Cold calling is a great way for real estate investors and agents to generate leads.
Unfortunately, it also can be awkward and uncomfortable (especially if you’re just getting started). But the good news is that the more you do it, the less awkward it becomes and the better you get at it.
With a little bit of practice and grit, cold calling can become an effective part of your marketing process that helps you reach sellers that your competitors are overlooking.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to do it!
What is The Goal of Cold Calling For Real Estate?
The goal of cold calling is the same as the goal of any outbound marketing strategy: to generate leads.
But let’s get a little more specific.
Not everyone you call is going to be ready to work with you — some people will be cautious, some curious, and some will tell you to f*** off (sorry — that’s just part of the game).
You should approach every call with the ultimate goal, of course, of turning the person into a client or deal… but you should be willing to settle for a lower-tier goal if it becomes clear that that isn’t going to happen.
Here’s what I mean…
Highest Tier (Client) — The ultimate goal of cold calling is to find clients and close deals. You should go into every call with this target in mind… but be willing to adapt if it becomes obvious that this isn’t going to happen.
Mid Tier (Follow-Up Call Scheduled) — Some people you call will be interested, but they are in the middle of something or you caught them off-guard. Therefore they can’t talk right now. If this is the case, try to schedule a follow-up call or, at the very least, ask when a better time to call would be.
Mid Tier (Referral) — If you’re skip tracing, then you’ll likely end up calling some wrong numbers. But why let those calls go to waste? It doesn’t hurt to end the call by saying something like, “Sorry I got the wrong number. But out of curiosity, do you know anyone in the area who’s trying to sell their home? I’m an agent and I’ve got some really motivated buyers.” You might have called the wrong person… but maybe that wrong person knows the right person.
Low Tier (Build Rapport) — If the person seems entirely uninterested in hearing from you, sometimes the best thing you can do is show that you respect them by apologizing for contacting them and wishing them a great day. Try not to let calls end on a bad note (that’s not always possible, of course).
Low Tier (Brand Awareness) — It’s been said that all PR is good PR. When you are on a losing streak of getting cussed out and hung up on, remember that people are still hearing your name. There’s always some degree of benefit in simply spreading the word.
On each call, you’ll start with your sights aimed at the highest tier and then slowly lower your sights if needed as the call progresses. Your goal is to hit the highest-tier target possible for each call.
How to Find Phone Numbers for Cold Calling & Who To Call
To find phone numbers and pull relevant data, we recommend using Propstream.
You can get a 7-day free trial with that link.
Here are some great lists for real estate agents to cold call…
- Expired Listings — These people tried to sell their home on the MLS but the listing expired. This means it didn’t sell before the listing expired. These people might be willing to work with a new real estate agent and lower their asking price to actually sell their home.
- FSBO — This is probably the most popular group of people for real estate agents to cold call. You can find these people on Propstream or on Craigslist. Many FSBO sellers are struggling to sell their home on their own for the price they want. Reaching out and offering your services is a no-brainer.
- Just Sold — Another thing that many real estate agents do is, after they’ve just sold a property in a specific neighborhood, they call other owners in that neighborhood and notify them of the recent sale, asking if they’d also be interested in selling.
And here are some popular lists for real estate investors (we’ve got more lists for wholesalers over here)…
- High Equity + Absentee + Vacant — Absentee owners don’t live in their property and a vacant property means no one is living it. This means that the owner is losing money on their real estate investment. And high equity means they have a lot invested in the property. For obvious reasons, these people are often willing to sell their property for a fair cash price to get rid of the headache of managing the property.
- Tax Delinquent — Tax delinquent lists are one of the most commonly used list types in real estate. They’re easy to pull and, if you market to them correctly, can be quite effective. The logic is simple: If somebody isn’t paying their property taxes, then they very well might view their property as a burden. And if they see their property as a financial burden, then they might be interested in quickly unloading it for below market value.
- Free & Clear — A lot of the lists we talk about here include an equity filter of 50% or more (because high-equity homeowners are often more interested in selling to wholesalers). But sometimes, you might want to just pull a list of people who own their property free and clear. These people, for a variety of reasons, might be interested in selling their home for a fair cash price. If you want to niche down the free & clear list even further, you can add absentee, vacant, or even tax delinquent filters.
You can easily pull those lists inside of Propstream.
As far as actually finding phone numbers for all of those records you’re going to pull, Propstream also offers a skip tracing service and that’s probably the easiest way to go about it. You could also use software like RESimpli, a real estate CRM — we recommend having that tool anyways for your follow-up and lead management processes. More on that shortly.
Best Bulk Dialers for Real Estate Cold Calling
Now let’s talk about how you’re actually going to call all of those phone numbers you’ve pulled in an efficient way.
Because the reality is… most people aren’t going to answer the phone when you call.
If you run through your list dialing phone numbers manually, this means you’ll spend a ton of time listening to a ringtone instead of actually talking to homeowners.
So you’ll definitely walk to use a bulk dialer.
These tools work by calling multiple phone numbers at once and only forwarding answered calls to you or your sales reps. This means you can get through bigger lists… faster.
Here are some of the top picks amongst agents and investors…
CallTools — This is one of the most expansive cold calling tools available. They have a predictive dialer and preview dialer to make you and your time uber-efficient.
ReadyMode — Another option, ReadyMode is technically crafted for big or small call centers… but works wonderfully for cold calling teams as well. They have a predictive dialer and a CRM.
SmrtDialer — Perhaps the simplest of the tools, SmrtDialer has both CRM and power dialing capabilities.
Cold Calling Script for Real Estate Investors
Here’s how Kyle Krason, a wholesaler, starts his cold calls…
“Yeah, hey [name], it’s Kyle. How are you doing?
I know it’s an unexpected phone call. I was just calling about a property I think you own at [address]. I was just wondering if you’ve thought about selling that house and if you’d consider an offer?”
You’ll notice that this script is great at keeping people on the phone and getting more information out of them.
Check it out.
Cold Calling Script for Real Estate Agents
Lillie Nefwani is a real estate agent with tons of great YouTube content. And we love the script she uses to call homeowners.
Here it is…
“Hi. This is Lilly, I’m calling with Keller Williams and I’m trying to get ahold of [name].
We’re just calling the neighborhood. Our real estate team just sold a property fairly close to yours over on [street name]. And just because of how quickly we sold it and how much we sold it for, the market is really hot right now in that whole area there, so we’re just calling around the neighborhood to see if you or anyone else you might know in the area is also interested in selling in the near future.”
Some Important Real Estate Cold Calling Tips
While successful cold calling might seem as simple as following a few scripts… it’s not.
There’s a lot that goes into it.
And to some degree, you’ll always have to with the flow. A script might help you get the conversation started… but then it’s up to you and your own knowledge and experience to take the conversation where you want it to go.
Here are some additional tips for doing that…
Follow Up… a Lot
The chances of closing a deal or snagging a client on the first call are virtually 0%. It just doesn’t really happen.
Rapport is built over time… so you’ve got to follow up. And you’ve got to do so consistently. It’s no secret that each point of contact increases your chance of working with the prospect.
Create a follow-up process that’s automated so you don’t have to think about it. Reach out via call, text, and maybe even email periodically. If you want to be successful with cold calling, then this is a mandatory part of the process.
Ask a Lot of Questions
The best salespeople ask a lot of questions.
You don’t want to overstep your bounds here, and it’s important to ask personal questions tactfully, but you do need to ask questions.
Not only does that give you critical information about the seller’s situation, but it’s a great way to build rapport and show that you listen and care.
Keep the Conversation Going
Research suggests that longer calls are more successful. So keep the conversation going when possible… even if it might not be going in the exact direction you were hoping for. It takes time to build rapport and spending 5-10 minutes on the phone with someone to do that is time well-spent… and you never know where it might lead.
DON’T Ask If They Have Time
One of the quickest ways to kill a cold call is to start by saying, “Do you have five minutes?” or “Did I catch you at a bad time?”
If the person answered the phone, then they probably aren’t that busy… but if you ask if they’re busy, then 99% of the time they’re going to say that they are and you’ve lost an opportunity to connect with them.
Just assume that if they’re super busy… they’ll tell you without you having to ask.
Work on Your Tone
Your tone of voice is everything when it comes to cold calling.
Spend some time talking to yourself and working on the tone that you want to have — it should be calm and level, but not quite monotone. You don’t want to bore people to death, but you also don’t want to sound hyped up on caffiene. There’s a balance and everyone has to find their own style through practice.
Final Thoughts: Keep it Legal & Ethical
Let’s address the elephant in the room: cold calling makes a lot of people mad.
But there’s no denying it. Cold calling is still an effective way for agents and investors to generate leads, do deals, and snag listings. The important thing is that you do so legally and ethically.
That’s pretty simple in practice; if someone tells you not to contact them, then stop contacting them.
Do that and you’ve got nothing to be afraid of — cold calling can become a critical source of leads for your business if you do it consistently. All that’s left is for YOU to take action!