One of the most daunting aspects of real estate sales, especially for newer agents, is phone prospecting. Even with a system as effective as that provided through Espresso Agent, agents can have myriad reasons for “call reluctance:”
- We don’t want to bother someone
- We don’t like confrontation, or rejection
- We convinced ourselves that something passive, like a letter or postcard mailer, can do a better job of “telling our story.”
All understandable, but obviously not a path to long-term success.
Top producing agents-yes, even the best-often grapple with the same fears and anxieties. They’ve learned how to push through their fears. But, perhaps more importantly, they’ve come to learn that reliance on well-crafted scripts is often the difference between success and failure.
There’s an old adage: facts tell, stories sell.
When you call someone and don’t use a script, the natural tendency is to jump in with a litany of facts about yourself, your experience, your success stories, etc. You might be so thrilled to have somebody answer that you don’t want to give them an opportunity to end the call. Keep at it at all costs!
Well, the reality is, success in real estate sales is driven by two complimentary strategies:
- Learning how to ask effective, probing and, most importantly, open-ended questions.
- Learning how to truly listen to how your prospects answer those questions in order to better understand their dreams and motivations.
In other words, instead of droning on with “facts that tell,” you are helping your prospect “build a story that helps you to sell.”
The data varies, but the overwhelming evidence is that real estate agents who use highly-proven scripts vastly outperform agents who choose to wing it.
One of the excuses non-scripters often identify is the notion that “scripts sound mechanical.” Of course, there’s truth to that statement. The idea of mechanics is to make things simpler, more predictable, and efficient. But a good script serves as your foundation, not the end-all. Everyone sounds different, has unique voice modulation and inflection points.
The more you practice with your scripts, the less mechanical, and more comfortable you’ll become at:
- Handling objections
- Responding to questions
- Addressing concerns
Again, the script is a framework upon which you help create a story with your prospect. With time and practice, you will be able to transform a rigid script into your own, natural approach to engaging potential clients.
One of the most important reasons to use proven scripts is that they help steer you away from the tendency to ask “yes or no” questions. Nothing can squash a phone call like giving the prospect the reflexive opportunity to say NO!
Scripts guide you in the art of asking effective, open-ended questions. Such questions often begin with how, when, where and why:
- How long have you lived in your current home?
- When do you think you’ll be ready to move?
- Where are you thinking you’d like to live next?
- Why do you want to live there?
So, for example, with the first question above, if someone responds by saying: “I’ve been in this home five years,” a good response might be: “where were you living before that?” This line of questioning takes you down a path of understanding more about the prospect: Is he/she working at a job that requires frequent moves, for example?
The more you probe with open-ended questions, the more you begin to construct a narrative about your prospect. Perhaps, more importantly, the longer you keep them engaged on the phone, the more rapport and trust you begin to build.
Successful agents understand that effective scripts bolster their confidence, and minimize the chances for awkward silence if the person with whom you’re speaking is not forthcoming with information.
In closing, we’d like to share two tips to help you get the most out of your script strategy:
- Record yourself when prospecting. It’s valuable to listen to yourself in order to identify strengths and weaknesses in your delivery
- Find an accountability partner and role play with your scripts-every day if possible.
Of course, there is one time when a “yes or no” question is completely acceptable. That’s when you’ve worked your scripts, have built some excellent rapport and are at a place when you feel it’s comfortable to ask: “Are you available Thursday afternoon at 2 PM to meet?”