Avoid Rejection: 9 Essential Cold Calling Tips for Real Estate

How about we envision how a cold call feels at the prospect’s end? You are the prospect. It’s been a tough day at work. Your boss wants the accounts done earlier. So you probably had to carry the work home. It’s going to take two days of brain racking. Thankfully, the kids are on a vacation. You just reached home and can’t wait to take a long nap before you get cracking. And suddenly the phone rings. Who is this strange caller? You’re greeted with a self-obsessed pitch, “Hi. I’m calling from …”. You want to slam the phone, but just wait in patient politeness for the pitcher to get the script over with. And sadly, this is how cold calls feel from the prospect’s perspective. It’s interruption. And nobody likes it.

wrong cold call


The previous post talked about a personalized direct mailing strategy that garnered 4 deals out of 90 pitches (Almost 5% conversion rate). Read about it here. Actually one of those deals was via a personalized cold call approach. A 1 out of 5 success rate on cold pitches (which would likely be thinner with a wider range). But still where 98% of cold calls fail (The average success rate for cold calling is 2%), a 5% conversion rate would be a great investment of your effort. This post will outline how you too can increase your odds with a relationship focused methodology.

The Telemarketing Sales Rule

In 2007, it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today, it takes 8 attempts. Sure it’s hard but It’s a bold approach and it does work when you put some skin and some personality into the game. Since cold calling is basically telemarketing, it is necessary to be familiar with some federal telemarketing rules that apply. Ignoring these might result in significant fees for your real estate business.


  • There is a National Do Not Call Registry, which is updated every 31 days. You need to be familiar with this list and search the registry every 31 days, as the fee for disregarding it might be up to $40,000 per call. However, if a person who is on the Do not call list submitted their number to you or has established a relationship with your business, you have the right to cold call for up to three months.
  • The Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) prohibits telemarketing calls before 8 am or after 9 pm
  • The TSR also demands full disclosure about the identity of the seller and the nature of the business. You are prohibited from lying about any terms of an offer. You can read more about it here.


Having said that, if you don’t have a wad of cash lying around for PPC ads, Facebook ads, direct mails, then you want to pick up the phone and actively cold call prospects. Keep in mind that cold calling isn’t a sustainable strategy because it delivers lesser conversions than email marketing and direct mail. But the more you practice, the better you get. Check out these nine valuable cold calling tips for real estate agents.

Cold calling isn't a sustainable strategy because it delivers lesser conversions than email marketing and direct mail. But the more you practice, the better you get Click To Tweet


9 Valuable Cold Calling Tips for Real Estate Agents

  • Don’t follow scripts by the book.

Cold-calling scripts have become a common theme among sales professionals. A quick search online and you’ll get a script for whatever type of sales scenario you can think of. While sales scripts are a good thing because, in most cold calling cases, the same questions and objections would rear up their heads continually. Yet they make the call feel less personal. They could sometimes make the person at the other end feel uncomfortable.



Here’s what you want to do instead: use cold calling scripts as guidelines when you make the call. Since each of your prospects has a different personality and might be in a different situation, you’ll need to adapt your script to fit. For example, a pushy sales script would aggravate someone who has just had a busy day.


  • Research the prospect.

How do you make the other party interested in you? By being interested in them. The Dale Carnegie quote rings true “We are interested in others when they are interested in us.” A prospect is definitely not interested in your business. But displaying in a non-spooky way that you know more about them than the average cold caller will fascinate them. A cold call that dives a bit deeper than other realtors would go, can be more convincing.

You can use a service like Thatsthem to research prospects. If you can, try to find out their motivations for either selling on their own, removing a listing or making some other move. The more you know about your prospect, the more confident you will likely be in your approach.

We are interested in others when they are interested in us - Dale Carnegie Click To Tweet

  • Have a goal.

The objective of your prospecting would usually be to set up a meeting with your prospect. You should keep this end goal in mind right from the introduction. Having a goal keeps you focused when the conversation seems to float extraneously.

On a broader scale, you should have a prospecting goal. How many people would you need to reach to hit your monthly quota? How many calls would you make each day? You can use this interactive cold call spreadsheet by Yesware to set your target.


  • Create specific times for calls.

Much like sending emails, there are times when your prospect is going to be more responsive. Across the board, more people would be responsive to pitches in the morning rather than late evening. Studies found that the best time to cold call prospects is between 11 am – 12 pm OR 4 pm – 5 pm.

You want to have a specific time for calling prospects. During this time, you must eliminate distractions and focus on the task at hand. You can experiment with different times of the day to find out what works for your prospects.


  • Use mirroring to create rapport.

Mirroring is a psychological term, describing behavior in which someone emulates the gesture, speech pattern or attitude of another person. As the two individuals in the situation display similar gestures, they may believe they share similar attitudes and ideas as well.

Expert negotiators have mastered this psychological skill. By mirroring a prospect’s speech patterns and tone, you make them feel more comfortable talking to you. A good example of this would be if you were talking to someone who speaks slowly, you slow down your talking speed to match theirs.


  • Have “a reason” to create persuasion.

Nothing creates persuasion like giving a reason. In fact, it doesn’t matter if it’s a dumb one. Once you give a reason, you help the person at the other end justify why they are listening to you.

Harvard psychologist, Ellen Langer, proved in 1978, that every time a “because” is appended to a request, compliance increases by over 50 percent, regardless of whether the request is sound.

This makes sense because the first thing a prospect wants to know is why you contacted them. You need to put this out there promptly. And again, you probably would like to set up a face to face. Why should they agree to meet with you? You’ll have to answer that. Adding a “reason” in your closing and opening line can cause an increase in your conversions.

The first thing a prospect wants to know is why you contacted them. You need to put this out there promptly Click To Tweet

  • Create your own script and Rehearse it.

While you don’t want to rely on cold calling real estate scripts, it would be a good idea to adapt one for yourself. Cold calling real estate scripts give you the chance to plan ahead what you’re going to say in different situations. You can collect a number of cold calling scripts and use these to create yours.

Write up a quick (30 seconds or less) cold call script that you will reference when conversing with prospects. Anticipate objections also and write out your responses. But again, you don’t want to depend on your script as that’d leave you dry and hanging when the conversation doesn’t go as planned. Use your script as a guide to help deliver your message clearly.

And once you create this, rehearse until it becomes more like a natural dialogue. You can work with a colleague and rehearse your script until you internalize it and can flow with the conversation.

Senator club’s Ian Adams presents an example of a good and bad script for b2b businesses which could also be adapted for real estate:


Bad script:

Me: Hi John. My name is Ian Adams. I’m calling from Acme Company. Are you looking to grow your business by 30% or more this year? (or any other request).
Prospect: What are you selling?
Me: We specialize in reducing companies marketing spend while boosting conversions across 10 of the top social media sites. Does that sound interesting to you?
Prospect: Yes.
Me: I can stop by to meet next week either Tuesday or Wednesday, what time works best for you?


Good Script:

Me: Hey John. It’s Ian over at Acme Company. How are you?
Prospect: I’m ok. What can I do for you Ian?
Me: I noticed a number of your ads on facebook and twitter promoting X product, and felt you could really boost your conversions by making just a few small changes. (or some reason)
Prospect: I’m sorry, what do you guys do?
Me: We work with eCommerce companies like Harry’s to manage their social media ad campaigns. In fact, after only 1 month of working with Harry’s, for every $1,000 they spend now, they get a 30% increase in conversions. (social proof)
Prospect: (thinking)
Me: I’d love to learn more about your ad campaigns John and also share some ideas that have worked really well for us. Can we find a 15-minute window next week for a brief call?

  • Don’t beat yourself up.

No one likes rejection. It’s painful. Yet, it’s an unavoidable reality with cold calling. Conversion rates for cold calls are typically about 2%. That is, 98% of your calls wouldn’t lead towards a sale. It’s easy to beat yourself up and let the nos affect the yes opportunities. Success in cold calling ultimately will depend on your ability to trudge on in the face of the many nos.


Winston Churchill quote

Rejection is guaranteed. You would meet people who would rather not hear what you have to say. Instead of beating yourself up. See rejection as part of the process. It helps you improve. Learn from it and move on.

Success in cold calling ultimately will depend on your ability to trudge on in the face of the many nos #coldcalling #realestate Click To Tweet

  • Smile – Get in the right state.

People can sense confidence right from your intro. When you sound nervous, prospects can feel your poor energy. When you smile, you put yourself in a confident state. Research shows that smiling affects how we speak, to the point where listeners on the other line can pick up on the facial expressions we use.

Smiling, whether genuine or not, according to science, lights up the mirror neurons in your prospect’s brain, creating a “feel good” sensation in their own mind also. It compels your prospects to lower their guards. Aside from this, smiling affects your internal emotions, makes you feel happier and puts you in a good mental state.


Where do you get cold-calling prospects?

  • Expired listings: Listings that are about to expire are a good way to start i.e the seller’s contract with their existing agent is about to expire and the home is yet to sell. The easiest way to access these listings is through the local multiple listing service (MLS) or through a real estate prospecting platform like Redx.
  • FSBOs: For sale by owner listings are not usually hard to find. You could do a quick search on Craigslist or Zillow to find these. Or just drive around your neighborhood and check out FSBO listings. Call and attend their open houses if you can. Check here for more FSBO prospecting tips.
  • Rentals: You can get rental leads through Craigslist. Although most real estate agents avoid rental properties as they usually involve much more work. Yet they could add to your portfolio and present referral opportunities when you’re just starting out.


What is relationship focused cold-calling?

It is essentially seeking out a common ground while engaging a prospect. Making use of empathy, mutual understanding, and good conversation to create a connection. It is focusing on the long-term and connecting with prospects where they are instead of trying to literally hard-sell them.

Relationship focused cold calling works because the person you are reaching out to is someone with things going on in their minds and a world of things going on around them. Telling them about your services might just get them downright annoyed. But trying to build a relationship helps them feel comfortable with you.

Relationship focused cold calling works because the person you are reaching out to is someone with things going on in their minds and a world of things going on around them #coldcalling Click To Tweet

Ultimately, cold calling is a numbers game. The more people you can reach, the better chances you have of closing a client. Keep these cold calling tips for real estate in mind; Anticipate objections; demonstrate empathy; make conversations instead of hard selling prospects. And don’t forget to follow up with your prospects.



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