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Hate Cold Calling? Try This Approach Instead

Market Trends & Analysis Industrial Office

Do you have prospecting goals? Maybe you set aside an hour each morning to call however many people you can, or perhaps you set a goal of 250 calls a week.

The next question is tougher: Do you ever meet those goals? Let’s face it—you’re busy, and prospecting isn’t fun. Not only is it not fun, our brains aren’t really wired to feel motivation for a task where the payoff is so far in the future. Any given call might turn into a deal, but even if all goes perfectly, it could be months until you see a financial benefit. More often, it’s years.

Now here’s some good news: there's a different, easier way to approach prospecting. Most brokers probably default to increasing call volume when they want to fill their pipeline. But if you break the numbers down a little differently, you can create a strategy that’s a lot less overwhelming and a lot more effective.

The “Top-of-Mind” Prospecting System

There’s a simple, logical system outlined by Blaine Strickland in his book Thrive: Ten Prescriptions for Exceptional Performance as a Commercial Real Estate Agent. Dubbed the “top-of-mind” prospecting system, it replaces cold call stress with a simple but logical system.

It’s based on the idea that you shouldn’t just try to reach the right people at the right time. The chances of actually connecting with someone who needs you at the moment are incredibly low. Instead, you should try to be the first person a prospect thinks of when they picture a trusted real estate advisor. If you can capture that spot in their brain, then you’re set. 

Numbers Breakdown: How Much Time it Takes—and the Income it Makes

As Strickland outlines, the numbers speak for themselves. Here’s how it breaks down.

To start the process, identify 125 key prospects in your market. That’s 125 people who are likely to interact with you, and will need a broker for at least one deal every five years.

If you spread those 125 deals out evenly over five years, you get 25 deals a year. If you captured 10 of those, with an average commission of $25,000, then your annual gross would be $250,000. Everything else is a bonus!

Break it down further: there are 13 weeks in a quarter. Let’s say you work 12, leaving 60 work days a quarter. If you make a high-quality connection with two of your 125 targets every day, you’ll work through the roster in a quarter. If you repeat this every quarter, you’ll make four significant connections in a year with each of your target prospects. The result? You will:

  • Keep up with your network on the go
  • Stay connected to past clients
  • Follow up on repeat opportunities and word-of-mouth leads

A few caveats: a “high-quality” connection is a conversation where you learn something about your prospect and build on the relationship. Don’t make the hard sell; rather, work to establish or reinforce your expertise.

Not Cold Calling but Warm Calling

Here’s another way to think about this. You are not cold calling but warm calling a finite, manageable number of people with the intent to maintain and strengthen your network over time.

If you’re a skeptic and 125 targets sounds low, double the goal to 250—which also is a reasonably sized network to manage over the course of a year. Again, don’t think of this as prospecting or cold calling, but as “warm calling” to manage, maintain, and incrementally grow your network.

Remember that every call is a deposit in your future income account. Establishing a system can help frame your day-to-day tasks and keep you motivated over the course of a year. It doesn’t take fancy technology, although if you want automated reminders for those specific contacts and to log records of your calls, you can use a CRM to stay organized.
Tanner McGraw

Tanner McGraw

is the founder of Apto, which provides commercial real estate software for managing contacts, properties, listings, and deals. A commercial real estate veteran with a decade of brokerage experience, Tanner founded Apto after experiencing deep frustration with the lack of specialized technology available to manage customer relationships simply and profitably. Before Apto, Tanner served as vice president of Healthcare Advisory Services at Transwestern and as a senior associate at Marcus & Millichap.