So all throughout 2014 as I was dialing nearly 50,000 phone numbers, I pretty much used my original cold calling script the whole time. If you’ve read that post then you should know why the short script is superior and why it works so well.
This year I decided to switch things up a bit. First of all, I wanted to change over to a pure survey-style script instead of using a phantom buyer as an excuse for making the call to the prospect. The reasons for that are outlined further down below. For now though, let’s dive into the new script itself. Here it is…
“Hi, this is Brian Kurtz with Re/Max Real Estate…yes, look, I know your time is valuable so I’m just calling with a brief, two-question survey, the first of which is – Are you thinking about selling your home in the near future?”
Now just like with my old script, 98% of the people will say, “No”. At which point I say,
“Well thanks for giving it some thought. Buh-bye.”
Of course there are the very few who say, “Yes, we ARE thinking about selling in the near future.” My response to THESE people is:
“Alright – and by ‘the near future’ do you mean the next 90 days or more like 3-6 months?”
Which just-so-happens-to-be Question #2 of the survey, doesn’t it? Once they tell me the answer to this second question I dig a bit deeper and ask them where they are planning on moving to and ultimately get their permission to “send” them some information – and if you’re a follower of this blog then you know that “send” really means print up and show up, in person…at their front door with the information in hand for a face-to-face meeting.
The results with this script are on part with the past script but it has two major advantages:
1) Less Possibility for DNC Issues – surveys are specifically exempt from regulation in the DNC legislation. If Mr. or Mrs. Grumpy decided to try and report me by vising some government complaint website (which HAS happened once), they’d be required to answer some questions before completing the report and they certainly wouldn’t be able to truthfully say that I tried to sell them anything over the phone. Read the script again…it’s a survey.
2) No Curiosity Questions – when using the old script I used a phantom buyer as the reason for calling. That script says, “…I’m calling because my company has a few buyers looking for a home on your side of town…”
Now my company is Re/Max and in the areas that I was calling in, it absolutely IS the case that some Re/Max agent is working with some buyer looking for a home on their side of town. So the script wasn’t a lie. If they allowed themselves to hear me say that I has my own buyer looking for a home just like theirs…well I didn’t say that. If that’s the message they got then it’s on them.
It doesn’t really matter though because more than enough people would launch into some discussion about whether the buyer was wanting a house in the price range of the homes in their neighborhood, or for their style of house, or other such typical stuff that people might want to know about in regards to some snoopy buyer looking for a house in their back yard.
Here’s the crux of the issue though. TONS of the people dragging me into these discussions were the ones who had NO intentions of moving in the near future. They were just curious. This would DESTROY the calling flow. Sometimes you’d get trapped in the call for 10 minutes. It was quite irritating.
So I re-worked the script so that there would be no reason for them to ask prying questions about “the buyer” but which would still allow me to get them to confess whether or not they’re thinking about selling in the near future.
The Script Breakdown
1) The Pause – I still pause after saying “Hi, this is Brian Kurtz with Re/Max Real Estate….” because it gives them time to register that I’m calling from a real estate company – specifically Re/Max. This puts them in the right frame of mind to received what I say next…so I don’t have to repeat it and waste my time. I hate saying the script twice. It also gives them a chance to tell me that they’re not interested in what I have to offer by hanging up on me after they realize I’m calling in regards to real estate. That’s always nice because you can mark them down as a contact and get on to the next call that much quicker.
2) Two Questions – this new script is a survey. Have you ever taken a survey? They almost ALL are too long. WAY too long. Time-sucking vampire too long. People hate surveys because they’re too long. When you tell them that you’re doing a survey their blood begins to boil. So when you tell them that the survey is just TWO questions, they make an instantaneous mental calculation in regards to time. Instant. They judge whether it will take them more time and effort to try and strong-arm me off the call or take LESS time and effort to answer the two BRIEF questions and have ME wrap up the call.
Yes, they also have the choice of hanging up on me outright but that’s not a choice which has no consequences. They’ve done that before and have had the negative experience of feeling bad about themselves. Like they’re a nasty “mean person” to some degree. For two minutes they have to do mental gymnastics to convince themselves that they were well within their rights to hang up. That’s a process that the mind associates with low-level emotional pain. People like to avoid pain. They don’t want to do the two minutes of mental gymnastics again if they can avoid it. So if they think they can answer two QUICK questions and have YOU hang up and end the call…they feel like they can endure it and get off the phone without any unwanted negative feelings that they direct at their own selves.
3) Assumptive Close – notice how I don’t say “…would you mind taking a 2-question survey?” Instead, I tell them that I’m calling with a two question survey and I just flow into asking the first question. This makes it easy for them to just give the answer to the first one because they feel like they’re halfway there! And it’s such an easy question that they feel like they’ll be able to knock out the second question just as quick and get me off the phone. So they are honed in on the exact same thing I am – telling me the truth about whether they are moving soon or not. That’s all I really want to know…isn’t it?
Now combine this with our previous point of them making a quick mental evaluation about how it might be better for them to just answer the question and have me say goodbye. Then I roll right into Question #1 of the survey and they realize that we’re already halfway done with this gig. The connection is made, no fighting. No hanging up and feeling bad about their self. Just answer the question, get the second one out of the way, say goodbye, and move on to getting those cookies in the oven. That’s their thought process.
4) Just One Question – when I ask the first question about if they’re planning on a move in the near future, just about everyone says, “No.”
I believe them.
I’m not digging deeper. I’m not asking them to pick their brains trying to figure out if they can think of someone in their circle of family and friends who MIGHT be thinking about selling. So I just break it off right there and say, “Alright well thanks for giving it some thought, have a great day. Buh-bye.” They often seem happily surprised that they don’t have to answer the second question. And I’m on to the next.
The Down Side
The benefits of this script are many. The downsides are few. But there ARE a few downsides. Here they are:
1) Higher DNC Rate – the people I’ve been calling with this script are in Prime Groups which means they were called 6 months ago. And they didn’t tell me to put them on my in-house Do-Not-Call-List at that time or else I wouldn’t be calling them again today.
Now I call back again just six months later using this new survey-style script and the rate of people asking me to not call them again in the future (usually with a bit of a harsh edge in their voice) goes up by a factor of FOUR. Not that this is a big deal overall. I used to get about 1 person telling me to put them on my DNC list per day. Now I get four. The lesson is that people are 4x more grumpy about taking cold surveys than they are about getting a call about a faceless buyer who’s trying to find a place to live on their side of town.
2) Some People Don’t Take Surveys – so again, I called these people months ago with the “My company has a few buyers looking for a home on your side of town” script and they told me a simple, “No.” Now I’m calling them back half-a-year later with the survey script and they say, “Look Buddy, I don’t know you and I’m not answering any of your questions,” or “We don’t do surveys.” So I created a special list in Mojo called “Don’t Take Surveys” and drop these people into that list. I’ll call through it in six months or so and use the old script.
So this is the new script I’m using. It’s fast, it works, and it gels well with Mojo so I’m not getting a bunch of double connects which destroy my call flow. It is officially the new Ultimate Real Estate Cold Calling Script.