Texting vs. Cold Calling in Real Estate

texting in real estate
texting in real estate

Texting vs. Cold Calling in Real Estate

At Smart Inside Sales, we’ve written a lot about cold calling in real estate. It’s one of those activities that most people, even the best salesman, don’t really enjoy doing so much. The leads you’re calling also probably don’t look forward to being called by some stranger trying to set an appointment with them either. Cold calls can be awkward and sometimes uncomfortable for everyone involved.

But the thing is, however scary and uncomfortable, it is sometimes a necessary activity and something real estate ISAs should master. In the end, cold calling successfully in real estate ultimately comes down to your mindset, how you enter the call, and whether or not you are able to handle the objections (sometimes multiple objections) that the leads throw at you.

If you want to learn more about how to cold call the right way, then check out this previous article of ours.

Texting in Real Estate

As you may have guessed by the title of this article, we’re not discussing cold calling. The topic is texting in real estate. Texting has taken off in terms of its use when it comes to marketing and sales. This fact is as true for real estate as it is for a number of other industries. Whether reaching out for the first time or following up with a real estate lead, texting is thought of as more personal, quick and easy to send and receive, and they don’t interrupt whatever the lead happens to be doing at the time.

According to PEW research from a couple years ago, more than 70% of Americans prefer texting or emails over phone calls. And that number will have only gone up in 2020. As Millennials and GEN-Z Zoomers become more and more of the population looking to buy and sell homes, texting will become even more important.

According to another study, 90% of people both open and respond to text messages within five minutes. That number is compared to about 5-10% of leads picking up the phone and about 20% opening an email you send them. 

How Real Estate Agents Use Texting

Calling will always be a necessary activity and skill for real estate agents and inside sales agents. However, they also have to be able to adapt and adjust to changing market conditions. More than many other industries, real estate is extremely dynamic. If you don’t keep up, then you will quickly be left behind in the dust.

They way agents should start using texting is as a part of a multi-channel strategy. Hit leads and prospects from all angles using calling, texting, and emailing. Doing so gives you the greatest chance of actually communicating with them and explaining to them how you can help them achieve their goal.

If you can’t reach a lead through a phone call, then send them a text, an email, or both. The exact number varies, but somewhere between 80% and 90% of people no longer answer phone calls of numbers they don’t recognize or have saved in their phone. So it’s likely that, no matter how much cold calling volume you can do, you probably won’t see as large of a return as you will if you also contact leads through other methods.

Speed to Lead Is Important for Texting, Too

Whether you’re calling or texting or emailing, however, the speed with which you reach out to the lead is everything. A study from MIT about lead response management highlights the 5-minute rule to convert leads: the odds of qualifying a lead is 20 times higher if you contact him or her within the first 5 minutes of outreach versus in 30 minutes. Texting makes accomplishing this tight timeline much more possible.

For example, if you have thirty new leads come in, you can easily send thirty texts in thirty minutes. I challenge you to try having thirty phone calls in the same amount of time.

Other Advantages of Texting

Texting is a fairly low commitment activity that can help you qualify a lead and learn whether they are serious or not about working with someone. People may not answer a phone call for a number of reasons—maybe they are in the middle of doing something else, already on the phone, in a meeting, etc. However, if they don’t text you back then their non-response is a strong indicator that they might not be fully qualified.

Another advantage of texting leads is that you can more easily share information about your company with them. You can send a link to your website, an area report, or past sales to add legitimacy to your brand. When you call someone on the phone, you’re limited to talking about yourself and you’ll end up likely agreeing to follow up via email and share the same information anyway.

Conclusion: Find What Works for Your Real Estate Business

Cold calling and following up with leads via phone calls still has its place in the real estate world and probably will for the foreseeable future. However, it’s important to recognize new trends and new tools that you can put to use. It’s to your benefit to incorporate texting into your repertoire.  

Move Your Real Estate Business Forward after Lockdowns

real estate online leads
real estate online leads

Move Your Real Estate Business Forward after Lockdowns

I wrote in my article last week that we are finally seeing some light at the end of the coronavirus pandemic tunnel. The majority of real estate agents can go back to work showing houses, and most markets are starting to pick back up again. I also wrote that I thought now is the time to surge forward and reclaim the business you may have lost over the past few months.

All the work you put in reaching out to your network, becoming a community connector, and offering to help people in your sphere any way you could should finally be paying off. Basically, now is the time to get off of the lockdown couch (if you were ever on it) and completely throw yourself into growing your real estate business.

But what’s the best way to go about doing that?

  • Put more effort into your marketing
  • Maintain or increase your ad spend on effective marketing channels
  • Remember we’re still in the middle of a pandemic
  • When talking to leads, focus more than ever on helping them solve a problem

Should I Invest in Leads and Marketing?

During the COVID-19 lockdowns and even now as they end, many companies have cut marketing budgets or are hesitant to invest more. However, slow downs are when you should be putting even more effort into your marketing channels. I’ll qualify that statement by adding that you should be putting more effort and possibly dollars into your effective marketing channels.

It’s important to remember that effective, data driven, measurable marketing is an investment, not an expense. When done correctly, you should be able to draw a clear line from money put in to the return you receive. Despite any potential downturn in the economy or real estate markets, right now is one of the best times to grow your market share.

Why?

One reason is that over the past couple of months, the cost of ads across many different online platforms has dropped. Mostly because businesses across every industry cut their ad spends and marketing dollars when the pandemic picked up and lockdowns began. Although, as people return to work, many businesses will probably pick their marketing back up, there may still be time to take advantage of this opportunity.

The other reason is that, within the real estate industry itself (and probably within your specific market), many other agents are advertising less, marketing less, and posting less on social media. Again, this follows from the false mentality that when things slow down you and your business should slow down too.

Don’t fall into that trap.

Quarantines Forced More People Online…Even More  

Here’s the next point: as you probably know from your own lockdown experience, social media use reached levels not seen before. Tens of millions of people were sitting at home with not much to do. According to one study from a few weeks back, consumption of the Facebook News Feed was up a whopping 82%.

And although many things are beginning to open back up, there are still millions and millions of people who are sitting or working at home and who have way more time than usual on their hands. How are they passing that time? By scrolling Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok.

So, let’s recap: people are spending way more time than usual on social media, ad costs may still be down, and many of your competitors are not taking advantage of the situation. You have the opportunity to have more attention of prospects and potential clients than ever before, with probably less competition than normal.

How to Make Social Media Marketing Work for Real Estate

As always, the key to a successful content and social media strategy is making sure you’re offering useful, relevant information. In our current situation, that means being the expert of new or changing policies or rules in your market, making potential customers feel safe and secure when restarting the buying or selling process, and, generally, being helpful at every turn.

Remember that, despite re-openings, many people are still going through one of the hardest times in their lives. Continue to be empathetic when you speak with or contact leads (whether on Facebook Messenger or text or on the phone) and avoid any “hard selling”.

Speak with Online Real Estate Leads the Right Way

Once you’re actually speaking with your new online real estate leads, it’s important to have real conversations. In other words, don’t stick blindly to your script. You may still be facing more resistance than normal and maybe some people angry that you are calling them during this difficult time. People are going to want to talk and meet with you even less than normal.

That’s why it’s even more critical in our post COVID-19 lockdown world to underscore the value that you offer them. Leads care less about your past success or stats than they do about how you are going to solve their specific problem right now. What do you bring to the table and why should they care?

I’ll keep returning to our Smart Inside Sales PPO process time and time again because it works. And now more than ever, you have to take advantage of every lead who will let you talk to them on the phone.

Use the PPO Process to Overcome Objections and Close More Sales

The lead’s perspective is their past experience, knowledge and speculation.

The prospect’s process is their own plan that they have for their situation. 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.

Perspective, process, and outcome are the three things that make up any 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.

Conclusion: Move Your Real Estate Business Forward with Confidence

Now is the time to put the effort into your marketing channels. In particular, measurable, data-driven online advertising methods. Think of marketing as an investment where you can easily see your ROI for every dollar spent. If you can’t see that clearly, then it might not be the best method to use at this time.

People are on social media more than ever before and probably will continue to be in the coming months. Take advantage of a wider audience with both ads and organic posts. Once you make contact with leads, remember that the situation is still very tough. Be empathetic, helpful, and focus on how the value you bring will help solve their current problem.