Read time: 5 minutes
Do you hate “cold calling” and avoid it at all costs? Do you fill your time with non-dollar productive activities to avoid getting prospecting calls done? You’re not alone! Phone hesitancy presents itself in many different ways and can be hard to overcome without the right toolkit. But fear not!
In this issue of the Client Collective Survival Guide, we will help you to reduce your fears and start pumping out those numbers!
What does phone hesitancy look like?
Phone hesitancy can look and like different things to different people. Do any of these statements resonate with you?
- You’re always thinking about the worst-case scenario. You spend a lot of time staring at the phone thinking about FEAR (False Events Appearing Real).
- You spend a lot of time preparing for each call. You’re looking at PriceFinder and RPData or combing through every note left on the CRM before every call to ensure you know everything.
- You’re overly concerned with creating a good impression. You want to impress whoever is on the other end with how good you are at being on the phone. The odd slip of the tongue makes you want to bite your fist.
- You are afraid of “bothering” or “interrupting” your client.
- You wait for the “perfect time” to call… which never comes.
- You are afraid of using the telephone as a prospecting tool. You hate making cold calls and avoid the phone like the plague.
I have struggled with phone hesitancy while prospecting; some of these statements have come from my own experiences. I knew that some calls would be difficult, but I was always picturing the worst-case scenario; I am bothering every person, and they will explode at me. I would stare at the number on the screen, my mouth dry, my stomach churning. It’s only by implementing some of the strategies and mantras below that I was able to overcome my hesitancy.
What can you do about it?
So how can you overcome call reluctance? There are a few ways
- Think through the worst-case scenario — usually, it’s not as bad as you feared!
- Speed is of the essence
- Have a script or talking points
- Remember: mistakes are proof that you are trying
- Prequalify your data!
- Don’t get caught on the ‘no’
Think through the worst-case scenario — usually, it’s not as bad as you feared!
It’s easy to imagine the worst-case scenario. So easy, I’d even recommend considering the logical conclusion to the worst cases.
- Do they hang up?
- Do they tell you to add them to the do not call list?
- Do they yell at you?
The reality with prospecting is that you are always interrupting someone’s day. You can easily overcome this by being friendly, direct and having a clear reason for the call. Remember that it’s a phone call, if they are in the middle of something significant, they will let you know, and you can catch them at another time.
If someone complains to you that they are receiving too many calls or doesn’t wish to be called, ask, “is it because you’re not doing anything real estate-wise right now? Would it be ok if we call you back in 6 months with a relevant update?” Most of the time, they are pretty happy with that. And remember, on your next call, reflect on the notes and call with something relevant to them.
Enter the call with the mindset that it will be a pleasant experience. You’ll hear it reflected in your voice and will win over most people hesitant to speak with you. Kill them with kindness. After all, it’s hard to be mean to a lovely person!
Speed is of the essence
“The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it”
– Jim Rohn on The Law of Diminishing Intent.
Think about the last time you went swimming. The best thing to do is to jump in without over-thinking it. Yes, it might be cold, but if you dive right, your body will adjust quickly. If you try to inch your way in toe by toe, you will overthink it and sit at the pool’s edge, watching as everyone else enjoys themselves.
The same can be said with prospecting calls. If you know you need to do a bulk of calls today, it is best to get into the office and work on them immediately. Your TTD (time-to-dial) is the time it takes for you to get into the office to the time it takes to dial your first call. Many top salespeople recommend getting your TTD down to as low as possible, which is something we advocate for ourselves. The sooner you start calling, the more likely you are to keep going and the sooner you’ll be done!
After the first call, write your note so you can reference it next time and get into your next call as soon as possible. This is important as getting distracted between calls with an email or office chat is easy, and you will never get your calls completed. You’ve gone to the effort of blocking time, preparing your script and getting the first call done, don’t let it go to waste by delaying the next one.
Have a script or talking points
A big part of phone hesitancy can be simply attributed to the idea of knowing what to say.
Write yourself a script!
Open the call by introducing yourself and letting them know you won’t keep them too long (they’re busy, and we’re interrupting, remember), then get straight to the point of the call and make it apparent. Don’t get into the habit of reading your scripts verbatim, as you will sound disinterested and robotic. Treat the script as a jumping-off point to start a conversation or a safety net to fall back on if a sudden silence befalls the discussion. You will likely not need a script when you get into it, especially if you’re writing and referencing notes from previous conversations.
Remember, before you make the first call, read your script aloud! There’s nothing worse than reading it aloud for the first time on a call and realising you’ve waffled through an introduction for 5 mins before they can register who you even are!
Remember: mistakes are proof that you are trying
Recognising your calls for what they are is essential – they’re phone calls, not brain surgery!
Mistakes are going to happen. Occasionally you’re going to get tongue-tied; you’re going to say a name incorrectly; there will be awkward silences. The key is acknowledging your mistake but not dwelling on it – call the next number and move on. If you wade in a pool of your own mistakes for long enough, you’ll get tired and drown.
The tongue slip will likely not live in the client’s memory for a long time. And hey, if the mistake is silly enough for them to remember, you’ll have something to laugh about with them next time you call!
Prequalify your data
Prequalifying your data is essential for reducing your phone hesitancy and ensuring you have a lean and effective CRM or database.
Making sure you have the correct information increases the likelihood of a genuine conversation by eliminating awkward questions like, “am I speaking with Jane?”. If you know that your data is correct and up-to-date, you can confidently start a call. You save the precious time exhausted by habitually checking Price Finder or RP Data to check that you have the owner’s details and not the tenant or vice-versa.
Don't get caught on the ‘no’
We’ve all heard the saying that every “no” is a step closer to a “yes”. And it’s so so true! Each time you offer an appraisal to a client and get declined, you’re getting closer to the client that needs one as they’re thinking of selling.
And to flip the perspective on this, we would say that every “no, not right now, thanks” is a chance to get to know the situation a little better, get more familiar with the client and further cement your name and expertise as their expert. Each conversation is a yes in that sense. It’s developing your brand and your relationship with that client. What do your conversations sound like when you start to think of them like that? Are they different? Are they less immediately goal orientated and more nurturing and rapport-building? Each of these conversations leads to you walking in the door at list time and signing it without a fight.
So with that in mind, rip the bandaid off and get into it! You never know where that next dial is going to lead. Remember to listen for that “not yet” as it could mean “sometime soon”.