The Reluctant Prospector


Looking for Love... or Clients? Here's One Approach (not)...

LoveA few months ago, I saw a post on a real estate forum that made me LOL. ROTLMAO actually. And ask myself - seriously? Seriously?

The thread was extolling the virtues of high-octane cold-calling. Serious cold-calling. Cold-calling to the tune of several hundred (yes, hundred) calls a day (yes, a day). Proponents of the method regaled the rest of us with their stories of successes; of listing appointments won and offers accepted and deals closed.

A few brave souls (myself included) tried to introduce alternatives to high-octane cold-calling for those who might not be as comfortable disrupting hundreds of unwilling phone-answers every day, but we were routinely shot down with attacks on our courage, our commitment and our work ethic.

Ah well.

Here was the gist of the thread and that had me rolling my eyes, slapping my head and wondering if our industry has lost its mind.

The post-er presented the following analogy as a way of illustrating the beauty of the cold-calling method as a way to build a real estate business.

He asked:

"If you were a single guy, which of the following two methods do you think would be more effective in finding a girlfriend?

Option 1: Sit at home watching football and drinking beer, or

Option 2: Line up 100 women and ask each of them out for coffee?"

Um. Well.

I'm thinking that these 100 lined-up women might....

  1. Think the guy is a total idiot, and/or
  2. Think the guy must be awfully desperate, and/or
  3. Think the guy is really annoying, and/or
  4. Think the guy is utterly pathetic, and/or
  5. Feel uncomfortably like a number in this guy's game.

So, I guess the analogy continues like this:

"If you were a hungry real estate agent, which of the following two methods do you think would be more effective for finding good business?"

Option 1: Sit at your office waiting for the phone to ring, or

Option 2: Call 100 random strangers and ask them if they need a real estate agent?"

Y'think there might be a third option? Maybe even a fourth? One that doesn't make you look desperate, annoying or pathetic?

Yeah, I think there just might be.

It's Here!


The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
Order Your Here!









Comment balloon 37 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • December 14 2010 07:22AM


If there were only 2 options....People really need to think!

Posted by Navona Hart, Selling the Best Properties in Central Virginia (Real Living Cornerstone) almost 10 years ago


Do you bring "beer" back into play in the additional options?

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) almost 10 years ago

Good morning Jennifer,

Thank you!! Thank you!! There is a voice of reason out sentiments exactly! How about call your sphere of influence?..How about establishing yourself as an expert in your market area? How about get involved in church or school activities and sponsor some activities? I know it takes a little effort but isn't it more fun than calling strangers who are annoyed you are interrupting their private time??

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899) almost 10 years ago

WOO HOO! You know how I feel!   I've followed that discussion from the beginning.  What bothers me the most if the attitude that if you don't do cold calling, you suck. *sigh*

Posted by Karen Rice, Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales (Davis R. Chant, REALTORS) almost 10 years ago

Karen - I thought you might like it! Yes, sigh... we suck.

Dorie - It seems so obvious, doesn't it?????  And why on earth would anyone get into the wonderful world of real estate simply to annoy people all day? I've never understood that.

Mike - You may include beer anywhere you see fit.

Navona - Indeed!!!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 10 years ago

I agree with Dorie - coming into real estate from the advertising field, I have always preferred to deal with "warm" contacts rather than icy cold unbelieving contacts....hence, my networking efforts, and chamber participation to establish myself as the Beaches expert.

Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) almost 10 years ago

What would the 100 women look like? . .and do I have to pay for the coffee? . :)

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) almost 10 years ago

lol Jennifer...yes it isn't always black and white...the world is full of grey!

Cindy in Indy

Posted by Cindy Marchant, "Cindy in Indy" , Realtor, Fishers Real Estate (Keller Williams Indy NE 317-290-7775 almost 10 years ago

Very interesting. I prefer "warm calls", myself. But my favorite option is to go out for my coffee and provoke a conversation with the cashier at the supermarket or in line for that coffee. I leave my business card behind; along with a good tip, at the restaurant... I am "working" the field!

Posted by Lydie Ouellet Dickinson, Realtor (Realty Executives Tri County, Bellingham MA) almost 10 years ago

I'm not very receptive when a complete stranger intrudes on my time with "interruptive marketing tactics" so I'm not going to launch counter attacks...never cold called, never will.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) almost 10 years ago

We soulful agents would never understand the way high-octane, high-fuel cold callers run their business. Have you considered leaving that place? I know I have.

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) almost 10 years ago

Loreena - Yep - I finally left a few months ago. It was fun, but I found myself getting more and more frustrated with the utter lack of professionalism among the majority of members. I still check in from time to time, but navigate away pretty quickly. Good entertainment, though! And good blog material!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 10 years ago

YUCK, Cold calling... I just dont get it.... Warm calls, YUP... Quality over quantity ANY day of the week will  make you more money, and build a true SOI that will refer you

Posted by Robert Rauf (HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)) almost 10 years ago

If someone told me before I ever got my license that I would have to make one cold call to be successful at selling real estate, I would have never gotten my license.

Posted by John Marshall - FORE!, Specializing in Golf Course Properties (LoKation Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Well you do need to be talking to people, but make it people you know and those who know you like you and trust you...not cold calling!

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

In sales there is always a 3rd and/or 4th option.  Sitting and doing nothing or wreaking havoc on unsuspecting phone candidates are the two extremes that should never be an option. 

Posted by Randy Elliott, REALTOR : Lodi / Stockton, CA (RE/MAX Gold) almost 10 years ago

Randy - GREAT point! I hadn't thought of that actually!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 10 years ago

Actually, I don't exactly understand how those guys are putting up those kind of numbers (they say), yet manage to be on that site so much...hmmmm...being online extolling the virtues of cold calling isn't generating business, I don't think!

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) almost 10 years ago

Susan - I've always thought the same thing - but what I really wonder is when on earth these folks have time to actually manage all this business if they're cold-calling 3 hours a day and then going on listing appointments, and, of course, hanging out online. When I'm busy, chatting on forums is the last thing that occurs to me to do.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 10 years ago

I also marvel that with all the fanfare given to prospecting and how well it's working, these agents never, and I mean, never post anything about the difficulties they're having with inspections, loans, buyers remorse, etc. Are they so awesome that their transactions always go like clockwork?

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 10 years ago


Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) almost 10 years ago


Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) almost 10 years ago

And they wonder why Realtors/agents have such a bad reputation with the public!  Because of bozos agents (I seriously doubt this guy is a Realtor) like this.  Ok, seriously now, I am so glad that there are other Realtors/agents that do not operate this way.  I feel fortunate (yes fortunate because there are a lot of people like this guy) that I have had the pleasure of working with Realtors/agents that don't prescribe to this nonsense.

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) almost 10 years ago

If I had to cold-call all day, I'D be the one needing the beer!

Seriously, I've very fortunate that I read SWS before I took my first real estate class. There's no way I would have gotten into this business if pestering strangers was a requirement to be successful.

Posted by Sue Gabriel almost 10 years ago

I agree with Susan, how can you be making all these calls and post so much. I follow that thread, too, when I have time. It makes me shake my head. Thanks Jennifer. Reading your book on my kindle and I suggested it to one of our newer agents.

Posted by Renée Montgomery, Northern Virginia Real Estate (Century 21 New Millennium) almost 10 years ago

If I could find 10 women that liked watching footbal that would be fine. My TV is only 32 inch so 100 could not see it comfortably. Kidding aside you do make a good point but are these the real alternatives. What if you call 100 expires and have something good to say ?

Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros ( almost 10 years ago

Charlie - actually... that's another related post I'm working on - stay tuned!

Renee - Crazy, isn't it? Did you catch the part where I asked when they had time to service their clients and was soundly scolded for not managing my time well if I was "getting all caught up in the details of the transaction?" Sheesh.

Sue - You and me both, sista...Luckily when I went to real estate school, I hadn't heard any of this nonsense yet. If I had, I never would have started. Funny how things work out.

Donne - I literally LOL'ed when I saw your graphic!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) almost 10 years ago

OK...I get the game

"If you want to live for at least another twenty years would you..."

A.  Put the barrel of a loaded shotgun in your mouth and pull the trigger


B.  Drink a gallon of the deadliest poison known to man.


Huh, tell me, come on give me an answer, come on now you can get it right.


Or maybe...."hey asshole why am I bothering to have a discussion with you?"


Posted by John MacArthur, Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes (Century 21 Redwood) almost 10 years ago

To take the dating analogy a step further, most gals I know would NOT stand in anybody's lineup for a coffee invitation.  :-)  

They might, however, accept an invitation from a guy who strikes up a conversation while at a food pantry volunteer group or service club meeting, or at music class, or even in a sports bar.....

Posted by Cheryl Johnson almost 10 years ago

Jennifer - I am here because of Donnes "Called shot" post. One that I originally missed.

In another business I did Cold Calling and I loved it. Sort of. But for Real Estate, Not happenin'.

Warm calling more acceptable. But you had my at football and drinking beer.

Posted by Ken Barker Realtor® GRI, E-Pro Certified (Dilbeck Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Jennifer, that approach is a head-smacker for sure!  I cannot imagine cold calling 100s of people every day.  I'd want to hang up me for sure!  Great post :)

Posted by Jennifer Prestwich, Madison & Co Properties (Henderson, Thornton, Broomfield and Westminster) almost 10 years ago

Hi Jennifer,  Hard to believe more than .001 of agents would do that for more than a day or two - or a call or two !  I'll assume there was a book for sale involved.  Hope your Holiday Season is the best ever !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) almost 10 years ago

This is historical!  I know where I'd tell that guy to go!  


To each his own, I guess!  I'll stick with the soulful way - working with soul mates!  :)

Posted by Christine Pappas - REALTOR®, eXp Realty - Because Experience Matters (eXp Realty) almost 10 years ago

There are plenty of other options BUT I'll play devil's advocate to your post.  There are PLENTY of successful agents doing this sista!  Ever heard of Mike Ferry?  Agents make over $300K minimum doing half of what he asks.  Don't knock it until you've tried it - besides you didn't offer any alternative now did you?

There isn't only one way to prospect.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 10 years ago

Hi Jennifer...Who the heck are these folks calling?  Isn't there a Do Not Call List out there somewhere and isn't the purpose of it to prevent things like cold calling.

If these folks are so successful with their cold calling why aren't they simply sitting home dialing the phone and passing out referrals.  That's what I would do IF we were allowed to cold call.  We are not unless we are checking every name to make sure it's not on the list.



Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) almost 10 years ago

I'm with the guy who said if he had been told he would have to cold call, he would have never become a Realtor.

My thoughts were:   get my license; sit in an office and wait for the calls or the walks ins.

Ha, ha.  Don't know where I got that idea.  

But seriously cold calling 100 people a day?  Rather beat my head against a wall.  Give me AR, the website, warm contacts anyday.

Posted by Faye Y. Taylor, Homes for Sale Floresville, La Vernia & San Antoni (StepStone Realty, LLC ) almost 10 years ago
| As you know, I recently moved a mlioiln and one times. I just completed another local move about a week ago. Here's my advice: Marry someone who is willing to let you leave from house A with your laptop for a library or cafe to work for the day so that you can come home to house B after he has packed, moved and setup everything without you. That's seriously how I've made most of my moves over the last five years. If that's not possible like it was when I had to move to NYC while he was already here the little by little approach is best. It also helps avoid the OMG I'M MOVING AND I HAVE TO WORK AND I'M GOING TO EXPLODE feeling that can happen to the best of us.
Posted by Anna over 8 years ago

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