Cold calling can be an intimidating prospect for many real estate agents, but it doesn’t have to be, writes renowned trainer Darryl Davis. Real estate agents can turn cold calls into warm leads with practice and preparation, and as it becomes second nature, they will ultimately drive more sales for their business. 

No one can predict the future, but you can prepare. Find out what to prepare for and pick up the tools you’ll need at the Virtual Inman Connect on Nov. 1-2, 2023. And don’t miss Inman Connect New York on Jan. 23-25, 2024, where AI, capital, and more will be center stage. Bet big on the future and join us at Connect.

This post was updated Oct. 23, 2023.

Cold calling. It’s a phrase that strikes fear and dread into the hearts of even the most seasoned real estate agents. What if you make a mistake? Say the wrong thing? Get hung up on? 

My answer? What if you do? That’s all right; it’s part of the learning process. Cold calling FSBOs and Expireds especially is what gave me my start in this business at the ripe old age of 19. 

While that might sound terrifying to some of you — and I know it does — what I like to teach agents is that it is all about perspective. When you are calling to “take” an appointment, “sell” someone or “technique” the person on the other end of the line, that is scary — because it’s not genuine and it’s not liked. 

It’s a “do unto others what you’d have them do unto you” thing. Do you want to be “taken,” “sold,” or “techniqued”? Of course not. The alternative is to come from a place of service. To call with a sincere desire to help. That, my friends, makes all the difference.

What is cold calling? 

Put simply, cold calling is when you reach out to someone with whom you have no prior relationship. Cold calling can be beneficial because it allows you to connect with people who may not know about your real estate business yet. This makes it a great way for agents to introduce themselves, show their value and expertise, and showcase their services to potential clients. 

Tips for making a great first impression with your potential clients 

Let’s take a little fear out of the process for you and help you ease into the idea of making calls more effectively and coming from the right place and state of mind. This will not only help you succeed faster; it will make you way more effective than many of your competitors who are just “dialing for dollars” using canned scripts. 

Here are some tips for making sure that your first impression with potential clients is a positive one: 

Know your audience: Before you make any calls, it’s important to know who you’re targeting and why. 

  • Are you trying to sell a specific property? 
  • Are you trying to find new listings? 
  • Are you trying to carve out a new farm area
  • Do you have a specific niche with specific needs? 

Knowing exactly who your audience is and what they need will help you craft effective messaging and get better results from your cold-calling efforts. 

Be prepared: It’s important to do your research before making any cold calls. Know your market information and know what’s important to consumers right now, and be prepared for those questions. 

If you’re calling FSBOs, for example, be sure to have their ad pulled up in front of you so you can reference it. We don’t believe in canned scripts; we prefer to teach agents to be present in the conversations and to use dialogues that can help them stay on track without having to worry about memorized speeches. 

Make sure the person you are speaking to knows that you are a resource for them and there to help, not someone trying to “sell them.” Take notes throughout the call as well so that you can refer back later and note it in your CRM. 

Don’t let your fear control you: Nelson Mandela once said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” That’s a message for all of us, especially if you are dealing with fear in your business. 

It’s OK to have that fear, but it’s not OK to continuously let fear have you or to allow it to control whether you succeed or don’t. Just pick up the phone. It doesn’t matter how well you do; just call. 

When you focus on helping the person on the other end of the line, the fear will fade because it makes it not about winning and losing. It’s about connecting with another human being for a good reason. 

Have a goal in mind: Cold calling can be time-consuming, so it helps to have a goal in mind before making any calls. 

  • What do you want out of each call? 
  • Are you looking for leads or appointments? 
  • Do you want people to sign up for emails or newsletters? 
  • Are you hosting a new homeowner workshop and want them to attend? 

Having specific goals will help keep each call focused and maximize your chances of success — and it will also give your conversations direction when they start to meander off course. 

Be polite and respectful: This should go without saying for real estate professionals. How we talk to people, especially when making a first impression, really matters. 

I’m a big supporter of speaking from the heart, but it’s also wise to prepare dialogues or talking points before making any calls. As I said, I’m not a fan of canned scripts, as they can come across as sounding disingenuous, pushy or salesy, but when you take the time to listen carefully to what your potential clients have to say, you will know how to help them. 

Ask questions about them and their property, and think of the cold call as just a conversation between two human beings. 

Keep it brief: When making a cold call, it is important to keep it brief and to the point. You don’t want to overwhelm the person on the other end with too much information; instead, focus on introducing yourself and explaining why they should be interested in working with you in a few sentences. 

Be prepared for any questions they may have about your services or prices. This will help ensure that your call is concise yet informative. 

Know when to move on: Sometimes, though, things don’t always work out as planned, and that’s okay. Not everyone will be interested in what you’re offering right away, but the point is to make the connection so that they start recognizing your name, your face and what you do for a living. 

That’s why it’s important to recognize when a conversation isn’t going anywhere for now and move on gracefully without getting discouraged. It’s also important not to take rejection personally — just keep moving forward and stay focused on finding new leads and making new contacts. 

Follow up: The key to successful cold calling is following up after your initial contact with potential clients or customers. After each call, make sure to send an email summarizing what was discussed and providing any relevant information they requested during the call. This will help build trust and increase their likelihood of using your services. 

Additionally, if they haven’t responded within a certain amount of time — say, two weeks — it would be wise to follow up with another phone call or email to ensure that they haven’t forgotten about you. 

Cold calling can be an intimidating prospect for many real estate agents, but it doesn’t have to be. Real estate agents can turn cold calls into warm leads with practice and preparation, and as it becomes second nature, they will ultimately drive more sales for their business. 

So go ahead, pick up the phone — you’ll be able to master the art of cold calling in no time and generate leads like a pro.

Darryl Davis is a speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, as well as the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars. Connect with him on Facebook or YouTube.

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