Why Cold Calling Doesn’t Work for Most Agents…And What Does Work

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A real estate agent recently commented on one of my YouTube videos, “I am now cold calling five hours a day and not getting any leads. (What am I doing wrong?”

There are so many variables it’s impossible to really answer the question conclusively without a lot more information.

Here are some of the main reasons why “cold calling” does not work for most Realtors:

  1. “Cold calling” is one of the least effective, most painful method of lead generation now compared to in the past, primarily because of lower trust & fewer people answering a home phone.
  2. How you sound. If you sound unconfident or nervous…or over excited people are immediately turned off. The sweet spot is sounding truly interested and friendly, in others words, natural and authentic.
  3. What you are saying. If you are calling to get a listing, they see the call as self-serving. If you are using BS, you are going to get resistance.  Get “yes” without the BS.
  4. It’s also unlikely they’re ready to buy or sell now. If they are, it is even less likely they will tell you. Most people don’t enjoy being solicited, and they’re not as patient and kind as they used to be.

For me there are BETTER APPROACHES than cold-calling such as:

  1. Face to face
  2. FSBOs, Expired Listings, Distressed sellers, Probate, etcetera.
  3. Your own Personal Circle. This one is the best, once you’ve built enough relationships.



Hi there. It’s Kevin. I’m answering a question today that I got from a real estate agent that was watching one of my YouTube videos. This is their question. I think it’s a great question that I want to talk about. “I am now cold-calling five hours a day. Five, five hours a day and not getting any leads.” Then he’s got a big frown face. “What am I doing wrong?”

That’s a great question. “I’m calling five hours a day and not getting any leads. What am I doing wrong?” Well, you’re doing something wrong. The question is, “What is it?” Frankly, with that little information, there’s so many variables that it’s impossible to know exactly what this agent is doing wrong. For example, “I’m calling five hours a day.” Well, how many times are you actually dialing the phone? How many people are you actually talking to? Where are you getting your phone numbers and so forth? There’s a lot of questions that I don’t know the answer to in that.

I want to address what would be the most common things that would be making a cold calling effort like this not get any leads. Another issue could be if you’ve only been doing it for two days. Saying, “I have been cold calling five hours a day for two days, or one, or I’m planning on it,” or something like that, you’re not obviously going to necessarily get results when you’ve tried something only a couple of times.


First, it’s cold calling. That’s the number one problem is cold calling is probably the least effective method of lead generation on the planet today. There’s a lot of people out there still doing it, and it does still work, and so does newspaper advertising, so does bus-bench advertising. It’s just not the best. It’s one of the least effective for a number of reasons. One, because you’re talking to total strangers. Two, because you’re talking to total strangers with no indication that they want to move. Three, you’re talking to them when they probably don’t want to be talking to you.

All of that combined for why we call it cold. Cold just feels uncomfortable to me. I never enjoyed cold calling as an agent because it just felt painful. It’s not the most effective way of lead generation. It is a painful way of lead generation. It’s worse now than it used to be because we live in a society today, in a world today, where: one, people are less trusting than they used to be; two, people don’t answer their phones anymore.

A lot of them don’t even have home phones. If they do have home phones, they’re on a do-not-call list. If you do call them anyway, they’re mad about it. They use their phones to screen their phone calls, or they don’t have a home phone at all. It’s harder to find somebody that actually has a phone, that will actually answer it. When they do answer it, one, if they answer, they’re unlikely that they’re ready to buy or sell right now.

In other words, what are the odds? It’s one in 700 that if you call any one person randomly, talk to them, that they’re planning on listing their home or selling their home and moving this month or in the next two or three months. Just the odds of that are fairly low. If you’re randomly calling people, cold calling, you’ve got to know that the chances are I’m going to only talk to people that could be future business for me, not immediate business for me right now.

They don’t know you. Because it’s cold, they’re less likely to talk to you. Frankly, people aren’t as kind today in the world as they used to be. What I mean by that is used to people had a respect for salespeople and they would hear you out to decide if it was something they were interested in or not, to see if you were kind or not. There would be more courtesy than I think there is in general today. People are more likely just to hang up on you and not have a conversation. People aren’t patient. They’re busy. All of that. That’s one of the issues.


Second big problem could be how you sound. Here’s what people are listening for. When you call and they answer, the first words out of your mouth are very critical. If you sound like you’re not certain, or not confident, or not having a great time, if you sound like you’re nervous, or apologetic, then people are turned off by that. If you go to the other extreme and you sound too excited and, “How are you today,” and, “We’ve got a great,” if you’re overly excited, that turns them off.

How you want to sound is a couple of things. One, you want to sound friendly and you want to sound interested in them. That’s the perfect mix. If you can sound totally friendly and totally interested them, which in a sense means be yourself, be totally natural, but excited, but it’s got to be a real excitement. Because if it’s a fake excitement, people can tell. It turns them off. It can be how you’re sounding.


The third thing, it could be what you’re saying. If it comes across as a sales pitch, as a you’re soliciting business, “Do you want to move,” it’s hard to say the right thing.

Here’s my suggestions and what I recommend that you do. One, get off the phone, if you’re just doing cold calling, and get out and talk to people. If you’re going to talk to random people that you’ve never seen before and don’t know, you’re going to be way more effective when you’re actually talking to them face-to-face at their door than you’re going to be on the telephone.

Having said that, even random door knocking is going to be hard. By that, I mean it’s going to be a low return-on-investment activity. If you’re doing it consistently and you’re out the door-knocking two or three hours a day every single day, you’re going to get business. As you get better, you’re going to get more business, but mostly you’re going to get better, more connections.

The key here is building relationships. If you’re going to approach your business, building it by talking to people you do not know, you have to have a long-game approach, not a short-game approach. The short-game approach is, “I need a listing today. Do you want to sell today? No? Then I don’t want to talk to you.” That would be a short-game approach. A long-game approach is, “Do you have any plans to move?” “Nope, we don’t have any plans to move.” “Great, how long have you lived here,” and now I just strike up a conversation.

In The Book of YES, which is my book of scripts called The Book of YES, you can buy a copy of it on Amazon or you can go to my website, Yesmasters.com. And, you can download some of the key scripts for free, including some of these prospecting scripts. One is what I call, “The Hot Market Script,” which if you’re door-knocking and you don’t have any other reason to knock on their door, it is a much better approach than a lot of the cold call or cold door-knocking approaches.

My favorite random door-knocking approach is open house event invites, which means you’re having an open house event with a seller. You’re inviting people to come to the open house. That script you can get as a free download on my Book of YES scripts, on my website, or you can go and get the entire book on Amazon, The Book of YES by Kevin Ward.

I believe the best approaches for generating business today is talking to people. If they’re people you don’t know, focus on finding people who have indicated a need or a desire to sell their house. I’m huge on for-sale-by-owners and expireds, even in markets where there’s not a lot of them today. In a lot of markets, they’re high-seller markets, low inventory.

There’s not a lot of for-sale-by-owners and expireds, but when you do find one, they’re awesome. They’re a high probability. Expireds, 50% of them are going to relist with a different agent within 30 days. For-sale-by-owners, high probability that they are eventually going to hire an agent if they’re actually going to sell, if they’re motivated.

I love for-sale-by-owners and expireds. Probate listings. Distressed sellers. If they’re behind on payments, notice of defaults, divorce situations, and so forth, it’s just a matter of finding the relationships or the subscription services that can help you find those people. Then you’ve got to be intense and proactive about going out there, talking to them, and so forth.

The way you’re going to get results with them is mastery. You’ve got to be good. You’ve got to be good at what to say, how to say it, how you show up. I’ve got an entire training called FX Extreme Training for how to work with for-sale-by-owners and expireds. You can check it out on my website, FX Extreme, yesmasters.com/fxextreme. This is not a sales pitch. It’s just saying if you’re going to be great with any of this, you’ve got to get a strategy, and you’ve got to get skills, and an approach that actually works. My approach works. Get face-to-face. Number one.


Number four: get in front of people who have indicated a need or a desire to buy or sell a house. Now, there’s a lot of other ways you can do it. Open-house events are great. You’re going to get people in there that way. If you’re doing Facebook marketing, and social media marketing, and online marketing, really is effective at generating prospects.

The key with that is now the skill of converting them into a lead, and converting that lead into an appointment, and having the ability to nurture that relationship, nurture that person until they are ready and motivated to do something. A lot of agents spend way too much time trying to find somebody that’s thinking about, “Maybe we’re going to do something someday,” and then you spend the next six months trying to convince them that they should move now.

All you do is you turn them off and make them not want to talk to you anymore because you’re trying to push them to do something they’re not ready to do yet for your own benefit. When you’re trying to do something for your benefit, people can tell. You just want a listing. You’re just trying to get a sale. Leave them alone. Build a relationship with them until they are ready.

How do you build a relationship with them? You need a system. That’s why I train and coach is I teach agents how to do all of this. The Book of YES is going to have a lot of it in a nutshell. If you want more in-depth training, come to one of my events, get in my coaching, or sign up for one of my online courses, or all of my online courses, because they cover a lot of those different areas.

Here is the big magic. Okay? The big magic is this: relationships. That’s where the business is. The future of real estate is going to be in the relationships as trust is at the lowest point it’s ever been in our society. When people don’t know you, they’re skeptical. It takes a long time to bridge that trust gap. When you have a relationship, the business that you can get from them, the referral business, building that network, all of that is very, very powerful.

A lot of agents are like, “I’m new. I don’t want to talk to my friends or talk to people I know because I’m new and nervous.” You’ve got to get over that. You’ve got to figure that out and go like, “Okay, I’ve got to get them on my side and say, “Look, I need your help.” You’ve got to develop the skills and the mastery so that you’re not afraid to ask them for business.

You can do that fast, it’s just that most agents don’t know how to do it. Most agents come in, they’re amateurs, they’re not trained, they don’t know what’s going on. That’s why I have a coaching company is to help agents get that that don’t know what to do, and don’t know how to do it, is to get you ready fast to do it. You can watch my YouTube videos and just watch all the free content, and study that stuff, and then get out there and start taking action, and start talking to people.

Don’t be afraid of the mistakes you’re going to make. That’s how you learn. That’s how you get great. But when you show up authentically, face-to-face is going to be way better, look for people that actually have a need or expressed that to buy or sell now, and then be helpful. But understand sometimes you’ve got to build the relationship, what I call your personal circle, until they are ready to do something, and then you’re going to get a result.

If you’re going to be successful in real estate today, I believe it requires a long-game approach, and it requires an approach that is client-centered, which means I’m here to help you when you’re ready. If you’re not ready, I’m okay with that because I’m building relationships. You’ve got to go out there and build enough relationships fast enough that you can make money to stay in business. That’s one of the reasons I’m really big on for-sale-by-owners and expired’s, and getting in front of those people that have expressed a need or desire to sell their house, because that’s your immediate business.

Open-house events, a great way to get in front of people that are looking to buy or sell right now. When you do an open-house event, if you knock all the doors around that open house, like 100 or 200 doors, and you invite them all, and you say, “By-the-way, when do you think you might be looking to make a move,” you’re going to get some great connections on that.

Again, all of that is in The Book of YES. I’m just giving some answers to this guy’s question of, “I’m cold calling. I’m not getting any leads. What am I doing wrong?” There’s a better approach to do it for sure. Don’t give up. Keep going. Keep working toward mastery. You can always expect ”Yes.” If you like the video, give it a thumbs-up, share it with other agents that you know need it, and make sure you subscribe to the channel for more great training videos right here.

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