It’s probably a marketing strategy that you’d like to avoid — that you’ve been avoiding.
Because, after all, cold calling stinks.
You have to call people that don’t know who you are, may or may not be interested in your service, and might be busy when the phone rings. Then you have to try and convince that person to work with you when they probably haven’t even thought about working with you ever before in the past…
Yeeaahh… that’s a tall order.
And, more importantly, an uncomfortable (cringe-worthy) one.
But with all of the anxiety that cold calling often creates, it’s a surprisingly effective marketing strategy for finding motivated sellers and converting those motivated sellers (especially since so few people do it — your competition probably doesn’t do it).
We do it at Call Porter for our members (we’ll be opening up service again soon — keep your eyes peeled) and we’ve learned a few things over the years about effectively cold calling prospects. Here are 5 tips, in particular, to help you turn prospects into friends with just a few sentences.
1. Talk about your prospect, not about yourself
Want to know how to get people to hang up on you within the first 10 seconds?
Start by talking about who you are, what you do, and why you’re awesome (you are awesome, but they don’t need to know that yet).
Think about it. What do you do if an unknown number calls you and starts explaining to you the service that they offer? You hang up. Almost immediately.
They are going to do the same thing. So come prepared to talk about them, not about you. Consider…
Salesperson: “Hello, I’m looking for [Name]”
Prospect: “This is him/her”
Salesperson: “Hi [Name], I’m calling with [company] and I saw that you’re the owner of [property address], is that right?”
Prospect: “Yeah – that’s mine.”
Salesperson: “Great. If you don’t mind me asking, do you have any plans with that property at this time?”
See how the topic immediately turns to the prospect, who they are, and what they have planned for the future? That is how you build immediate trust — by asking questions and listening to the prospect’s answers. In fact, I recommend using a list of questions to guide your conversation instead of a script.
2. Prepare yourself for rejection… after rejection… after rejection…
The truth about cold calling… is that you’ve got to be prepared for direct rejection. No matter how good of a job you do, no matter how friendly your tone, no matter how kind your words, some people will reject you. Some will hang up on you. Some will tell you to take them off your list (do so). And some will yell at you.
But remember, it doesn’t really matter. The people who get angry or hang up probably aren’t your target market, anyways (that’s why they hung up). That ebb-and-flow is just the nature of marketing — cold calling just makes the process a bit more uncomfortable.
So prepare yourself for those rejections and don’t let them faze you or make you throw in the towel. It’s a process. And remember, preparing yourself for rejection doesn’t mean giving up at the first sign of the prospect’s lack of interest, it simply means preparing mentally for the possibility of rejection.
3. Don’t overwhelm the prospect with a hard pitch
It’s tempting to get right to the meat of why you’re calling the prospect. Maybe if you pitch them before they hang up the phone, you’ll get a better overall conversion rate… or so the thinking goes.
But the truth is… hard pitching someone who you just cold called is a surefire way to lose trust and interest from a prospect who might otherwise be interested in selling their home to you.
Remember, you’re calling the prospect cold, which means you need to build trust (by talking about them instead of you) before pitching them your service.
4. Prepare a powerful opening sentence
In some ways, the first few moments of a cold call — the first thing you say, the tone of your voice (tone of voice makes up about 38% of all communication), and the immediate impression you make upon the prospect — are the most important.
Those first few moments often determine whether the prospect is going to hang up the phone… or listen to what you have to say. So make sure you have a powerful opening sentence and that your tone of voice is friendly and enticing (role play with friends to master your tone of voice).
5. Call at a good time of day
When you call a prospect is just as important as what you say and how you say it. After all, if you call a prospect during their work hours, when they’re at dinner with the family, or when it’s late at night, you’re not going to get a very good response rate.
Remember, just because it’s the best time for you to call doesn’t mean it’s the best time for your prospect to answer.
Most people will be free sometime in the evening between 4 p.m. and and 7 p.m. or on the weekends. But there will be slight variances in ideal calling time based on your market and the list of people that you’re calling. Whenever you decide to do it, just make sure that you’re putting some thought into when your list is most likely to answer the phone, when they will be most likely to listen to what you have to say, and then call them at that time.
Remember, you’re digging for leads, not mining the gold (yet)
Cold calling is a process. When you first get on the phone with someone, your goal should be to learn about their situation, find out if they’re interested in selling, and get their contact info — that’s it.
Then if they are interested in selling, you can follow up with them later and maybe even make an offer. But step one is building a relationship with them and nailing them down as a lead.
So treat the call that way — don’t make any hard pitches on your first contact with them and talk about them instead of yourself. And follow the tips within this article to make your cold calling experience a whole lot less nerve-wracking and a whole lot more successful.