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— by Pat Hiban

Cold Calling Is Dead – Try Texting Instead

Have you been getting a lot of those annoying robocalls lately? I know I have.

Most of the time these days, I don’t even answer my phone unless I immediately recognize who’s calling me. According to lead-conversion expert Robby Trefethren, more and more Americans are doing the same.

During a recent podcast interview, Robby went so far as to say that cold calling is dying.

When Robby trains a new ISA, he doesn’t focus on cold-calling scripts; he teaches them how to convert via text.

Guess what; it works!

Robby’s ISAs bring hundreds of cold leads to closing annually thanks to his system for sending prospects scheduled texts. To hear how, listen to episode 778 of the Real Estate Rockstars podcast.

For a rundown on Robby’s system and details on why he thinks texting is the future of prospecting, read on.



Why Cold Calling Is Dying

Answering a phone call is a commitment.

Obviously, it’s a commitment of one’s time, but it’s more than just that.

When a person answers an unknown call, they know that they might need to reject someone. Believe it or not, this is something that the average person doesn’t like to do.

Now, with robocalls, sales calls, and phone-based scams at the highest level we’ve ever seen, people often opt not to answer unknown calls – not to commit to an interaction that’s got a good chance of wasting their time and energy.

Like email, telephone communication has become a clustered medium, one that’s full of noise. This has forced consumers to filter out the noise the only way they can – not answering unknown calls.

Robby knows this is happening because his ISAs regularly report they’re having to make more and more calls to reach less and less people. 

Fortunately, this isn’t a problem that’s affected text-based communication. As a result, most people still read all of their texts, which is great news for agents and ISAs who need a fast, effective way to get prospects’ attention.

Texting: A Better Alternative to Cold Calling

When Robby started his real estate career as an ISA five years ago, texting essentially had no place in prospecting. There just wasn’t an easy, effective way to send out enough texts for the practice to be a valuable use of a prospector’s time. 

Now, however, this technology has matured to the point that texting isn’t just an effective prospecting method; it’s a better alternative to cold calling leads.

Why?

Well, for starters, it’s a more effective way to reach new leads. As mentioned earlier, the vast majority of people still read all of their texts. With cold calling, on the other hand, you’re lucky if 10 percent of prospects actually answer the phone. That remaining 90+ percent never even hear what you have to say.

It’s also much more efficient.

Instead of verbally running through scripts with each and every person who answers the phone, you simply send out similar messages by text. Not only can the process be automated for new leads, mass texts can be scheduled for follow-up purposes. Both practices are big time savers.

The Best Leads to Text

While you can apply Robby’s text-based prospecting system to nearly any lead (assuming the number provided is to a cellphone), he’s found that it’s best suited for pay-per-click leads.

They’re cheaper than the leads you can buy from Realtor.com and Zillow. Plus, in Robby’s experience, they convert at a rate of roughly 4-5 percent with a solid system in place.

In order to convert pay-per-click leads by text, you need two things:

First, you need a CRM platform that features the ability to send texts en masse.

Ideally, it should support auto texting as well. This ensures that you’re able to text new leads immediately upon registration and easily follow up with all of your leads moving forward.

Second, you need to be patient enough to nurture these leads for a long period of time. According to Robby, the conversion cycle for pay-per-click leads is typically between 18-24 months.

Some leads will convert faster, and others may take longer, but 18-24 months of consistent nurturing is what you can expect to commit in order to convert at a decent rate.

In your first year, you can expect to convert at a rate of about 1 percent; that should cover the cost of your leads. By the second year, your conversion rate should increase another 2-4 percent, which from that point should be pure profit.

Why (and How) to Hire an ISA

Robby’s a big proponent of hiring ISAs and training them up on his texting strategy. Doing so frees up time for agents to focus on appointments and can result in higher conversion rates – if you get the right person for the job.

When trying to find the right person to tackle an ISA’s duties, there are a few things you don’t want to do.

Don’t glamorize the role

Being an ISA is hard. Trying to make the position sound easier than it is may help you land a short-term hire, but finding the right long-term fit requires honesty on your part. If you glamorize the role, the person who fills it will likely quit long before you get any return on the time and training invested in them.

Don’t hire someone who wants a 9-5 job

As you know, speed is one of the single most important factors when it comes to successful lead conversion. For that reason, ISAs will need to respond to leads at inconvenient times – even when away from work.

Don’t hire a highly social person

ISAs will face rejection – a lot of it. It’s also not a position that allows for many face-to-face interactions on the job. People who crave meaningful social interactions tend to be miserable as ISAs.

To hear how Robby interviews potential ISA hires (and what question you must ask when interviewing an ISA), listen to the clip from episode 778 of Real Estate Rockstars below.

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