Day #50 of 100 Days of Prospecting
So here we are at the half-way point of this 100 Days of Prospecting campaign. Here are a few things that are front and center on my mind now that I’m halfway through. Maybe you’re reading this a few years down the line and are doing this same type of thing and can compare to see if your experience matches mine.
- There’s too much to do – that’s how I feel anyway. There’s a lot of stuff to do that isn’t calling and a simple 4-hour time block of calls slices out half your day. I start calling and all of a sudden it’s noon and 5pm seems like it’s right around the corner and because there’s so much “other stuff” to do…I feel like I’ve not done anything for the entire day and wonder how I’ll even get “the essentials” done before 7pm.
- I have a chronic backlog of material to send out – we’re here at the end of February and there’s a truckload of people who never got initial stuff sent out in the mail. Truth-be-told these are people who asked for CMAs to be MAILED to them. Those just got put on the back burner unless they were HOT leads. Those who gave me an email address to email the report have faired better….but if I open the database there will be plenty of those who fell through the cracks too I’m sure.
- Follow Up Calls are Suffering – I can’t even explain what’s going on but making follow up calls is very very difficult for me. I don’t even know why. I think it has something to do with my schedule and my wife’s schedule and not knowing what days I can schedule appointments freely and stuff combined with the push to make more calls, and other general chaos of the day. I seem to have ideas to fix this problem but I don’t actually FIX the problem. I kinda feel like the REAL solution is to NOT do front-end cold calls but rather to farm those out and only do follow up calls. The whole “you can only be great at one thing” kind of idea.
Obviously, this doesn’t sound like the typical “rah rah build you up” type of stuff that coaches, trainers, and gurus spit out. You’d never see Tom Ferry putting this type of stuff out there.
I really don’t care.
I’m tired. I’m not exercising. I’m eating crap and thus I feel like crap. I’m calling and working and believe that my work will pay off in the end but I don’t feel particularly good right now. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing regardless of how I feel though and in the ends we’ll let the results speak for themselves.
Again, maybe you’re calling. Maybe you’re on Day 50 and you’re feeling like you’re behind the 8 ball and are frustrated that you’ve not gotten more listing appointments than you have. Maybe today when you’re reading this you are feeling exactly the same way I was feeling 2/3 of the way through February 2016. The cool thing for you though is that if you’re reading this years down the line you can just skip to the more recent blog posts to see how it all turned out.
I don’t have that advantage. I have to keep pushing forward on faith.
Tonight is the RE/MAX of Southeast Michigan awards gala. There’s a guy there that brought in over a Million in GCI this year. Tons of people have gotten awards. I’m getting zero.
Now I don’t put a lot of stock in awards anyway but the simple fact that I’m not getting one when you only have to make $50k to qualify is saying something. And it’s not something good. My hope is that 2015 will be the last “bad year” that I’ll ever have. I work too dang hard and to dang consistently to not make good money. I don’t care if we have another “great recession” – doing what I do at the level I do it should never see another year south of six figures. It’s ridiculous.
In regards to that, I often get people calling me and asking for advice. Sometimes I wonder if that’s a good idea on their part. I have a plan and I’m executing on it but I’ve not “arrived” yet. Makes me wonder if I’m really the best person to get advice from. My guess is that if people called me this time next year it might make more sense because there will be some substance to back up all the words.
It all comes down to the commission checks.
You can “know” your doing the right stuff but until it translates into cashable checks that prove that you had what it takes to get large numbers of people to put their trust in you to get the job done and then you DID get the job done…that’s the measuring stick that we measure by. Nothing else. Which is why I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s listing appointment. We’ll see if I can get someone to put their trust in me again.
Day #49 of 100 Days of Prospecting
Today I did a test run on calling with Mojo from my new office. You have to budget a day to figure out the quirks that are going to be unique to any calling environment. This was no different.
What I leaned was that the WIFI at my office is pretty bad. While running just one dialer the Mojo in-browser latency guage said that response time was pretty bad. Now this could be because of the computer set up in the office too. I don’t know. I don’t know how I’d test that without bringing my beast computer up there…which I don’t plant to do. My laptop is old and slow itself so it wouldn’t be able to provide perspective.
If it’s the WIFI then there’s little that can be done about that other than buy a new router I guess. Or ask them to run some CAT5 cable. Which I doubt they will. There is no drop ceiling and it’s a historical building so drilling holes might be an issue.
I also discovered that the WIFI is not reliable enough to us m SKYPE number.
I got a new Galaxy S6 phone and in order to give my wife HER phone back to her while running two Mojos my solution was to buy a Skype inbound number, install the Skype app on my old Galaxy S3 phone, and then just use that for my voice connection for Mojo #2. That was working fine from home but again, it wasn’t working in the office. The solution to that will be to just use the office landline I guess. No biggie.
So I scored 50 contacts running one dialer this morning at the office and then another 50 at home in the evening running two. One lead.
Day #48 of 100 Days of Prospecting
Short calling session today. Just over 50 contacts in. Again, the broker changeover is taking time. Family stuff is in there too.
I did go on a Meet-n-Greet appointment today. Hit it off with the seller and have a full-blown listing appointment set for Saturday afternoon. I feel very good about this one.
Day #47 of 100 Days of Prospecting
Went in to the office today early for a meeting and then went and previewed seven homes in my new market area. That took longer than I thought it would. Picked up the kids from school, zipped back home, and jammed on the dialer.
Got one lead today. Lady wants to downsize and stay in same area. I got her to commit to a Meet-n-Greet appointment for tomorrow at 4pm. So that’s good.
On the flip side, one of my leads that I’ve been following up with finally picked up the phone when I called only to tell me that they already listed with another agent. Bummer.
Oh well. On to the next.
Day #46 of 100 Days of Prospecting
Higher contact rate again today. Made for smooth cruising up to the 100 contact mark. Had one lady tell me that two other agents had cold called her last week. So we’ve got that to deal with. I think that that is going to become more and more prevalent. Competition is only going to continue to increase in this business. More and more agents are going to be told to call FSBOs and Expireds. They’ll continue to be told “Just call and you’ll get your fair share” even when all the “low hanging fruit” enters a place where it’s forever picked over.
That situation will lead to people turning to the less competitive avenue of cold calling. Or circle prospecting. Or whatever you want to call it. The problem I see with this is that it will quickly create an unmanageable situation.
Think about it. I got ZERO leads calling through the entire city of Royal Oak. Why? Because people had been hard-core “circle prospecting” that city right before I did. They burned out the people base. When someone gets a cold call today, they really do need a good 90 days to rest before ANY agent calls them again.
The benefit to cold calling is that you get in contact with people who freely confess that they are thinking of selling and you get to follow up with them until they DO decide to sell. They don’t do the whole “confessing” part though if they are getting called by multiple agents. They clam up. It turns into the whole Tragedy of the Commons thing. A shared resource is destroyed when too many people try to access it.
The result will be that instead of having to make 100 or 130 calls to get a lead, you need to make 200. At that point OTHER people (who are more well funded) will decided to start hiring people to do the calls for THEM too. The idea being to brute force their way through the opposition and conquer by sheer numbers of calls.
Of course the reaction from the market will be less response and now the number of contacts that have to be made to get a lead climbs to 300. Then more people hire cold callers to try and overcome the hours-calling-necessary-to-get-a-lead problem. And then it climbs to 400 contacts to get a quality lead. At which point the whole pasture has been destroyed by overzealous grazing.
The Farming Project
The truth of this whole thing has been dawning on me for quite some time now. Competition in all avenues of traditional prospecting is only going to increase. To unmanageable levels. A solution has to be found. A final solution.
I believe that that final solution is the relationship based business. Building relationships to such a level that those people are not going to be picked off by a cold caller or anyone before they call you.
These days it’s pretty common to have people responding to my inquiry as to whether they are thinking of selling in the near future or not with a “Yes, but we already have an agent picked out.” Sorry. I’m done trying to use the objection handlers to try and get an appointment with someone who has already made up their mind so that they can pick the agent they’ve already decided on and then tell themselves “Yup, we’re going with our gut…and look…we even interviewed another agent before pulling the trigger too!”
Forget that. I’m looking for people who are NOT committed to other agents. If I wanted to jump in the pit and slug it out in a fist-fight of competition I would call expireds and FSBOs. The whole point of cold calling is to connect with people who are NOT planning on interviewing multiple agents.
So while I am still consistently calling, I am also laying the groundwork to launch into what I call “Super Farming”. That’s actually the reason I switched brokerages. Super farming is going to be a long-term strategy to dominate one particular area. The area you pick matters because the median price point for whatever area you choose is going to dictate your income level for the rest of the time you work that Super Farm. So I picked a higher price point area an switched to a RE/MAX broker in that town.
The truth is, I don’t like the idea that I have to call, call, call other people to get appointments. I happen to like it when people call me and ask ME to come out to list their house. That pretty much NEVER happens when cold calling. You have to do the outreach to get the initial lead and then you have to reach out again and again in follow up. If you do NOT call those people, they never seem to bother calling YOU to set the appointment.
People in my network of relationship do though.
So it’s pretty clear. If I want more people calling ME to list their house, then I need to have more relationships. Relationship with people in my Super Farm. So I have to invest time BUILDING those relationships while at the same time NOT slacking off on my calling activities.
Day #45 of 100 Days of Prospecting
So I’m back from my mini-vacation to Frankenmuth with the family. Fired up both dialers at about 10:30 and got back to it.
Contacts today were 100. Contact rate wasn’t bad either. One long-term lead that may or may not pan out. You know I’m not a fan of the “we need to find a place to buy first” type of leads.
New Phone & Skype
So I upgraded my phone to a new Galaxy S6. I didn’t have to turn the old S3 in either. So I signed up for a Skype phone number ($50 bucks for the year) and installed it on the old S3 phone. Set one of the dialers to call that phone number to see how it worked.
Worked GREAT too. Call quality was fine even though it’s phone-over-internet via my wifi home network. It did drop out on me once and I had to turn the phone’s wifi off and then on again to get it back up and running…but that’s it. Nothing unusual.
All-in-all I’m happy with it and for $50 for the year for the second line…I’ll take it. Now the wifey can have her own phone back.