There is no other way to put this, but: to be a top-performing real estate agent you must master the “art” of phone-prospecting. If you’re an Espresso Agent client, you already have a great phone-prospecting and CRM system at your fingertips. But that alone might not always be enough for some agents who are challenged by call reluctance.
We’ll be covering call reluctance in detail in an upcoming series of blog posts. But for now, let’s topline some of the typical reasons many real estate agents give for their inability to embrace phone prospecting:
- I don’t like the idea that I might be bothering/pestering someone
- I feel like some prospects are confrontational, and I don’t like confrontation
- It’s impossible to get someone on the phone, so I’ll just send an email or post-card to tell my story.
These are all understandable sentiments, and not atypical. But the more you embrace this internal dialogue, the less likely it is that you will achieve true, long-term success
Even the most seasoned agents have moments when they grapple with the same fears and anxieties. Yet, somehow, they are able to push through their fears. Part of their success comes from an obsession with routine and a commitment to constantly working at the phone prospecting craft. An important element in this process is often their reliance on well-crafted scripts.
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying: “facts tell, stories sell.”
In the absence of using a script, it’s a natural tendency to focus on facts about yourself, your experience, your success stories, etc. You’re so excited to have somebody answer that you become single-mindedly focused on keeping them on the line as long as possible. Yet, this “talk-at-them” strategy comes with costs because it means you are not focusing on two of the most important phone-prospecting strategies that often define success:
- Learning how to ask effective, probing and, most importantly, open-ended questions.
- Learning how to truly listen to how your prospects answer those questions in order to better understand their dreams and motivations.
In other words, how do you “build a story that helps you sell,” instead of droning on with “facts that tell?”
There is abundant over learning that real estate agents who work with proven scripts outperform agents who choose to wing it.
Non-scripters often complain that “scripts sound mechanical,” which, of course, is somewhat valid. We rely on “mechanics” is to simplify our lives, and to make things more efficient and predictable. As such, consider a solid script as the basic foundation of your prospecting strategy. Then, work with the script to add your unique touch, or voice.
The more you practice with scripts, the less mechanical you’ll sound, especially when it comes to:
- Handling objections
- Responding to questions
- Addressing concerns
A script is nothing more than a framework by which you can create a “story” with your prospect. Over time, you’ll be able to turn a rigid script into natural-sounding pitch that becomes yours.
Scripts can be most valuable in guiding you away from asking to “yes or no” questions. Nothing scuttles and introductory call like serving up a prospect the opportunity to say NO!
Scripts help you ask stronger, open-ended questions that begin with how, when, where and why:
- How long have you been living at your current address?
- Where do you plan to move next?
- In a perfect world, when would you like to make this move?
Let’s say the prospect responds by saying: “I’ve been in my current home five years,” you might respond with: “where were you living before that?” This line of questioning gives you more insight about the prospect: Is he/she working at a job that requires frequent moves, for example?
Effective, open-ended questions help you construct a narrative about your prospect. Such questions also help you build the more rapport and trust with the prospect.
Knowing how to use scripts can bolster your confidence, and minimize those awkward silences that we all dread.
We’d like to leave you with a few extra tips on using scripts:
- Try to record yourself as often as possible in order to identify strengths and weaknesses in your tone and delivery
- Role play with an accountability partner-every day if possible.
If you work your scripts, and have built rapport and trust with you prospect, feel free to allow yourself one “yes or no” question to close your call: “Are you available to meet next Tuesday at 10 am?”