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How to Warm Up Your Cold Calls to Realtors

Most loan officers experience some trepidation when it comes to making cold calls. But what if you could make warm and fuzzy calls instead of cold ones? Would that help alleviate your reluctance to pick up that phone?

Kristen Simpson is one of our coaches who does strategy calls with loan officers. She’s fantastic at her job. She has an uncanny knack of identifying people’s strengths, helping them focus on those strengths, and putting together an individualized plan. This plan not only gets the loan officers loans, but it’s filled with activities they’re good at and enjoy doing.

Kristen and I sat down recently to talk about avoiding cold calls and making warm and fuzzy calls instead. I told her that I made my first million dollars of W2 income making cold calls because I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know of another way. And now I do. 

Cold calls do work, but warm calls work even better.

Consumer Direct Is Okay, But Not Ideal

To be perfectly blunt, most of the calls you make as a new loan officer are going to be pretty cold. At first. The warmest calls you can make in the beginning are to the contact list in your phone. Do every single one of your friends and family members know you’re a loan officer? Buying a home is the biggest financial decision they’ll ever make. Why have a stranger helping them when you could help them? 

There’s nothing wrong with consumer direct, but it’s one and done—or they give me a handful or referrals every couple years or so. On the other hand, when I get referrals from real estate agents, I get dozens of deals from that one agent—more bang for my buck. It’s like I struck oil, and it’s a gusher that keeps sending loans to me. 

So, besides just asking your friends and family if they need a loan officer, lean into your circle of influence and ask them for their favorite realtors. But you want to make sure those realtors are qualified or it really doesn’t matter if Susie knows them or not. They won’t have business to give you.

Let’s talk about what makes a realtor qualified

Get a List of Qualified Realtors and Start Calling

The very first action to take: get a qualified list of realtors in your area. A qualified realtor is one who’s doing 8+ buyer-side transactions a year. Our friend Richard Smith has a service where you pay him $800 for a list of 1000 qualified realtors in your geographical area. If there aren’t 1000, he’ll draw the circle bigger and bigger until you get 1000. It’s worth the money a hundred times over. 

Don’t go after unqualified agents (and 94% of agents are unqualified). They don’t have any referrals to give you. We want the phone to ring as soon as possible, so we’re only going to call those people we know will have business for us. 

Once you have that list in hand, create your Thor’s Hammer list of 30, and sort them into 3 buckets—tilapia, tuna, and whales. (Yes, we have some strange loan officer lingo around here. Just roll with it.) We want 5 tilapia—agents doing 8-11 buyer side closings a year. We want 20 tuna—agents doing 12-24 buyer sides a year. And 5 whales—25 or more buyer sides a year.

When I call these agents up, I have found that the best script we use (the Thor’s Hammer script) is “I think you’re awesome. I’d like to treat you to a cup of coffee, so you can tell me more about how awesome you are.” It’s been tested by thousands of loan officers, and it works. Why does it work? Because everyone’s favorite subject is themselves—and their kids, their vacation, their hobbies. “It ain’t that deep,” Kristen says. People like to talk about themselves. We just do.

So you invite them for coffee and say I’d love to hear more about how you got so successful. If they respond, “I already have a loan officer,” say, “Of course you do. I just want to know more about you and your success and what happened that made you want to be a realtor. I’d love to hear your story.”

A lot of people struggle because they think they have to bring something of value to an agent. I used to struggle with that, and it came down to my sense of self-worth. I had some serious impostor syndrome. Who am I to talk to this successful person? The thing of value you bring is not teaching them how to build their business. We’re calling the ones who are knocking it out of the park. They don’t need my help to be successful. 

This Thor’s Hammer script works. It absolutely works. In my branch, we average 700 loans a month. These scripts aren’t just theories or ideas. I used these scripts to build an empire. This is what we’ve been doing for the past 20 years. We’ve improved it over the years, and it’s really good.

But How Do I Warm Up My List?

One danger I see is that we spend all of our time trying to warm up a list rather than just picking up the phone and making the call. We’ll bend over backwards doing creative avoidance, coming up with a whole list of things we need to do before we pick up the dang phone. So, what are some ways to warm up a list that aren’t creative avoidance? 

Liking them on social media is one way. But don’t go on Facebook and start clicking “like” on all these people. That is a horrible use of your time. You can get a VA to do that for $5/hour. Give them a list of a thousand agents in your area that are closing eight buyer sides or more, and say, “Hey, VA, go add these people as friends.” While they’re doing that, you keep making phone calls. 

You can also run Facebook ads. Upload that list of 1000 agents and start running Facebook ads to those real estate agents. Now these agents are seeing a weekly post from me. I become  a kind of celebrity, because they recognize me from Facebook, and they’re more likely to take my call. The ads work, but not if you’re not going to pick up the phone. I’ve spent over a million dollars of my own personal dollars to advertise on Facebook, but the general public is not the right target. Target those qualified realtors. 

Should you do a happy hour or teach a free class? Sure. After you start making the calls. Just do the thing that needs to happen. It’s all about call reluctance. Whoever makes the most calls and asks for the most business will close the most loans. Period.

I’m Scared They’ll Say No

Are we worried about getting a no? Who cares? You didn’t lose your job. You didn’t get a bad reputation. A “no” doesn’t hurt like you think it will. There are only loans we’re not going to get because we didn’t pick up the phone and try to have a conversation. 

Best case scenario: they say yes to coffee. You hit it off, have a great conversation and you start working together. Let’s say they send you a deal a month. At $2000/closing, that’s $24k/year.

Worst case scenario: they say no. Are you willing to risk a no for the chance at making $24k/year? I sure as heck am.

I used to think a “no” meant they didn’t like me as a person. Now I know it means they already have a loan officer they work with. As simple as that. So now I look for realtors who aren’t quite happy with their loan officers. You’ve heard the phrase “meeters are cheaters.” If a realtor is willing to meet with me, chances are, they’re not happy with their current loan officer.

So, Here’s the Plan:

Do those Thor’s Hammer calls on Monday. Do coffee dates on Tuesdays. Make more calls on Wednesdays, and more coffee dates on Thursdays. The whole idea of Thor’s Hammer is to get what we call our Focus 40. This is 40 agents that are referring to us on an ongoing basis. These agents are all warmed up, and I don’t have to do all of this other stuff anymore, because once I have my 40, I’m kind of done. I’ve got enough. It’s a numbers game. The more we call, the more coffee appointments we go on, the more people we talk to, the quicker we’re going to get to that Focus 40. 

When I do my daily success plan, and I work with the right people, I get referrals, and I go to a closing, and I put money in my pocket, and I think, “Let’s do this again.” Even if I’m scared, that positive reinforcement spurs me forward. It’s magical.

If you’d like some help working through these loan officer scripts, set up a FREE strategy call with me or Kristen or another one of our talented coaches. We’ll meet you where you are and go from there.