This April, one of Inman’s most popular recurring theme months returns: Back to Basics. All month, real estate professionals from across the country share what’s working for them, how they’ve evolved their systems and tools, and where they’re investing personally and professionally to drive growth in 2022. It’s always smart to go Back to Basics with Inman.

Ever feel tongue-tied when you’re making your prospecting calls? Frozen in fear when the homeowner picks up the phone? Worried about not having the right words at the right time to make the right impression? I get it. The good news is that you’re not alone.  

 The other good news is that I have three concepts and six dialogues I think can help you.  

1. It’s all about conversation 

When you are cold-calling leads in the hopes of booking a listing appointment, I want you to look at your calls not as a win-lose opportunity but as a win-win. Let me explain.

When you are calling to “get an appointment,” which is your only goal, that’s a win-lose situation; if you get the appointment, awesome! If you don’t get the appointment, it feels like a loss, and there are only so many of those you can do in a day and still feel motivated.  

Staying motivated is essential, especially in today’s market, right? So, here’s the mindset I want you to have when approaching your calls: Come from a place of service. It’s just a conversation between two people.

It’s an opportunity to connect and share with another human being some facts and information that may help them make great real estate decisions for themselves and their families. You’re serving, not selling — and that’s a win-win.  

2. Build rapport by asking questions  

Questions are great conversation connectors and help to open dialogue opportunities. The more questions you ask, the more you learn, and the more the homeowners begin to trust you.

If you are feeling a little stuck, especially with a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO), there are a few places to start, like asking about their ad, and about the house:  

  • Great ad, did you write it yourself?  
  • How many bedrooms? How many bathrooms?  
  • How big is the lot? 
  • Any major renovations done in the past few years? 
  • Is the basement finished? 
  • How long have you lived in this house? 

As the conversation moves on and you sense the homeowner starting to warm up to you, you can begin asking deeper questions to establish what their commitment is: 

  • Where are you planning on moving to? 
  • Do you have a timeline for when you would like to move?  
  • Why are you moving? 

3. Use dialogues as your guide versus memorized scripts 

I’ll be the first to say that I don’t like “canned scripts.” To me, they never come across as authentic because they are never written to sound like you. They also rely on the other person knowing their part “in the play,” which doesn’t usually go as planned. Being able to sound natural and speak from the heart is a learned skill that takes practice.

Much like you see improv actors who can easily develop a scene and dialogue, so can you with some trusted dialogue framework, practice and giving yourself the grace to keep trying.

Farm area dialogue: free report

“I hope I haven’t interrupted you. The reason I’m calling is to let you know that I’ve recently been sending you some information about the market to help your family stay informed as to what is happening in the neighborhood and what the changes in the real estate industry could mean for you! Have you been receiving that? Awesome!

 “One thing I’ve been providing for your neighbors is a free Neighborhood Market Report. It’s a great way to know what your house is worth in today’s market. I understand you folks may not be selling right now, but this is really good information to have if you ever do. Would you like me to send that over?”  

Farm area: over the phone market analysis

“Hi, there! Thanks for taking my call. My name is Darryl, and I’m with Power Realty. One of the things we’re offering as a service to the community is a free over-the-phone market analysis. Why I do this is because a home is usually one of a family’s most important assets and just like a stock portfolio, periodically you should get an update on the value of your assets. This is a super simple over-the-phone report on what’s been happening in your neighborhood that would only take a few minutes of your time.

“All I have to do is ask you a couple of basic questions about your house, and then I’ll go back to the computer, do a little market analysis research, and call you back with the results. Would you have some time for me to do this with you now, or would tomorrow at six be better?”

FSBO dialogue

“Hi, I’m calling about the house for sale. Is it still available? This is Darryl from Power Realty. How are you? Great! The reason that I’m calling is that I’m just looking at a copy of your ad, and it’s really good! Did you write this yourself? You did a great job!

“I see you have four bedrooms … can I ask, is that two up and two down? Oh, and it’s a full basement … is it finished? How big is the backyard? That’s great. Where are you thinking of moving to? When do you need to get there? Why are you moving? Hey, would you be offended if I just stopped by to have a look at your house so I could see if there is a way that I could help you?”

Expired listings

“Hi there, this is Darryl with Power Realty. The reason I’m calling is that I noticed your house expired off the MLS, and I was wondering if it was still for sale? I’m looking at a copy of your listing on the MLS, and I’m a little surprised that it didn’t sell. Why do you think that is?

“I understand that this is probably frustrating for you, but let me ask you this: If I had a buyer who was willing to pay the price that you need to make this move a success, and we can still get you into your new home in the timeframe that you want and with the money you need, is that something you would consider?”

Calling past clients dialogue — SMILE Stop 

“Hi, there! I just wanted to check in with you and see how everything was going! How are the kids? How’s the house? Any new renovations or additions? I wanted to see if we could find the time for me to drop in and pay a visit! I have a little something for you!

“One of my goals this year is to put a smile on the face of one of my customers at least once a week with a little gift and note! This week, I’m hoping that’s you. What’s a good time for us to get together?” 

Calling past clients — market change

“Hi John, it’s Darryl Davis; how are you doing? Great! I was just going through my client records and your name popped up, and I wanted to check in and see how you all are doing and offer something that I am making available to all of my past clients, which is a Free Neighborhood Market Report. This is a simple way to know what your home is worth and what your neighbors are paying for their homes once a year.

“There is so much change in the market, and that usually means a lot of questions for clients about how that change affects their families. I’m happy to help answer any questions you guys might have. Is there anything that I can do for you at this time?” 

This is turning out to be one of the most competitive years we’ve seen in a long while in our industry. If you want to stay in business and thrive in this market, not prospecting is not an option.

I want you to remember that you provide an essential service for people. You are not bothering them by providing that service. You are not pestering people by keeping your eyes and ears on the industry so that you can be a valuable resource to the members of your community.

Making calls and door-knocking and giving people an easy way to connect with a trusted professional in this crazy roller-coaster ride of market change is a service.  

I promise you this: If you commit to speaking to at least two people per day about real estate in some way or form, your business will grow. Your skills will improve. Your confidence will soar. You’ll join the ranks of seasoned professionals who not only are not afraid to pick up the phone but are eager to make the connections. That’s what I want for you as well.

Darryl Davis is a speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, as well as the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars. He currently hosts weekly free webinars to help agents navigate market change and design careers worth smiling about. Learn more at his website or connect with him on Facebook or YouTube.





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