Stay Relevant When Real Estate Cold Calling

real estate cold calling
real estate cold calling

Stay Relevant When Real Estate Cold Calling

Cold calling in real estate is one of those activities that no one likes doing, but that sometimes has to be done. The problem is that most cold calling techniques are flawed. In fact, according to some sources, about 97% of cold calls are a waste of time. This is a huge issue, because, although it is becoming more and more difficult as answer rates plummet and we move completely into the digital age, cold calling still remains one of the best ways to find solid leads and pump more dollars into your business.

Despite this, many people will argue that cold calling in real estate is on its way out, if not already completely dead. There is some truth to this, as the statistics for cold calling don’t look too great. A Keller Center Research Report from Baylor University analyzed more than 6,000 real estate cold calls and concluded that only 28% were answered, with just 1% converting to appointments. I’ve also written in the past about how new, modern marketing channels through emailing, social media, and texting are quickly picking up steam when compared to traditional phone calls.

However, cold calling still has value and produces results for real estate businesses. The same Keller Report also found that for every 209 calls, one appointment was set. Accounting for the time taken for bad and good calls, the estimated time needed to secure one appointment was 7 hours. In a rough ROI sketch for residential brokers, with a 2:1 appointment to listing ratio, the study concluded that they would be working at $387.7 per hour. Keep in mind that this study doesn’t account for calling fatigue and the randomness of leads, but it can serve as a baseline for the value of cold calling in its most isolated form.

How to Be Successful on Real Estate Cold Calls

At Smart Inside Sales, we talk a lot about objection handling and how that relates to closing on your calls and being a successful cold caller. After all, caller objections give you the ammunition you need to be able to prove your value to the lead and that you understand where they are coming from, from the lead’s perspective. This means it is very important to recognize and practice common real estate objections and have a consistent strategy for overcoming them.

Before you can even hear an objection, however, you have to first keep the lead from hanging up on you right away. Your first few statements are extremely important. Think about it this way, so few people pick up the phone nowadays, that if you have someone who does pick up, you do not want to mess up this increasingly rare opportunity.

At the very beginning of the phone call, you have to successfully communicate why you are calling them, and why you are calling them when you are calling them. In other words, you have to convince the lead that what you are doing is relevant to them. This means you have to take a long, hard look at your communication strategies to continually improve your successful conversion rate. It’s critical to be informed about your leads, their interests, and to hit them with timely and relevant information.

Tailor Your Calls to the Specific Lead

In order to turn that 97% cold calling stat on its head, you have to be smarter on your calls. Like I just mentioned, a big part of this is proving your relevancy right off the bat. One way to convince the lead they want to be on this particular phone call is to tailor your opening statement to the specific person your speaking to. That means using any and all information you have about the lead to make it more personalized. Take a look at both of these opening statements from real estate agents:

“Hi, my name is Steve and I’m calling to see if you are interested in buying a house.”

This statement is exceptionally boring and instantly communicates the fact that you are making tons of calls a day and don’t have the time or motivation to really understand this specific lead’s situation. You can improve this statement in several ways. First, instead of just starting with “hi”, use the lead’s name. Say “Hi Mike” or “Hi Ashley”—assume the person you are calling is the person who answers the phone.

Next, add something that lets the lead know that you know at least something about their situation. Something like, “Hi Mike, I saw you were looking for homes in Downtown Savannah”. By tailoring your message to the interests and behavior of your leads, you increase your chances of a positive sale. In fact, you’re 51% more likely to achieve your sales numbers and be 80% more productive.

Conclusion: Real Estate Cold Calling Isn’t So Bad

Despite many opinions to the contrary, cold calling can still produce results. The key is, if you can get a lead to answer the phone, to prove that you are someone worth talking to as quickly as possible. Once you show them that you are relevant to their real estate situation, then you can get into how you are able to help them and take on any objections they may throw you at you.

The Different Types of “No’s” You’ll Hear on Your Calls

real estate objections
real estate objections

The Different Types of "No's" You'll Hear on Your Calls

Whether you are calling buyers or sellers, you are going to be dealing with a lot of objections and a lot of “no’s”. No matter if you’re an inside sales agent (ISA) or real estate agent, it comes with the territory. If you didn’t want to hear no’s and face rejection a lot of the time, I’m sorry to say, you probably should have chosen another industry.

But assuming you chose this industry because you wanted a challenge and the big reward that comes along with, and assuming you knew what you were getting yourself into, let’s look a little closer at the different types of no’s leads may throw at you. Because, although they may all feel exactly the same when you are on the receiving end of one, there are different types apparent rejections and different ways to overcome them.

Real Estate Objections Are Part of the Gig

You’re reading this for one reason: to convert more on your calls, set more appointments, and make more money. The three go hand in hand and you can’t do one without doing the rest. If you’re a real estate ISA or agent then most of your time on the phone is going to be spent overcoming objections. Basically, objection is just another word for the lead saying no to you.

There are a lot of reasons why buyers and sellers are going to come back at you with an objection. We’ve discussed a lot of them in our group role play training sessions and in our previous articles. Some of the most common real estate objections from buyers and sellers include:

  • I’m busy and can’t talk right now
  • Bring me a buyer and then we’ll talk
  • I’m just going to sell it on my own
  • We’re just looking
  • We already have a friend who is a real estate agent
  • First we have to sell our house
  • We aren’t ready now so we want to wait

And the list of real estate objections goes on and on. Trust me, people never run out of ways to say no to you, get off the phone, or put off making an important decision about something (like agreeing to work with you or meet with you).

Overcoming Real Estate Objections

We’ve also discussed before at length that, although they may seem like a negative when you’re actually on the phone talking to someone, real estate objections are actually your route to close and make the sale. Objections can often give you a window into what the lead is thinking and what their current plan is to buy or sell a house. The type of objection, or “no”, delivers the insight you need to be successful on the call.

Types of Real Estate Objections: Simple No

The first type of “no” you will hear on your real estate calls is the simple no. A simple no is basically when the lead rejects you without giving you anything to work with. This is the quick “no, thank you”, “I’m busy right now and can’t talk”, and, my favorite, the “I’m not interested, please do not call me again”.

These are the simple quick rejections that the lead is using to try and end the conversation. Now, assuming they don’t immediately end the conversation by hanging up on you, the way you can try to get past a simple no is with simple questions. These questions need to aim at finding the lead’s motivation. In fact, on these types of calls when the lead basically says no right off the bat, your singular goal is to try to find out their motivation before they end the conversation.

Without understanding a real estate lead’s motivation, you have no idea what it is they are trying to achieve. If you don’t know what they are trying to achieve, you can’t make your case for how you will make that achievement possible for them. And that means you aren’t going to convert that lead into a sale.

Types of Real Estate Objections: Story No  

The second type of real estate objection or “no” is called the story objection. Although still a rejection, this type gives you much more to work with and makes the rest of the call a bit easier. This type of objection is when the lead describes the factors explaining why they won’t set an appointment with you or work with you. In other words, they tell you a story and go into detail about why they won’t say yes.

This is better than a simple no for two primary reasons. First, by explaining the situation to you they are choosing to stay on the phone a bit longer and are willing, it seems, to invest a bit more time in talking to you. Second, they are laying on tons of information about why they are buying or selling a house, what their goals are, and how they hope to achieve those goals. This is exactly the ammunition you need to make the sale.

Now, not to beat a dead horse, but the way you overcome this type of objection is by using what we call the PPO technique. That stands for Perspective, Process, Outcome. We talk a lot about this technique to closing on real estate calls because it is VERY important.

  • The prospect’s perspective is their past experience, knowledge and speculation
  • The prospect’s process is their own plan that they have for their situation
  • The outcome is the unique result or benefit the prospect believes their process will deliver for them

Conclusion

Real estate objections can be scary, but they are not the end of the world…or the call. On the contrary, overcoming objections is how you will close on more calls and make more sales. Understand the different types of “no’s” and how to correctly respond to them.

Holiday Real Estate Trends: Do They Matter?

holiday real estate trends
holiday real estate trends

Holiday Real Estate Trends: Do They Matter?

Selling homes around the holidays is generally regarded as a bad idea. It’s a time when buyers prefer to already be settled into their home, and sellers typically don’t feel like they want strangers walking through their house. The fact that most buyers and sellers are very busy during this time and often have family coming over or staying with them doesn’t help the situation either.

For this reason, the last two months of the year have traditionally been mostly regarded as a downtime for buying or selling a home. If you couldn’t get it done before November, then it’s best to wait until after the New Year. That’s been the conventional wisdom, at least. And there is some truth to it.

Holiday Real Estate Trends

In most American real estate markets, demand follows a somewhat predictable pattern. There are typically fewer houses on the market, fewer buyers, and generally less demand during the holidays themselves. However, immediately following them, there is usually a large upsurge in demand. According to Realtor.com, the Sunday right after Christmas has been historically one of the busiest days for real estate agents, despite the fact that Christmas Eve has been one of the slowest. 

The other factor that is affected by the holidays is buyer motivation. The nature of homebuyers during the holiday season may be different than your typical clientele as they’ll focus more on researching houses on the internet (as cold weather might keep them inside) and be more adverse to other real estate competition that they might’ve seen in the warmer months.

Make Sure Your Seller Leads Know the Advantages of Selling in Winter

Typical trends aside, there are some clear advantages to selling during every season of the year. The simple fact of the matter is that some people are looking to or have to buy or sell homes no matter which season it is. The real estate market doesn’t just stand still during holidays.

Your first job as a real estate inside sales agent or outside agent is to understand what your potential client is seeking to accomplish, and how they think they are going to accomplish it. Next, your job is to determine whether their outcome will better or more easily accomplished if they list their home now (in the winter) rather than waiting four months until spring arrives.

To do this, you have to let the lead know that there are also clear advantages to listing their home in the winter that may be beneficial to them in light of their goals. Here are four reasons for sellers to list their homes in the winter:

  1. Less Competition – Because most sellers wait until the spring to list their homes, there are fewer homes on the market, which means less competition from other sellers. Additionally, the low inventory can create increase competition among buyers, which generally result in higher sale prices.
  1. Winter Brings Serious Buyers – Similar to why there is less competition in winter, this season draws out the serious buyers because most buyers think it is best to wait until spring to check out the market. The ones who do come out do so because they are serious and cannot wait until spring to purchase a home. These are not window shoppers, but motivated buyers who want to take advantage of the less competitive market and get their hands on their ideal home.
  1. You Can Highlight the Winter Side of Your Home – Show off your home’s winter-readiness. Have the fire going, showcase the hot tub, highlight the design and features that will make their life easier during winter, like an easy-to-shovel driveway, new roof and furnace, south-facing windows, and well-insulated pipes, among other things. These features, however simple, will show that your home can handle the harsh elements.
  2. Building a Connection Is Key – Critical to finding the right buyer when selling your home is having potential buyers develop a connection to your house. And the holidays can often make this easier to do. When people enter homes during the holiday season they can’t help but imagine their own decorations, tree, and their entire family all together.

Perception Is Everything

At the end of the day, the biggest thing you’ll have to overcome as a real estate inside sales agent or outside agent is the perception that people have that they can only buy and sell homes during the spring and summer.

You are inevitably going to hear objections ranging from “I don’t want people trudging through my house during the holidays”, “I’m too busy with family coming in for the holidays”, “I’m just going to wait until spring because there will be more buyers”, “My husband and I want to wait until spring to buy a house because there will be more inventory”, and so on and so forth.

The key to overcoming these objections is essentially the same as overcoming any other objection. You just have to understand the lead’s perspective, process, and outcome. Next, you have to recognize the five 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.

Conclusion

The most important thing to remember is that you are working with the lead to find a solution to their problem. If you both determine together that it is in their best interest to buy or sell their home before and directly after the holidays, given their unique situation, then you just need to convince them that you’re the agent or team that can get it done.

There’s no denying that there are some certain seasonal trends, but none of them should prevent someone from buying or selling if they actually really want to get in or out of a house now. There are advantages to selling and buying houses during both the winter and holidays.