Why I Quit Cold Calling Cold Turkey

Key Takeaways:

– The author used to be a fan of cold calling in real estate, believing that if you make enough calls, you will eventually find potential sellers.
– However, the author concluded that cold calling is no longer the best way to get listings for three main reasons: it is inefficient, regulations around telephone communications are getting stricter, and it is mentally and emotionally draining.
– Cold calling has become inefficient because people are less likely to answer calls from unrecognized numbers.
– Regulations such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry make cold calling more difficult and can result in legal consequences if violated.
– Cold calling can take a toll on one’s mental and emotional well-being due to constant rejection.
– The author quit cold calling because it no longer made sense as the most effective use of their time.
– Instead of cold calling, the author suggests investing time and energy into activities like social media marketing and meeting prospects in person.
– The author’s business has been doing well since abandoning cold calling, and they are happier with their new approach.

inman:

After spending years as a faithful cold caller, find out why Realtor Jonathan Pressman decided the return on investment was no longer worthwhile.

For years, I was an ardent advocate of real estate cold calling. To paraphrase Rocky Balboa, if you can take the hits and keep moving forward, I believe you’ll eventually strike gold. 

Cold calling is a numbers game. Unfortunately, even with tremendous advances in technology and AI, you can’t reliably predict when a homeowner is going to sell. Nevertheless, if you call enough homeowners, you’re bound to find a few who are considering selling. Set listing appointments with half of those, and you’ll inevitably secure a few listings.

Sounds like cold calling works, right? Well, that depends on your definition of success. Will you get listings from cold calls? Yes, you probably will. The question is whether you think it’s the best way to get listings. Ultimately, I concluded it wasn’t the best path forward, and here are three reasons why.

1. It’s inefficient

In my experience, cold calling has become very inefficient. It’s easier than ever for companies and individuals to aggregate lists of people’s phone numbers and autodial or robocall them. As a result, people have all but stopped answering the phone when they receive calls from numbers they don’t recognize.

According to a study published by Pew Research, just 19 percent of Americans say they answer calls from an unrecognized number. That means you’re fighting an uphill battle right off the bat, and when a prospect does pick up, they’re often not thrilled to hear from you.

2. Regulations around telephone communications are getting increasingly strict 

Before you place a single cold call, you need to research laws like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to ensure you’re not inadvertently violating consumers’ rights.

Next, you’ll have to screen every number you intend to call against the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry and the state’s DNC list. These lists are extensive and continue growing every day, with the National DNC list containing 246 million active registrations in 2022. 

In case you think no one pays attention to these laws, earlier in 2023, Keller Williams agreed to pay $40 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging the company violated the TCPA by making pre-recorded calls. I’m no soothsayer, but if pressed to take a bet, I’d say regulators will only continue to make cold calling more difficult for agents.

3. It’s mentally and emotionally draining

Cold calling isn’t physically challenging, though it can seriously affect your mental and emotional well-being. Even those with thick skin tire of the incessant, mind-numbing ringing and constant rejection.

Sure, there’s a certain thrill when you beat the odds and finally have a great conversation with a homeowner who’s legitimately interested in exploring their options, but is that enough to justify the frustrations of potentially making hundreds of calls for each success? Not in my opinion, unless it’s a diamond in the rough or a luxury listing.

The real reason I quit cold calling

The real reason I quit cold calling was simple: It no longer made sense as the most effective use of my time. What put me over the edge was making 1,900 cold calls in a month, only to win a listing when someone texted me in response to a real estate Reel I posted on Facebook.

I realized that I would be happier and probably do more business by investing my time, energy and marketing budget into other activities like social media and meeting up with prospects in person.

What to do instead

If you choose to call it quits on cold calling, only you can decide what you want to do with your time. I happen to enjoy writing and making educational Reels on social media. Other agents might choose to invest in a custom website, paid leads, local events or even sponsoring a little league team.

If you want to succeed long-term in real estate, it’s important to find a set of sustainable activities that gets your name out there. Cold calling became unsustainable for me, and I felt the return on investment was no longer worth all the trouble.

Since ditching cold calling, my business has been doing just fine, and I’ve been significantly happier than when I was spending half my day on a dialer.

Jonathan Pressman is a Realtor who writes on a wide range of financial topics. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Instagram.


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Property Chomp's Take:

After spending years as a faithful cold caller, realtor Jonathan Pressman has decided that the return on investment is no longer worthwhile. In an industry that is constantly evolving, Pressman realized that the old way of doing business is over. Instead, he has chosen to focus on new strategies and ways to connect with potential clients.

For years, Pressman was a strong advocate for cold calling in the real estate industry. He believed that if you could endure the constant rejection and keep pushing forward, eventually you would strike gold. Cold calling is a numbers game, and by calling enough homeowners, you were bound to find a few who were considering selling. Set up listing appointments with some of them, and you would secure a few listings. It seemed like cold calling worked.

However, Pressman began to question whether cold calling was truly the best way to get listings. He realized that it was becoming increasingly inefficient. With advances in technology and AI, companies and individuals can now easily aggregate lists of phone numbers and autodial or robocall them. As a result, people have stopped answering calls from numbers they don't recognize. According to a study published by Pew Research, only 19 percent of Americans say they answer calls from an unrecognized number. This means that realtors are fighting an uphill battle from the start, and even when a prospect does pick up, they are often not thrilled to hear from them.

In addition, regulations around telephone communications are becoming increasingly strict. Before making a single cold call, realtors need to research laws like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to ensure they are not inadvertently violating consumers' rights. They also have to screen every number they intend to call against the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry and the state's DNC list. These lists are extensive and continue to grow every day, with the National DNC list containing 246 million active registrations in 2022. Violating these regulations can result in hefty fines and lawsuits. Earlier this year, Keller Williams agreed to pay $40 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging TCPA violations.

Furthermore, cold calling can be mentally and emotionally draining. Even those with thick skin can tire of the constant rejection and mind-numbing ringing. While there may be moments of success when a realtor has a great conversation with a homeowner interested in selling, it may not be enough to justify the frustrations and countless hours spent making hundreds of calls.

For Pressman, the real reason he quit cold calling was simple: it no longer made sense as the most effective use of his time. He had an experience where he made 1,900 cold calls in a month, only to win a listing when someone texted him in response to a real estate Reel he posted on Facebook. He realized that he would be happier and likely do more business by investing his time, energy, and marketing budget into other activities like social media and meeting up with prospects in person.

If you are considering quitting cold calling, Pressman suggests finding alternative strategies that align with your strengths and interests. Some realtors might enjoy writing and creating educational content on social media, while others might invest in a custom website, paid leads, local events, or even sponsoring a little league team. The key is to find sustainable activities that get your name out there and connect with potential clients.

In conclusion, the old way of cold calling in real estate is no longer as effective as it once was. With advancements in technology, stricter regulations, and the mental and emotional toll it takes, many realtors are finding that the return on investment is no longer worth the effort. Instead, it's important to adapt to the changing landscape of the industry and find new strategies that work best for you.

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