Real Estate Cold Calling Strategies 

Espresso Agent > Blog > Real Estate Scripts > Real Estate Cold Calling Strategies 
Realistic goals for new real estate agents

According to Investopedia, cold calling:

  • Is a sales practice in which individuals are contacted who have not previously expressed interest in a product or service.
  • Generally, has a low success rate.

real estate cold calling strategies

A 2020 LinkedIn report helps put some interesting context around the “failure” rate of cold calling. The report said:

  • About 69% of prospects accepted a call from a new sales person in the previous year.
  • Of those prospects who accepted a call, 82% agreed to a meeting.

What? Those numbers suggest that cold calling works!  Well, only if you dig a little deeper. The study found that, on average, a sales person had to make 18 calls to connect with a buyer. But the problem is, the VAST majority of sellers give up after only 4 calls, never getting a sale.

These stats validate something we’ve said repeatedly in this blog: if you want to have success with  real estate cold calling, you need to be persistent, dedicated, dogged, determined, focused, or any combination of these qualities.

In today’s post, we’re going to look at cold calling real estate. Specifically, we’ll look at the psychological and emotional barriers to making a real estate cold call. We’ll discuss how advanced real estate lead generation software  (i.e. Espresso Agent) is helping agents overcome these barriers on the way to incredible financial success. Finally, we’ll review tips that can help you be a real estate cold calling superstar.


Sellers grapple with call reluctance for any number of reasons. Let’s look at some of the biggest reasons:

  • We’re afraid to talk to strangers: We’re much more comfortable talking to people who we believe will be predisposed to accepting what we have to say. Calling a complete stranger is not “safe” and therefore puts us on the defensive.
  • We fear rejection: Fear can be paralyzing. Humans, and especially sales people, are genetically hard-wired to seek the comfort of group acceptance and approval. Which, of course, runs counter to the life of a modern real estate agent, sitting alone in an office for hours on end.

If you’re wondering what behaviors manifest as call reluctance, consider:

  • We tend to procrastinate: People procrastinate when they dread a difficult or unwelcome task, something they really don’t want to perform. Most of know when we’re procrastinating: obsessive email checking, an increase in social media scrolling.
  • We over-prepare: Otherwise known as “paralysis by analysis.” You allow yourself to get bogged down preparing for your next call, studying the file, immersing yourself in the details of the previous listing, etc.
  • We invite negative self-talk: Are you somebody who gets caught in bouts of “stinking thinking,” that endless chatter about the dreaded future? Unchecked stinking thinking can magnify our dread and anxiety, possibly leading to debilitating panic attacks. Any of those behaviors sound familiar?

Before we get into specific strategies for mastering cold calling real estate, let’s look at three psychological tips that can help get your head in the cold calling frame of mind:

  1. Think in terms of purpose: Do you question your purpose as a real estate agent? If you’re not proud of what you do for a living, then maybe it’s time you reframe your purpose. You’re much more than a “seller.” You are a consultant, a problem-solver or, most importantly, a dream facilitator.
  2. Have clear business goals: You need to have clearly-defined goals to serve as both motivation and a benchmark for your success. If you don’t have goals set, now is the time to do it, especially with a new year on the horizon.
  3. Embrace rejection: If you study top sales professionals in any industry, but especially real estate, you’ll find that many use rejections as a goal. Indeed, they measure their success in phone prospecting based on the number of people who reject or hang-up on them. The rejections are tangible proof that that they are working the phones with the belief that for every X number of rejections, they are likely to secure a listing.


Technically, the answer to the above question is: a real estate cold call is no different than making a cold call in any other sales position.


Your real estate prospecting approach is built around the use of advanced real estate lead generation software and CRM technology like Espresso Agent?

As we mentioned in the previous section, the number one reason sellers dislike cold calling is their fear of speaking to a stranger. But what if you could call someone knowing their situation, knowing their potential “pain point.” While that prospect would still be a “stranger,” Espresso Agent gives you the kind of accurate information that helps you empathize with the prospect, automatically moving your cold call to a “warm call.”

If you want to know how to cold call real estate, how to move a call from cold to warm, how to connect with homeowners who are ready to sell, you’ll want to focus your efforts on cold calling homeowners with an expired listing or who are For Sale by Owner. Let’s look at each of these cold/warm calling categories.

Real Estate Cold Calling Lead Types


Most top-earning real estate agents stick to a straightforward strategy for success: prospecting expired real estate listings. These leading agents understand three simple truths about homeowners with an expired MLS listing:

  1. They’ve already made their most important decision: to sell their home. So, no convincing is necessary.
  2. They are open to working with a real estate agent.
  3. They have a property they need or want to sell and, at that moment, no assigned agent

real estate cold calling strategies

Here are a few noteworthy stats about expired listing homeowners:

  • Between 15-25% have not sold for various reasons, including marketing, price, condition, and location.
  • Nearly 40% of all expired listings or expired leads will list with a new agent within 30 days.
  • 35% will leave their homes off the market for at least a month.
  • Only 28% of expired listing homeowners will re-sign with their current agent.
  • 90% of expireds are immediate, urgent business.
  • Fewer than 3 in 10 expireds will re-list with their current agent

Here are a few tips for prospecting expireds:

  • Call early and be persistent. Prove that you are dedicated to selling their property-they will appreciate that dedication.
  • Remember that time and price are the things they are most concerned about. As such, have your stats ready: examples of quick sales you’ve made, especially those above listing price.
  • Focus your energy on getting an in-person listing presentation.

For Sale by Owners

As with expireds, FSBOs represent a tremendous opportunity for success when cold calling real estate. That’s because, in the majority of cases, FSBO leads have an immediate need to sell. But because 90% of FSBOs are going it alone to avoid paying a real estate commission, you need to have a more patient and nuanced approach to prospecting these independent-minded homeowners.

Here are a few noteworthy facts about FSBOs:

real estate cold calling strategies

To that end, here are a few tips for working with FSBOs:

  • Persistence pays. FSBOs often get frustrated quickly when trying to go it alone. To that end, it’s important to stay in touch in order to keep your name top-of-mind with them.
  • Validate their approach. Build trust with FSBOs by affirming their decision: “Great idea to sell on your I think you’ll have a lot of success. And if you need any help, let me know.”
  • Guide, don’t force. Use open-ended questions to uncover the homeowner’s motivation. If the FSBO says “I’m going this to save money,” you might respond with: “That makes total sense, but let me ask, what does saving money look like to you?”

Expireds and FSBOs represent the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to real estate cold calling. But as an Espresso Agent client, you’ll also have access to other lead sources that will help you expand your pool of potential listings, including:

  • Real estate farming

    through Espresso’s Neighborhood Search platform

  • For Rent by Owner (FRBO)

to focus on real estate investors.

  • Pre-foreclosure leads;

homeowners who may want to sell quickly to avoid foreclosure when they are behind on payments.

  • Sphere of influence:

The Espresso CRM allows you to organize and maximize outreach to your SOI.


As we’ve suggested above, making a real estate cold call is not for the faint of heart. Having a lead generation platform like Espresso Agent goes a long way toward helping you engage homeowners based on your understanding of their needs/situation. Calling expireds or FSBOs, for example, becomes more of a warm call than a cold call.

But even with the best technology, you still have to know what to say, and how to say it. That’s where cold calling scripts real estate come into play. Mastering a cold calling script for real estate helps you to control the flow of the conversation. Also, script mastery helps you to sound natural and confident, which goes a long way toward building trust with your prospect.

Espresso Agent provides access to a broad menu of cold call scripts real estate to guide your phone prospecting outreach with expireds, FSBOs and other prospect target groups.

Let’s take a look at two script examples from Espresso Agent partners:


Courtesy of Tom Terry, here is the kind of script you might want to use when working with expired listing homeowners:

  • YOU: Hi, I’m looking for (name). This is (name) with (company). I noticed your home was no longer listed online. Is it on or off the market?
  • HOMEOWNER: Hello, yes, my home is no longer on the market
  • YOU: What reasons are you taking your home off the market?
  • HOMEOWNER: I haven’t had any offers.
  • YOU: If you did sell this home, where would you move?
  • HOMEOWNER: I would have moved to (location).
  • YOU: When did you plan on selling and moving?
  • HOMEOWNER: In three months
  • YOU: Why do you think your home didn’t sell?
  • HOMEOWNER: I don’t think we marketed very well
  • YOU: Knowing what you know now, what will you expect from your next agent?
  • HOMEOWNER: Someone who’s reliable, knowledgeable, and knows how to market properties.

As you can see, by controlling the flow of the conversation with open-ended questions, the agent is able build initial rapport with the prospect, and gain insights as to the homeowner’s goals and dreams.

For Sale by Owner

Here is a FSBO script used by our friends at Keller Williams:

  • AGENT: May I speak to the person with the home for sale, please?
  • FSBO: This is he/she.
  • AGENT: Mr./Mrs._____, this is AGENT with BROKERAGE. Tell me, have you sold your property?
  • FSBO: No, not yet.
  • AGENT: Just out of curiosity, how many people have called about your home in the last week? (Regardless of the number they say, unless it is zero, continue with:) How many of the people who called were agents? Out of those who called, how many actually came to see your home? (If they say “none” or “a few” continue with) Well, Mr./Mrs. _____, I find that to be the norm with for sale by owners. They always receive a lot of calls, but with every few people coming to the home, and even fewer making an offer. Would it be of interest to you to know what the people who come through your home think about it?
  • FSBO:
  • AGENT: Let me do something that has helped other FSBOs-maybe it will work for you. Every Monday I will deliver a new guest log to you and pick up the old one. I’ll call all the people on the guest log and find out what they thought of your property. I have actually been able to help FSBOs obtain a contract. The reason I have done this is two-fold, One, If the buyers have a home to sell and they want an aggressive, hard-working agent, I interview for the job. And two, if the buyers are not interested in the home, I can show them other properties and give a referral gift to you. What would be a good time to come by and drop off the guest log?

What’s great about this approach is that the agent is providing value, a service that might be attractive to the FSBO. And it provides a strong call-to-action, which is for the agent to deliver the guest log in person. As we’ve said countless times in our blog, getting in the door for face-to-face time is critical if an agent wants to build rapport and trust.


real estate cold calling strategies

OK, if you become an Espresso Agent client, you’ll have all of your tools in place:

  • Industry-leading real estate cold call leads
  • A user-friendly CRM and dialer system
  • The best real estate cold calling scripts in the business

That leaves the final step in your journey to cold calling mastery: practice!

The top-producing real estate agents in the country are dogged about daily practice to keen their prospecting skills sharp. Most use one or both of the practice strategies below:

  • Morning role-playing sessions. If you’re going to hit the phones at 8 AM (and we think you should), find one or more role-playing partners to run through your scripts before you start working the phones. These pre-prospecting role-playing sessions get you pumped before you get into the game.
  • Accountability partners: In addition to role-playing, find an accountability partner to keep you focused and on your game. An accountability partner can be another agent with whom you connect frequently (weekly, bi-weekly) to make sure you’re meeting your stated goals. Or, you can invest in a professional real estate coach who understands how to push you to perform at your highest level possible.

Here’s the bottom line: the best path to earning a lot of money in real estate is to be a listing agent. And, if we’re being honest, the only way to be successful as a listing agent is to phone prospect, without fail, every day. COLD CALLING REAL ESTATE!

However, if you follow the plan above, you can transform cold calls to warm calls, and learn how to build rapport with your prospects. By building rapport, you also create trust, which goes a long way toward turning the person on the other end of the phone from a complete stranger to someone who is excited to have you list their home.

Now get out there and start dominating your market inventory!


Doug Spak joined Espresso Agent as a Content Marketing Specialist in 2016. Doug brings nearly four decades of experience as a copywriter, blogger, and screenwriter to his role with Espresso. Since joining our team, Doug has actively updated website content, published more than 300 blogs, and created countless social media posts.

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