So, you are on the fence about calling expired listings. 

Depending on your sales skills and how well you can handle rejections, it can be an option worth pursuing to acquire more property listings.

But, of course, it is understandable if you want to find out beforehand if calling expired listings works in the first place.

So, does calling expired listings work?

As a general rule, calling expired listings works, provided you know you will have to deal with the usual calling-to-sales conversion rate of less than 1%, which applies to cold calls. 

For each new listing contract, you will likely have to call more than 100 phone numbers.

If you want to dig deeper into this topic and learn how I came to this answer, you may want to read this article until the end.

You will also learn if you should use scripts and how you could increase your odds of call-to-sales conversions.


What Are Expired Listings?

To have a little memory refresher, although you probably know this, let’s look at what expired listings are.

It’s already self-declaratory, but it’s a property listing under contract with a realtor and expired.

So, the listing contract surpassed its period without the property having sold.

When this happens, the property listing becomes an expired listing, and the owner can either extend the contract, change the realtor or try to sell on her or his own.

The latter usually means going for sale by owner route.

You may also see what challenge results out of that for realtors that want to get expired listings under contract.

The owner is likely disappointed by the realtor used before because the property didn’t sell.

What does this mean for you to get an expired listing?

It means that you will need especially good persuasion skills to convince the owner that you are the right candidate to take on the expired listing.

So, your odds are not in your favor right from the get-go compared to, let’s say, a completely new listing that wasn’t on the market before.


When You Call Expired Listings, You Actually Make Cold Calls

You might also already know that when you call expired listings, you actually make cold calls.


Let’s take a look at the definition of cold calling, which I discussed already in this article:

“It means calling a potential customer who had no prior interaction with you or shown no interest in a product or service you offer.”

So, by definition, you cold-call when you call expired listings. 

The only advantage you will have compared to calling potential off-market properties out of the blue is that you already know with a high degree of certainty that the property owner you call is likely still interested in selling. 

He was likely disappointed in his prior experience with realtors but still interested in selling.

Now, let’s tackle whether calling expired listings works by looking at some cold calling statistics because that’s what you will do when you call them.

In my article “Does Cold Calling Work in Real Estate?”, I already discussed several statistics about cold calling.

I will mention the most important one: “In less than 1% of the cases, a cold call results in a sale” (source).

While this sounds low, you want to remember that you often don’t reach the numbers you call, but this fact is factored into this percentage.

So, you may want to look at another number I mentioned in my article, “How Can I Improve My Real Estate Sales Skills?”. 

In almost half (48%) of sales calls, no attempt is made to close a sale. 

So it kind of makes sense that the overall closing rate is 27%.“ (source).

In this same article, I conclude that many working in sales (any industry) haven’t developed their full sales potential yet. 

Therefore, you can consider the above 1% sales conversion rate as a conservative starting point. 

By improving your sales skills in the ways I mention in the above article, you will likely improve this number. 

So, we can say that calling expired listings works if you accept that it’s actually cold calling and every good and bad it comes with. 

This means you are aware that you will have to deal with a cold calling to sales conversion rate of less than 1% (as a starting point, it also means many rejections), which you can improve by improving your sales skills.


What to Say When Calling Expired Listings – Should You Use a Script?

does cold calling expired listings work

The problem is already in the intention of the question “what to say?”.

It implies that you have a prepared text, which usually means having or using a sales script.

If you have followed me for some time and read my articles, you will know I am biased toward not using scripts.

In this regard, I am on the same page as Claude Diamond, a great sales trainer specializing mainly in real estate.

Why do he and I don’t like scripts?

Using a script decreases your odds of better real estate sales. 

The many factors to increase these odds I mentioned in this article.

I will mention some. 

When you use a script, it will be much more of a challenge to actually listen to the prospect or property seller because you tend to focus on and stick to the script in contrast to not using one.

Why is this far from optimal?

Because you likely miss out on getting to know the greeds, pains, and needs of the seller you are calling. 

Communication and interactions with prospects are quite dynamic, which means you can’t be prepared for any scenario and eventuality during your cold call.

Theoretically, you could be prepared when you have enough data about typical conversations. 

But don’t ask me how long this type of script prepares you for; let’s say 99% of all scenarios (e.g., objections, seller personalities, etc.) would be.

I can already imagine the inner dialogue during a call:

“Wait, he just said ‘you are the 10th realtor calling me today’, I think this objection handling was on page 10 of my script. Let’s find it fast.”

In contrast, if you have a sales system that you practiced by talking to enough people or with role-plays such as the one Claude Diamond teaches, you will better know what to say or, should I rather say, what to ask.

Why “what to ask”?

The core of Claude’s system is asking good questions, qualifying early, mutual respect, not pitching too early, and different reverse psychology moves during a sales conversation.

He offers several different coaching packages and info products where, depending on what you choose, group role-playing is also included. You can check them out here.

So, the question should be, “What to ask when calling expired listings?”.

Questions you could use to discover how strong the need of the property owner is the following:

  • “Why do you think your property listing has expired?”
  • “Why do you want to sell in the first place?”
  • “Why don’t you extend the contract with the other realtor? I am sure she or he did a great job.”

Bonus: How to Get Expired Listings Phone Numbers?

At the end of this article, I would like to share how you can get expired listings’ phone numbers shortly.

There are other methods to get expired listings, such as sending expired listing letters or email drip campaigns to get referrals.

Still, I would like to focus on providers where you can get phone numbers directly without doing a marketing campaign first. 

These are five providers worth mentioning:

Of course, if you want to be more independent from the above providers, you can also get them by running a Facebook Ad campaign.

In this article, I already discussed how you can get expired listings by using Facebook Ads.

This article has been reviewed by our editorial team. It has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policy.

Tobias Schnellbacher