8 Simple Ways to Turn Cold Calls Into Strong Leads

Chances are you don’t get giddy about cold-calling. But if you’re smart about your strategy and are willing to put in the work, a few hours on the phone could yield lifelong clients. You can’t argue with that ROI.

At a recent Side Masterclass, top-producing agents shared their go-to tactics for warming up leads on cold calls. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Get in the zone before you pick up the phone

Don’t start cold-calling cold turkey; you need to psych yourself up and get in the right mindset before you make a single call. You have to believe your cold call will work.

Says Anthony Navarro, founder of Harper Real Estate: “I expect success and realize it’s a numbers game. I believe I can convert everyone, even if that’s not the reality. But I know that if I keep at it, I will find someone who will set up an appointment with me.”

To ensure you’re always in the right headspace to cold call, don’t try to squeeze it in whenever you have time. Actually block out consistent time on your schedule — and stick to it.

“It’s all about consistency,” says Jorge Alfaro of Revel Real Estate. “Every style of cold-calling can work, just keep going because consistency is key.”

2. Once you’re on, get straight to the point

You only have a few seconds to grab a prospect’s attention once they pick up the phone. You can’t risk boring them before you even get to the pitch.

You have a three to five-second window to make an impression, according to Jorge. “It doesn’t matter what you say, it’s how you say it.” Act like you already know the prospect and launch straight into your value proposition, keeping your energy high.

George Charles Hanold, founder of Times Real Estate, agrees. “Agents are successful because of how they show up. It’s the energy, it’s the tonality, it’s the mindset and perspective — that translates through the phone.”

3. But don’t try to make the sale right away

You never want to come across like a telemarketer, which means you should never lead with the sale.

“I don’t ask the person I’m calling if they’re interested in selling,” says Jeff Toth, founder of Caimeiju Realty. “I ask if they know anyone else who’s interested in selling. It totally disarms them. It’s this psychological phenomenon where, when people think they’re helping somebody else, they put their guard down and start telling you everything.”

Understand that you may have to follow up with that lead several times before you actually secure them as a client, and don’t try to rush the process.

4. Tailor your hook for each individual prospect

You need to hook your prospect right out of the gate — which means you need to do some research about the prospect’s interests and history before the call.

It helps to have a very specific pitch in mind for each prospect. Jeff has gotten deals accepted by focusing on a neighborhood where his buyer clients lost a bidding war. 

“I called everyone in the neighborhood and explained that my buyers just missed out on the house down the street,” says Jeff. “Then I got very specific: I said my buyers really wanted to be in this neighborhood and were willing to pay up to this much. Did they know anyone in the neighborhood interested in selling?”

5. Match your prospect’s energy

Pay attention to your prospect’s tone and adjust yours accordingly.

“If someone’s speaking fast and I can tell they’re on the move, then I adjust my cadence,” says Anthony. “I increase my speed to match them because if I don’t, they’re not going to listen to me.”

On the other hand, in some cases you’ll need to make sure your enthusiasm doesn’t scare prospects away. Says Anthony: “If someone is older and a little more soft-spoken, I’m going to tone it down. But I’ll still make my point fast, because I only have a couple of seconds.”

6. Find your own unique style

Not the most high-energy person? No problem. What matters most with cold-calling is that you understand your strengths and play to them.

Jeff doesn’t consider himself a naturally high-energy person, so his strategy is to present himself as tactical, serious, and authentic. “I try to come across as someone sincerely asking a neighbor or friend for their help.”

7. Go for quality, not quantity

Remember that just because a lead is convertible doesn’t mean you actually want to convert it. “You won’t want to work with everyone,” says George, “so don’t put pressure on that.”

George suggests shifting your mindset away from, “How can I get this person to work with me?” to, “Does this person qualify for what I’m offering?” Know what types of clients you’re looking for and be selective about who you spend time pursuing.

That means putting in the work before you pick up the phone. “You have to pre-qualify your leads to figure out if they’re ready or not,” says Jorge.

8. Keep practicing (and keep it loose)

“You have to continuously roleplay,” says Jorge, “because that’s how you develop more confidence. People are going to shoot you down; that’s just the name of the game. But being prepared and pushing back in a way that’s appealing and non-threatening will position you as an expert.”

Just make sure you don’t let your scripts — or your competitive nature — take over the conversation. 

“Don’t lose sight of the fact that people want genuine, authentic connection,” says George. “You don’t always have to go for the kill. In fact, I recommend not going for the kill on the first call.” It almost always takes more than one call to warm up a cold lead, so you have to know when to back off and follow up later.

To sum up: For your next cold call session, remember to practice beforehand, get straight to the point, and tailor your approach for each individual prospect. This may not be your favorite part of the job, but it doesn’t have to be painful. 

For more expert tips like these, register for Side REunite this August 24 – 25.

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