I was recently coaching my son’s basketball team, we were up against a team I felt had inferior talent. My son is probably a top-3 talent in this recreational league, along with one of our other players; I walked into the gym thinking we would win by 20.

We lost by 10.

My team is full of 5’7” – 5’11” guards. The other team had a skilled 6’5” kid. They started the game by going to the big guy, and we couldn’t stop him. I adjusted, and had my smaller guys pack the middle to prevent him from getting the ball. My defensive adjustment gave them open looks from the 3-point line.

They set me up and then capitalized with a victory.

We see this set-up in many different sports. The baseball pitcher will throw a breaking ball in the dirt and then follow it up with a high fastball. A former teammate of mine would foul a pitch off to the left field side and make the defense think he would hit it there again. The next pitch he would lace down the right field line and leg out a triple.

In football, you will see a team establish the running game, forcing the defense to crowd the line of scrimmage. That adjustment opens up the passing game.

Boxing is my favorite example, though. Most boxers don’t come in wildly throwing hard right hooks. They establish their jab first, then they come in with the knockout blow. Muhammad Ali was a master at this. He would set you up.

But here is the rub: CRE professionals don’t strategically set-up their prospects. They just call…and hope they say something that resonates. How’s that working for you?

If you are willing to put in the work, there is a much better way.

The 2 Essential Facets to Setting-Up a Prospecting Call for Success:

1. Passive Action – Passive action refers to all those activities that aren’t directly related to asking for business from a specific prospect. They are the things you do to get known. Getting face to face. Building relationships. Content marketing to demonstrate your expertise. Networking events. Blogging. Mailings, etc.

You know you are failing in this area if your prospecting calls start off with these questions:

“Who did you say you were, again?”

“And you are with whom?”

If you make 20 prospecting dials in a day, and most of your targeted prospects don’t know who you are or what you can do for them, then your main problem is the fact that you aren’t known.

You need to jab, jab, jab.

2. Direct Set-Up – Direct set-ups are different in that they are targeting your prospect list…directly. To utilize direct set-ups, you need to have a targeted prospecting list, and you need to know who you are going to call and when.

This can be problematic for many brokers whose natural behaviors are characterized by shooting from the hip and winging it.

When I was prospecting on dollar stores early this decade, I would call 30 owners a week. The week before, I would send them a letter with a case study (I hate the word case study – it was really a success story).

I was letting them know I would be calling and giving them valuable information. Over time, we tracked that approximately 50% of those letters were opened. I had a 63% better success rate getting those owners on the phone. On average, one of those 30 would call me first every week.

Jab, jab, jab.

So here is what you need (the jabs):

1. Clarity on who your perfect prospect is
2. A prospect list full of those people
3. A plan on who to call and how often
4. A great prospecting letter (and it can’t be about you – must be about them!)
5. Something they want to include in the letter (you better know your prospect)
6. Demonstrated expertise and presence in the market

Once you have the jabs in place, then it is time to throw the right hook with a great prospecting call. The difference between being average in this business and being great – is whether or not you will put in the work…and learn to jab.

Most of you will not.


If you are interested in only speaking with qualified prospects, and no longer wasting your time chasing those who will never make a decision or those that do not value your time, click below for our free download!

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