One of the common questions I get from agents is how to talk to more people, so you can generate more leads, set more listing appointments, and take and sell more listings. Here are seven steps to making more contacts when prospecting:
- Think speed between conversations…efficiency.
- Think quality on conversations…effectiveness. Focus more on number of quality contacts per hour than on number of dials.
- Have enough prospects (numbers/doors) to fill your prospecting time.
- Stay on your scripts.
- Create a simple note taking system and take notes while in the conversation, not after you hang up.
- FOCUS on ONE THING. Eliminate distractions or trying to multi-task (like checking email, texting, looking up property on MLS, etc)
- BEAT FEAR. (which leads to procrastination.)
Hi there! It's Kevin Ward with YesMasters Real Estate Success Training, helping you get more yeses and more successes in your business and in your life.
One of the things that everybody knows about real estate is that if you want to make a lot of money ultimately this is a talk to people business. It doesn't matter where your leads are coming from, it doesn't matter how you're connecting with people or any of that, whether you're doing internet lead generation, Facebook marketing, traditional print marketing, geographic farming or phone calling or door knocking or networking, it doesn't matter what approach it is. Ultimately when it gets right down to it, you got to talk to people and the more people you talk to and the better you are at having good conversations with those people the more results you're going to have.
One of the questions I get quite often is, “I'm prospecting two hours a day or three hours a day or four hours a day or six hours a day even, and I'm not getting enough contacts. How do I talk to more people in an hour?”
I want to go over with you and share with you today seven steps for how to be more efficient and more effective in your prospecting, how to make more contacts per hour than you may be making right now. I'll go ahead and tell you right now that some of it is purely mental and others of it is purely mechanical. Let's talk about what are the seven strategies, sevens ways that you can make more contacts per hour, because ultimately with all things being equal, the more people you talk to, the more business you're going to get. How do we get more efficient? How do we talk to more people in a shorter amount of time?
#1) If you want to talk to more people you need to think speed. You need to think speed. You've got to approach what you're doing with a sense of urgency. It's not like, "Okay, I got to get three hours of prospecting. Okay, here we go." Pick up the phone, dup, dup, dup, dup, dialing the numbers, taking your time, you can't do that. Between conversations when you're not talking to anybody, think speed. How's the fastest way I can get from one conversation to the next conversation? I want to eliminate the gaps.
If you're prospecting by phone, what are some ways you can eliminate the gap? That you can get more conversations? One, dial faster, right? If you want to get more numbers dialed, dial faster. How do you dial faster? Well, one, let your fingers do the walking faster. Two, use an auto dialer which a lot of agents are using with great success, because it literally dials two or three numbers at a time and whenever one person answers the other one automatically disconnects. What happens is you are able to get to the next person faster.
What I use to do long before they had dialers was I actually used two phones and had double headsets so I had two phones sitting on my desk and I had a headset that was connected to each one. I would dial this number and then while that's ringing I'm looking at the next number down. I'd put a little 'A' on my prospect sheet, 'A' that would be phone A, while that one's ringing I'm dialing 'B'. I would put 'B' there and as soon as someone answered on 'A' I would hang that one up or whichever way it went and then I would let this one ring, I'm dialing this one. As soon as this one starts dialing, if nobody's answered here, it's usually gone three or four rings, click, disconnect, dial the next number while this one is ringing. You literally just go back and forth. The key was is I was thinking speed. How do I get to the next person faster.
Another way you can get to the next person faster if you just want to dial faster is use a land-line, an office phone with a good key pad instead of your cell phone. Your cell phone's simply slower. I mean that's all there is to it. It takes you longer to dial and you're having to hold it typically with two hands. It's just going to take you longer to dial than you can if you're really fast with an office line and especially if you're using a dialer is going to be the fastest way of all.
The other thing is eliminate the gap between dials. In other words, if you're hand dialing, I never would hang up the phone. I would let it ring and then I would just push the disconnect button down, whatever it's called, the button on the phone that pushed it down. Instead of putting the handset on it, I'd just push the button down and dial the next number. If you had some phones, you could literally just hit a button and it would literally disconnect it and give you another dial tone and boom, you are immediately dialing the next number. While that one's ringing, I'm looking ahead after it's rung two or three times and nobody's answered. I'm literally looking ahead at the next number so immediately I disconnect and I'm putting in the next number.
Here's what you don't want to do, don't take time between dials reading about the person you're about to call. This is especially true if you're calling for sell by owners that expired. What a lot of agents want to do is they want to read all about it, they want to do their research, they want to know about this house before they make the phone call. Look, way ineffective. All you need to know when you start a conversation with an expired or with a for sale by owner is what you can figure out from the moment you dial the phone, while it's ringing, while it's going through you have plenty of time to look and see all the stuff that you need to see. Then once they answer, then as you're having the conversation with them, you can be looking and seeing and asking them about any information that you need to get about the property, about their motivation, about how long it's been on the market, all that kind of stuff is stop your predictive analysis. Stop you're trying to read the crystal ball and figure out how this conversation is going to go by reading about this for sale by owner and I'm going to read all the way through this for sale by owner description, at the bottom it's going to say no agents please and I'm going to go, "Oh, no," and you cause mind frick, you freak yourself out, because you went till you got down to that. Look, none of that is going to help you know whether or not you can help these people until you actually talk to them. Eliminate that gap, dial, dial, dial.
Same thing when you're knocking doors. If you want to make more contacts per hour, walk faster, reduce the amount of time that you're standing at the door. Here is the rule for door knocking, 15 seconds at a door with no answer. Here's what you do. You walk up to the door, I walk up to the door, I knock. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four, you wait ten seconds. Ten seconds, back up, boom, boom, boom, that's eleven seconds, twelve seconds, thirteen seconds, fourteen seconds, boom, I'm gone. You never stand at a door more than 15 seconds.
When I train agents, a great thing if you're going to leave behind stuff, leave it. If you've got nothing else, when I would knock expired's or for sale by owner's I would just put a little note on an expired on the back of my business card. It would say, "If you're still interested in selling, please call me right away, Kevin." It had my business card so it's got my cell phone number one it and I would just leave it on their door. 15 seconds and boom, you're off to the next door and walk fast. It's healthy, it's good for you.
If you're a guy or a girl, wear comfortable shoes for walking and there are great shoes on the market that you can get. For guys, I've recommended for years Cole Haan's because Cole Haan's actually have a Nike sole, they're very comfortable. If you have ankle or feet or knee problems or whatever use compression socks which will make your feet have more energy, especially if you're knocking three or four hours a day. All of that keeps your energy level and keeps you feeling great, because if your feet hurt, let's face it, if your feet hurt, you're miserable. You're not going to be as powerful as if not.
Keep yourself moving. In between conversations think speed. Now once you get somebody on the phone or you get somebody at the door, you're no longer thinking speed.
#2) What you're thinking now is I want you to think quality. I want you to think about the quality of your conversation with them. It's not about how many contacts you can get per hour. You don't get paid for contacts per hour, right? Once you get somebody on the phone, it's about effectiveness. When I'm talking to them on the phone, I'm looking for how can I connect with this person? How can I have the best conversation with them? What I'm looking for is I have a goal in mind. Always think quality and your goal is if they're ready, I want an appointment. If they're not ready right now, but there is a future opportunity, I want a lead. If they have no plans to do anything in the next month or so, I want a connection which means I want to get their contact information, I want to exchange information with them so that I can build a relationship and stay in touch. That's what you want to have happen.
In every conversation whether you're on the phone, you're at the door, you're in line at Starbucks, wherever you are think quality of the conversation. When I leave that conversation, do I have something that ... Did I give something of value and do I have something of value moving forward? The most important thing is I want either an appointment, a lead or I want their contact information which means I made a connection so that I can add them to my personal circle. Either way, if you have the right systems in place, a great lead follow up system and a great personal circle system in place even if you don't get an appointment, you still got a great opportunity to build a relationship and get business from them in the future. Think quality not quantity when you're actually in the conversation.
#3) Now here's the third thing about making more contacts per hour and that is before you start, you need to make sure that you have enough prospects to keep you busy. Here's what I mean by that, if your goal is I'm going to prospect three hours a day, how many phone numbers do I need to have before I start? The worse thing that can happen is if you're committed I'm going to prospect three hours a day, but I've only got 50 numbers and only seven of those answer, you're going to be through all 50 if you're being halfway efficient in less than an hour. Then you're going to be going like, "Oh my goodness. I don't have enough numbers," and then you're going to spend prospecting time doing administrative work. Finding phone numbers, finding who you're going to call is administrative work. If it's finding phone numbers for expired's or for sale by owner's or probates or distressed sellers or just random calling or random door knocking, if you're going to knock doors in a neighborhood and there's only 20 doors in that neighborhood, where you going to go next? It's not going to take you three hours. Make sure before you start that you've got enough of the raw resources of contacts and that is doors to knock or numbers to dial.
I'm looking for enough doors or dials that I can keep busy of the amount of time that I've scheduled to prospect before you start, because prospecting is an income producing activity. It's a money making activity. It is about generating business and when you are looking for phone numbers or looking where you're going to go next, looking on your GPS or looking at your nav system or looking at a map, that is not income producing that is administrative work. You want to make more contacts per hour? Be prepared when you start.
#4) Stay on your scripts. When you're having a conversation with somebody, the scripts, if you've got good scripts like if you're using my scripts, the Book of Yes, is that they lead ... They help you ask the right questions, get the right information to lead the conversation to the desired or the best outcome. That's what you wan the conversation to do. I want to connect with people. I want to establish rapport with people, but most importantly is I want to find out how can I help these people either now or in the future? Whichever need they have, when you understand and you've mastered scripts, that conversation will get you where you're going.
What happens is when you get into small talk. Now they start asking you questions, they take control of the conversation and you just start having a conversation with them. Before you know it, you're sitting in their kitchen table, having coffee and they're not planning to move till they die. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but what I'm saying is if you want to have more successes, if you want to make more money and have more business, you need more contacts not less contacts and you could get the same connection with that person in five minutes as you could in 50 minutes. You don't need to go in their house, sit down, and have dinner.
Now, again if you want to do that make it social not business and don't confuse the two, because we're talking about how to get more yeses and more successes in your business so that you can have more yeses in your life, right? You want to make sure you want to stay on the script. If you're making three contacts an hour, because you're talking to people for 15 minutes each, you're not on the script and you're not doing ... You're not generating business really efficiently and effectively through that time.
#5) Now here's the next thing, to get more contacts per hour is you want to have a very simple note taking system. How do I keep notes on my conversations? One of the things that I developed is when I would start talking to somebody, if I had a lead or somebody that was a potential lead I would immediately start using my “Seller Sheet” which is my pre-qualifying script, but it was also where I took the information about the seller. I would immediately start taking notes on it and I created a very simple note taking system so that I could always look back if they were in my lead folder or wherever, I could always tell when was the last time I talked to them, what was the nature of the conversation, who did I actually talk to, if there was more than one person the tax record or on the MLS. I knew who I talked to, when I talked to them, how many times I'd talk to them and what the nature of the conversation was and you want to develop a very simple, kind of a short hand note taking system so that you're actually taking the notes while you are on the phone in the conversation.
When you get off the phone in the conversation, you're not spending five minute writing down what you said, because when that happens now you're spending time doing that instead of talking to the next person. Remember, you want to think speed in between the conversations. You want to be taking those notes in a very short and efficient way during the phone call so that when you get off that phone call, you're immediately on to the next conversation, on to the next contact. I hope that makes sense, because that is extremely powerful.
Now these last two are probably the most important and probably the hardest.
#6) Number one is if you want to make more contacts per hour focus on one thing when you're prospecting and what is that that you should be focusing on? Yeah, that's right, you should be focused on prospecting. That's it. Eliminate all distractions. You want door closed. If you're in a cubicle or in a space where you don't have absolute privacy, put up a sign. Don't talk to me, I'm prospecting, I'm making money, leave me alone. It doesn't matter what you put up there, you just want to make it clear to people I am not to be distracted. Shut your MLS off, shut your email off, turn off your phone, your cell phone, put it on do not disturb, close your email browser. Anything, your Facebook notifications, any push notification or any alerts that are going to buzz or beep or vibrate while you're prospecting is a distraction.
If you've got the office line and the little red light, if you still have a red light that has the beeper, the little red light whenever there's a message, put tape over it. Shut it off. If you are on an office phone and people sometimes call into it, put it on DND, do not disturb, so that you're staying focused on making your calls. You're doing this for one reason, to generate business, to make money. Don't let anything distract you for that two hours or three hours or four hours or however much time you have set aside for it, get down to business and stay focused, stay intense, stay on target and don't let anything else stop you.
#7) The most important reason that agents don't make more contacts per hour, and I'm going to tell you the truth here, it's going to be painful but it's going to be real. The number one thing, it's number seven on the list, but it's the number one most important thing is if you want to make more contacts per hour, you have got to kick fear in the butt. You've got to get beyond your fear immediately. Do not let it stop you, because when you let fear stop you, none of this is going to happen. Most of the reasons that I see agents not making more contacts per hour is that most of the delays, most of the things that slow them down are in reality creative avoidance techniques. They're creatively avoiding talking to people and it's because you're procrastinating, because you're uncomfortable, you're afraid, you're afraid of rejection, you're afraid of failure, you're afraid of somebody being rude to you, whatever it is that will kill your business. It kills your momentum, it kills your drive, it kills your confidence and it kills your bank account. Don't let it happen.
The hardest thing about prospecting is not prospecting, it's picking up the phone, it's getting out the door, it's starting, it's getting going and fear is that thing that more than anything else stops agents from taking action. Get started. Think speed. If you're prospecting from 8:30 to 11:30, at 8:29 I want to be dialing the first number. Why? Because I want to get started fast, I want to be the first one out of the blocks. I want to be on track, on target, intense and creating momentum and creating success every single day. Not only so you can get more yeses, but so that when the end of the day comes, you can say, "Yes" to your life.