Conquering Your Fear When The Phone Rings

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When I first started real estate investing, the only seller I was dealing with was the bank. During the middle of last year, I started a direct mail campaign to absentee owners and I was a nervous wreck whenever I had to talk to a seller. What if I said something stupid? Would the seller smell the newbie on me? I believe I had to talk to nearly 30 people from my first mailing and by the time I finished that, my confidence level was MUCH higher.

For those of you who are new to this and are out there taking action by marketing directly to motivated sellers, I thought I’d share some quick tips that helped me conquer my phone fear.

#1: Remember that you’re in a position of power.
I start with this tip because its the one that actually helped me the most.  The fear was all in my mind anyway, so it was powerful to switch things around and tell myself, “Hey, he (or she) called me! I didn’t call them! I received this call because this person has a need.”

#2: Walk and talk.
Don’t sit in a chair in front of your computer talking to sellers.  Try pacing.  I always took the phone outside in my back yard and paced back and forth while yapping away on the phone.  I know the neighbors thought I was strange (plus I wore out the lawn), but this really helped me to feel more comfortable.

#3: Role play.
I found role playing to be pretty helpful so that I could think quickly and respond to a variety of scenarios on the spot.  Find a friend or loved one with a good sense of humor to help you out.  They can throw all kinds of funny scenarios at you and not only will you have fun, you’ll be gaining confidence.

#4: In the beginning, practice talking to ALL sellers, motivated or not.
This may be unpopular advice as its certainly true that talking to unmotivated sellers is generally a waste of time.  However, in the beginning when you’re just looking to build confidence, practice talking to everyone! It  can’t hurt.  As you gain confidence, quickly shift your focus to determining motivation within the first few minutes and getting off the phone if the seller isn’t motivated so that you can maximize your time.

#5:  Use a script.
Using a script will keep your conversation focused and help ensure that you ask all of the key questions.  It’s ok to tell the seller that you’re jotting down notes or that you need to grab your paperwork.  Having a script should give you a certain comfort level when you’re first dealing with seller calls.

#6:  Listen twice as much as you talk.
The good news is that you really shouldn’t have to do a ton of talking when speaking with sellers. The key to determining motivation is to listen twice as much as you talk.  Very early on in the call (while the butterflies are still roaming around your stomach), you have a great opportunity to do more listening instead of talking. Simply asking “Why are you looking to sell your property?” will buy you plenty of time to calm your nerves while you’re listening to the seller tell you their story.

I hope you find these tips helpful and I encourage you to share your own tips on how you’ve conquered your phone fear.

Photo: deathandgravity

About Author

Shae Bynes is a real estate investor in Sunny South Florida. On her blog,, she provides helpful tips and an inside look at her real estate investing adventures -- obstacles, failures, & successes!


  1. I do alot of the same things, especially the pacing around. I wear out a path in my carpet. Only problem with walking around is I can’t jot down notes to well. Right now with not being able to walk around because of my foot surgery I have been talking and sitting and I have been doing pretty good. I just need to stash talk sheets all over the house so there is always one next to me where I’m sitting cause I can’t get up and get one when someone calls. hahaha

  2. Great article Shea! We often forget that we are the ones that “have the cookie” and are in the position of power. I still get up and walk around when talking to most sellers over the phone. I’m curious why that helps, must get the blood pumping or something. And in the beginning its great advice to talk to everyone. so much so that the words just come out when your sleeping! -john

  3. Thanks for the comments, fellas! Scott, keep wearing out that carpet!

    John, I agree…there’s something about walking and talking…even though I don’t have to do it to calm my nerves anymore, I still do it because it just helps me flow in the conversation better.

    Nick, I hear ya. I think there’s ways to read a script without sounding like you do. It takes practice though. Eventually you can flow more freely. The script I used in the beginning just just had questions that I needed to ask the seller and it phrased them in ways that didn’t sound so Q&A and came off more natural. I can flow much more freely now and still get the info I need (and just use the paper to write down the answers!).

  4. Wow, so apparently I’m not the only one who paces around the house while talking to a seller. lol I’ve been trying to break that habit, but it just comes so natural and I feel more on my game anyway. Just don’t pace too fast or you’ll run out of breath before asking the next question. 😛 Also love #6. Listening is too crucial and can help with knowing what question to ask next. Great Post Shae!

  5. Nicole H. Miller on

    I strongly affirm that one should listen twice as much as he should talk. Obviously, we have two ears and a mouth to do that.

    In totality, it’s still an issue of a person’s confidence level; and we all know that it’s just a state of mind. You must think you’re confident, feel you’re confident project you’re confident and act as if you’re confident, even if you aren’t. Before you knew it, your play pretend confidence is very much your own confidence level.

    But of course, you must always complement your new found confidence with technicals to back you up :>

  6. Excellent points Shae, these are all points that we should already know, I know I’ve heard them several times before, in one way or another. But, this topic is still my number one weakness on my SWOT analysis, it’s good to hear re-enforcement, Thank you.

  7. Eric in Silicon Valley on

    Since watching (or was it listening?) to a Tony Robbins piece about 15 years ago, I’ve picked up the habit of at least standing, if not walking, when I want to stay focused and/or make sure I keep up my energy level while talking.

  8. Michael King

    Starting my first cold call session tomorrow. I was pretty nervous, but I just sat down with my fiance for an hour and a half and practiced role playing with the scripts. It really does help! I feel a lot more confident now! Wish me luck tomorrow!

  9. Gregg Hutton

    #6 is probably the biggest to me, just in life in general lol!

    I believe having the script is a good tool to have in pocket, especially when training your team, but once you get comfortable, put your own style into it all and eventually these calls will organically build confidence.

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