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8 Tips for Overcoming the Fear of Selling (Part 2 of 2)

June 28 2011

Last week, we talked about the fear of selling and how agents fail when it comes to prospecting tactics in real estate like cold calling and door knocking. (You can read last week's article if you missed it.) Sure, social networking, referrals and word-of-mouth advertising are always important as an agent, but nothing is more effective than hunting for your next sale.

As a review, the solution to overcome the fear of selling is to simply push past the anxiety. Create space in your day, every day, and just smile and dial (be sure to check the do not call list first). If you are really afraid, call people two states away. It may not get you any business, but you will become comfortable with making the calls if you go the absurd route of knowing that you will absolutely be rejected every time. Have fun and get used to it. The "no" answer is not as bad after the 20th call.

As for overcoming the fear of door-knocking, you need to push through that too. Here is a secret: people are much more kind in person than they are on the phone. Rejection at the door is softer. Try working an area where you or someone in your office has a listing. Ask questions about the quality of life in the neighborhood.

Here is another secret: instead of thinking about what you get out of prospecting, think about what your future client is going to get out of it. Imagine the joy they will feel when you help them through a short sale, or help them find that home where their child gets to go to the best school, or that room with a sunset view. Real estate sales are more than making money. You are helping people manage their lifestyle and their home in the best possible way.

Here are 8 tips to keep you on track:

1. Practice makes perfect. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat! Write down what you plan to say and say it over and over again until it pours out of you. You will have so much confidence in what you say that you will not even pay attention to yourself, you will begin to listen for signals from the prospect.

2. Don't stereotype yourself. Many agents develop the belief that cold calling or door knocking are the tactics of used car salesmen. In truth, these are the skills of sales professionals who know how to work hard and to make a living by growing their business with intention.

3. Avoid perfectionism. Too often, an agent wants everything to be perfect. Perfect car, perfect outfit, perfect hair, and perfect pitch. There is no such thing and, in truth, these are excuses you give yourself to avoid selling. Just get out there.

4. Be thick-skinned. You must understand that prospecting is a numbers game. Today, the numbers are in your favor. Approximately 25% of homes are upside-down in their mortgage. But 75% of the people you contact have no interest in your services. Don't take it personally; just think of it as the odds.

5. Be customer-centric. Remember that the sales call is not about you; it is about developing a cold call into a customer. Rather than "telling," spend time asking, and you will find that the person will open up to you. Again, some great openers are questions about who they know, who may be in the market to buy or sell a home, or what they know about listings for sale in their area. It deflects them from thinking about being "sold" right out of the gate.

6. People like to be sold. Too often, agents have the wrong idea about consumer reaction to salespeople. People like to be sold and people respect disciplined commission-based work ethics. Overcoming your fear of selling and picking up the phone is something that most people do not have the courage to do. Be proud that you have accomplished this.

Here is a fact from US research firm Marketing Sherpa: only 11% to 17% of people are truly annoyed by cold calls.

7. Start talking at association meetings or office meetings. Overcoming fear of cold calling is akin to overcoming the fear of public speaking. When you are at a public meting, stand up and speak about something. Having the courage to talk in front of your peers is the first step to gaining confidence with strangers.

8. Become an expert. This is the most important step in preparing for cold calls. Focus on an area or a neighborhood. Use the tax record service from your MLS to look up names of families in the area who have recently sold a home, recently purchased a home, or have a home for sale. Write down the prices and use those as tools in your prospecting conversations. Run a quick CMA, RVM, Zestimate, or other market report to learn what is happening in the area.

Remember this: as a real estate agent you make a living on closed transactions. Your effort to prospect and expand your business is the building block to financial success and security. Invest in prospecting and you will have many returns for years to come.