The Importance of Cold Calling
Mark Schnurman March 3, 2014, 2:57 p.m.
Cold calling is an important skill for Brokers. In fact, it is the lifeblood of the industry. When I train and coach Eastern’s Brokers on cold calling there are several essential pieces that I look for to enable them to maximize the impact of each call.
Commitment: At Eastern, our Broker’s set call goals every day, week and month because there is a direct correlation between this metric and income. Commitment is important because during a busy day cold calls are easily pushed aside and the impact over time is the dwindling of a pipeline. What the right number is depends on the Broker and her individual approach but each Broker must commit to a specific number and not leave until that is achieved.
Listening: As a culture we value great orators like Lincoln, Churchill and Reagan. Yet their success as orators was predicating on understanding the tenor of their countrymen and their historic situations.
While most Brokers focus on expressing themselves they can only be successful by understanding what an individual buyer or seller wants and responding to that effectively. This can only be accomplished by active listening. If there is uncertainty ask clarifying questions. Brokers who listen well have better information to act on.
Enthusiasm: Nothing worthwhile is achieved without excitement, passion and energy. The best Brokers possess tremendous confidence and that is powerfully delivered in each call. Belief is a huge motivator and indicator of success.
A flat tone, moribund pace and dispassionate approach leads to reduced results. Instead, great Brokers lead with enthusiasm and let that sell. It is easy to disengage a tired, monotone Broker but infinitely harder when there is enthusiasm.
It is easy to make a lot of dials but not be fully engaged in the calls. Brokers must be mindful and active since each call is unique. Just going through the motions or letting the emotions of the previous call bleed into the next does not work.
Sharpness: Brokers need to be concise, clear and cogent (nice alliteration). The opening of the call should be short, tight and carefully crafted – about 10 seconds. Responses to objections should be quick and without hesitation because that indicates preparation and confidence. In addition, people generally will not hang up on a speaking person but will disengage at pauses. Also, each response must include a single, direct and necessary question that precisely asks for the information you need.
Assertiveness: Brokers must be assertive. During cold calling many initial responses are simple reflexes, designed to protect their time. Owners and sellers receive a lot of calls. Therefore, with a professional persistence Brokers must respond and push through several objections. Otherwise, Brokers will make a lot of calls with very little impact as Brokers who do not respond effectively to objections quickly will get very little traction.
Elucidate expertise: Owners and sellers receive a lot of calls and Brokers can distinguish themselves by expressing knowledgeable and understanding of the specific property and the markets. We are in the information business and absent actionable and correct information our value is limited. Brokers can show knowledge by discussing trends, valuations, recent transactions, etc.
WIIFM: The seminal question sellers and buyers want to know is “what’s in it for me?” This is where you can articulate your personal and firm’s unique value proposition. In other words, tell them how they will benefit from doing business with you. Examples of WIIFMs include a customized marketing plan (either exclusive or off-market) but in the end the most important take away is that the person will make money.
Cold calling is a critical skill and I hope these tips provide insight on how to maximize your calls!