There’s no denying it. No way to sugarcoat it. If you’re in real estate, you’re part salesperson (among the 50 other hats you need to wear at times). That word, salesperson, has an innate negative connotation. Does it make you feel warm and fuzzy? Does it conjure up one of your favorite memories? Probably not. If it does, just stop reading now because you’ve attained your black-belt in sales, young grasshopper.
Ask any group of real estate agents what they dislike most about the sales aspect of their jobs and “phone calls” is likely to pop up quite often. Whether people admit it or not, most have this fear of making phone calls to new leads. It’s easy to call up a client you’ve already started showing homes to, or a past client you sold a home for last year. But calling someone you’ve never spoken to before is quite different. Likely all you have on this person is an auto-generated e-mail from Zillow with their name and phone number. What should you say? When should you call? What if they don’t answer?
Those are all good questions, but we’re going a bit deeper than that here. We’re going to talk about the fear of picking up the phone and calling these people. Swallow your pride and admit that you have just the slightest bit of fear about making a sales call to someone you’ve never spoken to before. How do you overcome this fear? Like any other fear: Analyze, Evaluate, and Apply. First, we need to take a look at what we know. Second, we need to realize what we’re afraid of. Finally, we need to apply what we know to see if it matches up with what we expect to happen in our fears. Let’s take a look at a fictional example:
1. ANALYZE what we know
- You just got a lead from Zillow for someone wanting more information on a specific property.
- The person gave you an e-mail address AND phone number. We’re going to assume that you know to call first because that’s the quickest and easiest way to set yourself apart and establish a personal rapport with the person.
2. EVALUATE why we’re afraid to call
- You could be interrupting them. – What if their baby is taking its first steps and they get a phone call from you, causing the video on their phone to stop recording? What if they are in the middle of a huge presentation to their company’s executives, which could turn into a pay raise if they nail it? Sure, those are extreme examples, but we tend to think worst-case scenario, right?
- They don’t want to get a sales call. – Who does? Do you like it when people knock on your door to sell you something? Do you just love getting calls from vendors?
- What if they reject me? – What if they say they are working with another agent? What if they completely lose it and start dropping f-bombs at the top of their lungs?
3. APPLY what we know to what we fear
- Afraid you’ll be interrupting them? – Stop and think about that. How could you possibly know what they’re doing on the other end of the line? You can’t. All you know is that they’ve asked you about a listing. They’ve told you they want info (and want it now). If you interrupt something, it’s not a big deal, just recognize that it isn’t a good time to talk, don’t ramble, and ask for a good time to call back. It helps if you start the call off with “I’m calling about the listing you found on Zillow, is now a good time to talk?”
- Everyone hates sales calls. – Remember, this person reached out to YOU first. They contacted you, seeking information. Odds are, they want you to call them. This isn’t a sales call, it’s an information trading call. You give them property information and in return ask them a few questions to get information you want: “Have you spoken with a lender? When are you looking to move? Are you working with a REALTOR? Are you ready to look at houses?
- What if they reject me? – The fear of rejection is undoubtedly one of the strongest fears the majority of people share. Sure, there’s a chance they might scream and curse you off the phone for calling them. It happens. Some people have a few screws loose. You’re calling this person to find out if they want to work with you. If they essentially tell you “NO!” 5 seconds in, tell them “Thank you” (maybe just in your head though) because they’ve saved you several follow up calls and e-mails you would have wasted time on. Better to find out who doesn’t want to work with you quickly so you can focus on those who do.
Hopefully I’ve helped you admit that making sales calls to leads you’ve never met is an intimidating task at times. We all have fears of doing certain things but we need to remember to stop and analyze the facts we know, evaluate our fears, and apply what we know, NOT what we think or assume. Never, ever fear the phone call, for it may be your greatest weapon.