Cold calling as a sales practice is facing a number of challenges. The tactic is legally murky because of restrictions under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which is growing new teeth amid public outcry for more regulations on marketing calls. Moreover, fewer people today are likely to answer calls from numbers they don’t recognize. For decades, telemarketers have slowly conditioned people to become more suspicious of sales calls and weary of phone numbers they don’t already have programmed on caller ID.
Leads being suspicious of salespeople on the phone is not a deal breaker for your real estate business. The key to being successful is to have real conversations with people that are actually helpful to them. That means your purpose for making a prospecting call shouldn’t be to land a new client or forge a sale. Instead, genuinely assist the prospect in solving a particular issue he or she is facing. You do this by employing a strategy called PPO: Perspective Process Outcome.
- The prospect’s perspective is his or her past experience, knowledge, and speculation. Examples of perspectives that may lead to objections are: “I’ve sold my home myself before,” “I’ve already met with an agent,” and “I can do what an agent does—you guys don’t do much.”
- The prospect’s process is his or her own plan to address the situation he or she is in. Examples of a process are: “I’m going to sell my home myself,” “I’ll just use the agent I used before,” and “I’m just going to wait until spring to sell my home and get a better deal.” The process is typically what will lead to an objection. Prospects have their plans in mind, and if you are not a part of it, they turn you down.
- And finally, the outcome. This is the unique result or benefit the prospect believes his or her process will deliver. Examples of these are “not wasting time,” “avoiding disappointment,” and “proving to my neighbors or real estate agents or the world that I’m right.”
If you understand the prospect’s perspective, process, and outcome from their own point of view, you are in a solid position to start helping them solve their real estate problem.
Increase Your Contact Rate
Understanding what your real estate leads want and being able to help them get there is great—and necessary. However, no matter how much you prepare before picking up the phone, it’s for nothing if the prospect doesn’t answer the phone. Earlier this year, the company behind the caller ID app Hiya released its first State of the Phone Call report, analyzing 11 billion calls made in America. The report found that Americans answered about 52% of all calls they received on their cell phones. Looking deeper into the study, the report found that Americans don’t answer nearly 76% of calls they receive from unknown numbers.
This massive spike in unanswered phone calls cannot be blamed fully on telemarketers. The real culprit behind these surprising numbers is the explosion in spam and robocalls. We are inundated every day with so many unknown numbers that it would almost be laughable if it weren’t so darn annoying.
How to Overcome Low Contact Rates
You must find ways to circumvent people’s growing aversion to answering the phone. An option that many real estate professionals are turning to is text messaging—even on the first contact. About 70% of Americans prefer texting over phone calls, according to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center. This represents an enormous shift in cultural and communication norms, and it’s safe to say this number has only gone up since. What this means for you—because cold calling is probably part of your prospecting plan—is that the real estate industry is in the midst of a transition. And transitions present opportunities for those who can get out ahead of them by using both messaging apps and phone calls. That’s how your message can stand out from the multitude of robocalls people receive on a daily basis.
The way agents are doing this is by calling prospects and immediately following up with a text message. Even if the prospect doesn’t answer the phone when you call, it will draw their attention to their phone. If you quickly follow up with a succinct text message that conveys the value you can offer to the prospect, you can channel his or her attention toward your services.
While it may not be as good as them answering the phone to have an actual conversation with you, having them see and possibly respond to a text message is better than a missed call. At least you are opening the channels of communication. From there, you can start building a relationship with the lead and hopefully get them on the phone—at which time you can use your strategies and techniques to convert them into customers.The way we communicate with one another is rapidly evolving and changing. This is just as true for real estate professionals as it is for anyone else involved in sales. To keep up, we have to continuously evolve and change as well. By including texting in your prospecting and lead conversion strategy, you can stay one step ahead of the changes.