It can't just be Halloween that makes Realtors fear the phone. Most of the agents and brokers I meet appear to be deathly afraid of the phone no matter what time of the year it is. That's bad news because the phone may be your best sales building tool.
When you use it right, it can:
- Let you expand on your brand in a personal and immediate way. The only other way to do that is in person. Your direct mail, your e-mail, your ads, your signs - all your other marketing tools can't do that.
- Boost your sales and dramatically while reducing your marketing costs because it's efficient - you can reach more prospects per hour than you can with in-person visits.
- Improve your relationships by staying in touch with existing customers and introducing new services.
If you hesitate when it comes to hopping on the phone, these reasons alone are enough to work and overcome that hesitation. I also want to share some tips on making the time you spend on the phone more productive.
1. Get crystal clear on your purpose for all calls. Too many agents just accept that they need to be on the phone, but few really give much thought about their goal for calling. Consider writing a sentence to give your calls direction and purpose along with what you specifically want to accomplish: to set up a meeting, to share a new service you're offering, to talk about changes coming to their neighborhood, etc.
2. Focus more on useful information and less on selling. We all know what sales calls are like, and often, they're not pleasant. Most sales calls create immediate objections and then things can get contentious from there. Instead, share and emphasize information that's useful and helpful.
3. Be ready for anything. If you've spent any time making calls about real estate, you know there are tons of scenarios that can unfold - "Sorry, I'm headed to a meeting." "Uh, now's not a good time." "I just moved." On and on. Certainly respect their time and requests. But also be ready with responses to these various comments so that they don't fall through the cracks unnecessarily.
4. Be persistent. Several studies have found that roughly 80 percent of sales are made after the fifth contact, but that 90 percent of agents quit selling before then. Do you know the common denominator of all successful people? They didn't quit.
I've written here mostly about the phone as a sales tool, but let me add its brand-building abilities. When people call you or your office, they form an opinion of you and your business just as they would if you were with them in person. You do it, too. Think about the last time you called a mortgage broker or home inspector.
I strongly recommend you audit how you and everyone in your company handle calls from start to finish. Challenge yourself to come up with five important ways to improve how you handle phone calls - you and everyone in your office.
A phone call is anything but an interruption so make sure when people call, that's the last impression they get. Make a goal to have everyone in your office answers phone calls with grateful voices - voices that scream "I-want-to-talk-you-more-than-anything-else-in-the-world." Every time you hear the phone ring, think of it as the sound of a cash register because in many instances, that's exactly what it is.
Let me hear from you. How are you doing on your phone calls? What opinion are people forming of you during phone calls? How much thought have you given to your phone strategies - both sales and customer service calls? How can you start improving this area today?
Bubba Mills is the CEO of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc. (www.corcorancoaching.com/programs, 800-957-8353), an international Real Estate, Mortgage, and Small Business coaching company. Mills is a nationally recognized speaker, coach and mentor to the top real estate agents and mortgage companies. Visit us at www.CorcoranCoaching.com.