I was really pleased when Neva Williamson agreed to do a guest post for my blog. Neva has taken an old strategy for finding motivated sellers and made it work for her in her business, and that is cold calling.
For all of you that are just getting started and you have NO money for marketing, after you read this post be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Neva is living proof that if your desire is strong enough, you can overcome just about anything. You really can get started with NO money.
Now you're probably saying, “Cold calling is hard”. And, yes it can be. But it can also be a great way to find deals.
My name is Neva Williamson, wife, mother of a baby girl and former 9-5‘er. I say former because I quit my day job, leaving behind a six-figure income. Even though I had a lucrative career, after ten years I was only going through the motions. I was not passionate about my work and I knew it would not give me the lifestyle I craved anytime soon. Now as a full time real estate investor, I have freedom to make as much money as I want, doing what I want while being in full control of my time.
For several years before I quit, I continued to work my 9-5 job and make money in real estate on the side. I needed constant reminders to stay focused on my goals, and they were always posted in a place where I could see them. During this time, I also had to learn to utilize effective and low cost sales and marketing tactics.
One of my wholesale deals I made $40,000. I was able to pay off bills and finally quit my 9-5 to stay home with our new baby girl. Unfortunately after paying bills my marketing budget was low. In fact it was nonexistent. To continue my real estate business I pursued low cost marketing ideas again. The best strategy I’ve found is cold calling.
What is Cold Calling?
Cold calling is the act of picking up the phone and calling a complete stranger with the intent of selling them on your services. While intimidating at first, the more you do it the more comfortable you will get with it. The key is to never take rejection personally and be prepared with a short script before you pick up the phone.
After dialing the phone number and confirming I am speaking with my contact, I use the following standard introduction statement:
“Hello, my name is Neva Williamson and I am a local real estate investor in VA. I see that you are also a real estate investor with rental properties. I am calling today to see if you are interested in selling any of your properties at this time?”
If they say no, I say thank you and have a great day. If they say yes or it depends, I walk them through our home buying process and the conversation flows naturally from there.
There are many benefits to cold calling. My 3 favorites are:
- Inexpensive. Once you have a list of homeowner’s phone numbers, you can pick up the phone and start calling. There is often no up-front cost, just a phone bill deferred until the end of the month.
- Immediate Gratification. It may take 100 phone calls before you connect with a homeowner, but it only takes one deal to make up for all of the time, effort and rejection. On the phone, a deal can happen in an instant. Remember, the goal is to make money in real estate, so even if it takes a thousand phone calls the effort is worth it!
- Control. Cold calling puts you in control. Rather than waiting for someone to answer an advertisement, you are being proactive in building your business. This is an important and satisfying shift in mindset.
Getting a List
- Before you can start calling you will need a list of homeowner’s phone numbers. This can be tough, but here are some excellent resources to try:
- Anywho. This service performs searches on the Yellow Pages and White Pages, and also does reverse searches by area or zip code.
- Spokeo. This is another online service that looks up people by name, phone number, email or physical address. Some information is blocked without a subscription.
- Listsource – Find Property owners with phone numbers.
- For Rent Signs – Call for rent signs and ask the landlords if they are interesting in selling instead of renting.
To make money in real estate you must be persistent. On some days you will reach a friendly voice on your first call, on other days it will seem like everyone is annoyed with you. Then there will be days when any voice would be a relief! Remember to:
- Be prepared; keep your energy up and your voice friendly.
- If you encounter angry people, do not be put off; their anger is not about you. Continue with your friendly voice. Sometimes the best deals will come from initially hostile people.
- Always leave a detailed message explaining who you are and why you are calling. My $8400 wholesale deal was from someone who heard my voicemail and called me back.
- Schedule a block of time to cold call, usually in the morning or late afternoon/evening, and stick to it. Do not get distracted, keep calling and be thorough with anyone who answers the phone.
Remember, you are the master of your destiny. You can make money in real estate if you are proactive and stay focused on your goals.
If you have a home to sell in the DC, Virginia or MA areas, be sure to stop by Neva's site. All Above Realty is a multi-service company that has the ability to buy, repair, market and sell homes.
If you would like to schedule a 1 on 1 call with me to talk about specific strategies for building your brand and creating more effective marketing for your business, you do that here by clicking this link.
Have you gotten your freebies here on the blog? If not be sure to do that today so you don’t miss any of the business building tips I have coming your way. I want this year to be your best year ever! And if you enjoyed this article, please share it.
Hi Sharon, would you be willing to share the script for cold calling? Thanks!
Mark – I don’t have one. I think you just need to strike up a conversation, tell them you are looking for property, and see what it is that they really want or need. Sure it’s cash, but there is almost always something else; some problem they need to solve.
Have any of you considered door knocking?
I find the idea of knocking on someone’s door and getting them to sell me there house terrifying, so I imagine most people do as well. Maybe there is opportunity there? What do you think?
I think there is opportunity if you have a reason to think they might be motivated. For instance if you knew they were getting a divorce, were in foreclosure etc. I was just talking to someone tonight that used to do that. He was successful at it, but he said he didn’t mind getting yelled at. He just went back in a day or two and tried talking to them again. Some people will stop and door knock FISBO’s.
I personally think there are much easier ways to find motivared sellers such as targeted direct mail.
I just wanted to post a comment that I received today January 3, 2013 from someone that tried Neva’s strategy. Here is what he had to say:
“I decided to start calling leads from lists I purchased in 2011 to see if there is anything to be had. I am amazed by the results! The people are very receptive to the call and immediately open up to discuss their situation and challenges. Even the ones that aren’t interested in selling are very graceful about it. And this is Philly, mind you! The response rate compared to my direct mailing campaigns has been through the roof! It is so interesting to learn the timing involved as far as the motivation of the executors. Here it is more than a year later and they are just now getting around to selling the house. Now, I’m sure there is a huge difference from folks on an older list and folks on a new one. On the older lists, the people have pretty much gone through the grieving process and are now starting to address their challenges. I even have people recognize my name and tell me they have my letter tucked away (for a year now!) for when they are ready to sell! Anyways, that’s my experience. For me, I’m going to be a cold-calling machine and actually see more value in the older lists. Just wanted to share.”
George Calvert Cox III
Thanks for sharing George!
Great blog , how are you doing it? Lots of great information in this topic. It is very useful and informative. I like very much.
Thanks for this sharing information……..
Thanks for stopping by and reading the articles. I appreciate it.
Hi Neva! Great post and a very simple idea that’s still considered outside the box for investors. Do you do any follow-up phone calls for people you don’t hear back from?
Kelly – Here is Neva’s answer.
Yes, I do follow-up up. The deals are usually in the follow-up.
Here is what I do. The back office to my website allows me to enter leads and set up reminders. For instance, I can set up a reminder to email someone, call them or sometimes remind myself to send them a mailer.
For cold calling I usually put a note to remind myself to call them again within 60 days. My objective is to call them once every three months.
Hope that helps.
Here is her email if you have any other questions: Neva Williamson
That was a great article. I have done cold calling as well and felt great when I connected with an active RE professional.
Cold calling is something that I don’t believe most folks even think about doing. But Neva has definitely shown that you can get great results doing it. If you don’t have any money for marketing this strategy is free. I think it all comes down to a couple of things; just how much do you want to succeed, and what are you are willing to do to find success?