3 or 4 out of a list of 100 prospects. This forces them to act in the salesly, aggressive manner that has become so intimately associated with them.

Inside Sales Agent

An inside sales agent (ISA) on the other hand, is a sales professional who happens to conduct their business over the phone, rather than in person. They typically deal with big ticket, larger investment products.

Their goal is nurture the lead from start to finish, from prospect to client. Often they own the entire sales process. They do their own prospecting, reach out to potential leads, show the lead their intimate understanding of their needs and the product they are selling, and make follow up calls as necessary in order to set up an appointment.

The biggest distinction when considering a telemarketer vs inside sales agent is that inside sales aims to build rapport and develop a relationship, while telemarketers are looking for the quick, single call sale. Whereas a telemarketer reads from a script, an ISA listens to specific problems and works with the lead to find a solution.   

Inside Sales Real Estate Agent

In terms of the real estate industry, the role of an inside sales agents goes beyond the general view of appointment setters or lead scrubbers—they are skilled real estate professionals who are highly trained, skilled and dedicated to their craft in the same degree as an outside agent.  The advantage of the ISA is that they specialize in the initial tasks of lead generation, lead nurturing and setting listing and buyer consultation appointments.

Here is the basic structure of the inside sales role:

  • ISAs receive inbound leads and conduct rigorous outbound prospecting to uncover leads.
  • ISAs scrub leads, determine motivation, timing and ability.
  • ISAs set the listing and buyer consultation appointment for an outside agent.
  • ISAs also maintain a nurturing database of leads and work that database to produce future appointments.

Telemarketer vs Inside Sales Agent, Which Is the Better Option for You? 

Cold calling unqualified prospects is quickly going by the wayside. According to a study done by Insidesales.com, only 5%-10% of people answer their phones for unknown numbers. A study by Retailing Today showed that 81% of people research online before buying a product, and 61% read reviews before buying a product.

These findings don’t bode well for cold-calling telemarketers. Inside sales agents in the real estate industry are professionals who work to find qualified leads who are interested in buying or selling a property.

They are stepping in to fulfill a need and to work with the lead to solve a problem they are actively trying to solve on their own. This is far more than simply moving down a list of random phone numbers hoping someone bites.

Telemarketers vs inside sales agents? If you truly want to grow your real estate business, you know which choice is correct. 

Inside Sales Agents: Who To Hire to Grow Your Business

real estate inside sales agent coaching
real estate inside sales agent coaching

Inside Sales Agents: Who to Hire to Grow Your Business

How to hire inside sales agents

Hiring good people is one of the most difficult aspects of running a team or a business. Hiring inside sales agents is especially critical.

To start, it can be hard to feel comfortable passing off some of the responsibility that you have been shouldering. This is your business or your team—something that you have poured hours of work, sweat and tears into. This produces a bit of reservation when it comes time to let someone else track down and follow up on leads in your name.

In addition to that, how do you even find the right people to hire? And then once you’ve hired them, how do you train them to treat your business as if they were you? The key to both of these questions is to hire motivated doers, and then focus completely on the second question and train the heck out of them.

Inside sales agents are a must for growing your real estate business

But, despite these difficulties, you’ll have to hire ISAs (inside sales agents) if you are looking to scale your business, or even if you are just ensuring that it is sustainable. As you and your real estate agents get busier and busier, lead generation and acquisition are the first two things to go by the wayside. As this Follow Up Boss article points out, effective ISAs will bring you a 5 to 1 return on investment.

And this makes sense, why shouldn’t they go by the wayside? You and your agents are busy going to appointments, showing houses, closing deals and doing all the mountains of paperwork that go along with every step in the real estate process. But having a consistent system to find and nurture new leads, as well as to continuously set appointments for you and your agents, is something you have to have.

You’re going have no shows, you’re going to lose clients, you’re going to have sales fall through. This is the nature of the business and is unavoidable. Having a solid and successful inside sales team is how you mitigate the inevitable losses. They are the ones who keep a steady stream of new business coming through the door. And it all starts with hiring the right people.

It’s all about the mindset

Once you have made the decision to grow your business and hire one or more inside sales agent(s), the biggest fear typically becomes, “what if I hire the wrong person?!?”. Hiring the wrong person can cost countless hours and thousands of dollars—time and money you don’t have. So the key is to hire the right person, the first time around. According to insidesales.com, there are seven critical attributes that salespeople have to have. Of the seven, only three have directly to do with sales. The other four are as follows:
  • A good attitude

  • A desire to get better and learn

  • A desire to be better than the competition

  • The highest degree of integrity (i.e. they don’t lie or mislead clients or potential clients)

So four of these seven critical attributes all have to do with personality and mindset. What this means is that you don’t have to stress over finding the “perfect” sales person. You need to find someone who has a track record of producing tangible value for themselves and their employers (ideally, this would be something quantitative they can show you in an interview), someone who has a “show, don’t tell” attitude, and someone whose favorite words are “if I don’t know, I will figure it out”.

Let’s talk specifics

So you find a person with a solid go-getter attitude who doesn’t have a propensity towards lying and stealing. That’s the most important part when hiring an inside sales agent. But in addition to that, there are certain skills or qualities that they should possess.

First off, they have to be relatively extroverted or, at least, be able to talk on the phone with people. If they enjoy talking to people on the phone then that is a plus. This includes being effective at reading people over the phone and being able to react in real time to they pick up.

Second, they should feel comfortable being fairly assertive and forward. Not to the point of making anyone feel uncomfortable (this is where being able to read people comes in), but whether listening or speaking, your inside sales agent should be in control of the conversation.

Third, inside sales agents have to be okay with doing repetitive tasks and have to pay close attention to detail. Handling CRMs, setting appointments, and generally moving prospects through the sales funnel requires precision and documentation. Making sure all the information is correctly recorded is a must.

Your inside sales agents will be rock stars

If you are going to scale or sustain your real estate business or team, then you need great inside sales agents providing you with a constant stream of new leads. The most important thing is finding someone who wants to grow and produce value for the company and themselves (if you find someone who understands that producing value for one produces value for the other, you’ve struck gold). Then just make sure they are good at talking on the phone and train the heck out of them.

You’ll have more time and your business will grow by leaps and bounds. What are you waiting for?