Cold Calls – People just LOVE em’

Telemarketers. When I say that word, what comes to mind?

Are you eager for that next sales call, from the scurvy that annoys you in your home, at the most inconvenient times, only to pitch you something you didn’t ask to be pitched—as if you have nothing better to do, than to listen to their sales presentation?

As you know, as a business, I operate in the real estate industry, where cold-calls are the ‘bread ‘n better.’ Agents are taught, this is how to succeed. That sales, is—first and foremost—a numbers game. “Every no is one step closer to a yes.” That’s the mantra. And it’s preached as an absolute truth.

Below is a quick example of an agent/”coach” demonstrating this:

Now, I’m not here to judge. This is how the guy has chosen to run his business and perhaps he enjoys it. But really, there’s got to be a better way, right? I can assure you there is.

I read an article recently by Christina Ethridge that I think deserves a spotlight. From the author’s critics, it also explains why agents are looked upon so poorly.

I believe her take on this, is in alignment with what I’ve been saying for years now, not to mention, is just common sense to everyone who isn’t in sales. And, hasn’t been brainwashed to think cold-calling is adored by the recipient.

She writes;

“In one of the plethora of Facebook groups that are [so] popular with real estate agents, someone recently said (and I quote) “It takes about 300 calls per day to get a listing, but if you don’t do that, you get no listings. In any case, the personal contact always is the best way to go.

I’ll have to admit, no matter how many times I hear agents talk like this, no matter how many times I see this kind of arrogance, no matter how many times I listen to this fixed mindset — I still feel shocked.Shocked that someone actually believes what is coming out of their mouth. Shocked that someone is spouting out this nonsense expecting others to adhere to it, and yet, doesn’t adhere to it themselves (because let’s face it, this kind of advice always comes from agents who don’t have enough transactions under their belt to substantiate their belief, mindset or advice).

I just have to shake my head when real estate agents start spouting this nonsense. And the crazy part is, they fiercely protect this fixed mindset. Fiercely! They insist there is no other way to do it.

The kicker: They say these things as absolutes. Absolutely stating that it absolutely always works. That it’s absolutely the only way. They’ve created boxed-in ideas about how to get listings and what personal contact is.

The irony in this is that they think cold-calling is personal contact and that it builds; know, like and trust-you relationships. Let’s face it. They are delusional.

Of course, if you challenge the status quo of the sales gods, as she’s done here, you can expect to feel their wrath. So in the comments, her critics come to life, justifying “why” and “how” cold-calling is “actually a service” to those who are bombarded and annoyed by the salesperson.

One critic writes,

“Christina, if you were to get a list in a particular neighborhood and just started cold calling say, 2000 homes… first, you’d be insane and 2nd, you’d have a very low ROI. However, assume 5% (or 100 homes) are going on-sale in that neighborhood… who are those 100 homeowners? Marketing to 2000, to find the 100 is insane. But, you can use smart data and reduce the 2000 down to 300 or so targets, with a high propensity to sell because it is in that group where the 100 sales will come from. Now making 300 phone calls is extremely effective, if you have the right approach with a soft touch beginning. I watch this work brilliantly every single day. It’s not debatable and it’s undeniable. It’s not emotional. It’s math.”

You heard him, Mr. salesman himself, “It’s not emotional. It’s math.” Maybe, but that doesn’t take into account people’s sheer hatred for the telemarketer.

I mean you have to ask, don’t you? Why would anyone want to build their business on such a hated foundation? Where the perception about you, surely, will be negative, because the people you’re calling—not one of them asked to be contacted, to hear your sales pitch?

Of course, Mr. Salesman has a justification for that too. Because in their eyes, they can only see the side of self-interest—and dammit, they need that sale. So the desperate mind, you’ve seen it too, can rationalize anything.

Here’s what he says,

“Sounds like you’re the exception but not the rule, since every analytic and data point known to mankind proves time and again that you grow your sphere of influence (relationships) by getting more people from your “haven’t yet met” category into your “have met” category. I have 20 years of data that says, very clearly, making phone calls works. What works even more, is when you know exactly who to call. There are 6 essential ways to contact prospects and they all work: phone calls, email, direct mail, social media, in-person, ip-targeting.”

I don’t know, folks, to me—what Mr. Salesman describes—sounds a bit more like stalking, than building a relationship. Then he says, “Relying on JUST the people you already know to grow your business is a rather poverty mentality.”

Funny, because that’s exactly what my business philosophy is. But I guess that’s the difference between someone who IS relationship-driven vs. someone who just talks about it in the context of “making more sales.”
Again, this is the kind of mindset that industry leading coaches regurgitate and push on agents willing to listen to them.

For example, I came across an article written by Verl Workman in RISMedia real estate magazine. Now, I’ve never heard of the guy, but it doesn’t matter. Same old message, different “guru”. Here are a couple tips from “power agents” he writes about;

• “Prospect for listings daily. Prospecting is one of the most important things salespeople do. It’s easy to make excuses, but picking up the phone and getting 1-2 hours of prospecting in every day will pay huge dividends.”
• “Work your CRM religiously. Call through your database a minimum of four times a year and your top 50 once a month. Ask for business and be interested in how your relationships are doing. This should be done on a schedule, so when you talk to someone in your SOI, schedule the next touch.”

Ask for business. Schedule the next “touch”. Groundbreaking insight, I know, but not sure I’m connecting the dots. Maybe his advice is just going right over my head. Keeping in touch with people you know makes perfect sense, but to schedule and track it in your planner as a “touch?” So the thought process is something along the lines of… “As long as I’m consistently begging my clients, friends and other community members for business/referrals, they’ll be sure to adhere to my requests.”

I don’t know. Perhaps I have it ass-backwards here, but what if instead of prospecting and “touches”, someone devoted that time and energy to developing skills, a message, and improving what they actually do to benefit clients, and as a result, wouldn’t have to rely on asking anyone for business, because people would feel rather compelled to refer them?

Seems to me that when agents see themselves as salespeople, it equates to a rather commoditized level of operation/service. At that point, they’re only choice to grow and/or maintain their business is to simply stay in front of people by prospecting, advertising, and of course, “touching”.

(Article as featured in last months Beyond The Mirage article series of The High Country Crux. Join the movement Subscribe Here)

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