Every engine needs the gears to keep it going. This is not a radical statement, and yet, you probably don’t expect your sales ‘gears’ to produce results 100 percent of the time. It seems reasonable, but what if you treated your sales engine like you treat your car engine—as something you can rely on to start every morning and keep you going down the road?! It’s a new outlook, and one that Erik Therwanger starts to unpack in his book Dynamic Sales Combustion.
Therwanger introduces what he calls the sales gears to any sales engine: Prospecting, Contacting, Presenting, Set-up, and Follow-up.
Prospecting and Contacting, the first two gears, are what I’m going to focus on in this article.
THE PARETO PRINCIPLE
Perhaps you’ve heard of the 80/20 rule: that 20 percent of people do 80 percent of the work.
As you consider your sales methods, you may find it even applies to your prospecting and contacting. It’s likely that around 20 percent of your calls lead to 80 percent of your sales. Or 20 percent of your past clients lead to 80 percent of your referrals. Or 20 percent of your listings lead to 80 percent of your profits.
Maybe this isn’t something that seems encouraging, but according to Therwanger, it means there’s a lot of room for growth! How can you apply that successful 20 percent of your efforts to the other 80 percent? It’s a good reminder to look for patterns in what has worked in the past and pay attention to the untapped potential all around you!
PROSPECTING WITH PURPOSE
In the real estate industry, prospecting probably looks quite different from other sales positions. However, it’s still a necessary component to keep your sales engine running.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Instead of asking yourself “whom can I call,” “whom can I sell;” ask yourself, “whom can I impact?” We all know people in our circles, or perhaps a tad outside of our circles, that we can help. Throughout his book, Therwanger reminds us that impact is greater than selling.
MAKE A REALISTIC LIST
As you’re making your prospecting list, are you being realistic? Are the people you’re adding in a position financially, geographically to either list or look for a home? Perhaps they are influencers and have a wide variety of contacts. Making a realistic, well-thought-out prospecting list may take more time, but is obviously going to benefit you more in your efforts.
Block Out Time to Make Phone Calls. Seems simple, but that “400-pound phone,” as Therwanger says, can often feel too heavy to lift unless we set aside specific time for it. Blocking out time each day to touch base with influencers, check in with past clients, and call leads is a necessity and shouldn’t be left undone. Waiting for the phone to ring is like waiting for your car engine to start all on its own.
Target, Qualify, Prepare: Identify the types of clients you want to work with, perhaps first- homeowners, established families, raw land deals. Come up with a list of criteria your ideal prospect has and then do the research needed to understand their needs and goals! Be prepared before you make the calls.
BUT, ACTUALLY MAKE THE CALLS!
When it comes to real estate, hopefully most of the prospects on your list come from previous clients and are ‘warm’ or ready/ getting ready to list or buy a new home. But perhaps you’re just starting out in the business or it’s been a bit stagnant. Then your list may not be as easy to tackle. But this is where the rubber meets the road.
What works for you? Are you best in email, over the phone or doing a drop-by in person? Perhaps you only have a phone number but do better face-to-face. Use the first call for a quick introduction and request to meet in person. Or send out an email but make it personal and to-the-point.
Whatever the case, the first time you contact, keep it short, Therwanger advises. Let the person on your list know why you’re calling but save the ‘presentation’ for down the road. This shows you respect their time and can save your longer conversations for future meetups.
Any sales industry will have its challenges, real estate included. There are busy and slow seasons, good markets and bad. But taking a look that the gears that get your sales engine moving may just help you overcome those challenges and create a forward motion that can’t be stopped!
As we journey through “Dynamic Sales Combustion” together, let us know how we can help you along the way. Charity Malmberg