Cold calls to real estate agents are an untapped resource for building relationships and getting more business. This is particularly true for new mortgage originators. Why is this an underutilized method? Because originators, like most people, tend to shy away from making cold calls for fear of being rejected.
That’s a normal reaction. Nobody likes rejection. But when cold calls are approached with the right attitude and technique, they can be powerfully — and profitably — effective.
There’s a simple, no-cost strategy to making cold calls. Here are a few best practices to lay a foundation that allows you to make the most of your cold calls to real estate agents.
Being well prepared always increases the chances of success. Here are three things to be thinking about as you prepare to make a cold call. These tips will get you in the right mindset and help your calls to have more impact.
First, take a short walk in the Realtor’s shoes. When an agent receives a call out of the blue, what’s their first response going to be? More than likely, you’ve caught them off guard. When caught off guard, they’ll adopt the fight-or-flight response we all have. This often results in reactions like, “I haven’t got time for this right now,” “I’m already working with another lender,” “I get calls like this from lenders all the time” or “I have to be at a meeting.”
When confronted with this attitude, what should you do? Well, your first task is to take the fight-or-flight response off the board by making the Realtor feel safe. You can do this by conveying a warm and friendly tone in your voice. Does this work every time? No, but it increases the chances of establishing a bridgehead with the agent in the first few seconds of the call so that you can move the conversation forward.
Second, focus on what you can do for the Realtor. When the agent answers your cold call, they’re immediately thinking, “Why is this person calling me? Why should I take time out of my busy day to talk to them?” The best preparation for this resistance is to have specific ways in mind for helping the agent. You want to get to the point right away and demonstrate how you stand out from the competition.
Third, you want to be confident. Confidence comes from doing research on the Realtor and being able to quickly demonstrate that you clearly understand their specific needs. You want to prove that you know their pain point and that you have the remedy for it. This pain could be anything from not having enough deals to stress caused by unnecessary delays in the mortgage process. You should be able to show specific cures for their pain. Don’t be aggressive, but do be confident, assertive and knowledgeable.
If you feel more nervous than confident, practice your script in front of a mirror a few times until it feels more natural. Practice is one of the best ways to promote muscle memory. Then, once you’ve started making actual calls, it will get increasingly easier to do them.
No matter how good our initial introductions are, we all know that many Realtors will have automatic objections. It’s just a fact of life. Each objection has the same purpose — to end the call as quickly as possible. Here are some responses that will keep them on the phone long enough to get you what you want.
Objection No. 1: “I’m not interested.” Your response: “Some of my best Realtor partners said the same thing on our initial call, but now they’re getting great results from our relationship.” This is a great way to change the conversation from a negative tone to a positive one. It also subtly tells the Realtor that you contacted them for a specific reason and aren’t asking if they’re interested.
Objection No. 2: “I already have a lender I work with.” Your response: “And I’m sure the lender loves working with you, because I’ve heard that you’re outstanding at running your business. I’d love to earn that same loyalty from you by helping you become even more successful over time.”
Then ask for 10 minutes to prove that you can help them close more deals. Most agents worth your time will already have an originator they work with. Knowing that you’ll get this response gives you power because you can prepare for it.
Objection No. 3: “I’m headed off to a meeting (showing, etc.).” Your response: “I understand. When is a good time for us to talk about how I can help you close on time, get great communication during the loan process and have somebody follow up on your leads like green on a pickle so that you get even more referrals from them going forward?” With this response, you show respect for the Realtor’s schedule while getting them to commit to a time when they’re more likely to have a conversation.
Objection No. 4: “I don’t have time to talk.” Your response: “I completely understand. I’ve heard how hard you work and how successful you are. I’ll be brief and let you get back to your day.” This response lets the agent know you respect the fact that they’re a busy person and that you’ll get right to the point.
Phrases to avoid
Often, originators unconsciously use certain words and phrases that undermine cold calls to Realtors. Be sure to avoid the following mistakes.
“Have I caught you at a bad time?” Yes, you have. No matter when you called, you interrupted something. Don’t give the agent an easy way out within the first few seconds of the call.
“Does that make sense?” Never ask this. A “no” answer implies that they’re too stupid to understand what you’re saying. Conversely, the question implies that you’re not bright enough to explain what you’re offering to the agent.
Don’t say “honestly” a lot. This makes it sound like you’re only being truthful some of the time. Strike this adverb from any and all cold calls. Similarly, avoid the word “just.” For whatever reason, the word “just” makes everything that follows it sound weak and small. You want to be the opposite of that.
“I’d love to set aside some time.” The Realtor doesn’t really care what you’d love to do. Instead, be direct and say, “Let’s schedule some time.”
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Consider how to be well prepared. Understand any common objections a real estate agent may have. And realize that you need to frame the conversation carefully. Once you know all of this information — and you’ve done the research and put it into practice — the only thing left is to start calling. ●