5 mistakes to avoid when cold calling

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In the last blog I talked about cold calling tips for real estate agents. This time I will be covering 5 important mistakes to avoid when you are trying to set appointments by talking to people on the phone.

Not using scripts. There are two parts to this. Number one is you calling a lead without a slightest idea of what to say past “hello”. It could be you believe you are such a good communicator that you will be able to bring the conversation to setting an appointment without having a structure. You may be thinking that a canned set of questions is too simplistic and demeaning for you and that you will be able to come up with questions and conversational topics right on the spot while at the same time directing the conversation to an appointment. You may also be thinking that by memorizing a script for a lead source you will instantly be discovered on the phone as someone using a script and they will not want to talk to you, because you will sound robotic.

Number two is that you know the script, but don’t have it in front of you. This is overconfidence. It is a lesser mistake, but still a mistake. The main idea here is to know, what the next question you need to ask is, no matter where you are in a conversation. When you don’t have a script in front of you, you will likely be: 1. Skipping questions; 2. Forgetting the structure of the conversation and not directing it to the appointment. 3. Asking close ended questions. To avoid this, practice and internalize the script you like and always have it in front of you when prospecting.

Not practicing. Or practicing on the leads. Think about any professional sport. Like tennis. When you are first starting to learn the game, it is all about practice. You are simply not ready to start implementing game strategies. You first need to learn the basic shots, the footwork and improve your general physical ability. What is interesting though, that even though you will improve by leaps and bounds over time, the daily practice remains a key component of the athlete’s daily training schedule. Even after you become the pro, you will likely still be practicing significantly more than playing games.

It is the same in real estate. This is a skill based business. When you are calling a lead source for the first time and you did not practice your scripts, whatever strategy you were thinking about using on the lead is likely not going to work, because you get too emotional, forget what you want to say or sound scared and unconvincing. In any case you will be loosing opportunities. Not practicing is a direct route to lacklustre results, frustration and self-criticism.

Not having a specific call schedule. If you don’t know when you need to start your calls, you will likely not start making them at all. If you have decided to start going to the gym 3 times a week, but have no specific days or times on your schedule, thinking that you will go when you have the time, you will discover that you are simply never there. Even if you went a few times in the first week or two, this will quickly subside and you will go back to your status quo of not going to the gym at all. By not having the gym on your schedule, you will be skipping workouts and not achieving your longterm health and fitness goals. By not having prospecting time window on your schedule, you will be sacrificing your long term financial goals and will likely be adding to the already abysmal statistics of the 87% failure rate in the real estate business.

Having too many leads. How many leads do you have? This is a questions my coach asked me when started working with one. I calculated what I had, and said 25. He said that most top performing agents have 2 to 3 leads that they are working on. Just 2 to 3. What this means is that you are only going to be counting leads that are ready to do something now and the rest is your long term nurture contacts. They don’t fit into this narrow definition of a “lead”. I would urge you to only consider contacts that are ready to do something within the next couple of weeks as leads and focus all of your attention and persistence on them. Go after these leads with gusto and prove to them that you will deliver what they need. If you have more than 5 leads that you are woking on every day, sit down and reassess your definition of a lead.

Not tracking your prospecting performance. If you are an athlete, who wants to play in the major leagues, you have to know your numbers and your averages. This is how you show the world who you are while not on the field playing. This will also serve as the baseline, off of which you will be working on improving your performance. If you are not tracking your numbers, even at the most simplistic level, there is no way you or your business can improve and grow. Numbers tracking at the end of your prospecting routine has to be so engrained in you that forgetting to do it would happen no more often than forgetting to brush your teeth in the morning. You could also be sending these numbers to your coach and your accountability partners, so they can see where you are at. Based on these numbers only, your coach could suggest a few changes to your routine to make it more efficient and your accountability partner will kick your butt, if you are underperforming.

If you get the combination of what to do and what not to do in your real estate practice right and you make this a sustainable daily routine, you will be able to grow or at the very least hold your positions even in a declining market.

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