The Simple Guide to Cold Calling for Real Estate Agents
Cold calls can be one of the most beneficial yet frightening aspects of gathering leads and real estate business overall. If you are not familiar, cold calls are a matter of calling potential clients with whom you have no prior association with, in hopes of gaining their business. The task itself can be a little intimidating, and it’s an understandable fear.
Cold calls are a process of putting yourself out there in hopes you don’t get hung up on, yelled at, or whatever may arise with the stranger on the other end of the phone. But, there is also no greater way to build confidence and a thick skin than cold calls, and they can greatly benefit your business.
Think of it this way – while many other agents in your demographic are lurking social media in hopes of new leads knocking on their door, cold calls are a way of taking matters into your own hands. Pick up the phone and test your luck – with the right tools and proper preparation, you’re likely to find yourself networking at a much faster rate than many other social media-driven agents.
Luckily enough, we’re here to provide you with the one-stop, comprehensive guide to cold calls, complete with tips and scripts to set you up for a successful networking strategy.
The Basics – Here’s What You Need
There’s a few key factors when going into cold calls that are important to set yourself up for success. Each aspect is equally as important, and luckily we’re here to prepare you for a strong foundation in all areas.
Have a positive mindset – and a good sense of humor.
First and foremost, know what to expect going into it. Think of how many times a month you get an unwarranted phone call – maybe it’s a scam, a customer service representative, or a cold call itself. How do you respond to it? More than likely, you send it to voicemail, or maybe you answer and reject them. We’ve all been there, because we all have our own lives we’re trying to upkeep! It’s important to have this perspective going into making a cold call. You’re likely to be rejected 90% of the time, and sometimes rudely so.
Having a positive mindset focused on growth, and a good sense of humor about rejection will take you much further than you realize. This process will help you build confidence, a thick skin, and strengthen your networking skills like no other. Stick with it – that one successful call could lead to many more successes in your career!
You’re probably thinking, “That’s all a lot easier for you to say!” Hey, we’ve been there too – cold calls are quite the act of putting yourself out there, and building a thick skin is not always an enjoyable process. But, you will grow, and your business will thank you for it in the future. Focus on growth, and your future successes will be all the more sweet!
Have solid leads.
Cold calls are great and all, but they probably won’t get you very far if you don’t have anyone to call. It’s important to have solid leads to start with, and see where it takes you. There are a variety of scenarios in which you may be cold calling – whether it be from FSBO (for sale by owner) listings, expired listings, or general networking.
Depending on your demographic, many areas have different resources for local FSBO leads that are a great starting point. Services like REDX provide leads based on your zip code for a small fee, and are a great starting point resource if you’re just getting started. You could also try Onyx Leads, Geo Leads, or even FSBO’s off of Zillow.
Here’s how to easily access FSBO’s on Zillow –
Find listings that have been for rent on Zillow for a while and ask if there was a price point that would make them consider selling.
Scripts, scripts, scripts.
Last but most definitely not least, you need to know what you’re going to say once your lucky call picks up the phone! Even the most seasoned professionals have various scripts prepared based on the type of cold call. There’s a number of different reasons why you may be reaching out, and having a script prepared for each scenario will help to relieve the pressure on yourself, plus make the call much more intentional and productive. The person on the other end will appreciate your preparedness, and be much more inclined to listen when they feel like you are not wasting their time.
There’s three basic scenarios in which you may be cold calling are as follows: expired listings, FSBO listings, and circle prospecting (also known as general networking). Here’s a basic guide on scripts for each scenario, and you can tweak them to make them more natural and personal to you.
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Scripts
Cold calling can be especially promising in regards to FSBO leads, because these people have already set the intention and publicly shown the intent to sell. You already know going into these calls that the person on the other end is looking to sell quick – it’s just your job to convince them to use your help.
Keep in mind that many for sale by owner listings are with the intent to cut down on commissions and fees and save some money. These calls will be more successful if you prepare ahead of time with that expectation. Try out the following script, inspired by David Hill’s “We’re Trying to Save Some Money” template.
“Hello, this is _____ calling from ______. I see you have a property for sale in my coverage area. Is it still available?”
“Oh, great. Are you currently working with any real estate agents?”
“No, I am not looking to work with an agent at this time.”
“I can understand and respect that. If you don’t mind my asking, what made you decide to sell without utilizing a professional agent’s services?”
“We are trying to save some money and not have to worry about a large commission.”
“I completely understand. In fact, about 90% of all “for sale by owner” listings are listed without an agent as a matter of saving money. If I could get you the same amount or possibly more money for your property by using our services, would that be of interest to you?”
“Maybe. I’m still not sure.”
“No worries, I am here to help. If you don’t mind my asking, what is the reason for your sale?”
“We are relocating for (work, family, school).”
“Well, congratulations. When will you be moving?”
“We need to move by ______.”
“I see, so the clock is ticking a bit for you. Would you be open to professional services if I could sell the house before you have to move and secure a comfortable financial situation for you with the sale?”
“I would consider it.”
“I would love to help you – why don’t we meet? I will be completely transparent with you. If I can do it, I will extend my services to you. If I cannot do it, I will be upfront and inform you as such. How does that sound?”
“Great. When is a good time for you to meet? I can be available for you at any time.”
**This is a great script to have memorized and prepared when making FSBO calls, because they are most commonly the reason for sellers not to be utilizing a professional agent. The keys in this template are to extend compassion and understanding for wanting to save money and prioritizing their needs first. An overall tone of, “I would love to see if I can make this easier for you,” is the most productive here. Lastly, the openness that you are not a superhero but will do the best in your ability to help them out creates a sense of honesty and camaraderie.
Another great FSBO scripts to consider is inspired by Mike Ferry’s strategy of finding the seller’s ideal agent. Here’s a good example.
“Hi there, my name is ____ and I am from ____. Do you have a few moments to discuss some details about the sale of your house?”
“Thanks in advance for your time! I will make this quick for you. Just because I’m curious – if you sold your house, where would you be headed next?”
“We’re relocating to _____.”
“Congratulations! How soon do you have to be there?”
“We’re looking to move in the next six months or so.”
“Fantastic. Well, you have some time but it also would be great to secure a sale so you can rest easy, I’m sure.”
“What methods are you using for marketing your home?”
“Internet listings, local advertisements, etc.”
“That’s great! What made you decide to list as for sale by owner, rather than utilizing a professional agent?”
“We’re trying to save some money.”
“I completely understand. Did you do any research on agents before listing your house?”
“Good for you! Not everyone does. When you were researching agents, what were some of the key factors you were looking for in an agent?”
“Someone reliable and communicative, and someone who would prioritize our needs.”
“Absolutely. If I were able to meet all of your needs to your satisfaction and sell your house within your necessary time frame, would you perhaps be be open to professional agent services?”
“That’s great! I would love to meet with you and see if that’s something we could accomplish together.”
“How about we pick a date that works with your schedule to meet as soon as you’d like. If you sell your house before then, great! If not, we can sit down, collaborate and see what I can do for you. How does that sound?”
“Okay, that sounds good.”
“Amazing. What is a good date that I can set aside for you?”
**This approach works great because it develops a tone that says you’d love to help them, but eliminates any sort of pressure on the seller. Acknowledging their ability to independently sell their home releases any pushiness on the seller, while still extending a friendly eagerness to get them a “win.”
Scripts for Expired Listings
When it comes to expired listings, oftentimes the homeowner has already spoken to a plethora of real estate agents. It’s important to acknowledge this fact right off the bat, and prepare yourself if they seem bothered or disgruntled by the call. Here’s a simple template that establishes your position and introduces your services, without seeming too pushy
“Hi there, my name is _____ with _____. Is this the homeowner at (address)?”
“I work in the neighborhood, and I just noticed that your home is no longer for sale. Are you planning to put it back on the market?”
“Yes, maybe later (soon, not for a while, etc.).”
“I understand it can be frustrating – it’s a great house. Did you have any offers?”
“Yes, but they were far too low. / No, we didn’t get any offers.”
“I was just surprised to see it on the market for that long, I assumed it would have been gone rather quickly, maybe within a few weeks. What made you decide to sell?”
“We’re relocating to ___.”
“Oh, congratulations – that’s exciting. Well, I’m sure you’ve already spoken to a few people already, but I would be happy to extend my services to you. I’ve worked in the business for __ years and I know this area very well. I’d love the chance to simply take a tour of your home, and perhaps I will have some insight to offer you on what may be holding it back from selling.”
“How is this Saturday at __ for your schedule? I’d love to help you to secure a sale much sooner rather than later.”
**This script works because it acknowledges the frustration over having a long-listed home, and encourage the homeowner by validating the property’s ability to sell. Another helpful aspect of this script is the acknowledgement that you realize they’ve likely spoken to multiple people before. This is a way of extending compassion for all the frustration around trying to sell, and humbly introducing your services.
If the listing has been expired for a rather long time and you find the homeowner hasn’t relisted due to the frustration around trying to sell, a script that focuses on empathy and re-introducing the prospects of selling is a great go-to.
“Hi, my name is ___ at ___. Is this the homeowner at (address)?”
“I hope you’re having a great day. I was just calling because I noticed your house has been taken off the market. It’s a great house, what happened?”
“It didn’t work out with our real estate agent.” / “We didn’t get any offers.”
“I’m really sorry to hear that. It sounds like you had a really bad experience. Well, I really love your home and was wondering if you have any interest in relisting it.”
“Yes, we’ve considered it.” / “No, I haven’t thought about it.”
“Sure thing. Well, I thought you might be visiting with agents more formally at this time and I would love the opportunity to show you my work in your neighborhood thus far, and see if I can help to set you up for success as well.”
“Okay, I guess we can discuss.”
“How about I come by on Saturday and just walk you through how I sell homes – I guarantee it’s different from the approaches you’ve seen before. I will only need 20 minutes of your time.”
Scripts for Circle Prospecting (General Networking)
Last but not least, circle prospecting can be a great way to gain new contacts and further familiarize yourself with the neighborhood(s). You can reach out to leads in your active neighborhoods, or introduce yourself to leads in neighborhoods you’re less active in. Here is a great template to introduce yourself and your services, without seeming too pushy or demanding to homeowners.
“Hi there, my name is ___ from ___. Is this the homeowner at ___?”
“Fantastic – how are you today? It’s beautiful outside today.”
“I’m good, thanks. Yes, the sunshine is really nice.”
“I’m always grateful for a sunny day. Well, I don’t want to take up too much of your schedule today, but I noticed there are some new listings for houses and condos in your neighborhood. I wanted to introduce myself to you and see if there’s anything I can do for you regarding buying or selling real estate.”
“No thanks.” / “We might be moving in a few months.” / “Yes, that would be helpful.”
“Well, one day you might want to buy or sell. Would it be okay if with stayed in touch?” / “That’s fantastic! I would love to set up a meeting with you in the near future to evaluate your needs and see if I can strike a fantastic deal for you.”
**Keep in mind that circle prospect calling is very hit-or-miss, because most people are not going to be immediately looking to buy or sell. This is a method of making contacts and networking to get your name and services out there. This friendly approach and the preparation to adapt to whatever their answer may be will get you far.
A Few Final Tips
Like we said at the beginning, the best way to navigate cold calls is to be prepared with a variety of scripts for different scenarios. Networking is a matter of doing what you can to set yourself up for success beforehand, with the right mindset, the appropriate contacts, and some great talking points. Here are a few final tips that are great to incorporate across the board when it comes to cold calls.
1. Talk less, listen more.
Most homeowners feel threatened and/or defensive when they feel as though they are being pitched to. Spending more time listening to the seller rather than talking about what you can do for them will build their trust in you.
2. Ask open-ended questions.
Ask the homeowner about their wants and needs, rather than pigeonholing them into specific prices and timelines. Asking questions such as, “What is your dream location if you were to sell this house?” will make you feel like a friend to them, while also opening up the door of possibility to them.
3. Call at the right time.
Everyone has their own life to upkeep, and it’s important to analyze your demographic and consider the times in which they are likely the most available. Generally speaking, cold calls are most successful when performed between 10 A.M. and 2 P.M. However, if your neighborhood consists of more business class patrons rather than family living, it may be helpful to consider later hours in the day (but no later than 7 P.M.).
4. Have a voicemail plan.
It’s inevitable that you will reach a voicemail, probably more times than you’re anticipating! Just as it’s important to have a good script prepared for any type of cold call, it’s equally important to have a voicemail template set up as well.
Modify your cold call script for the type of listing you’re inquiring about to leave a concise, friendly message. Introduce who you are, where you’re from, and leave the homeowner with a small taste of what you have to offer. They key to a great voicemail message is one that sets up your lead to call you back.
For example, saying, “I saw your home is no longer for sale, however I think it’s a fantastic home that we could do something really exciting with,” is a great call to action that will intrigue them enough to call you back.
While there is no be-all, end-all approach to cold calls, the best thing you can do is prepare for all the possible scenarios you may experience. Most importantly, don’t put it off! When it comes to networking, you learn the most by doing – and there is no greater time to swim than throwing yourself into the pool. Keep in mind that cold calls are a bold approach, and oftentimes high risk equals a higher reward. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! You’re likely to find yourself networking and succeeding much faster than the agents who are waiting for opportunity to knock on their door. Seek out your own opportunity – and feel good watching your personal and business growth!