The Key to Cold Calling Is Objection Handling
Cold calling is a scary prospect for many. Especially those just starting out in phone sales. You have to dial a lot of numbers, have many many people not pick up the phone, many of those who do pick up are likely to hang up on you, and those who do talk to you are probably going to offer some resistance to whatever it is you are trying to sell them on. Put simply, it is not for the faint of heart.
Hands down, the biggest problem that cold callers face in the real estate industry or any other industry is that, nowadays, people don’t pick up the phone. Think about your own life—you, like most of us, are most likely inundated with calls and emails and ads every day. What has this led to? People tend to more and more not answer the phone when they don’t recognize the number that is calling. This is the behavior that the prevalence of telemarketers and endless salesy calls has pushed people towards.
The Key to Real Estate Cold Calling Is Staying Positive
We’ve talked about this topic many times in the past. And let’s face it, cold calling has an almost visceral negative connotation. The first key to being successful on your real estate calls is to completely put that notion to bed for you and any agents or ISAs you have working for you. Remove it from your mind.
Like most things in life, cold calling successfully all starts with a positive outlook. You can master the technical side of cold calling—research your leads, memorize the perfect script, constantly practice and improve on objection handling, and perfect your amazing sounding phone voice. It all is for nothing unless you are telling yourself the right stories about why you are calling in the first place, and your role as a sales person.
Staying positive about your role and about the disposition of the lead is paramount.
If you can understand and cultivate a positive story in your head about what you are doing—if cold calling has a positive connotation in your mind—you will be a cold calling master. If you have negative stories in your head about cold calling, lead generation, setting appointments, etc. and what those things mean about you as a sales person, then no matter what you do or say, you won’t cold call successfully and you won’t generate leads.
Here are three things you can do to help cultivate a positive mindset and interaction:
- 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.
- 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.
- When you feel yourself becoming negative, take a break and focus on your commitment to helping others. Remember, they are benefiting from your call because what you are offering is valuable to them.
Four Most Common Real Estate Objections
After staying positive, the key to real estate cold calling is the ability to overcome objections. As we mentioned, many of the few people who do end up answering the phone are going to offer you a lot of resistance. Most likely they’ve heard from a lot of agents before you’ve called them and they are also most likely busy doing something else when they picked up the phone. Below are four of the most common real estate objections and how you can overcome them.
- “I’m busy right now and can’t talk” – As an agent or ISA, we’ve all faced this objection before. The lead is just trying to get right off the phone as quickly as they answered it. Whether they are blowing you off or actually can’t talk at that time, the most important thing you can do is determine whether they are worth you calling back. That means you want to get the lead to commit to a time you can call them back, but you also want to make sure they are indeed selling or buying a house. Questions like, “Just to make sure I am not wasting your time when I call back, you are still interested in buying/selling your home, correct?” Or a question like, “You are still looking for an agent, correct?”
Just something quick and easy to make sure it is worth your time to follow up with them.
- “Bring me a buyer” – This is another very common real estate seller objection. The lead doesn’t want to hire you, they don’t want to meet with you, and they don’t want to hear your spiel about how connecting sellers with buyers is what you do for a living and can do it for them. They just want to talk if you can bring a buyer with you on day one. This is a tough objection. Tough because you have to educate them a bit on how the process works, as well as understand their current plan, without making them wrong or making them feel dumb.
The key here again is to ask the right questions. Get to the heart of their plan by asking them things like “what is your back up plan if no agent can bring you a buyer on day one before even viewing the property?” Or, “Are you looking to have an agent bring you a buyer before they view your home and have a chance to market it?” You can also level with them. Say something like “It sounds like you have been talking to a lot of agents and telling them all the same thing—has it worked yet?” When they say “no”, now you have a conversation starter and can say “oh, well why do you think that is?”
- “I’m just going to sell it on my own” – Selling homes on their own is a real estate objection that is becoming more and more common nowadays. With the rise of the internet and websites like Zillow, a lot of people think selling their home on their own will be a breeze and they don’t need to “waste” money paying for an agent to do it for them.
A good way to go about overcoming this objection is to really get to the heart of the lead’s motivation. Do that by separating selling it themselves from actually selling their home, and then figuring out which one is more important to them. Since most FSBOs are selling on their own to make more money on the sale, you can also ask them “What is more important to you, selling your home on your own, or making more money on the sale?” When they say “more money”, swoop in and explain to them how you or your team can make them more money than they can hope to make on their own.
- “I want to wait for the market to improve” – Every seller wants to get the best price for their home, so you’re going to hear this objection quite a bit when people see (or think they see) that the market is in a bit of a downturn. The thing is, they don’t really care how the market is currently doing. They don’t care what other houses are going for. They only care that you can get their house sold for the price they really want.
To overcome this objection you have to ask them questions about their process or plan. “You say you want to wait until the market gets better, what do you mean by better/what is your definition of ‘better’?” In other words, learn what “better” means to this lead. You can also ask, “How do you think waiting to list your home will benefit you?” Get to the crux of what they really want and offer the lead a route to get there that doesn’t involve waiting for the market to “improve.”
Strategies for Overcoming Real Estate Objections
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:
- Acknowledge – Listen to what they say and let them know that you understand it.
- Paraphrase – Restate what they said without leading and without interpretation.
- 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.
- Determine the unique benefit or result they hope to achieve – this is their sought after outcome.
- 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.
At the end of the day, you have to close on your calls and objections are your route to close. Cold calling is only scary if you expect it to be scary and don’t focus on honing your objection handling skills. Learn the common objections, practice the strategies to overcome them. Your confidence will swell as a result.