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. But with the right preparation, cold calling can transform 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. We also included videos from the experts with tips and industry secrets that will boost your confidence.
Cold Calling Strategies You Need to Master
Real estate cold calling is so much more than picking up the phone and dialing a random number. If you want to out-perform your colleagues on the phone, here are the skills you need to have dailed in.
Set goals: Begin with bite-sized goals that create opportunities. Example goals: introduce yourself in-person to one new prospect each week and spend one hour per day cold calling.
Get Facetime: A handshake can turn into a closed sale, so try to turn each call into a face-to-face meeting, even if it’s just for a minute or two.
Spend time listening: The more time you spend listening to your prospects, the better you can address their pain points.
Prepare: Get comfortable with your scripts by practicing them out loud with a friend or colleague. Be so prepared that you’re focusing on what they’re saying, not your script.
Get past “no”: If you’re afraid of the word “no,” you aren’t going to get very far. Stay on message and be ready to handle typical objections.
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 to keep you efficient, like REDX, which also provides up-to-date FSBO and Expired Listing contact lists.
Follow up: Be ready to keep the conversation going with our tried-and-true follow-up scripts.
📌 Pro Tip
Remember: You’re serving your community with your experience, education, and knowledge. Cold calling works because consumers need your help.
7 Cold Calling Scripts to Transform Your Business
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 that day. 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.
2. Basic FSBO Script
Many real estate agents consider the FSBO prospect to be a perfect lead for cold calling. The sellers want to sell and they want to sell now—all you have to do is convince them they need your help. David Hill’s excellent script helps you navigate a seller’s concern about saving money.
We’ve put some mock responses in the script so you can practice hearing “no” and learn how to overcome 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.”
📌 Pro Tip
Note that in the above 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.
3. Advanced FSBO Script — “The Diagnostic”
We really like this thorough script from Agent Fire. FSBOs are some of the best leads to leverage through cold calling, and this script gives you a lot to work with. With these questions, you’ll be able to identify the seller’s pain point and speak directly to how you will solve for it.
Hi, this is (name) from (brokerage). I noticed you have a home for sale at (address). Is it still available? May I speak with the owner of the house?
I understand you’re selling the home by yourself, and I respect that. I was just wondering if you are cooperating with buyer’s agents?
And by cooperating I mean, if one of the clients were to make an offer, are you willing to pay me the standard (insert your percentage here) commission in our area for a buyer side only?
OK, that’s great! Could you tell me a little more about your home? (Ask about details such as room size, age of home, what the neighborhood is like, etc.)
I have a few buyers right now, and I think that they could be interested in your home. Is there a time I could come by and take a look at the property before bringing my clients?
I understand. By the way, I was wondering how much you’re asking for the house?
Let me ask you something. What made you decide to sell your home without hiring a professional agent, and without cooperating with buyer’s agents?
(I don’t want to pay that much for a real estate agent, I had a bad experience with an agent, my son is a computer wiz who can list the home online, etc.)
I see. In fact, you’re not the only one that feels that way. Lots of For Sale By Owners have told me the exact same thing.
Again, I respect your decision to sell on your own. But assuming that I could show you a way that I could net the ($xxx,xxx) you want for the house, possibly even more by using our marketing plan, would you be open to it?
(I just want to get rid of my home, I don’t want to complicate things, a lot of realtors have told me the same thing, etc.)
I hear you. If I may ask, what’s the main reason for your sale?
(We’re moving to a home closer to my workplace, we’re downsizing, we don’t like this neighborhood, the monthly payment is too high, etc.)
OK, that makes sense. (Congratulate the buyer if the move is a positive one). And when do you need to be in your new home?
(In 2-3 months.)
Gotcha. So you have at most (number of days) to sell your home, do all the paperwork, and deal with the move. So what happens if your home doesn’t sell by then? Do you have a backup plan?
(I don’t know. I’d rather not think about it. We’ll deal with it as we go along. Stay with my parents. Rent an apartment, etc.)
Sounds like you’re not too happy about any of those options.
Hypothetically, let’s say that I was able to sell your home, get you the highest amount the market is willing to pay for your home, and help you avoid (unpleasant backup option), would that be a win for you?
(If you could do all of that, yeah, I guess it would.)
Tell you what, why don’t we meet for a short 20-minute chat? We’ll take a look at your situation, do a property analysis, and I’ll let you know if I can make it happen? If I can’t, I won’t waste your time. I’ll tell you immediately.
(OK, why not. Let’s see what you have.)
Great! I’m available this afternoon at 5 p.m. Would that work for you?
The 9 Best FSBO Scripts of 2022 (+ Why They Work)
4. Circle Prospecting Script
Circle prospecting is a great way to increase your exposure in neighborhoods where you’re already active. Deploy this circle prospecting script from the indelible Ricky Carruth to go after homes in neighborhoods where you’re the listing agent.
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!
Door Knocking for Real Estate in 2022: Will It Still Work? (+ Tips & Scripts)
5. Open House Invitation Cold Call Script
Kevin Ward’s script leverages all of the work you’re already doing to host an open house by using it as a reason to cold call—extend personal invitations! This one is especially effective as you can customize it to your unique situation. We also love the enthusiasm that Kevin sprinkles in throughout—those exclamation points are good reminders to be upbeat and positive!
Hi, my name is __________________ with ____________________.
I wanted to drop by and let you know about an Open House Event we are going to be holding for the __________ (Smiths) over on _______________ (address) this _______________ from ______ to ______ (e.g. Sunday from 1 to 4)*… You know where that is? I wanted to invite you to … come by … and … take a look … (mention any special treats or refreshments, etc.) … and also I wanted to find out …
1. Who do you know that would like to move into our area? ( ) Fantastic! Look forward to seeing you there!
2. Just out of curiosity … when do you think you might be ready to…make a move? ( ) Wow!
3. How long have you lived here? (10 years) Great!
4. Where did you move from? ( ) Good for you!
5. What brought you to this area? ( ) Excellent!
6. If you were to … move again … where do you think you would go next? ( ) That’s exciting!
7. And how soon would you like to do that? ( ) Terrific!! If their time frame is 60 days or less …
8. It sounds like our next step would be to … set up a time to … get together … and take a look at the best way to make all this happen for you … so you can get to ______________ by ____________. Won’t that be exciting? ( ) Fantastic!
9. Which would be the best time for us to get together … Monday at 4:15 … or Tuesday at 4:15 pm?
The 9 Best Open House Follow-up Email Templates of 2022 (+ Writing Tips)
6. Responding to an Online Query Script
If your marketing, website, and landing pages are doing their job, you should have leads filling in their information to get home valuations, property listings, and valuable free content. Now that you have this contact information, what do you do with it?
This script from Fit Small Business is the perfect way to introduce yourself and start what is sure to be a profitable conversation. It’s true, this isn’t a true cold call, since they folks have already reached out and made the first move. But, more than likely, they weren’t expecting a phone call from you, so treating this like any other cold call will get you far.
Hi, I’m (name) with (real estate company).
I received your information from the form you filled out online requesting a (marketing report/property information). Do you remember filling out this form? Is now a good time to talk? (wait and listen)
The reason for my call is that I wanted to confirm that you received the information I sent you, introduce myself, and answer any questions you might have. I have been an agent in (area) for (X) years. Last year was a record for me, actually—I sold (X) homes and helped (X) people find new homes, many in the area you’re interested in. That community is truly unique; it offers (list features of the neighborhood/community).
I know for a fact that some new homes are coming on the market soon in (community of interest to the lead). Would you be interested in seeing some of them, or perhaps meeting to discuss your homebuying needs? (wait and listen)
7. Cold Calling 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.
The perfect voicemail is between eight and 14 seconds long, but definitely less than 30 seconds. It establishes who you are and why you’re calling in a warm and friendly tone. But it doesn’t include your pitch—the goal is to secure 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.”
Advanced Tips for Leveling Up Your 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.
Spend More Time Listening Than Talking
Tom Ferry is fond of saying that successful cold callers spend upward of 75% of their time on the phone NOT talking. Try seeing real estate cold calling as a way to let other people do the talking about themselves and share their stories. If you’re doing it right, the pressure to speak won’t be on you—ask thoughtful questions, listen, and respond.
One great way to do that is to ask open-ended questions: “If you were to sell your home, where would you go? What is your dream location?”
Let the Math Motivate You
Baylor University conducted a U.S. study about real estate cold calling that 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.
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.
Use an Auto-dialer
Using an auto-dialer does two things for you: It keeps you in the zone and gets you through your call list faster. 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.
Call at Strategic Times of Day
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.
The worst time of the day to make calls is in the evening, after 5 p.m. 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.
Track Your Results
Cold calling is a marathon, not a sprint. 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 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 hoping 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 an essential 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!