99 Real Estate Leads and No Real Estate Deals?

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Some say there is an industry standard that says:

“For every 20 real estate leads you call, you’ll get at least 19 No’s and 1 Yes.” Well, imagine contacting 99 home owners who had a home to sell and having nearly all of them say “No” to your business.

In this blog post I’m going to tell you why and how this happened to me so you’ll know what not to do when talking with real estate leads.

A few years back I came to a point in my life where I wanted a real estate deal really bad! I wanted a deal so bad that I pulled out some old newspapers (a few days old) that I had been saving and circled all the real estate leads I wanted to call. My goal was to call 100 home owners and at least get my first deal.  Statistically I guess I should have a goal of getting at least 5 deals, but I would have been satisfied with 1 real estate deal.

So I picked up the phone and started dialing…

Ring Ring Ring!

First call goes straight to voice mail. I leave a message.

Ring Ring Ring!

Second call goes straight to voicemail. I leave a message.

Ring Ring Ring!

Third call goes straight to voice mail. I leave a message.

Ring Ring Ring!

Fourth call goes straight to voice mail. I leave a message. (I’m getting a little annoyed now)

Ring Ring Ring!

Seller Says: “Hello?”

I introduce myself and begin running through my script of what to say…*Click* in mid sentence.

First rejection…It’s cool. I have 95 more real estate leads to call, so it’s not a big deal.

As I began dialing number after number, it was like a pattern of voice mails and rejections. There were some soft promises of, “I’ll think about it and get back to you”, yet not a single firm Yes!

I burned through 99 real estate leads and didn’t get a single deal.  It all happened in one day and by the end of the day I was completely exhausted and didn’t even bother calling the last lead!

I seriously doubt it would have been a deal. Now that I think about it…I know it wouldn’t have been a deal given my state of mind after being completely drained.

What happened that day? Why wasn’t I able to nab a deal?

After analyzing all the conversations and analyzing myself.

Here some of the main problems I noticed:

Reading From a Script & Not Being in Control

Reading from a script is ok, but you don’t wan to sound rehearsed. If you’re going to do it then you at least have to make it sound natural to the person on the other end. Reading from a script can help guide the conversation and get the answers you need to make a decision. However, it’s important to position yourself accordingly when you’re on the phone. How do you sound to the other person on the end? Do you sound like a buyer/investor or do you sound like a salesman?

Many people get frustrated when they get phone calls out of the blue and you have to be able to build that rapport (relationship) from the beginning in order to set the tone for the rest of the call. If you’re on the defense in the conversation, then you’re climbing an uphill battle because you’re answering the majority of the seller’s questions instead of the other way around. Rapport building points are not something you’re likely to find in a script.

These were the problems I had. I didn’t build rapport. I sounded rehearsed and didn’t maintain control of the conversation. I didn’t position myself as a solution.

Not Listening during the conversations

The problem with using a script is that it could prevent you from listening to the seller unless they answer the question you happen to be on. My advice has always been to use a script as a guide or memory jogger because there will be questions that you need to ask and they might not be on your sheet.

A perfect example of not listening was when a motivated seller was telling me about their home repairs and then moved on to telling me about the neighborhood. After she finished discussing the neighborhood, I said, “So does the home need any repairs?” She called me out right on the spot and said, “Weren’t you listening?” I was kind of listening, but that just happened to be the next question on my script. You absolutely must listen when talking to people on the phone or you’ll likely lose out on the deal like I did.

The presence of negative energy

As I dialed number after number I didn’t take any breaks. Maybe to run to the bathroom or grab a quick glass of water. Other than that, I was diving striaght through this list like no tomorrow. As I kept getting voice mails and kept getting rejected, I would get more and more frustrated. If you get frustrated during a process like this, you’re frustration (negative energy) can easily carry over to the next call and it can be heard by the person on the other end. This can be a big turn off and the conversation will get cut fairly quickly. My advice is to take breaks and stay positive. Motivate yourself or talk to someone who can make you feel better. Then continue on with taking action.

Have you ever talked to someone on the phone and you can just hear a negative attitude in their tone? It’s like someone pissed in their cereal. Sometimes I’d get negative energy from some leads as well. Some either assumed I would low ball them because of being an investor or some just didn’t feel like talking. They had the old “Are you going to buy at full price or what?” mentality. Those are the type of real estate leads, I simply don’t deal with. My time is too valuable and if we’re going to do business, then we need to be on the same page.

Contacting unmotivated real estate leads

Let’s face it! A big handful of the leads I was contacting were unmotivated. As I analyzed all the things I was doing wrong, I also noticed that I was talking to people who wanted to sell, but didn’t need to sell. Motivated leads need to sell their home because there is some sort of problem that they desperately need to get rid of. Foreclosures are huge problems right now and many people out there need a solution.

If you talk with people who say they have time to wait and aren’t looking for a quick sale, then they are most likely unmotivated. It’s one thing for a person not to accept a low offer. It’s another thing for them to tell you that they’re not in a hurry before they even hear your offer. I’m not one to make insultingly low offers, however I do need to position myself to make some money. This is a business and if they have a problem with you making money more than you helping them sell their home fast, then they’re not that motivated. Unmotivated sellers can waste your time, so it’s best to end the call quickly and move on.

Understanding that No means No!

As I write this blog post, I had to stop for a few seconds to answer the phone. It just happened to be a telemarketer. How ironic is that? She wanted to give me an estimate on my windows. I told her I’m not interested. She said, “Well have you changed your windows?” I said, “Yes, but I’m not interested in any additional remodeling right now.” She said, “Well we also do estimates on sliding doors and our estimates are good for 1 full year.” I’m not INTERESTED! (My tone raised a bit). She said, “Ok thank you for your time!”

This made me think back to how many times I was told “No” on that dreadful day and how I kept trying to sell my real estate services to the person on the other end. There was one call in particular where a person kept saying that they weren’t interested and I kept trying to push and convince them. If it’s one thing I’ve learned and have been taught over and over again, you never want to try and convince someone to do business with you. It’s either they get it or they don’t. You’re time is better spent with people who get it because the majority of your deals will come from people who will do whatever it takes to get rid of their problem. Position yourself as a solution and 9 times out of 10, you’ll get the deal.

Cold Calling versus Direct Response Marketing

The last point I want to make is that cold calling a real estate lead verus having the lead contact you can play a role in getting the deal as well. I’ve always believed that if a lead contacts you, then they are much stronger. Why? Because they saw you as a potential solution and they picked up the phone and dialed your number. They may have even taken the time to visit your website and fill out all the required information you asked them to fill out. If they’re not motivated, then they most likely won’t even do that.

This is exactly why I now concentrate on attracting motivated sellers and buyers. I have no doubt in my mind that cold calling works. In fact, I still do it every now and then. However, when you can pick up the phone and say, “How can I help you?”, you instantly gain control of the conversation because you’re asking the question and you’re letting them know right off the bat that you can be a potential solution.  It would be kind of strange to call someone out of the blue and say “How can I help you?”.

If you’re able to elicit a direct response from a real estate lead, then you’ve achieved the goal of direct response marketing. All you have to do next  is close the deal…if it’s really a deal!

I’m sure there are tons of reasons why I didn’t get a deal that day. However, in this post I wanted to point out the major ones that I knew contributed to that day.

Can you think of more? Have you ever called a bunch of real estate leads in a single day? What was your experience?

Share below by leaving a comment.

To Your Success,

J. Lamar Ferren
New Breed Investor

About Author

J. Lamar Ferren is a 26 year old New Breed Real Estate Investor who takes down deals nationwide. Through direct response marketing he uses creative and outside the box methods, both online and offline to attract buyers, sellers, and investors.

10 Comments

  1. As I was reading your article, it occurred to me that many of the tips you have work for real estate agents as well – earlier in my career, I spent a lot of time working with both unmotivated buyers and sellers. I ended up wasting a lot of gas, and more importantly, time. And in my profession, it’s so very true, we need to learn to look for the more motivated clients, so that we can make better use of our time, as well as giving our clients the best experience.

  2. I have tried cold calling and have had little success. I prefer to have motivated sellers contact me. My car is a huge ad for me. It reads “I buy houses” and then my contact info. I also run ads in the local paper “Investment Properties Wanted”. These two things generate lots of leads for me.

    Happy Investing!

  3. There is a huge difference between calling cold leads and calling warm ones. It’s amazing how you pick up negative energy after getting the door slammed in your face several times. You might think you can just let it roll off you back, but it definitely gets to you. I’ve found that it better to open the conversation getting them to say yes. Do you need to sell you home? Would you mind if I come take a look at it? etc.

  4. I was sitting here calling leads when I realized I really don’t have a lot of experience making sales calls. All of my current marketing is geared towards getting the leads to call me. I realized that when I am returning calls, or taking a call, I approach the call with a totally different attitude than how I have been approaching my list this morning. I am not very relaxed when making the calls, and I think that shows right through to the person on the other end.

  5. It’s been awhile since anyone has posted on this article. I think it centers on what not to do when calling cold leads. While I think J. Ferren seems pretty knowledgeable, I would love to hear a list questions that you SHOULD ask when making cold calls. I can have an upbeat attitude and be in control, etc. But due to inexperience, I just don’t know what are the best questions. I assume open-ended, but which ones?

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