Say the word ‘Prospecting’ to agents and you will likely see their faces cringe and eyes dart for the door. The industry has even coined an alternative term, “Lead Generation” (encompassing the active forms of prospecting such as cold calling and door knocking, as well as the “less active” forms such as online and networking), in hopes that the stigma attached to “Prospecting” would somehow melt away and encourage agents to engage more. It’s always amazing to see how many agents avoid the one activity that is the lifeline to their business, but then wonder why they haven’t made any money.
When you take a look at some of the most common reasons agents do not engage in active prospecting (door knocking, cold calling etc), fear of rejection is usually on the list. While there are certainly a number of agents who fall in this category, there are still a large percentage that don’t.
So what’s the deal for the rest of the agents? Is it due to lack of skill? Maybe for some. Lack of confidence? Perhaps for a few. But the portion of agents I’m referring to are the ones that hold the excuse that it simply “doesn’t work”. If I had a dime for every time an agent said cold calling doesn’t work….you get the idea. How can that be true? How can one agent spend years Cold Calling with great success, and yet, we have agents who swear that it doesn’t work. Granted that everyone has a niche area where perhaps they are better suited or where they feel most comfortable, but to say it doesn’t work is simply an excuse not to do it.
We recently held a phone canvassing demo session at the Academy where we had one of our agents come in and phone canvass LIVE for our POP! Prospecting Boot Camp group. It was great! Paul started in the morning 10:00-12:30 and again 1:30-4:00pm. The agents sat quietly and listened, observed and asked questions. It couldn’t have turned out to be a better session.
The morning started with a lot of “No’s” from the people we called. No one was rude, no one yelled and screamed. It was simply a “No thanks, not at this time” response. (Diffused the fear that cold calling will get consumers angry….✅ check !). Halfway through the morning session, you could see the agents in the room get a little restless. Some thinking to themselves “See! It’s a waste of time…. Boring!….I could be out networking…online…at the gym/coffee house etc.”
And then, it happened. Someone answered the phone and said that they might be interested in moving in about “four years….two years the earliest”. (Rule #1 in pre-qualifying prospects: cut all time frames in half) So, Paul made some notes and scheduled a follow up in the new year, with a thank you letter and business card to be sent out the next day. Doesn’t seem like much to celebrate does it? But let me ask you this. How many “follow ups” have you scheduled today? *insert silent pause here*.
After a few more No’s”, a man answered the phone and said that in fact, he and his wife were thinking about moving. Paul had a 10 minutes conversation with the gentleman before getting further contact info and setting an appointment to contact him the next morning so that the man could get his wife’s schedule and arrange a meeting. It was amazing…and yet, not out of the ordinary. You will find people looking to buy/sell. Definitely something to celebrate. How many appointments did you set today? *insert another silent pause here*
Among the many lessons and tips the agents learned in the session, the most valuable one (in my opinion) is that most agents quit too early. In fact, the afternoon session was almost a repeat of the morning session. Lots of unanswered calls and No’s, eventually leading to another possible contact with a scheduled follow up for a future appointment.
Paul called for a total of 4 hours. He dialed 362 numbers, spoke to 65 people and set 7 follow ups with people who were thinking about selling in Spring 2014.
By all accounts, it was a successful day. The disciplines of consistency, persistence and dedication were impressed upon the group. Fears of being yelled at were gone. A new-found appreciation for cold calling was gained. And more importantly the agents saw, that it was just after that peak of boredom, impatience and frustration, that the nugget of gold they had been prospecting for was visible and attainable.
Be consistent and persistent. Set your prospecting schedule and stick with it. Don’t be afraid to try the traditional forms of prospecting, because they do work! But whatever it is you decide to do, don’t quit.
The 3 P’s: Prospect, Persistence and Patience.