There was a time when cold-calling was still considered a very viable way of marketing. Sales agents could qualify the leads and then someone would close those leads for them.
Well, that time is long gone. Cold-calling is finally dead (almost).
Nobody loves getting a sales pitch from someone whom you have never met. It’s just impolite because you are interrupting someone’s life to sell something that they might or might not need.
Cold-calling, with its very inefficient conversion rate of just 1%, is no longer viable for most businesses.
Because there are far better sales strategies available today which blow cold-calling out of the water!
Cold-calling is no longer viable for most industries. It’s becoming extinct like The Dodo, the bird which lost all of its feathers and with those feathers, its means to survive the upcoming challenges.
Now, the big question is whether cold-calling is really dead for the industry that matters most to us, which is real estate. Should you still cold-call to see if someone is willing to buy or sell a house? Is it worth it?
The answer to this frequently asked question is NO!
For real estate, cold-calling isn’t completely dead but it might soon be.
According to a study conducted by Google, 90% of home buyers searched online during their home buying process.
Now, there are still agents who swear by cold-calling and say that they generate most of their listings through it. I am happy for them and if cold-calling works for you, that’s great but it’s not enough.
In today’s internet age, it’s the customers who decide what to buy and when to buy it. They are in the driver’s seat and the success of your business depends on being found at the right moment, which Google has correctly termed “The Zero Moment of Truth” (ZMOT). If you are not found at that critical moment, then you will be losing more business than you get by just cold-calling.
It’s time to stop making cold-calls and start making some bold-calls.
Bold Call # 1 – Invest In Inbound Lead Generation
Do you know who your best friend in real estate is?
It’s your phone.
It’s your lifeline. But instead of spending a lot of money on outbound calls, you need to get that phone ringing with inbound calls. The first bold-call you need to make is to invest in inbound lead generation, where your prospects come to you instead of another way around. By investing in inbound marketing, you will be able to connect with people who are looking to buy or sell at that moment.
So how can you do that?
Although the concept of inbound marketing is huge, I am going to try to present it to you in the form of three simple steps.
The first step in inbound marketing is getting found. For that, you definitely need to have a proper website for your business which explains who you are, what you do, and why you are the best agent for the job. Make sure the website is integrated with the MLS and that your current listings are displayed. You also need to showcase your success stories to build credibility with online prospects.
The second step is providing value. According to a research by Sales for Life, 74 % buyers choose the salesperson who was first to add value and insight. If you specialize in working with buyers, use your website to answer those burning questions. Write blogs, infographics, or guides which can help them in the buying process. It can be an infographic of avg. property prices, crime rates in different parts of the city, future development projects, the real estate process, and so on.
Add Value! Truly help your prospects by providing them valuable information that they will appreciate. The content you create will help you stand out as a specialist and really connect with your prospect when they finally call you.
The last step is driving traffic because no matter how much time and effort you spend on your website and content, if you are not found online, then nobody cares. To drive traffic, you should have business pages on all social media channels and regularly post updates on them. Try to build a good following on your social pages and that following will drive more traffic to you through shares and comments. You can also advertise on these social channels to drive traffic to the website.
You should also create a Google My Business page which can show visitors your address, working hours, and contact information. You can link your real estate website from this page which will help you in getting found. This will also help you be found on Google Maps. You can also advertise your services locally on Google AdWords so anyone looking for real estate agent can find your website and call you at that moment.
Bold Call # 2 – Knock Some Doors
Archimedes, a 3rd century inventor, introduced a concept called “Archimedes Effect”. Archimedes said:
“With a lever large enough, I can move the world.” – Archimedes
The concept of “leverage” can also be used in business world, especially in real estate which runs on trust and relationship. As an agent, if you can get in front of people before you call them (and are remembered), then that’s huge. You can leverage your face-to-face networking efforts to boost the success of your outbound call campaigns. That is going to give you so much credibility because your prospects will then be able to put a face to the person who is calling them.
Door knocking actually takes more courage than cold-calling.
Knocking on a door, introducing yourself, and building a rapport with your prospect right then and there can be quite intimidating. However, it’s more rewarding as well. As an agent, you need to make the bold call of defining your farming area and then knock some doors.
Say, you have a farming area of 500 houses and you knock 15-20 houses a day, you would have covered the entire farming area within a month. As you knock on doors and talk to owners, you can hand out some memorable giveaways. Don’t ever sell to your audience, instead of doing that become their gatekeeper. If you guide them in real estate, answer their questions, and sincerely help them then there is no chance that they will work with anyone except you to buy their next home or sell one.
“Building trust is key to success in real estate.”
Once you are done with door-knocking, then you can start calling them. Now it won’t be a cold-call where people just hang up. You will be more successful from your calling campaign now than if called without meeting them first.
Make the bold call to knock some doors prior to your call campaign!
Bold Call # 3 – Invest In Inside Sales Agent
If you want to be successful as a real estate agent, then you need to prioritize. The number of deals you close in a year and the real estate experience you provide to your customers depends on how you manage your time. After all, there are just so many hours in a day and you can’t do everything yourself.
If your growth is being limited by time, then it makes sense to invest in an Inside Sales Agent or ISA to whom you can delegate some of your tasks. Instead of spending an entire day cold-calling, hire an inside sales agent who can manage your leads and follow up with your clients. For example, that ISA would be able to follow-up with your existing clients so you can focus on acquiring new business and finalizing deals. While you are networking in person, your Inside Sales Agent can follow up on your meetings through a phone call and qualify leads for you. However, it won’t be a cold-call because you and your brokerage would already have some semblance of a relationship with the prospects. Your ISA can also follow up with the online leads that you generate from your website and manage those leads through a Customer Relationship Manager.
Bold Call # 4 – Call FSBOs
One of the reasons that cold-calling can work for real estate is because you can cold-call to a very specific area or to a very specific audience. You can get amazing results from cold-calling if you are well-known in your community, which can only happen if you are socially active, if you attend a lot of local networking events, and most importantly if you are memorable. People who have seen your ads on billboards and papers might be more open to a good conversation than those who have never heard of you. That’s why it’s so important to pick a specific farming area of a few hundred houses and build strong community ties in that area.
As an agent, one market segment that you have to keep an eye on is FSBOs. These are the people who are trying to sell their house themselves and might or might not be successful in it. These FSBOs are “hot leads” which will become your customers if you give them good enough reasons to.
Calling the FSBO leads with a solid action plan is a lot better than just opening the phone directory and dialling numbers at random.
Marketing is all about testing and nothing is written in stone. As an agent, you need to test and see what works for your business. Something which works for an agent in Hong Kong might not work in Malaysia.
If you are going to remember one thing from this blog, then remember to always “test” what works and what doesn’t. Take what works for you and use it to your advantage.