For many brokers, the hardest part of the business is prospecting. If you’re one of these people, your antipathy to calling makes sense, especially due to the combined challenges of starting up conversations with people that you don’t know and the additional risk of rejection. However, getting out there and prospecting is well worth it. Just one good call could turn into tens or thousands of dollars of income. One of the keys to successful prospecting is to take what could be a random activity and turn it into a systemized process.
The key to successful prospecting is momentum. When you get into a groove, you make more calls in less time. It also becomes progressively easier to pick up the phone after each call. The momentum also creates similar benefits on the call as you are able to use what you learn on previous calls to make subsequent calls more effective.
Building momentum can be challenging. Between all the interruptions that most offices bring and the tendency to procrastinate during your calling campaigns, you might find yourself just making a couple of calls at a stretch. Here are some techniques that can help you to increase your focus and make more calls in less time:
- Block out times to call. Making an appointment with yourself to get on the phone eliminates the excuse that you don’t have time to do it. If you treat the time as it is a meeting with a client and close your email program, switch your cellphone to silent mode and let incoming calls go to voicemail, you might be amazed at how much you get done.
- Sometimes “time” can be intimidating. A “1 hour call block” may seem like 10 hours for some. In these instances we suggest setting a “rep” goal. Instead of one hour, perhaps the goal is 10 dials, or 10 connections. The latter of course will take much longer to achieve, but setting a small “rep” goal can be the catalyst to quickly building a habit and growing from there.
- Plan your prospects. Instead of randomly paging through your database looking for people to call, take the time to predefine your dialing list. This makes it easier for you to go from call to call quickly.
- Pre-book follow ups. After each call, put an entry in your CRM’s calendar or your calling program to remind you to make your follow up call. Even if your call was not fruitful, consider booking a call for two to 12 months in the future so that you can touch the prospect again and have a chance at better luck. As you do this, you will find that you are making more and more pre-planned calls and fewer and fewer cold calls, reducing your planning time.
- Use an automatic dialer. Many customer relationship management (CRM) software packages can interface with a networked desk phone or with an Internet telephone on your computer to dial calls for you, saving you from stopping to dial and taking the risk of doing something else instead of dialing.
Prospecting might be hard, but it’s very fruitful. Spending a little time up front to set up a system and using your discipline to stick to it can make the process easier, and even more fruitful. Now stop reading this and go call someone!