Start early. This is important. Agents often have misgivings about starting their calls early, because they feel that the earlier they call, the higher the likelihood of rejection. There is a line of what would be too early - as in I would not recommend you call before 7:45am, as many people would be asleep at this time. Research shows that only 17% of Americans are asleep after 8am. My recommendation for the time window to start your calls would be between 7:45am and 8:30am. This way you are still catching people home and not waking the majority of them up.
Practice before you start. You may be irritated, tired or unfocused in the morning. You know that limbering up before a workout is important. The same concept applies to your cold calling. You want to be warmed up before talking to leads. There are at least a couple of reasons for doing that. One: your confidence will be higher and you will enjoy the prospecting session more and two: you will not be loosing opportunities by practicing on leads.
Have the scripts and a mirror in front of you. Setup your workspace before starting your calling session. Have a small mirror in front of you to make sure you are smiling, even when the conversation gets tough. Have your scripts beside you for reference and always look at them when talking to a lead. You will be more conversational, not having to remember what the next question is.
Allocate a specific time window for your cold calls. Thinking that I will start prospecting at some random time tomorrow morning is not going to work. Have a 3 to 4 hour time block on your calendar for every prospecting day. And once it is on your calendar, don’t deviate from it. Do half an hour of script practice before your prospecting time block and move to the cold calls right after.
Do not get distracted while no-one is picking up, so that when they do, you are ready. I have a tendency to begin to multi-task when I am automatically dialling and no-one is picking up for a minute or two. It is easy to be distracted with an auto-dialer. Right when you hit a high point of concentration reading a fresh email, while listening to your phone ring, someone picks up the line and you are not present. And the moment is lost. Stay focused on prospecting when prospecting!
Call across different lead sources. There is likely at least 5 business sources you will call. You might be calling around: 1. FSBOs, 2. Expireds, 3. Just Listed/Just Sold, 4. Sphere and Past Clients, 5. Lead followup across all lead sources. Don’t spend all of your time calling just around where you are comfortable. If you comfort is around Just Listed/Just Sold, stretch yourself and start calling FSBOs, then over time add sphere, etc. Your lead sources might be different from the ones I am suggesting. You can either cycle through every lead source every hour without having to complete every one of them in each iteration or your can go through them one by one within your time block. It is up to you. Just make sure you go through all of them every day. Consistency here is key.
Stay in the conversation. You may have heard the saying that there are only two outcomes of a conversation where there is no appointment set. Either you give up or they hang up. Neither one is the outcome you want. Your job is to develop skills to a level where they don’t hang up and instead continue elegantly persisting in the conversation while gathering intelligence to help you set that appointment. Staying in the conversation regardless of whether you feel they want to or not. Your job is to get them engaged and to ask them the right questions to understand the motivation and pricing expectations.
Go for an appointment. Always remember what your objective in the conversation is. There are at least two. Primary is to set the appointment. And unless you ask the question “… when can we get together …”, it is very unusual for people to start telling you to come over and see them. Even when you lack conversational finesse, you still need to ask your main question “… when can we get together…?”. If the motivation is not there or the pricing is off, you will go for your secondary objective. It is to gather as much information about the circumstances of the sale and the contact information for your lead, so you can follow up with them and have an intelligent conversation. Make sure to get the information on the decision makers, time frame for the move, pricing information and the specifics of the motivation for the sale. To be able to effectively contact them in the future you need a phone number (or several), their street address and the email. Before you hang up the phone, tell them that you will follow up with them in x days, weeks or months.
Pre-qualify on the spot. You can either pre-qualify right at the same time you are setting the appointment or later, a day before the appointment. I suggest pre-qualifying while you are still in the first phone conversation. I covered this in the previous blog and a video as well. By pre-qualifying on the spot you build better rapport, have to worries about getting them on the phone again and won’t do any preliminary research for a lead that may not work out at this time. Do it right away, put it on your calendar and move on with your prospecting.
These are a few simple tips that will help you improve your prospecting efficiency. It is often not about making huge changes in what you do, but fine adjustments that you stack up over time. You will notice that once you start implementing these suggestions and sticking with them every day, the quality of your prospecting will improve and since there is a direct link between prospecting consistency and the income you generate, you will start seeing gradual, but important improvements in your bottomline.