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5 (and a half) steps to a better cold-calling strategy

Jul 25, 2017

aaron-burden-149693.jpgThe average blog post on improving cold calling results will advise you to set time aside, stick to your routine, beef up on your basic sales skills, etc.

While these activities certainly won’t hurt, the reality is, this is really the least you should be doing.

If you were in school, this sort of mentality would equate to showing up for class and simply completing the homework on time, earning you a B average. (Emphasis on average.)

The activities that transform you from a B broker to an A+ broker are a bit more complex, but in the end, completely worth it in terms of time saved and increased earning potential. To truly rise above the pack as a broker, no matter where you are in your career, you need to leverage the power of technology and crunch the numbers.

Your skill as a relationship builder is the cherry on top.

Upgrade your tech stack.

In order to make the most of your cold-calling efforts, you need to arm yourself with the best tech stack available—full stop.

In the world of sales, tech stacks start with a CRM system that can organize all your information and help you build meaningful relationships by making it easier to segment lists of contacts and target specific groups. A good CRM can also help with task management by letting you automate routine tasks.

[Get a demo of Apto Prospect & Nurture]

Yes, you’ll need to invest in your technology, but don’t think that money is getting lost in the void. Studies have found that brokers can expect to make back $8.71 for every $1 spent on a CRM...that’s a 771% ROI!

Even if you are the most disciplined, detail-oriented broker on the planet and you ALWAYS update your comps and set manual reminders for follow-ups, trying to overtake your competition using a basic Excel spreadsheet or a non CRE-specific CRM is like showing up with a knife to a gunfight.

Establish your KPIs.

What if instead of cold calling out into the void for hours on end, you knew exactly how many calls you needed to make to get the number of meetings you needed to schedule to close the number of deals you needed to have a killer month?

That is the level of predictability you should be aiming for. Here’s how you make it happen.

First identify the KPIs, or key performance indicators, that lead you to be successful. If cold calling is a large part of your strategy, then your KPIs probably look like this:

  • # of phone calls
  • # of emails
  • # of conversations
  • # of meetings

Once you’ve nailed down the performance metrics that matter, you can start to build predictability into your sales funnel.

[More on KPIs from our CEO and founder]

Track your performance and set benchmarks.

With your KPIs established, start to determine the next steps each of these KPIs lead to. For example, calls lead to conversations, conversations lead to meetings, etc.

From there, you can start to calculate your conversion rates. You’ll want to use several data sets that were acquired over similar time periods to do this.

Sample conversion rates include:

  • Calls to conversation. Example: it takes 10 calls to get one conversation
  • Conversations to meeting. Example: it takes four conversations to get one meeting
  • Meetings to pitch. Example: it takes four meetings to land a pitch
  • Pitches to listing/assignment. Example: it takes four pitches to secure an assignment
  • Listings/assignments to closes. Example: you close deals from three out of four assignments.

Once you’ve determined your conversion rates, you can work backwards to determine how many actions you need to take to hit your goals.

Is this whole cold calling thing starting to feel more manageable yet?

Evaluate your funnel for drop-offs.

As you calculate your conversion rates and construct your sales funnel, you can start to evaluate your sales flow for inefficiencies. Think about each stage in particular: there will be many activities at the top of the funnel, the prospecting part, and then fewer as you go down, from meetings to closed deals. So for example, your funnel might look something like this:

  • 10 calls to 1 conversion → 10% conversion rate
  • 4 conversations to 1 meeting → 25% conversion rate
  • 4 meetings to 1 pitch → 25% conversion rate
  • 4 pitches to 1 assignment → 25% conversion rate
  • 4 assignments to 3 deals closed → 75% conversion rate

In order to hit your deal goals at the bottom of the funnel, you need to make quite a few phone calls at the top of the funnel. Yet still, in this example, this area remains your weakest in terms of conversion rates. In order to do more with less, you need to work smarter, not harder.

Segment your lists.

Calling hundreds of contacts doesn’t necessarily guarantee you will hit your sales goals, no matter how hard you feel you’ve worked. In order to maximize the return of your cold calling efforts, you need to segment your lists and prioritize calling cohorts of prospects that have a higher probability of closing.

The right CRM makes this strategy incredibly simple and allows you to filter based on criteria such as:

  • Core clients
  • Industry
  • Recent transactions
  • Top owners
  • Long-time owners
  • Owners with expiring leases

...and many many more.

Once you’ve determined the cohorts that work best for your strategy, you can start to collect the appropriate data to fortify your CRM.

Bonus step: Request a demo of Apto Prospect & Nurture

Topics: Best Practices

Nell Gable

Written by Nell Gable

Nell Gable is a freelance writer who specializes in creating compelling content for CRE companies and startups.

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