Before I begin, I must clarify. “Cold Calling” is an outdated and unproductive activity. At the Massimo Group we focus on “Precision Prospecting Calls” and not “Cold Calls”. I only used the term “Cold Calling” in the title because that is what most are still doing.
When I ended a 17 year brokerage career and moved to the development side in 2010, I also transitioned from being the “hunter” to being the “hunted”. On the receiving end, I average conservatively 5 calls per week or 250 annually. I do my best to take all prospecting calls or return them and probably do so 90% of the time. So it is not a stretch to say that I have listened to over 1,000 phone pitches, from brokers, in the last 5 years. I am writing this because approximately 80% are making three basic mistakes and I would like to help move them into the top 20% and help differentiate them from the pack. OK. I will admit it. I also enjoy and appreciate a good sales pitch.
So if you want to secure more business – don’t make these three mistakes.
You don’t offer anything of value.
Relevant information is the most valuable thing you can offer me. The best brokers always have a relevant comp sale or some noteworthy news to share with me. I always learn something when they call. They understand what relevant means and they make an effort to know what is relevant to me. They do not waste my time by sharing things that are not relevant to me. If you don’t have any relevant market intel or news to share, at the very least offer me a relevant property. I am trying to overuse the word “relevant” to make a point. Be relevant.
Average brokers call me to “touch base” or even “shoot the breeze”. You guys are really social and I would probably enjoy sitting down over a cold beer with you. Would that lead to business? Probably not.
The vast majority of brokers will call me to “find out what is in my pipeline” then do nothing about it. If I take the time to share my development pipeline with you, at least send me some relevant market information or an occasional offer. You have to admit, that calling me quarterly to find out what is in my development pipeline, for no apparent reason, is kind of weird.
You stay on the phone too long.
The best brokers share something of value, ask enough questions to determine if there is an opportunity and ask for the next step. It is more than being respectful of MY time. THEY are way too busy (successful) to spend 15 minutes on the phone with me. At least that is my perception. I am quick to take this broker’s call, even when I am busy. I can do this because I know I will learn something and I won’t be on the phone long. If my experience with you is that I will learn something relevant and you will be brief, I will often intercept your call before my assistant can answer the call and route you back to me when I noticed your name flash across the caller ID.
If I think I am going to learn something but it’s going to take 10 or 15 minutes, I will have to call you back when I am not busy. And my perception is that you are not all that busy. There are some brokers who I have to return the call when I’m in the car. On a long trip. And I am bored. I am just keeping it real.
What is the right amount of time to spend on a prospecting call? It varies; however, if I tell you “thanks for calling, but I have to go”, you were on the call too long. In other words make it your goal to be the one who terminates the call. You will increase the chances of me taking your subsequent calls significantly. Someone once said “always leave them wanting more”. This is a good idea when prospecting, too.
You don’t ask for business.
I can count the brokers on one hand who share something of value, discover an opportunity and ASK for the next step. The next step for most of you is the meeting. National brokers, such as STNL brokers, should be very good at articulating their value proposition and asking for the business on the phone. If I am going to list an investment property, do you really think I am going to entrust it to someone who won’t aggressively, and often, ask me for the exclusive? If you won’t ask me for the exclusive, I doubt you will aggressively ask a qualified prospect to buy my property. The best brokers that I have talked to not only ask for the business, they EXPECT it.
I can count on TWO hands the number of wonderful and thoughtful brokers who will share something of value, discover an opportunity and do NOT ask for the next step. I will always take your call when possible and I love to hear from you. One day I may list something with you because you have been so helpful over the years. I know you are an above average broker with an above average income and a super nice person, but at the end of the day I want to do business with a salesperson. Please learn to ask for the meeting and ask for the business. Then do it early and often.
If you have given me something of value and discovered an opportunity, you have, at the very least, earned the right to present your value proposition and ask for the meeting or the next step.
If you will eliminate these 3 mistakes from your prospecting, I am confident that you will differentiate yourself from the competition and increase your effectiveness and income significantly.
Of course, the worst mistake you can possibly make is not to make the call to begin with.