Overcoming Call Reluctance in Real Estate Prospecting Strategies for Success1

Overcoming Call Reluctance in Real Estate Prospecting: Strategies for Success

One of, if not THE biggest, barrier to success in real estate is call reluctance. For some agents, it can be a paralyzing fear of calling someone cold. Call reluctance is common for sellers in any industry but tends to be incredibly pervasive in real estate, where success is driven by continuous, dedicated phone prospecting.

In this post, we will discuss call reluctance and provide helpful tips that can help you overcome this mental block and get on the path to the best success of your career.


A Scientific Explanation

According to CIENCE, call reluctance syndrome, also know simply as call reluctance, is a “psychological phenomenon where salespeople experience a fear to reach out to prospects and make phone calls. This situation is most typically observed at the start of a potential customer relationship referred to as cold calling.:

As the chart below shows, call reluctance can have a major impact on a seller’s career regardless of their experience level:

  • 80% of new salespeople fail within the first year.
  • 40% of sales veterans are at a threat of decreasing sales.

SOURCE: https://www.cience.com/ciencepedia/call-reluctance

Maybe the best place to start is with a reality check: every real estate agent, even those playing at the top of their game, has experienced the anxiety of call reluctance at some point in time. So, you’re not alone.


4 Factors Every Agent Faces

There are myriad reasons why agents shy away from picking up the phone.  Let’s look at four of the biggest reasons:

  • Fear of rejection.

This is the mother of all call reluctance factors. Humans are hard-wired to seek positive group interaction, acceptance, and approval as a species. This hard-wiring runs counter to the nature of real estate prospecting, when you often (especially these days) sit in an office, alone, for hours on end, not getting that group acceptance you need. As such, the thought of rejection, in any form, precipitates a biological fear response that ultimately urges us to retreat to a safe place, such as our Facebook feed.


  • Using unqualified leads.

If you’re not working with a proven lead/CRM system such as Vulcan 7, you’re likely making true “cold calls” to people who may have little interest or urgency to sell, let alone talk to a real estate agent. It’s difficult to feel confident if you’re working with second-rate information.


  • You’re uncertain of your value proposition.

Put another way, you aren’t fully comfortable with the product (“YOU”) you are trying to sell. Or, perhaps more dramatically, you question your purpose as an agent at a deep level. Both of these factors fuel a certain kind of insecurity that makes the idea of phone prospecting daunting in the extreme.


  • You haven’t practiced enough.

Surely, you’ve heard about the 10,000-hour principle, whereby you need to spend 10,000 hours to be great at any enterprise. Clearly, you don’t need to spend 10,000 hours to become a top-performing agent, but it’s difficult to have the confidence to dive into phone prospecting if you aren’t working at your craft all the time.




Here Are the Signs to Consider

Again, we’ve all been there. But here are a few outward behaviors indicating that you might be suffering from a chronic case of call reluctance:

  • Procrastination: Why do today what you can put off until next week? “I’ll call after I check my Facebook feed… for the 5th time today.”
  • Over-preparation/over-analysis: Put another way, “paralysis by analysis,” when you convince yourself that you’ll have the answer to every conceivable question.
  • Anxiety or Nervousness: You exhibit physical symptoms before picking up the phone, such as sweating, a racing heart, or dry mouth.
  • Negative emotions and self-talk: Some might refer to this as “stinking thinking.” It’s the endless chatter about the future that fills us with dread, anxiety, or even debilitating panic attacks.
  • Making Excuses: You continuously have an excuse for not making your calls (“I was busy this morning, so I’ll call in the afternoon.”)
  • Comparing Yourself to Others: This can be another version of negative self-talk when you convince yourself that “they” are doing a much better job than you, which makes you feel even more inadequate.


Practice, Not Perfection!

You can’t just “will yourself” to overcome call reluctance. But you can power through it by taking important steps to approach your business. Here are a few strategies to help get you on track:

  1. Reframe your role: Don’t think of yourself as a salesperson. Your role is to help guide your clients through one of the most important activities of their lives. They are anxious and often fearful. Take solace in knowing you are helping them realize their dreams. You are a counselor, a problem-solver, and a friend. Shifting your perception can begin to have a dramatic impact on your outlook.
  2. Build an accountability network: You can’t do this alone! Find role-playing partners and push each other before you start prospecting each morning, especially when handling objections. Role-playing will energize you and help to build up your confidence.
  3. Record yourself and playback your phone prospecting efforts. It’s helpful to listen to yourself and determine how to tweak your delivery to be even more effective.
  4. EMBRACE rejection: Many top-performing real estate professionals use rejection as a goal. They gauge the success of their phone prospecting efforts by the number of rejections they get. Indeed, those rejections are proof-positive that they are working the phones to the fullest. Or, to borrow from hockey legend Wayne Gretzky: “I miss 100% of the shots I DON’T take.”
  5. Manage stress and anxiety:  Exercise, meditation, affirmations-it doesn’t matter what works for you, but try to start every morning with activities that help to steel you for the day ahead.
  6. Celebrate small wins: Set a manageable goal of making a certain number of daily calls. When you reach that goal, reward yourself by taking a break, streaming something on Netflix, or taking a walk with your kids. Remember: success begets success, so celebrate every success, no matter how significant.


Use Your Tools

Call reluctance is a real psychological malady that can impact your real estate prospecting efforts. The previous section outlined six steps to help you work through call reluctance syndrome.

But there’s a 7th step that can dramatically impact your ability to work through call reluctance and profoundly affect your career: EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY, such as VULCAN7!

Vulcan7 is the leading real estate lead generation platform in the country. Here are five ways Vulcan7 can complement the steps above in helping you manage call reluctance:

  1. Call with confidence. Vulcan7 is known for superior leads and the most accurate data in the industry. Every morning, we deliver the most accurate contact information for Expired Listings, FSBOs, and FRBOs to your desktop.
  2. Stay organized. Vulcan7’s simple-to-use CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software lets you stay focused and on-task when following up with prospects.
  3. Vulcan7 scripts: Use your real estate scripts to guide your phone prospecting efforts. Scripts may be the most important tool you have to power through call reluctance.
  4. Community: Weekly skills-building webinars like Vulcan7 Roadmap and Take 52 provide tips from many of the industry’s top-producing agents. It’s also a great place to share ideas and celebrate wins with fellow agents.
  5. Support: Starting with your onboarding process, you’ll be tapped into Vulcan7’s industry-leading support team, who will keep you on task… and confident.

It takes dedication, perseverance, and courage to be a top-performing real estate agent. It also takes acceptance that call reluctance affects most agents at some point in their real estate prospecting careers. But as we’ve outlined above, you can manage call reluctance and power through to reach your sales goals. And we’ll be here to help. GIVE US A CALL

Doug Spak has over four decades of experience as an advertising copywriter, agency creative director, blogger, and content creator. He joined Vulcan7 as a Content Specialist in 2016. In addition to ongoing website copy refreshes, Doug has produced over 300 blog posts while developing content for Vulcan7’s social media platforms.

Ready to Get Started?

Share the Secrets

Still Have Questions Or Interested In Learning More? Contact Us Today

  • By continuing I give express permission to Kai Data, LLC/Vulcan7® to call, email, and text me. We keep your personal information safe.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Top Producing Agents Do These Five Things Regularly

What does it take to be a top-producing agent? Our…

Read More

Tips for Success with FSBOs

Anyone who’s been in real estate sales for any time…

Read More

How Important is Neighborhood Search to Your Business?

We all know the old real estate adage: “Location, location,…

Read More