Use Your Books to Turn Cold Calls into Warm Calls
The very name sends a chill down many sales professionals’ spines.
Cold-calling has a slim 1-3% success rate for initial appointments, yet so many continue to use it as a primary method of prospecting. Consider some of the other problems inherent in the cold-calling process:
- It’s hard to systematize or automate. Cold-calling takes you away from other, more important aspects of your job. Yes, you can pay someone to generate your leads, but that still requires a human being on the phone or the computer. People get sick, have “off” days or just plain burn out dealing with frequent rejection and dead ends.
- You must be “on” to be effective. Being human, you can’t always be on top of your game. There are times you’ll be too busy, too tired, or too scattered to effectively sell to people over the phone.
- Cold-calling undermines your positioning. You achieve the best results when people have some familiarity with you and your business. Cold-calling is a blind approach where your prospects have no idea who you are — and may hang up on you before you even get past “Hi, my name is…” Modern consumers rely on reviews and friends’ recommendations. If someone gets a cold call from you and another call from the Realtor who worked with her sister, they’re likely going to choose the Realtor they have some familiarity with.
- You can quickly exhaust your entire list of leads. What then? Bother them again and again?
- You risk burning bridges. You don’t like people cold-calling you. Why should your prospects? There’s a word for unwanted contacts online — spam. It’s hard to have confidence in cold-calling when you know that if you were on the other end of the phone line or Internet connection, you’d be irritated.
- It’s hard to convey your value proposition. It’s not easy to differentiate yourself from other cold-callers in the limited span of a phone call — especially an unsolicited phone call. In a perfect world, every person you call would give you 10 full minutes of their time, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case. According to a recent report, unidentified calls last an average of 35 seconds, while calls from a business last 54 seconds. In either scenario, you have less than a minute to show your prospects why they should work with you.
Fortunately, there’s a better, “warmer” approach to calling potential clients. We call it “warm calling.”
What is warm calling? Warm calling is when you provide your leads with something of value in advance — such as your book or a link to your digital book — then follow up on the phone or at their door four or five days later. It’s not unusual for an agent to get two to three times as many listings as they would by cold calling alone — or mailing out a book without any follow up.
With this method, by the time you make direct contact with your prospective clients, you won’t be a stranger. They’ll already have seen your face on your book. You’ll be the real estate expert and author who sent them the free, informative book! Who wouldn’t want to work with an agent who literally wrote the book on home buying or selling. This is a great way to avoid the soul-crushing rejection that usually accompanies cold calls. It also helps you stand out from your competition.
If prospects live near your office or your home, or if they’re “on your way,” drop your book off with them. Some agents have reported getting listings on the spot. If hand-delivering books is inconvenient or not allowed in your area, mail them the book. (We have separate packages available for drop-off and mailing, as well as options for agents who wish to include additional materials, such as an Agent Comparison Chart, Marketing Plan, Reference Letters, or a Photo Brochure.)
Once your leads receive your book, you have to follow up to keep yourself in front of them. Even if your leads don’t actually read your books — or they just skim the content — chances are, they’ll recognize your face and remember your name.
An agent in Florida sent one of his books to a seller lead. The seller read the book and contacted him to list his house. Many other agents have done the same thing and experienced the same result.
Go through your contact list and find all of your seller leads. Next, mail a book to each of them. Send a copy to all of the “I want to sell” leads who agreed to receive a copy of your book. Just put Post-it® notes in the book that say something like, “I wanted you to get a copy of my new real estate book. It details all the strategies I will use to quickly sell your home for top dollar.”
Leveling the Field for New Agents
Cold-calling can be especially intimidating for an agent who is relatively new to the real estate industry. Books offer an effective way to bridge the professional gap. Jessica, an Authorify member, said she had only worked in real estate for five years, although in that time, she held various roles on high-producing teams and also in real estate law.
“In my listing package that I sent to these homes, I included what makes me different. I included that expertise and having experience on many different lanes inside of real estate, which I believe evens the playing field for me, compared to others who have perhaps been in the industry longer.”
Jessica positioned herself as someone who understands the nuances of real estate, including market trends, paperwork, and everything there is to know about the lending and closing processes.
There’s a saying in sales-related industries: Success sells. Customers are more comfortable with the idea of doing business with you if they know that lots of other customers have enjoyed a successful experience under your guidance. Jessica found that the books were a great way to overcome this hurdle.
When they received her books, Jessica’s prospects seemed to take her experience and skill as a given. They asked her advice on how she was able to overcome the obvious shortcomings of homes that were outdated, in need of renovation, or suffering because of other sales barriers.
In short, they expected Jessica to be an expert on things that were troubling them. This took the focus off “selling” herself — especially given her relatively short experience in the real estate business — and put the emphasis on selling homes, where she wanted it to be.
- Cold-calling isn’t an effective prospecting technique, but somehow, it’s still the standard in the industry.
- Fortunately, there’s a better way — we call it “warm calling” — that involves giving someone something of value ahead of time, then following up.
- When you give someone your book or send them your digital book link ahead of time, you’re no longer a stranger calling without a reason. The books give you a reason to call and help you establish trust before you ever make contact.
So step away from your list of cold leads and take a different approach. Send out your book and follow up with a phone call or drop-by visit. I bet you’ll never go back to cold calling again.