Outbound calling is in my mind, more important than inbound calls. When you receive an inbound call, the prospect is already somewhat interested in the service you offer, you are more likely given a chance to build rapport and as they have called you, you can assume they have some spare time to talk (otherwise they wouldn't have made the call in the first place!) But what about when you need to be the go-getter. How can you make your calls effective, and cut through the barrier that the recipient will most likely have?
1. Mix up your offering / call.
To be an effective outbound caller, make sure you vary your calls. There is nothing worse than a stale outbound call, saying "Hi Mr. I want to provide a free service.... blah....blah.....blah" Try half a dozen different calls to action, and work on them. Try offering free appraisals, an update call about their local market, or specific requests relating to their homes (maybe you already know a prospect for their home) The best thing you can do is ask the person for help. Asking for help empowers the individual and provides them a compliment that they know more than you. This is valuable, so whole heartedly seek information from them, they can provide.
2. Just focus on the time of the call and keeping them on the line.
Your initial goal should be to just get the phone call happening, and getting the person on the phone for an extended period of time. This builds rapport and helps you develop a form of a relationship. When you start calling, focus on the fact you want to speak to the consumer for at least 2-3 minutes. Work in topics about what they may be interested in, and what may get them talking to start the flow of the conversation, and then push towards the offering you want to provide.
3. Get over the fear before the call.
Before making the call, think of the worst possible outcome that could ensue for that call. They scream, they get angry, they hang up? All of these are possibilities that could happen when you make the call. But guess what? It doesn't matter. Say someone hangs up on you. The lesson learned is you didn't convey quickly enough a benefit to help them, or they would have engaged in the conversation. Use this as a guide to change your opening line, and try something different. The weaker agents will quit here and go back to what they know, sending emails and hiding behind the screen. But you are better than that. Pick up the phone, and call again, and again, and again.
4. Have a compelling opening.
People receive phone calls all the time, the biggest thing that will make them take note is when they break the pattern of a standard call. Work along the lines of being more formal than less formal. This gets their attention, demonstrates you respect them, and almost is overly polite. Doing this won't do you a disservice as people are complimented when they are well respected, vary your openings, with more and less formal greetings and measure how long the different greetings effect the length of the call.
5. Promise to be brief. Never promise to take their time.
Why would someone appreciate you if you are taking something from them? Don't express to them you are taking up their time. This will make them feel as if their time is more valuable than the conversation you are having and limits the scope of the call. Mention 'Thank you kindly for taking the call, I promise to brief, I just wanted to discuss.......... and then go in to your discussion point.
6. Have a goal for every call!
Many people make outbound calls, ask if someone is interested and then leave it. Want the secret to successful outbound calls? Then follow a checklist. Your first cold call should be to introduce what you do, the market you work, and a service you want to offer. Your ultimate goal should be to get an email address so you can prospect homes to them, and push articles regarding the advantages of engaging an agent, especially to provide an appraisal. Possible goals for each cold call can be:
- To get an email address
- To subscribe them to your mailing list
- To offer a free appraisal
- To meet and discuss the services you offer
- To start searching for homes for them or connect them to an agent in another department
There are many other calls but these are a great way to get yourself introduced and to start building rapport. This will serve to build your brand but also get you in to a market that you otherwise would not have had a chance to get in to. If you want to differentiate yourself from the other agents in the market place, this is a good place to start.
About the Author:
Todd Schulberg handles all things marketing for Homely.com.au - Living and breathing property, Todd has a keen interest in the movements in the market and how agents can utilise new tools and technology in order to be more connected. Using all things social, Todd suggests different ways that agents can engage and think outside the square with their marketing approach.