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.
Day #44 of 100 Days of Prospecting
Night-n-day. That’s the type of difference I’m seeing. Night-n-day difference. All I did was cross over the line that divides Royal Oak and Troy and look what happens. Contact rate picks up and you get LEADS.
Two leads to be precise.
That makes me happy. Let’s hope that there’s more to follow.
I won’t be posting for a bit though. You might remember that when I kicked this whole thing off my wife had a family “staycation” setup. That happens over the course of the next couple days. We get back Saturday afternoon and I have a listing appointment Saturday evening. So right back at it. Then I’ll end up doing follow up calls on Sunday as well.
I’ll be back soon though.
Day #43 of 100 Days of Prospecting
So today I finally wrapped up calling through all of Royal Oak. Obviously I didn’t SPEAK with every person who had a phone in Royal Oak but I did finish my first pass through all the raw lists I built for Royal Oak. I feel extremely relieved.
That was a bad spat there.
After making more than 6,000 dials and 825 contacts, I got a grand total of ZERO leads in Royal Oak. Even now it seems a bit unbelievable to me.
Again today I had two people tell me that I was the “fifth” Realtor to call them and ask they were thinking of selling their house. Now because I wanted some background on what the heck was going on I ASKED them when they had gotten these other calls. After all, when someone says “Your the fifth agent to call me” that could mean I was the fifth agent to call over the course of the previous year….and that could eventfully be just me making all five of those calls myself.
So I asked and one lady said that she’d gotten those five calls in the previous week but the other one said that I was the fifth caller of the DAY.
Cold calling is not popular. More people are doing it under the guise of “circle prospecting” but it’s still not popular like calling expireds or FSBOs. So who were these people calling? I put my feelers out and I think that a fellow agent probably hit the nail on the head.
There is a Keller Williams office in Royal Oak. And throughout the year Keller Williams does a prospecting intensive known as BOLD. It’s almost a sure bet that BOLD has been rolling at the same time that I happened to decide to call in Royal Oak.
Switched Cities, Different Results, and List Rest
So I polished off the last of the Royal Oak lists and then started calling in a different town. Troy. First day calling there. BOOM. Got a lead.
Here’s what you need to get from this….
Your Lists Need to Rest
If I decided to call through my Royal Oak raw lists a second time TODAY…I would not speak with any of the same people I’ve spoken with over the course of the last week. Because I use Prime Lists. Anyone left in the RAW lists will be people who didn’t answer the first time I called.
But that doesn’t mean OTHER agent have not called them.
People don’t know the difference between one agent and another when they get a cold call from one of us. We’re all the same agent to them. So if you call last week and I call this week they say to me “Didn’t you just call me last week?”
The individual people need to be allowed to “rest” for about 90 days between cold calls. If 10 agents are doing hard core cold calling in the same area though, there are going to be problems.
If a bunch of agents are all calling in a dedicated fashion in the same area, then two things will happen:
The first is that all of the available leads will be quickly rooted out of the area. So it will feel like slim pickins when you DO call that area. Because the leads have already been picked over.
The second thing though (and this is far worse) is that the people will become hardened. If you’re getting a call from an agent every 90 days asking if you’re selling your house…well then enough time has passed, your situation might have changed, and you say yes. If you get a call from “some agent” every single week asking if you’re thinking of selling…all of a sudden you start hardening up. Once hardened you are highly likely to start saying “No” to ALL the agents when they call. So I call just every 90 days but the results I get are the same as if I had called the same people every week.
The result of this situation is that instead of one lead for every 100 contacts you might end up with 1 every 200 or every 300 contacts. I do not mind working the phone but I will admit that if I had to make 300 contacts in order to get a lead, I would immediately switch the method in which I source my leads. That just too much work for too little juice. Your time could definitely be better spend elsewhere.
Time Will Tell
I have to call through Troy, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Bloomfield, Beverly Hills, and Clawson before my entire new brokerage area is done getting a first pass through the raw lists and will have the opportunity to get back to Royal Oak. My guess is that when I do things will be better. KW doesn’t hold Bold every month and I think I’ll call their office and see if they have Bold going on so I don’t call if they do. It just makes sense to call a different area is 15 agents are all calling the same list for 3 weeks in a row.
Day #42 of 100 Days of Prospecting
Well…there is no doubt in my mind anymore about the situation. Someone else is cold calling in Royal Oak. Maybe more than one someone.
Today I had one lady say “You just called me earlier today” and hung up. So I checked the phone number and, as I guessed, I had NOT called that phone number. I’d NEVER called it. This is my first time calling through Royal Oak.
Then, later in the day, some lady told me that we’d already called and I asked if she could elaborate and she said that I was the third real estate agent to call her asking if she was thinking of selling TODAY.
Not this week. Not this month. TODAY.
Three calls in one day.
So if others are straight cold calling in the same area I am…that might be a big part of the reason why I’ve gotten ZERO leads so far calling in Royal Oak when I’m more than half done with the entire city. Not good.
Right now I’m importing more lists for other areas on that side of town but I have a bad feeling that I’m going to get more of the same. Good thing that I’m about to start doing some Super Farming to supplement my cold calling time.
Day #41 of 100 Days of Prospecting
So if you look at the spreadsheet below – the numbers are going to seem a bit weird.
Zero calls. ZERO.
Yet I scheduled two listing appointments. How did I do that?
Well one happened in conversation at my church. So a SOI lead. The other happened this afternoon when I went out to get some face time with a lead I cold called in January on what I call a “Meet-n-Greet” appointment. Previewed the house and then set the appointment.
I might end up doing more of this. In fact, I’m going to go ahead and start making getting face-to-face with people much MUCH more of a priority in the days to come.