Cold calling (almost) never comes naturally. But with the right mentality, the dreaded task of picking up the phone becomes a powerful tool for generating leads and growing your real estate business. 

Drawing from my experience managing Zillow representatives as a Zillow Sales Leader and as current CRO and Sales Leader for The O’Neil Team, I’ve spent years coaching agents and team leaders on overcoming the challenges of cold calling. Here are my top four strategies to help agents get out of their heads and start dialing with confidence.

#1—Embrace the Cold Calling Mindset

Most often, agents don’t want to cold call because they fear rejection. You have to know that there will be plenty of people on the other end of the phone who use some choice words when telling you to go kick rocks. 

Don’t let that stop you. 

Start off every cold calling time block by getting into the right mindset.

Exude Confidence

Cold calling requires belief in yourself and your ability to help clients. Confidence can help you establish credibility and convey your value as a real estate professional. Remember, every call is an opportunity to showcase your expertise and provide assistance to people who need it. 

If you’re apprehensive about being on the phone, start by reaching out to people you are already familiar with. This can help alleviate nerves and provide a more relaxed environment for practicing your communication skills.

And don’t be afraid to start small and gradually work your way up. Begin by targeting less intimidating prospects before tackling more challenging ones. This incremental approach allows you to build confidence and refine your technique over time.

Be Persistent

Let’s say you plan to make 50 calls a day. It can start to get discouraging when, on call 49, you’ve only received voicemails and hangups. But all it takes is that one call, that one conversation, to get you to an appointment. 

You could begin by selecting two days per week to dedicate to cold calling, with two half-hour blocks on each of those days. This structured approach allows you to focus your energy and efforts on engaging in meaningful conversations without feeling overwhelmed.

Then, whenever you have a time block for cold calling, simply set a target number of calls and don’t stop until you reach it.

Use Rejection as Motivation

On average, it takes a minimum of six dials to make a connection. Every time you go straight to voicemail, consider that one step closer to a conversation. Every time you hear “now isn’t a good time,” you are one step closer to a yes. 

Embrace rejection as a part of the process, and let it fuel your determination to persist until you reach your goals.

#2—Create a Plan, Not a Script

So many agents focus solely on scripts. And while scripts can provide a helpful framework for calls, they are just a starting point. Having a plan enables you to have more agile and productive conversations with those who pick up the phone. 

Instead of relying on scripts alone, focus on creating a strategic plan tailored to each cold-calling session. This will enable you to engage prospects more dynamically and productively. 

Start by determining one reason for your call before you start dialing. This could include:

  • Circle prospecting: Highlight recent success stories in the neighborhood, such as a neighbor selling their home for $100K over the asking price
  • Expired listings: Emphasize your expertise in repositioning properties that have previously struggled to sell
  • Open houses: Invite neighbors to an exclusive open house and keep them updated on how the sale affects the value of their home

By understanding your value proposition specific to each type of call you make, you’ll be better equipped to navigate conversations seamlessly. This approach allows for more natural dialogue that integrates key talking points while remaining flexible enough to address the unique needs and interests of each prospect. Remember, the goal is not to stick rigidly to a script but to engage prospects and build meaningful connections.

#3—Master Communication Skills

Keep it simple off the gate. The person on the other line doesn’t want to hear a long-winded pitch. Instead, ask open-ended questions that encourage engagement and keep the dialogue flowing smoothly. 

In addition to verbal communication, pay close attention to nonverbal cues such as body language and voice inflection. Yes, this makes a big difference even when the other person can’t see you! 

Ensure that you’re sitting or standing straight. Your posture can help boost your confidence, which is reflected in the tone of your voice. And don’t forget to smile—this can transfer positivity into the conversation, making a significant impact on the listener. 

Ultimately, sales is a transfer of enthusiasm from one person to the next. Your ability to convey genuine enthusiasm and passion for what you’re offering can greatly influence the outcome of the conversation. By mastering communication skills and incorporating both verbal and non-verbal elements, you’ll be better equipped to establish rapport and build trust.

#4—Be Ready to Adapt

Finally, you must be prepared to adjust your approach based on the unique circumstances of each call and the responses received from prospects. The primary purpose of a cold call is to initiate a conversation—and you may need to adapt your overall approach to help the person on the other end of the call feel more comfortable. 

To fine-tune your skills, practice regularly. By role-playing calls, anticipating potential objections, and preparing effective responses in advance, you can navigate conversations more confidently. 

When role-playing, think about (and practice) how you can adapt each of the following in multiple scenarios:

  • Opener/Purpose: Begin the call with a clear and compelling opener that grabs the prospect’s attention and communicates the purpose of the call. This could include referencing recent market activity or offering valuable insights related to the prospect’s property or neighborhood.
  • Handling Initial Indifference/Objections: Be prepared to address any initial indifference or objections from the prospect with confidence and professionalism. Listen attentively to their concerns and provide relevant information or solutions to alleviate their hesitations.
  • Articulating Value Proposition: Clearly articulate the value proposition of working with you as an agent. Highlight your expertise, experience, and unique selling points that set you apart from the competition. Focus on how you can address the prospect’s specific needs and goals.
  • Asking the Right Questions: Use open-ended questions to engage the prospect in conversation and uncover their motivations, challenges, and preferences. This not only demonstrates your genuine interest in understanding their needs but also sets the stage for further discussion and potential follow-up meetings.

By getting in the right mindset and employing effective cold calling strategies, you maximize your chances of success in initiating meaningful conversations, building relationships, and, ultimately, generating leads for your real estate business.