The Lost Art Of The Cold Call?

For some if not most of us in #CRE it’s a right of passage or a daily reminder of what we have to do to create a deal.

Cold Calling.

Yes, we have all been there and how many of us can remember the industrial-sized business phone book laying next to the photocopied call sheet? It was not that long ago my friends. For reference, the iPhone was introduced around 2007, in dog years that’s no time at all. If my memory serves me back in the day to be “employed” by any major brokerage it was not only encouraged it was mandatory. As far as today in 2019, well you tell me. But of course, I do have some thoughts.

To a  certain generation of #CRE people, it was the only way to prospect, it was a large percentage of what was necessary to do business. Throw in networking events, economic and political affiliations along with the “BOYS CLUB” and you were pretty much doing what it took and then some. But things started to change about the time the Great Recession hit. Why because there were NO DEALS to be had no matter what the marketing tactic.

SideBar: I have told this story over and over. A friend of mine ran one of the larger commercial MLS systems in the south. He said when the recession hit deal flow went down to 1% yes, one percent. You can cold call, your ass off but if there is no one there at all, what’s the point.

With that historically absent market came a need for…data and market knowledge. Yes, I know it existed before this in many ways but it became more and more a priority and to a point necessary. Why? Deals. Doing Deals. Where were they, how could you find and track them and who should you connect with. The answer…data and market knowledge. With legacy and updated market data combined with a brokers market knowledge, you could just about predict what deals were going to happen. More to the point as we all know that’s what a broker does. And that was now sitting in front of them in Excel.

Around the same time, this thing called Twitter along with something called LinkedIn started to gain global traction. (My Twitter Bio states that I joined on Oct 2007. Coincidence? I think not.) Bringing with it a whole new way to connect and potentially prospect. They even had a name for it, Social Selling. I remember JLL setting up Twitter tutorials for their brokers. It was heady times my friends, heady times. Luckily for all of us, the market rebounded and as we sit here today there are no signs of it stopping anytime soon. Of course, that depends on who you talk to and what time of day it is and also of course factoring in the moon phase along with political and global economics.

As we have progressed through this market there have been some obvious advances from a technology standpoint one of those being more robust and integrated CRM systems. It’s there staring you in the face 24/7 and on your phone ready to go. Don’t get me wrong I think that is a good…no great thing. It should be and if you don’t or won’t embrace just this most basic technology for #CRE then SHAME ON YOU! Come on, everyone knows everything thing about every property and every owner anyway. What are you hiding? I don’t get it!

But as far as we have come from a market and technology standpoint are we missing some of what got us here in the first place? Hell yes!

How many of you have a daily schedule of marketing tasks? Now, I see a few of you raising your hands saying ” me, me.” And I applaud and acknowledge you for your plan and the execution of it. I do have a question, what percentage of that is cold calling? Everyday cold calling. I’m of course assuming you have some sort of drip mail campaign, a website of some sort, probably share some business-related things on Twitter and LinkedIn and if you are ambitious you create some of your own content to show the world how smart you really are.

What works best? Are you tracking every single piece of marketing? You know you should be. You know you have to justify the time, effort and spend. Where does cold calling fall on that list? You and I know where it should be and that is first. Why? Because it works!

Are we now at a place where the art of conversation and or salesmanship is dead? Do we all just want to hide behind our computers and wait for someone to come to us? Is there a generation of brokers out there today that sees this form of marketing as old outdated and taboo? Do we all just want to text and SnapChat because we can and it’s easy and convenient? Why not just send an email, it’s what everyone else does so it must be effective.

What’s missing is the basic connection with a potential end-user or client. What’s missing is the art of communication and wait for it…actual personality. How can anyone not see the incredible advantage this affords any and all brokers in the marketplace today. Let’s be honest with each other could it hinder some? Yes, but that’s their weakness to overcome not yours.

The value in understanding the tone and context from a conversation in today’s world has become more valuable than just about any other tool at your disposal. And I’ve been on the record about this a thousand times, but technology is just that…tools for you to use.

So, as we sit here today, cold calling could be one of the most effective ways you can create business. 

It shows your willingness to “be aggressive” and earn.

It allows you to connect and interact directly with another human being.

It lets you showcase your knowledge of the market.

It lets you be all you and that’s ultimately what they are buying in the first place.

Therin Lies The Lost Art Of The Cold Call?


+1. Everything old is new again!



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