Read time: 5 minutes
Everyone who has ever picked up the phone to do prospecting calls has had a few people tell them to “get lost”, “go away”, or an abrupt “no thanks”. Sometimes a few more colourful words are sprinkled in there, and sometimes they tell you to not call back. But what can you do about it? Do you delete and lose the contact, or could it be as simple as changing the communication tactic to get a better result? With our team averaging 3000-4000 calls per week, we have found that often, a few simple strategies can get us out of the woods with these clients.
To preface this, it is worth remembering that every call we make is an interruption to the client’s day. And on top of this, in some areas, they may be receiving multiple calls from agents throughout the week. Keeping this in mind can help us understand a client’s abruptness or disinterest, and remind us to keep thinking out of the box with our scripts, and approach to calls. After all, if the conversation is relevant to them, to the point and delivered well, it’s likely we can continue the communication and better the relationship well into the future.
“I don’t want to talk right now”
Full disclosure, we get this response, a lot. It’s unavoidable in our line of work. Most clients do not want to be called by an agent and can smell the “commission breath” through the receiver. There are a couple of things you can check and perhaps change, about your approach with these clients.
Don’t give them the chance
First of all, don’t give them the chance to shrug you off. Let them know that you’re going to be brief (perhaps even telling them that you know they’re not selling to combat their objection before it ever arises) and dive right into the purpose of the call. Keep it short and sweet but also be listening keenly for chances to expand the conversation. Go into the call with a purpose in mind (a local sale, offer, auction result etc), and get out of the conversation once you’ve deposited the information. Clients will grow to appreciate your short, concise and relevant information dumps that don’t take up too much of their time.
“Hello, Mr Smith, it’s Lee calling from The Real Estate. How are you today? […] That’s good to hear. I know you’re not thinking of selling, so I’ll be brief. I want to tell you the results of an auction that took place on the weekend. It sold for $200,000 over reserve and it had 24 buyers leaving empty-handed. Let me ask you, how open-minded are you in receiving a quick, free Market Health Update to see how your property is performing?”
If you’re seeing this sort of response to a specific client in your notes the last few times that you’ve called them, try reaching out a different time of day. Some clients are much more receptive to calls in the mornings or once they’re off work. We have come across databases where agents have tried to call at the same time of day for over a year with no success, and a simple call after 5 PM or on a Saturday morning, has given us a lead. It’s surprising how much of a difference it can make by simply calling at a time that’s more convenient to the client when they’re less busy and less stressed.
“Take me off your call list”
We’ve all had a version of this happen from time to time I’m sure. What can you do about it though?
The out-of-nowhere DNC
Sometimes we will have had a great chat with a client the last two call cycles, and then all of a sudden their demeanour has changed and they don’t want a bar of us – ever again. This doesn’t have to mean the end of the relationship. We can’t possibly know what is happening in the client’s life that might have contributed to the sudden change. They might be having a particularly hard day; we caught them at the wrong time; or, perhaps they’ve received a number of calls from agents already that day. Whatever it is, give them the room to breathe by asking simply “Can I ask, is that because you aren’t interested in R/E right now?” Often this empathetic approach is enough to disarm them, and we can make a commitment not to call them for 6 – 12 months, with information that’s relevant to them. Another tactic is to make a note of the changed behaviour and approach the next call like it didn’t happen. Chances are that they’ve forgotten the interaction even happened.
“Like I said last month, don’t call me again”
If you’re in this scenario, it still doesn’t mean that the relationship is over, but calling again too soon can be more detrimental than doing nothing at all. Make a clear note to cease communication (you should pin this note so other agents in your office don’t add fuel to the fire) and call back 6-12 months later. If they are still adamant that they don’t want to hear from you, we recommend not spending any more of your energy on them as it could result in a negative impact on your brand in the marketplace, but also, it’s detrimental to the relationship with that client. If there is hope for some sort of relationship it will have to be built again organically. Add the client to your DNC list, but don’t delete the contact – you’ve still got great information to work with if they decide to call you in the future.
It can be disheartening to hear any of these responses when you’re in a prospecting session, but not letting it get to you and having a clear plan on what to do will help to pave over any bumps in the road. Explore the rest of our blog to see more tips and hints on how to handle your next batch of calls and, as always, listen for that “not yet,” as it may mean “sometime soon.”