There are countless pages on the internet debating the state of cold calling in realty, and the general consensus is that it depends who you ask. A past study tested the effectiveness of cold calling and found that of the 6,265 cold telephone calls made, only 28% (1,774) were even answered. Already we can begin to see that cold calling may not have the impact we’d like, with only just over 1 in 4 calls making it through to the potential lead in the first place, but even worse than that is that, of these 1,774 accepted calls, only 19 resulted in appointment bookings. So, all in all, cold calling has an effectiveness of about 0.3%.
This doesn’t look like a great number, which explains why many consider the cold call to be a dying (if not already dead) strategy. However, the reason that so many stick by it is the relatively low hours of investment. If we consider that the calls that go unanswered take roughly one minute to make, while the answered calls take about five minutes (out of which one in 59 will results in an appointment or a referral), then the whole process balances out at roughly one booking made over the course of 7.5 hours of cold calling, which if spread out of the working week at 1.5 hours per day, is a pretty good ROI.
Even if it is based solely on the low investment of time, cold calling does end up as a worthwhile marketing strategy. But is there a way of increasing the engagement rates well above the 28% found in the study, or even further, boost conversion of those answered calls to booked appointments? In other words, is there a way of getting much more from those 7.5 hours of cold calling? The answer is yes, but even more impressively, you can cut that investment of time right down too. How? With handwritten cold calling.
As you may very well know, the key to success in an impersonal world of faceless emails and randomly selected telesales is adding that personal touch to your customer service. Rather than appearing to your potential leads as a disembodied voice reading off of a script, why not try making first contact in the physical world. Personalized handwritten letters stand for something much more meaningful than a cold telephone call. They engage with more of the recipient’s senses and represent a much higher level of intimacy that the recipient rarely gets from other businesses.
A handwritten note will intrigue your potential lead and implies a much greater urgency, standing out as something worth tending to right away. In fact, personalized handwritten notes are almost always opened (95%+), which already outshines that 1 in 4 answer rate of telesales. The entire process can even be automated with Scribeless’ quick and easy integration. Automation can be implemented within the hour, meaning that for a fraction of the time spent on cold calling for just one appointment booking, you can organize an entire personalized handwritten marketing campaign to reach out to as many potential leads as you like, whether it’s ten or ten thousand.
So, for one hour’s work, you’ve sent out all of your direct mail correspondences, almost all of which are almost guaranteed to be opened by the recipient. But even better than that is the increased chances of conversion. Scribeless has overseen tremendous increases in customer engagement levels over a number of campaigns. One such example involved targeting 15,000 homeowners in California and comparing the results of personalized handwritten marketing against traditional direct mail. The campaign resulted in an increase of engagement from 9% to 33%, almost quadrupling that of direct mail, with an overall ROI of 12x.
Personalized handwritten marketing is a fantastic alternative to typical cold calling, and with Scribeless it can be implemented just as easily. However, that doesn’t mean you should take the ease for granted and send out your handwritten letters at random.
No one wants to get a call from a stranger asking them if they’d like to sell their home when they have no interest in doing so, and while they may be much more likely to consider selling with a personalized handwritten note, it may be in your best interest to further focus the net that you’re casting. There are plenty of ways of identifying potential leads that don't include shooting blindly in the dark.
Before you reach out to your potential leads, you should keep in mind the key reasons why they may be looking to sell. In 2018, the most common reasons that people sold their homes were that the properties were too small (15%), that they wanted to be closer to friends or family (14%), or that they were moving with a new job (13%). By highlighting these reasons in your initial correspondence, you are more likely to encourage any thoughts of potential selling that the homeowner already has. For clients that you’ve worked with in the past, you can combine this with any data that you’ve managed to gather through your CRM in order to finely target specific individuals. For instance, a family that has grown during their residency may be looking to sell and move to a larger property.
Always keep your eye on expired listings. For two years now, the average time that a house has been on the market before it is sold is three weeks. If a property is on the market for longer than this, or if its listing has expired entirely, then the owner may very well want to switch agency. They want to sell their house, and if their current agent can’t manage to do that, then you need to tell them how you could.
It's also worth reaching out to properties that are listed as For Sale By Owner (FSBO). While the idea of selling their own home to save money can seem very appealing to the homeowner, it’s likely that their lack of experience is going to make the whole process much more difficult than they anticipated. After all, 91% of sellers sell with an agent, and this number wouldn’t be anywhere near that high if it was as easy as it sounds.
By sending the homeowner a personalized handwritten letter over cold calling, you show them that you are not just a professional realtor, but that you also understand that the selling of their property is a personal affair. An intimate handwritten note tells the seller that you’re a caring and trustworthy agent with their best interests at heart, and any homeowner struggling with the selling process will be happy to get you onboard to assist in the process.
Even after the connections are made and the deals are done, you should keep lines open between you and your seller. After all, you never know when you may do business with them again. By maintaining regular correspondence with your clients, you can build a relationship with your sellers that is both meaningful and beneficial to both parties.
Click here to start your agent/seller relationships with Scribeless.