Why bother cold calling?

Cold calling is infamously referred to as “dialing for dollars”…But, Who do you call?

You can buy lists of names and numbers for fractions of a penny. Scrub the numbers against the do not call list and start dialing. Honestly, that’s it… double check the numbers against the national and state do-not-call registries. Yes, you will be in big trouble for calling numbers listed on the do not call list.

It’s funny because the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services released the top 10 consumer complaints filed with the state this year.


No surprise the number one complaint (as it is every year) from 18,862 people are unwanted calls.  The second biggest complaint is telemarketers.


Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam says his staff looks into complaints and, last year, “more than $3,477,000 was recovered on behalf of Florida consumers.” That’s a lot of fines, so before cold calling, dialing-for-dollars, or telemarketing ask yourself… “Is this person on the do not call list?”.

As a real estate agent you are also bombarded with calls from companies attempting to sell you websites, leads, guaranteed listing appointments(99% BS in my opinion), guaranteed page rank in google ( No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.).

The opening line is always about the same for these telemarketers, “how is your business going this year?” …”Would like more business?” …Duh, who would say no?


And, that’s what you learn when making cold calls. Ask questions you know the person on the other end will say yes to. There is some psychology and research behind this foot-in-the-door technique.


Cold calling is simple as it sounds; call people you don’t know. And, the people you’re calling haven’t seen any of your marketing material. But, before you start dialing…

Cold calling takes longer than anticipated. The act of dialing alone is time-consuming, and when someone does answer the phone… It doesn’t matter what script or rapport building techniques you’ve learned it’s an easy five-minute phone call. You can use any phone list you want including expired, for sale by owner, or custom ordered lists… What I’ve found is that one-in-twenty numbers on average will put me in contact with a real person.

When my goal was to speak with 50 people per day I needed to dial a thousand numbers which was simply unattainable, no matter how many hours I spent dialing for dollars this was a pretty shitty way to find new customers.

My experience is nothing new or profoundly significant according to a study done in the fall of 2011 by Baylor University’s Keller Center for Research and a team of Baylor MBA students that partnered with the research and development department at Keller Williams Realty International (KWRI) to begin to quantify the importance and effectiveness of cold calling as a prospecting tool.


The results of this research slapped real estate coaches and trainers in the face for promoting the cold calling nonsense.


The researcher’s recruited 50 agents from different geographic areas to collectively make 6,264 cold calls over a two-week period. The agents made calls during different times of the day so it presented good information on the best time of day to make cold calls if you choose is between 10am and 2pm, after 5pm is the worst… but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or bunch of researchers to confirm that. As the saying goes, put yourself in someone else’s shoes… would you want a salesperson calling you at home this evening?

What are the results of the cold calls this group of agents made? Out of 6,264 cold calls 28% were answered, 55% were not answered, and 17% were non-working numbers. Yes, 72% of the time you’ll be dialing with no luck… But, there is that 28% which translates to — no, not 1 out of 100 — 1 out of 330 will lead to an appointment. And, 1 out of 209 will lead to an appointment or referral.

When you break this down into time and energy you’re looking at spending 7.5 hours to complete 209 calls, if bad calls take only one minute and you spend five minutes when you get someone on the line willing to talk.

The research proved it’s realistic for an agent willing to spend time dialing for dollars can get one lead or referral per week. Cold calling can be somewhat exhausting and mentally draining especially if you don’t get results within the first few weeks. And, then a lead is just a lead because converting a lead into a qualified customer that actually buys or sells a house in the next 3 months is the next phase.

It’s easy to understand cold calling is similar to playing the lottery to become rich, sure… if you don’t play, you’ll never win… some people get lucky… most don’t…  so why bother making another cold call?



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