My goal with this article is to show you how I book one to five appointments every hour using cold calls. I’m also going to show you how the software I use ensures that I positioned myself correctly for those appointments. Finally, I will show you how you can apply this system in your own real estate agency.
By implementing this strategy, you’re going to be able to increase your appointment rate—especially if you feel that your current system isn’t working right. I bet that you will be able to increase your appointment rate by at least 400%. And even more importantly, prospective property investors or sellers are going to be excited to work with you and see you as their number one choice.
Let’s start by looking at the most common mistakes real estate agencies make when creating a cold-call appointment booking system.
Mistake #1 – Not rejecting themselves early & using email software
Your email list is powerful. In fact, email remains a powerful medium to generate sales. We all know that. But what you might not know, is that mass marketing email software is useless in the current market. Here I’m referring to programs like MailChimp, Aweber, or several other mass marketing email software packages.
Let me explain why I recommend that you throw all of the stuff out. Firstly, nobody is opening up email newsletters in 2021 anymore. The reality is that there’s already too much information floating around on the internet.
However, your biggest problem isn’t that people are ignoring your email campaigns. The problem is that most people—even your happiest customers—aren’t able to see your email campaigns.
I’ll prove it to you, and this is something you can try out for yourself. If you create a Gmail account, you will see at the top of your window a tab called promotions. Do you know what that is? When you send mail through popular email marketing software such as MailChimp or Aweber, it leaves a digital trail. If Gmail gets even a whiff of that digital signature, that email is stored under the promotions tab. Which means your prospects will never see it.
What normal person would click on that promotions tab to read all their spam email or access old email newsletters? It seems to me that only a crazy person would do that—not exactly the kind of customer you want.
Mass marketing email software is ineffective in 2021. What you want to do instead, is send an email to your entire prospect list from the email address of the staff member who’s about to call on the phone—using that staff member’s email signature. What do you write in that email? Tell them the truth: that you’re about to call them because you want them to become your customer. The important thing is to give them the option to opt out of being contacted by providing a link.
Just be upfront. Hey, we’re about to phone you and give you a sales pitch. We want to talk about what it would take to make you our newest client. But if you don’t want to hear from us, please press this button.
In this way, the customer can opt out of hearing a sales pitch before you even make a call. So when your sales staff phones them, they’re not going to be rejected outright. Which makes it much easier to make cold calls—and takes away the biggest obstacle people have for calling up someone they don’t know.
This is a way for prospects to give you tacit approval to reach out to them and basically see if you can do business (especially when combined with the strategy from the next section). This is also going to get buy-in from your sales staff, especially your property management team. And believe me, you’ll hear fewer excuses from them like: Our investors don’t want to hear from us; they don’t want to hear our sales pitch; or they don’t want us to bother them.
Since the customers have already given their tacit approval, your staff will have less reason to complain. Which will lower your staff turnover. Who do you think is going to burn out faster—the staff member who phones prospects who are already willing to enter into a conversation, or the one who faces repeated rejections over the phone?
Allowing prospects to opt out of being called, is an easy solution to a difficult problem. On the cold emails I send out, I have three unsubscribe links and I get a 10% unsubscribe rate on those emails—which isn’t bad at all. How do I handle those people who opt out of receiving a call? I keep my word. They will never hear from me again.
In summary, get rejected earlier. It will lower your turnover rate.
Mistake #2 – Narcissistic Marketing
I’m going to tell you something you probably already know. You’re not the only real estate agent in town. You’re also not the only property manager in town. Here’s something else you probably already suspect: nobody reads your blog posts.
I know SEO. Check out some of the case studies I feature on my website. In one particular case, I generated $71,000 worth of additional organic traffic for a customer. Trust me when I say that most real estate agents don’t get the right information about their content strategy. The problem is that most real estate agents use SEO agencies that know little to nothing about real estate or how that industry works.
Let me go back to the telephone for a second. The one thing your real estate agents and property managers probably don’t want to hear when they pick up the telephone is the following: “Your pitch sounds great. In fact, we are looking to sell our home/we’re not happy with our current property manager. Why don’t you send us an email? We’ll look it over and talk later.”
What does the agent do? They send an email explaining why they’re the most amazing real estate agent in the world, and then they beg the customer to pick them. Which turns into more follow up phone calls and more emails—which is about the least fun part of being a real estate agent. Who wants to be the guy who has to make all those calls and send all those emails? It’s no wonder staff turnover in real estate agencies is so high.
The issue is that when they pick up the phone, they give no additional value to the prospect except pitching a commercial to them. Switching from narcissistic marketing to value added marketing is the greatest gift that you can give yourself, your company and your agency’s income.
If you look at real estate agency websites, they look almost identical. From their websites you would think that all agencies are the same. But from my conversations with real estate agents, I found that every real estate agency is unique. Every real estate agency has a different approach and methodology. Some only do auctions. Some don’t do auctions at all. Some focus on the interior decorating to position a home—while others literally manage and do entire renovations on homes.
Let me ask you this: in the last 5, 10 or 15 years of operation, did your agency pick up a thing or two about selling or managing properties? Have you learned anything about getting results for your customers? Did you learn anything about sales—about facilitating faster sales times, achieving higher property values, and going through the process with less paperwork and stress? As a property management, did you learn to lower vacancy rates, achieve higher rental yields, and lower maintenance costs for your clients?
Now, answer this question: Do you think the insights you picked up over the years of serving customers could benefit your future customers? Of course they could! And do you think your future customers would appreciate learning about your insights? Absolutely! So why don’t you create a piece of content—especially a video—around one of those insights?
You could then send a link to that video content to a customer who asks to be contacted by email—instead of your normal sales pitch. This is highly effective. Why? Firstly, because people will actually watch your video. Nobody’s reading sales pitches or blog posts anymore.
Secondly, video content will position you as an expert in your field. It will also give you the benefit of the celebrity effect. When people see someone on video, subconsciously they start to see that person as someone important—even though almost anybody can make a video these days.
Video is a great way to get someone on your wavelength and bring them over to your point of view. It will make them more inclined to work with you. You’re going to give them insights, and you’re going to change their focus to the solutions you’re able to provide them.
And finally, sending out content emails will save you time. It will save you from having to repeat the same information in every sale appointment because it will already have been covered by the video content you sent out. Which means that you can put more of your focus on meeting your prospects’ unique needs. You will close more deals, faster, and easier.
When you get into the habit of creating high quality content, people are going to look forward to hearing from you. Your sales team is going to have a much better time engaging with prospects—and they will actively buy into the process.
Which means you’re ready for the next step.
Mistake #3 – Failing to check the pulse
I’ve got an uncomfortable truth for you: Your prospects will lie to you. Most people lie to themselves on a consistent basis. It’s just the way the world works. Prospects will lie to you for various reasons. Maybe they’re afraid to tell you how desperate they are to find an agent and sell their property as quickly as possible—or how horrible their current property manager is and how much they want to get rid of them.
Why would they lie to you? Because they’re afraid you may use that information against them—even though you need the right information to solve their problem quickly.
Some prospects are going to be very friendly—but no deal is forthcoming. Other prospects are going to be gruff and closed off, but they’re dying to make a deal happen.
Most real estate agents have no idea where they stand with their prospects because they don’t check the proverbial pulse. How do you read a customer’s actual intentions? With a little-known tool called “read receipts.”
Do you know what a prospect does after you get off the phone with them and you send them video content? Do they open the email? Do they watch the video? Do they watch the video once, twice, three times? Do you even know how to find out?
Let’s look at the problem of getting buy-in from your property management team or your sales team. Perhaps they complain that it’s a waste of time to call prospects because they’re just not interested. Wouldn’t it be useful to show them a report that some people clicked on the video you sent out once, twice, or even three times? (I’ve had prospects click on a video 13 times or more.) Wouldn’t such a report be useful for your sales and property management team to do follow up?
What’s more, could you think what a lovely conversation they could have with the prospect—asking them what they thought about the video? Or how would you like to go into a sales appointment or an appointment with an investor knowing they’ve watched a whole bunch of content? Do you think it’s going to be easier to win over the prospect and make a deal happen?
If you follow this approach, you’ll stand out from every other property manager and sales agent in the market. I can guarantee they’re going to see you in a different light. At they very least, they’re going to remember you. If you create a sequence of highly valuable content that you send prospects, they will remember to keep the appointments you make with them.
So check the pulse. Turn your real estate agency into an on-demand appointment generating machine. Turn your staff into a group of people who enjoy their jobs and are sold on what they do—because they’re not annoying people with commercials anymore.
Mistake #4 – Bad Data and whistles
Now I’m going to mention a topic that’s really boring: the organisation of your data. Part of my technical background is custom designing CRM systems. Over the years, I’ve used every CRM under the sun: HubSpot, Salesforce, Zoho, you name it. Unfortunately, most are more trouble than they’re worth.
Now, CRM systems are valuable in theory. They’re useful out of the box—until you need to adjust the software to suit your specific needs. This usually means that you have to send an email to customer support, wait two or three days for their response—only to be redirected to a 200 page manual to fix the program yourself. Does that sound familiar? What’s worse is that by that time your data is already trapped in the software and you can’t get it out. Which is not a good position to find yourself in.
I’m not going to tell you how to organise your data, but I can give you advice on software that will make your organisational work easier. When it comes to generating appointments over the phone, I like to go with a lean, mean piece of software. Preferably software without all the bells, whistles and distractions of these large CRM packages. What you need is a tool to sift through your data to extract the gold nuggets before you enter that data into your CRM.
What would I recommend? If there’s one tool that everybody on your staff already know, it’s Excel. But Excel lacks a lot of the database functionality of a CRM. So what if I told you that there is a tool that combines the functionality of Excel with the benefits of a database like a CRM—without all the bloat? A tool that is also fully customisable out of the box? Wouldn’t that be cool?
There is a piece of software which combines all of these features, and it’s called Airtable. Airtable is really easy to set up and to customise to your heart’s content. What’s more, they already have real estate solutions for you to use. In my experience, you can set someone up on an Airtable and get them using it proficiently in five minutes or less.
There’s a saying that the best CRM is the CRM you actually use. Well, I use Airtable every single day and I love it.
Mistake #5 – The Big Blue Cancel Button (Scheduling Software)
Online calendars and scheduling software is nothing new. What is new is all the creative ways you can use these tools to get buy-in from your prospects when you book appointments—so that they actually keep their appointments.
Let me share the strategy that gets me one to five appointments with top real estate agents every hour with ease. I will also show you how to apply this strategy to your own real estate agency.
My focus isn’t on overcoming a prospect’s objections to booking an appointment. Rather, I focus on making it as easy as possible for the prospect to cancel an appointment I already booked with them. Then I use the power of my follow-up sequence (I call it the “power sequence”) to get buy-in from the prospect so that they look forward to engaging with me in future.
I find that it’s easier to book appointments with prospects if they feel that they can easily change their mind and back out. This also helps you to separate those prospects who are truly interested, from those that aren’t. Which means it’s a win-win for both of you.
If you think about it, an appointment is really nothing more than a tentative callback. When your property management team makes sales calls, all they’re doing is getting buy-in from prospects for tentative callback times. Then it’s the job of your amazing video content and your power sequencing to lock in those appointments. This is how you get a team who may not all be sales superstars—especially on the property management side—to easily book appointments and have those conversations.
On the practical side, don’t send the client an invite link to book an appointment for themselves—book it on their behalf. Here I recommend Calendly scheduling software. Anybody can be easily trained to use their system. You don’t want your staff spending all their time booking and confirming appointments. Let Calendly do that work for you.
In my appointment booking emails, I include an automatically generated big, blue Cancel Button to make it easy for prospects to back out of an appointment. I also include a link at the bottom of every email which allows prospects to easily reschedule or cancel the appointment. Which makes them feel a lot more relaxed.
A callback appointment doesn’t have to be for 45 minutes. All you need is an 18 minute callback time. I can guarantee you that once a prospect goes through your power sequence (which includes the video content that you’ve developed), they will want to make a lot more time to spend with you.
Do you see the potential for this system to book more appointments and rapidly scale your agency?
Mistake #6 – Lacking Beautiful Positioning Forms
Many agencies have a form on their websites the prospects can fill in to request an appraisal. Then, once they have a meeting with your agents, they fill in a physical form while the agent asks them a bunch of questions.
But is it really a good use of your prospect’s valuable time to make them fill in two separate forms? Couldn’t the prospect fill in the same information prior to the appointment—and allow you the time to use that information to prepare for the meeting with them?
Welcome to “beautiful positioning forms.” I have an example here which I use on my own website—a form that has helped me scale my business from charging between $1,000-$1,500 to $5,000 a landing page.
You can tell your scheduling software to send this form to the prospect automatically once their appointment is booked. Your property managers shouldn’t be emailing these forms, these forms are sent out automatically.
The key is to use the process of the prospect filling out this form, as just another way for you to position yourself as the number one choice for property management services in your area. How do you do that? By asking the right questions on the form—questions that illustrate how you’re the perfect agency to meet your prospect’s goals.
For example, you could ask them about their current property manager. You could find out how much rent they are collecting on the property—much rent could potentially be collected from the property through rental optimization. This question makes them consider whether they could be getting more rent. It also puts the idea in their head that your agency might be able to help them achieve those higher numbers.
You’re not making promises you cannot keep. Rather, you’re positioning yourself as somebody that’s asking the right questions. You’re a company that understands what the prospect is trying to achieve. You’re working with the prospect to achieve their goals.
On the other hand, if you put an expensive-looking form in front of the customer to fill out, is it going to convince them to work with you, or make them wonder whether they can afford your services? Can you spot the difference?
Remember, the pre-appointment form is not just about getting information, it’s about positioning yourself in your client’s estimation. This will further shape their opinion of you before you walk into that sales meeting or pick up the phone. I’m obsessed with the word “positioning” and use it regularly in my everyday conversation.
This is because the way you’re perceived by your prospect prior to the appointment is going to determine the likelihood of you closing a sale.
The common denominator I see in all the top producing real estate agents I speak to, is that they’re willing to invest aggressively and proactively into their own self-development and education. That’s why I would like to congratulate you on finishing this article. You’re investing in your own personal growth, learning, and also your agency’s growth.
If you can see yourself implementing the system I’ve outlined in this article, I would love to have a further conversation with you.
If what I’m writing here makes sense to you, why don’t you contact me? Please use the “Book a Consultation” link below to schedule a tentative callback. Choose a time that will work for you and let me know if you’d prefer a phone call or a zoom call. I only need 18 minutes of your time to see if we can do business together.
If you don’t want to make use of this opportunity, that’s fine by me. At the very least, I hope this article sparked your imagination and gave you ideas which you can implement in your own business.