Cold calling is a controversial topic in the real estate industry. 

Many hate it because you must leave your comfort zone and deal with many rejections. But for many, it can also work.

So does cold calling work in real estate?

With cold calling, you can get a conversion rate for meetings or appointments of 2%.

Compared to other online marketing methods, this is not a bad number. But if it works or not depends a lot on your sales skills and how good you are at making calls.

This article will discuss why so many hate cold calling, show you different statistics, analyze how it compares to other conversion rates, and whether you should script the calls.


What Is Cold Calling and Why Do Many Hate It So Much?

Cold calling is one of the oldest marketing methods in sales. 

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

It is also a form of interruption marketing since no call appointment is made with the person receiving the call.

There also lies the reason why many have a love-hate relationship with it.

On the receiving side, it can come at the right moment and just when the person needs the product or service.

However, frequently, it comes at the wrong time when the person is otherwise occupied and doesn’t need that product or service.

It is uncomfortable on the salespersons’ side since they will have to deal with many rejections before getting successful results.

Being able to handle rejection in most cases and thus having a large amount of resilience is part of the cold-calling game. It is necessary to be successful at it.

The cold caller is similar to a website generating traffic that, in most cases, doesn’t return to the website or convert it into a lead or customer.

Since websites don’t have emotions, you usually only realize how many people don’t convert into leads (rejecting it) by checking the website analytics. 

If websites were humans, they would also have a love-hate relationship with attracting cold traffic and complaining that it’s not working.


Stats About Cold Calling

Let’s first check for some interesting stats about cold calling in general.

In this article, I already mentioned some interesting and surprising facts about using the phone as a tool to follow up.

And the following stats I found are again a bit surprising in a world where you would suspect that most people hide behind texting, chatting, and emailing.

So, let’s jump into some important cold-calling statistics:

1) About two-thirds of buyers accept cold calls (source).

2) 27% of sellers say that making phone calls to new contacts is very or highly effective (source)

However, another statistic claims it’s ineffective 90.9% of the time (source).

3) More than 50% of senior-level buyers want a phone call (source).

4) You need to prove your value to prospects in 5 to 10 minutes (source).

5) Less than 2% of cold calls result in a meeting or appointment (source).

This number sounds terrible at first glance, but when you compare it to the conversion rate from website visitors to actual appointments, which is between 1-3%, it’s not bad at all.

6) In less than 1% of the cases, a cold call results in a sale (source).

In another statistic, it’s 5% (source).

7) Wednesdays seem to be the best days to make cold calls.

These days, 46% more conversions are made compared to Mondays (source).

8) As stated by this researchabout 80% of cold calls go to voicemail and shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds, according to the findings in this study (source).

9) A typical business person receives about 115 emails daily, so a phone call stands out (source).


What Can We Derive from The Above Statistics, and How Do They Compare With Other Conversion Rates?

You can’t categorically say cold calling isn’t working from the statistics above.

From the digital marketing perspective, it gives you a conversion rate for meetings or appointments of 2%.

This is not bad if you compare it to website conversion rates.

You first need to convert the traffic into a lead and then the lead into an appointment by doing warm-calling and other follow-ups.

In this article, I discussed real estate marketing plans and used an example of Facebook Ads.

From Facebook Ads, you can get a conversion rate for generating leads of 10.68%.

Keep in mind these are not yet appointments.

Depending on how good you are with calling warm leads, you may convert 10% of them to appointments.

This leaves us with a total traffic-to-appointment conversion rate of 1.068% (10.68% x 10%), even lower than the above-mentioned cold-calling conversion rate for meetings or appointments.

Even if you are better at converting warm leads, you might not get much higher than the 2% mentioned above.

So, a clear or significant advantage can’t be found here by using just this example.

Then, there is the 1% conversion rate of cold calls resulting in a sale. 

This is also not bad compared to website sales conversion rates (in real estate, this would be difficult to achieve with just a website, though).

But even for e-commerce websites, the average conversion rate is 2.63% in the U.S. (source).

Remember that these are usually low to mid-priced items, not properties.

If it were common to sell properties like e-commerce products, this conversion rate would probably be lower because higher-priced products usually have lower conversion rates.

So, I assume the 1% conversion rate of cold callings isn’t bad, either.

And finally, it seems to work for sales representatives 9.1% to 27% of the time.


Is Prospecting Really Cold Calling? The Special Case with Real Estate

From the definition right at the start, cold calling in real estate would be prospecting.

It is one hundred percent cold calling if you take out a phone book, blindly call any number your finger lands on, and then try to sell your services, a deal, or a property.

But in real estate, it’s a bit different, and I would often call it a special case. Prospecting with “cold leads” is rather a grey area.

Whether you are a real estate investor, a realtor, or another real estate professional, you will usually find leads for prospecting by some kind of property listing website.

You can find potential sellers (properties for sale) and potential buyers (investors) when looking for examples of fixer-upper properties or rental properties.

Is it cold calling when you, as a real estate professional, see, for example, a Craigslist for sale ad from the owner with a phone number and call it?

Are persons that are offering their properties for sale or for rent really not interested in a product or service helping them solve their needs? 

They basically say: “Hey, I have the need to sell or rent my property. Here is my number, call me.”

Well, they are not necessarily interested in your services but in selling or renting their property.

So, there’s a grey area between cold calling and warm calling. 

Therefore, I see cold calling in real estate as a rather special case.


To Script or Not to Script – That Is the Question

I want to share with you one of my favorite videos from an inspiring teacher who knows how to make good calls. 

I’ve already mentioned him a few times on my website. His name is Claude Diamond, and he hates scripts.

And I think there is a good reason for that.

So here comes the video where you can see how he does a cold call to someone with whom he never had contact using his system:

Yes, a script can give you security when doing cold calls. 

And unfortunately, many “Gurus” are recommending using one.

I don’t know about you, but when I use a script, the conversation goes in a surprising direction, and the person on the other side comes up with something unaccounted for or starts being a bit of a prick; it can get slippery fast.

Besides, when I am on the other side and get called by someone using a script, I immediately know they are using one, and I pay less or no attention.

It just doesn’t feel authentic, and thus the sales message doesn’t even reach my ears; therefore, the conversion rate probably goes down.

Claude Diamond prefers to use no scripts, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t in favor of a system.

He has developed a clever system called G.U.T.S. that you can learn and should role play with others to make you comfortable reacting spontaneously in different situations without losing your pride as a salesperson.

Because according to him, the 11th commandment is that you can always lie to a salesman.

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

Tobias Schnellbacher