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The 2 Essential Facets to Setting Up Your Prospecting Calls for Success

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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.

In this article:

  1. Setting Up For The Win
  2. Prospecting is Like a Ball Game…
  3. …Or a Boxing Match
  4. Using Passive Action
  5. Utilizing a Direct Set-Up For Prospects
  6. The Jabs You Need to Know

How to Set up Your Prospects for Maximum Effect

Setting Up For The Win

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 players 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 big time.

Prospecting is Like a Ball Game…

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.

…Or a Boxing Match

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 power 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. A large portion of them 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 of reaching out to people, your future clients. Here are 2 essential facets to setting-up a prospecting call for a higher chance of success:

Using Passive Action

man and woman talking | The 2 Essential Facets to Setting Up Your Prospecting Calls for Success
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 20 is your average number of 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 are irrelevant in people’s eyes.

You need to jab, jab, jab.

Utilizing a Direct Set-Up For Prospects

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.

The Jabs You Need to Know

So here is what you need (the jabs):

1. Clarity on who your bright 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, especially in an emerging 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 start to 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!

Are you still cold calling? There is a better way! Top producers don’t cold call, they execute a targeted and proactive prospecting campaign. Here is a 5-minute audit to see how your prospecting stacks up against the best in the CRE industry! Take the Prospecting Audit.

Up Next: The 3 Ways to Build Your Prospecting Database

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on June 7, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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