Every time you make a cold call, you’re meeting someone for the first time. From the moment you say hello, it’s important to be direct, clear, and engaging. After all, you don’t want to waste any of their time.
But too often, agents hear the first objection and make the mistake of giving up on the conversation too quickly. Instead of hanging up, it’s important to use objections as an opportunity to learn more about the homeowner’s needs and concerns.
So, to gain some insights and keep the first conversation going, here are some tips and scripts you can use.
Asking the right questions to open the conversation
One effective way to start the conversation is by referencing a specific action the homeowner has taken—like registering for an online home value estimate. From there, you can quickly establish the purpose of your call and offer valuable insights into the accuracy of that estimate in today’s market conditions.
“Hi, Greg. I see that you just registered for an accurate value of your home. Have you had a chance to open that current estimate?”
Whether that answer is yes or no doesn’t matter. (Even if they say no, 99.9% of them do check because they want an immediate answer to their question.)
“I don’t want to take up a lot of your time. The reason for my call is the online estimate may or may not be accurate in today’s market conditions for [homeowners’ neighborhood]. I wanted to reach you quickly so that if you had any questions about the value of your home, I could make sure we get you an accurate value for today’s sale market. Let me ask you, are you using this home value to potentially refi or to sell your home?”
By taking this approach, you’re not only opening up the conversation, but you’re also highlighting the importance of accurate pricing. And be sure to emphasize the thought of selling the home by raising your tone a little bit on “refi” and ending with a lower, stronger tone for “sell your home.”
Of course, not every conversation will lead to an immediate sale—but you do need to be on the lookout for moments when the homeowner opens an opportunity for education. The homebuyer might say something like “I’m just curious about what it would be like to sell in a couple of years.”
If the homeowner indicates an interest in selling their home, even if they’re not planning to do so in the immediate future, use that to keep the conversation going.
“So, Greg, you’re thinking about potentially selling this home in a couple of years? If I could net you the money that you want for your home, would you consider selling today?”
If the answer is yes, the next step is to ask for an appointment. If, on the other hand, they respond with something like, “I don’t know, I’m not really ready to sell my house. I’m just looking for information,” you can circle back to some basic questions, whether they’re an expired listing, a FSBO, or somebody looking for an accurate home valuation.
If the person you’re talking to has already indicated they’re willing to sell in a couple of years (or something along those lines), here are a couple of questions you can ask to leave the homeowner.
“If you sell this home, where are you going next?”
You want to keep the homeowner on the phone until you can help them in some way—even if they tell you they’re not interested in selling their home in the near future.
“In a couple of years, if you do sell this home, where are you planning to go next?
At that point, the homeowner might say something like, “I’m looking at Florida (or a different market) right now…” You can then ask follow-up questions to learn more about the specific market and potentially provide them with some information on the area (if you know it well), or tell them you know a trusted agent in that area.
“If you sold your home, do you have an agent you’re working with?”
Your next question could be “If you sold this home, do you have an agent that you’re working with?” If they say no, that gives you an opening to follow up. Even if they don’t have immediate plans to sell, you can provide value by offering a complimentary home valuation or equity review.
“How about this: I’ll send over one of our agents, who is an expert in the local market, who can come over and verify your home’s value and give you an annual equity review [if it’s the beginning of the year]. What works for you?”
By doing so, you can demonstrate your expertise and build a relationship with the homeowner that could lead to future business.
Handling common objections
You want to keep the conversation going if they’re shying away from setting an appointment with you. Get back into conversation mode and then circle back to asking for an appointment again.
With that in mind, here are some of the objections you might hear from home leads:
- “I’ve worked with an agent before, and it wasn’t a good experience.”
- “I understand why you want an appointment, but I’m not interested in working with an agent right now.”
- “I can’t afford to buy a home with today’s mortgage rates.”
That last one definitely makes sense for a lot of people right now. Sellers who already have low rates locked in have to consider how much it will cost them to buy their next home.
If they’re looking at a potential monthly mortgage payment hundreds of dollars more than they’re paying now, they’re probably inclined to think this is just a bad time to sell–-unless they already have another affordable home lined up or (better yet) ready to move into.
Anticipate these questions and come up with an answer that helps these homeowners in some way—even if they decide, for now, not to work with you.
Successful real estate agents play the long game. Read on to learn a script you can use to help a potential client who’s interested in selling at some point, but who might be resistant to setting an appointment.
“My expertise is to make sure you’re connected to the best agent.”
It might come off at a higher professional level if you say, “My expertise is to make sure you’re connected to the best agent.”
That drives home the point that you’re calling not just to set an appointment but to lead them closer to the outcome they want. The focus is on doing something for them.
“My role here in the organization is to make sure you have the best agent for your needs, working for you on X, Y, and Z [whatever it is they need help with].”
That way, you leave them thinking, “Wow, they’ve got this guy doing this part, this lady doing that. They’ve got all these experts in the seats that need to be there.”
You’re telling the homeowner that your goal here isn’t to line your own pockets; it’s to match them with the agent best able to understand their situation, guide them through the process, and leave them even better off than they’d hoped.
What if the homeowner says they’re planning to stay put for “many years”?
If the homeowner says they’re not planning to move anytime soon—they love their home or their neighborhood or they love being close to friends and family—you can still find a way to add value to the conversation.
“Awesome! I love it! By the way, I love that neighborhood. I might feel the same way if I was living there. So, are you using the home value for a refinance? This number that you see online is an estimate, and—because we do this every day—we’ve seen that these estimates can be wildly off. Real estate in our market, in the last 2-3 years, has accelerated so much. Why don’t we come by for 10 minutes and do an equity review for you to see where the true number is so you have the actual number? Then you can call us at any time and get an update because we’ve seen the home and we know exactly where it sits in this market.”
You want to plant the seed of doubt—not by lying but by pointing out something we know to be true. Online home valuations, where an AI is assessing a home’s value, are notoriously inaccurate.
If the homeowner says yes to an appointment, the next step is to verify the address.
“I see we’re going to be coming over to 123 Main Street in Milford. That’s the accurate property address, right? I’m going to send you an email with some information and to confirm the time. If for any reason you need to cancel, you’ll let me know, right?”
Your goal is to create enough of a rapport that you have permission to follow up with the homeowner. Even if they’re not ready to sell, staying in touch and providing value can help you stay top of mind when they are ready. Grab your scripts, practice handling objections daily, and aim to keep the conversation going—because ultimately, it will lead to long-term relationships with potential clients.