Real estate cold calling is one of the most polarizing lead generation strategies in our industry. Experienced agents will tell you it’s an essential part of lead generation, while others argue it isn’t worth the anxiety or frustration because it doesn’t yield immediate results.
But with the right preparation, cold calling is an important tool that can help build your business. We know firsthand how intimidating dialing up strangers can be—so we put together this step-by-step guide using tried-and-tested scripts from experts that will boost your confidence.
4 Must-have Real Estate Cold Calling Scripts
Every real estate professional needs to have these four real estate cold calling scripts in their arsenal: the Expired Listing Script, the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Script, the Circle Prospecting Script, and the Voicemail Script.
1. Expired Listing Script
Cold calling expired listings can be tricky because you know that the homeowner is going to talk to multiple real estate agents, maybe even on the same day you’re calling. Stand out from the competition with a great script from REDX called The Neighborhood Expert:
Hi, is this the homeowner? I’m [your name] with [your company].
You know, I work in [neighborhood], and I noticed that your home was no longer for sale. Are you planning to put it back on the market?
[Listen—they will sometimes say “maybe later” or “not for a while.”]
I can understand why you might feel pretty discouraged—it’s a great house. Any idea why it didn’t sell? Any offers?
[Listen to what they have to say.]
I was just surprised to see it on the market for [how many] days. I assumed it would be gone in a few weeks. What made you all decide to sell? Where are you moving to?
I know you’ve likely had a few people calling you, but as I said, I’ve worked in the neighborhood for [#] years, I know this neighborhood, I’ve sold homes in this neighborhood, and I’d love a chance to sell your home or at least take a tour and see what might be holding it back.
Would you mind if I came by this Saturday at [specific time]? I’m happy to give you some feedback.
24 Best Expired Listing Scripts & Objection Handlers 2022
2. FSBO Script
Many real estate agents consider the FSBO prospect to be a perfect lead for cold calling. The sellers have announced to the world that they want to sell and they want to sell now—all you have to do is convince them they need help and that you’re the right person to provide it.
Most sellers try to sell their home themselves to save money. With this in mind, David Hill’s script will help you deal with this common objection. We’ve even put some mock responses in the script so you can practice hearing “no” and learn how to use those initial rejections to get a listing appointment.
AGENT “Hello, this is [name] calling from [brokerage]. I noticed you have a house for sale in my coverage area. Is it still available?”
AGENT “Great, are you working with real estate agents?”
AGENT “OK, I know the area well, and I’m wondering how much you’re asking for the house?”
AGENT “If I had a buyer who would be a fit, would that be helpful for you?”
AGENT “Great. What I’d like to do is schedule a time to come by and look at the house to see if it would work for any of our clients. I’d also like to share some of the things we do to help FSBOs like yourself. Do you have time this afternoon, or would tomorrow work better for you?”
LEAD “You know, I really don’t want to work with an agent. If you have someone who’s serious, you can send them by, but I’m not looking to sit down for a sales pitch with an agent.”
AGENT “Sure, I can appreciate that. Let me ask you this: Why did you decide to sell your house without hiring a professional agent?”
LEAD “Well, I wanted to save money. A 5 or 6% commission would be a lot.”
AGENT “Yeah, I can understand that completely. Interestingly enough, 90% of the FSBOs I speak with tell me the exact same thing. If I could show you a way that I could net you the same or possibly even more money by using our services, would that be something you’d be open to?”
LEAD “Well, basically what we’re trying to do is break-even. We bought the house two years ago, and the value hasn’t really gone up.”
AGENT “So, what is the main reason for your sale?”
LEAD “I’ve been transferred. We’re moving to Arkansas.”
AGENT “Oh, congratulations. And when will you need to be in Arkansas?”
LEAD “We need to be in Little Rock in 90 days.”
AGENT “Gotcha. So the clock’s ticking for you. And if the house doesn’t sell in 90 days, what’s your plan B?”
LEAD “Well, we’re going to have to go — the house will just be empty.”
AGENT “Oh, yeah, I’d hate to have that happen to you. If I could sell the house, have you break-even, and get it done before you get to Arkansas, would that be a win for you?”
AGENT “OK, perfect. Why don’t we meet? I’d love to see if I can do that for you. I’ll be 100% honest with you. If I can do it, I’ll let you know. If I can’t, I’ll let you know that as well. How does that sound?”
LEAD “Yeah, that’s fine. If you want to give it a shot, you can come on over.”
AGENT “Awesome, thank you. I’ll see you this afternoon at four. Will that work?”
LEAD “Sure, see you then.”
Note that in the script, there’s no haggling over the commission. Try to refrain from making any commitments regarding numbers, but be sure that the prospect’s wishes and concerns are heard. You can always say, “I’m making a note of that…,” which shows that you’re listening but you’re not making any promises.
If you want to dive deeper and expand your FSBO prospecting skills, check out The 7 Best FSBO Scripts & Why They Work to learn how to get more listings in 2022.
3. Circle Prospecting Script
Circle prospecting is a great way to increase your exposure in neighborhoods where you’re already active. Remember, though, you don’t have to limit your prospecting to only areas where you’ve already listed or sold property.
Deploy this circle prospecting script from the indelible Ricky Carruth’s Zero to Diamond real estate coaching program to go after homes in neighborhoods where you’re the nearby listing agent or not.
AGENT Hello, is this [Mr./Mrs. Name]? Hey, [Mr./Mrs. Name], this is [your name] with [your company].
How are you today? That’s good. Me too. Just enjoying this good weather outside. Isn’t it gorgeous today?
[Pause and let them talk. Listen to what they say. Chances are high that you get into a conversation about the weather, back and forth. This will set the comfort level of the call. If it’s raining, talk about how nasty it is today. Adjust your opening to what the current weather is doing. When this part of the conversation is over, transition into the reason for your call.]
AGENT Well look, I don’t want to take up too much of your time today, but [market information, e.g., “a house/condo was just listed in your neighborhood/complex” or “a house/condo just sold in your neighborhood/complex”], and I didn’t know if there was anything I could do for you regarding buying or selling real estate at this time.
[Pause and listen. If they say YES, follow up and make a deal happen.]
[If they say NO, continue below.]
AGENT I gotcha. Well, is there an agent in the area that you would work with if you did buy or sell in the area?
[If the answer is no…]
AGENT OK, well one day you will want to buy or sell, and I would like the opportunity to work with you when that day comes. Would it be OK if we stayed in touch?
[If they say yes…]
AGENT Great! What is your email address?
Awesome. Thanks so much. I look forward to speaking again soon!
Learn more about the power of circle prospecting in this profile of Christina Griffin, a Tampa Realtor, who generated 200 leads in a single day. You can also access our collection of actionable tips and scripts for knocking-on-doors prospecting by clicking here.
4. Voicemail Script
According to Pipedrive, 80% of calls go to voicemail, which means leaving the right message needs to be an important part of your real estate cold calling strategy.
What does the right message sound like? For starters, it’s between eight and 14 seconds long, but definitely less than 30 seconds. The optimal voicemail establishes who you are and why you’re calling in a warm and friendly tone. But don’t include your pitch—the goal should be securing that next conversation when they call back or you make a follow-up call.
“Hi [first name], this is [your name] with [your brokerage].
I’m calling because [your reason for calling] and I would love to hear your thoughts. I will follow up with you [how and when] or you can give me a call back at [your number]. I look forward to connecting with you soon!”
Or, if it’s a second call:
“Hi [first name], this is [your name]. When we spoke last week, you mentioned [fill in the blank]. I just wanted to follow up with you and see how things went [OR I gave you a call last week and wanted to follow up OR fill in the blank, make it personal].”
Some real estate cold calling strategists argue that a voicemail is a great way to turn a completely cold call into a lukewarm call. If you want to skip the (sometimes chilly) cold call altogether and dial straight into a warm voicemail, there are companies that help you do that.
The absolute leader in the field is Slydial, which allows you to dial directly into a phone number’s voicemail. These Ringless Voicemails (RVMs) are becoming more common and socially acceptable, so don’t shy away from using them. You can even acknowledge it by saying something like, “I know you’re busy, so I wanted to drop a quick voicemail and be respectful of your time.”
7 Steps in Real Estate Cold Calling
Real estate cold calling is so much more than picking up the phone and dialing a random number. Now that you have your scripts, use these tips to be more organized and confident in your approach.
1. Set Goals
Most real estate agents think the goal of every cold call is a listing appointment, but even meeting someone for a handshake can turn into a real lead. When your prospect isn’t ready to set a listing appointment, find any excuse to stop by and introduce yourself in person, even if it’s just for a minute or two. A good goal may be to cold call for an hour each day and meet with one new prospect in-person each week.
2. Be Professional
People will always respond best to warmth, enthusiasm, and empathy. The more time you spend listening to your prospects, the better you can address their pain points. Respect people (and their time) and show them that you are the Realtor who will solve their problems.
3. You Provide a Service
Yes, cold calling is about building your business, but remember, you’re serving your community with your experience, education, and knowledge. The reason cold calling works is that there are people out there who need your help.
Get comfortable with your scripts by practicing them out loud with a friend or colleague. You want to be prepared enough so that you’re not focused on what you’re saying but what they’re saying. Do your research and comb through MLS data. Be sure that you’re zeroing in on prospects who can really benefit from your services.
5. Start Calling
Make sure you are focused, have space to walk around, and maybe do some stretches to be limber and keep that mind sharp. It’s helpful to have an auto-dialer, like REDX (more about this below). It’s important to keep track of your calls and responses. You also might want to look into a customer relationship manager (CRM) to help you keep track of your outreach and take notes on your conversations.
If you’re short on time, check out REDX for lead generation. REDX provides you with the leads and helps you make calls faster with an auto-dialer.
6. Get Past the ‘No’s’
Let’s be clear: If you’re cold calling, you are going to hear a lot of “no” (and maybe even worse). If you’re afraid of this word, you aren’t going to get very far. Watch how cold calling expert Beverly Ruffner overcomes common objections like “I’m just looking—I’m good,” and “I already have an agent.”
7. Follow Up
Be ready to take the next steps with leads to keep the conversation going. Here’s Beverly again with her tried-and-true scripts for the follow-up call.
6 Tips for Leveling Up Your Real Estate Cold Calling
Now that you’re armed with these pro-level scripts and have a step-by-step plan, let’s dive into some more specific advice if you want to go beyond the basics and master the art of cold calling.
1. Spend Less Time Talking & More Time Listening
We know we mentioned this one already, but it is so important, we wanted to reiterate. It’s a common cold calling myth that success comes in the form of a pitch. In reality, success comes from listening to your prospect and responding to their needs.
Tom Ferry is fond of saying that successful cold callers spend upward of 75% of their time on the phone NOT talking.
So, instead of asking yes or no questions like “Would you be interested in selling your home for XXX dollars?” ask “If you were to sell your home, where would you go? What is your dream location?”
As you refine your script, build in these sorts of conversation starters. People are more likely to stay on the phone when they’re talking about themselves because, well, people like to talk about themselves.
If you see real estate cold calling as a platform for people to talk about themselves and share their stories, your fear can subside. If you’re doing it right, the pressure to speak is not on you—all you need to do is ask thoughtful questions, listen, and respond.
2. Let the Math Motivate You
The Keller Center for Research at Baylor University conducted a U.S. study about real estate cold calling, wherein 50 real estate agents made 6,264 cold calls to areas that hadn’t been recently prospected. The study showed that for every 209 calls made, an average of one listing appointment or referral was made.
While this might sound daunting, take heart. A real estate professional committed to making 100 calls per day, five days a week will yield two listing appointments or referrals a week. If you can maintain this clip for, say, 50 weeks a year, you’ll be going on 100 listing appointments every year.
Would your business benefit from 100 listing appointments every year? Of course it would. Instead of focusing on rejections, wrong numbers, and hang-ups, focus instead on the fact that the math is on your side. If you keep working hard, you will get listings.
3. Memorize Your Scripts & Rebuttals
If you want consistent returns from your cold calling, you need to get consistent with your delivery. Using a script allows you to stop worrying about what you’re going to say and focus on how you’re going to say it.
Depending on what kind of cold calling you’re doing (expired listings, FSBOs, circle prospecting, and so on), your script is going to change. Review the cold calling scripts above and find more great expired listing scripts and FSBO scripts to rely on.
4. Use an Auto-dialer Like Power Dialer From REDX
Using an auto-dialer does two things for you: It keeps you in the zone and gets you through your call list faster. Most agents we’ve talked to who’ve given up cold calling say that actually dialing the phone is their most anxious moment. With an auto-dialer, the moment one call disconnects, another is ringing, keeping you out of that anxious moment and into the converting mindset.
Also, making 100 calls a day can be a time-consuming commitment, especially when you’re trying to dial all the numbers by hand. An auto-dialer can cut down your time on the phone by more than half, and a great one like Power Dialer from REDX can increase your call volume by more than 400%.
If you aren’t familiar with REDX, they’re a cold caller’s best friend. Their platform gathers all your expired, FSBO, FRBO (For Rent by Owner), and preforeclosure leads in one place, and uses data aggregation techniques to gather contact info from across the web, compiling it all in a single dashboard. Then, you can use their built-in auto-dialer (Power Dialer) to knock down the list quickly and efficiently every morning.
Right now, REDX is offering The Close readers $149 off the setup price, automatically deducted when you click over to their site from this article.
5. Strategize Your Call Times
One of the most common questions new agents ask about cold calling is what time of day will yield the best results.
While there’s some debate, data from the Keller Center study shows that the most productive time to make cold calls is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Just over 31% of calls in the study were made during this time frame, and yielded 53% of all the appointments set.
In contrast, the worst time of the day to make calls was in the evening, after 5 p.m. During this time frame, 42% of the total calls were made, but these yielded only 21% of the total number of appointments set.
That being said, we know all markets are different. Start with the best practices learned from studies like the one above and adjust based on your own experience. Regardless of when you’re calling, pick an hour and stick to it.
6. Track Your Results
Cold calling is a marathon, not a sprint. Getting discouraged from a single hour’s results or even a couple of days’ worth of calls will slow your progress and keep you from securing appointments. This fatigue factor is real, and the best way to combat it is to track your results and look at your long-term gains.
We suggest a spreadsheet, but really you’ll probably need a good CRM tool where you can record the days you called, the time of day, the number of calls you’ve made, the number of conversations, the number of rejections, and of course, the number of appointments set.
When you’re halfway through a calling session and have had no appointments set, look at your data, and remind yourself that success is inevitable—and that you’re due for a win any time.
Watch the Experts Reveal Their Cold Calling Secrets
YouTube is chock-full of videos from real estate agents who are crushing the cold calling game. Whether you’re looking to learn how to interact with prospects or just need to get hyped up for your next calling session, these videos are a great source of inspiration. Here are five of our favorites:
Bryan Casella is an expert at dealing with objections. He is clearly using a script and is crushing it every step of the way.
Chastin J. Miles shows us how it’s done with a FSBO prospect. We love how Chastin takes the act of LISTENING to the next level rather than doing all the talking. You can see how effective his approach is with his soon-to-be client.
Our own Real Estate Coach, Beverly Ruffner, has put together several live examples of cold calls and offers her best cold calling tip: Treat everyone you’re calling like they’re your best friend.
Here’s one where Ricky Carruth coaches agent Emily Wood as she attempts cold calling for the first time. This one is a 50-minute commitment, but it’s super-valuable to watch someone starting out to see how she improves and gains confidence.
Loida Velasquez speaks honestly about how nerve-wracking it is to get started and offers her tips for first-time real estate cold calling. She has several additional videos on calling expired listings and FSBOs, including one where she critiques her first FSBO cold call.
Bringing It All Together
If you’ve questioned if cold calling is right for you, start with the right mindset and tools to conquer your fears. With some proven scripts and determination, you have the power to make cold calling a crucial part of your lead generation strategy.
Have any cold calling questions or tips you’d like to share? Anything we missed? Leave us a comment below!