For every closing… every single deal… there is that one moment… that one crucial moment where things can go terribly wrong but don’t. The “tipping point” of any transaction where if you handle it right the result is a commission check, and if you handle it wrong, there is the frustration of yet another missed opportunity.
Sure, you may tell yourself that the lead was just a tire-kicker — a poor quality lead — but in your heart of hearts you know that it really came down to that moment… that critical five seconds. Do you know the five seconds I’m talking about? That all important fork in the relational road? It’s the first five seconds of your very first conversation.
Veteran salespeople know exactly what I’m referring to. That make or break moment when a new lead becomes either a customer or a missed opportunity. If you’ve done any prospecting, you know that moment well. It is the single most uncomfortable moment in the entire day. That’s why agents hate to prospect, but those agents who master that critical five seconds are very successful.
So let’s take a look at that five seconds. Let’s break it down and analyze it, and then let’s build a system to practice until it becomes second nature. When that happens, you won’t dread making that first phone call, and you will find yourself accidentally closing many more transactions.
Let’s Break it Down. Before we can build a system to master the initial phone call, we need to first analyze it. I’m a veteran salesman. I’ve been selling my entire life. In fact, I have memories of catching tadpoles, letting them turn into little frogs and then going door to door selling them to neighbors to eat the bugs in their gardens. I remember selling homemade pot holders, wooden dice I made, and eventually my lawn care services.
As an adult I’ve sold home repair services and automotive repairs. Eventually I owned my own franchises and trained managers to sell. After years and years of selling various services I came into the real estate business. After all those years of selling, you would think that it would be easy for me, right? The truth is that making that first phone call is something I still dread. I manage to find a million other “seemingly important” things to do instead of making those calls.
But when you analyze it, the reason for the fear and loathing becomes pretty clear. We are fighting two very real and very basic human emotions: the fear of the unknown and the fear of rejection. If you are spending much money generating the lead you might even throw in some fear of loss into the mix. The net result is that making that first call sucks! And not the whole call — really just that first five seconds, and now you know why it sucks.
I’ve trained thousands of agents over the last decade and probably the best agent I’ve ever seen in terms of prospecting put it very simply: “If I can keep them on the phone for 20 minutes on my first phone call, I will close a transaction with them.” If you think about it, you’ll realize that’s probably true for you as well. Think of those leads where you made the personal connection. They ended up being closings, didn’t they?
In all my years of working with agents I’ve seen one trait that is common to all of the mega-producer agents: they are masters of the first phone call. If you ask them, most will tell you that they hate making that first call, for all the same reasons that you and I hate it. What makes mega-producing agents different is that they make themselves do it anyway. Now let’s talk about a system or strategy for making a successful first call.
Now Devise a System. Since we know that the first five seconds of the initial phone call are crucial, let’s think about it for a minute. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That means that your first impression is critical. Everything about it matters. And since you are making that impression over the phone, it’s that much more difficult. The tone and energy in your voice are important as well as the content. The messenger and the message.
Here are some tips that I find helpful in terms projecting the right phone voice. First, smile. Don’t ask me why, but for some reason, people can hear the look on your face. If you have a frown, it will come across on the call. Trust me, it’s true. Some telemarketing firms actually put mirrors in all the cubicles so their operators can check that smile before every sales call. Smile — it just works.
Take a deep breath before every call, put on the happy face, and then put on the happy voice. It doesn’t matter if your wife just left you, your dog died, and you are about to be evicted. Don’t bring that to the phone call. If you can’t leave it outside the room, don’t waste the leads making bad calls. You never get a second chance to make that first impression.
Now for the message. It is important before you “smile and dial” that you know what you are going to say. Your prospect doesn’t know you from Adam, and he has likely been on dozens of real estate search websites by the time you call. It’s important that you stand out and make a great impression.
Your objective on the first call is simple. It’s not to sell them a house. It’s not to set an appointment. It’s not to show them how wonderful you are. It’s not to impress them. It’s easier to do than all of those. Your objective is simply to make them like you. If you’re smiling and happy that should be easy enough. But what do you say? You are going to love this. Here is a lead that came in from my Ultimate Website yesterday.
Let’s say that Rick (the lead above) is who you are about to call. Remember, information is power, and you have information. Rick has visited your Ultimate Website and you know that he looked at five different home searches. He sounds pretty serious to me. What’s really cool is that he’s already searched the local MLS then Zillow, then Craigslist, then Homefinder.com, and finally Trulia on his first visit. Lots to talk about.
So you smile, take a deep breath, and with your happy voice you make a call that goes something like this:
Matt: “Hi Rick. My name is Matt Jones with FavoriteAgent.com and I’m calling to thank you visiting my OneHomeSearch website where you could compare all the top home search websites in one place. I hope you liked it?”
Rick: “Errr… (being polite but still not wanting to get a sales call) yeah, it was pretty cool. I liked how you had all the searches in one place to make it simple. (thinking, get me off the phone)”
Matt: “Well Rick, I don’t want to keep you, but I wanted to give you a quick tip on using our site. I saw how you visited Zillow. Lots of our customers go there. One of the things that we hear a lot is that the ‘Zestimate’ on Zillow is not very accurate. Did you happen to try one?
Rick: “Actually, yes. I wasn’t very confident in their value to be honest.”
Matt: “We get that a lot. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to call. Having good information is important while you’re searching or thinking of selling. I wanted you to know that I’m happy to get you a ‘second opinion’ any time you run across a value you are not sure about. I’m happy to do it and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg — just a foot. (pause for the chuckle). No seriously, I feel like if I am giving out potentially bad information on my website, the least I can do is help clear up any confusion it causes.”
(…and the call just flows from there… whew! you made it past that five seconds!)
As you can see, having something specific to talk about makes for a very easy flow. Will it work every time? Of course not. But it will work a lot. And it will add up quickly. Remember your numbers:
- You’ll only reach and have a meaningful conversation with half of your leads.
- Of the half you talk to, you will ultimately only set an appointment with one in six.
- Of the one in six that set an appointment, you’ll close a transaction with half of them.
- In other words, you’ll close a deal with one in twenty four. Not bad.
So go work on that five-second-drill. Smile and dial. Have something of value to talk about. Make them like you. And the hardest part of all is having something of value to talk about, and my new Ultimate Home Search will give you just that. And it is a brand new feature in your Ultimate Website. Best of all, it doesn’t cost you a dime.
Now whether you’re a long time user or you’ve been sitting on the fence thinking about trying my Ultimate Website, today is the day to try out this new Ultimate Home Search. Your customers are going to love it, and you are going to love being able to step in front of all the major home search websites with your LCM and capture those leads.