Would you rather annoy 30,000 or impress 300?

Education & Training with Sell with Soul


If you hang out here much, you know how I feel about the traditional numbers game of prospecting, specifically cold-calling.


A business model based on being rejected far more often than you're welcomed and calling it a game?


I don't think anyone who cold-calls imagines that his or her calls are welcomed by the majority of the voices on the other end of those telephone lines. When you commit to a cold-calling business-building strategy, you have to acknowledge that you will annoy a lot of people. But that's okay, they say, because the end justifies the means. It's okay to annoy a lot of people as long as you end up with a little business for yourself when the day is done.

So, I'm thinking.

What if, instead of striving to annoy cold-call 100 people a day, you strive to impress one person a day?

At the end of the year, the cold-caller will have annoyed more than 30,000 people... but you will have impressed more than 300.

Who do you think is a better source of future business for you? Thousands of annoyed people? Or hundreds of impressed people?


Does the End Justify the Means?
Impressing versus Touching
Real Estate is Not a Numbers Game

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Rich Gaasenbeek 09/22/2010 03:59 AM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Selling Soulfully
Coaching-Personal Development
The Ninety-ninth Percentile
Real Estate Professionals
numbers game
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Ann Wilkins
Golden Gate Sotheby's International Realty - Oakland, CA
Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA

The new technology has really impacted phone sales - even in the high end corporate sales. Voice mail and caller ID on home phones has stopped the efficiency (if there ever was any) as most people I know and myself included, don't answer the phone if we don't recognize the number.  Some people won't take private number calls - they just don't go through.  Also, customer relationship mgt (CRM) software has made it easier for telemarketers to cold call so people end up with more sales calls on their voice mail which dilutes the message.  I can't imagine cold calling people for real estate - calling sphere of influence - yes - but not cold calling strangers.

Sep 22, 2010 07:30 AM #81
Keith Lutz
Keller Williams Metropolitan - Long Valley, NJ

I would think knocking on doors is a good start to a RE career.  But calling 100 people, well I guess if you can stomach it then more power to ya!

I like the "Selling with Soul" Philosphy.  Plus with Social Media, are we not heading that way?

Sep 22, 2010 07:41 AM #82
Jenny Durling
L.A. Property Solutions - Los Angeles, CA
For Los Angeles real estate help 213-215-4758

I would defnitely agree with you that it's best to impress.  I'm not a fan of the concept of cold calling.  I don't like people calling me that way so why would I want to do it to other people?

Sep 22, 2010 08:10 AM #83
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Basically we are trying to improve the quality of our contacts.  That is why I blog, people I contact have initiated with me first.

Sep 22, 2010 09:22 AM #84
Jayson Holland
Listings.com - Denver, CO
Jay Holland

I think that cold calling, door knocking, and open houses are a great way to prospect and to meet new people that you wouldn't be able to meet otherwise. If you are new to the area or new to the business it is crucial. However, once you have a solid client base or "sphere" built up you should market directly to them and only them. They should be able to provide you with enough referral and repeat business that you can handle. They are the highest and best use of your self-marketing and prospecting dollars and will yeild the highest return and the best results. 


Sep 22, 2010 09:47 AM #85
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans

Jennifer.... late to the party, but it makes total sense.  I know a few that tell me to be careful on what I write and or how I respond to blog post comments.. mine or others... their fear is that I might tick some off and they wouldn't want to talk to me or use our services. But as you pointed out, my goal is to gain more than I would lose, out of knowledge & respect for what I say... and non of that fluff crap. I want to deal with quality, not quanity.  thanks

jeff belonger

Sep 22, 2010 09:50 AM #86
Danny Batsalkin
Keller Williams Realty - Beverly Hills - Beverly Hills, CA
Los Angeles Real Estate | 310.432.5706


There are three issues here. 

First, there is a mindset issue with stating that cold calling is "annoying" people.  For example, I call many people daily and my mindset is that I'm looking for people to help.  I have a great service to provide and every day I am looking for people that need my service. 

Second, you are saying that you want to impress one person daily.  That's great and all but you need to talk to a lot of people to find someone to impress.   Newer real estate agents cannot rely on repeat and referral business if they want to succeed.  They first need to build their database in order to make that happen.

Lastly, this all depends upon your goals.  Of course, if your goal is 6 or 12 transactions annually, you probably don't need to talk to a lot of people.  If your goal is 100 transactions, you're not going to get there (at least not right away) without talking to a lot of people daily.

Thanks for the post.



Sep 22, 2010 09:52 AM #87
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Jennifer - My first 18 months in the business, cold calling current homeowners for refis and Realtors for buyer leads was absolutely pounded into me by my broker and I wasted 18 months of my career doing exactly that.  Yes I got some leads, clients and sales but it was a horrible experience and I simply wasn't going to do it anymore.

I started doing first time buyer seminars with the local area housing agency and targeting renters in high-end apartment complexes.  I then discovered by prospecting buyers directly, I did so much better and my lead generation and sales production increased at a much higher rate than it did that first 18 months.  

I've been working that particular business model (prospecting and marketing to buyers) ever since.  Nearly 60% of my business are referrals from my SOI so my prospects are calling me.  I do not cold call current homeowners for refis nor do I cold call Realtors for buyer lead, quite the contrary.  My leads and prospects are now calling me. 

This is just my experience of not cold calling and while others may have success, I choose to not annoy 30,000 people but just try and impress the people I do work with because they are going to be my greatest source of business.  JMHO

Sep 22, 2010 12:48 PM #88
Nicole Fleming
FC Tucker Emge - Henderson, KY

Great post.  I hate the cold callers and I don't like to be that person.  I don't much like talking on the phone a whole lot and I'm scared to death of the do-not-call list, too!

Sep 22, 2010 03:49 PM #89
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Interesting to see the varied responses to your post.

I do think it is partially a numbers game - because you need to make an impression on a lot of people, and just keep on building that list of people who think of you favorably. That's simply because only a small percentage of the people you'll talk to in a given week are going to be in the market to buy or sell a home.

That said, it's best not to make an impression by annoying people!

For those who can pick up the phone and cold call with the positive attitude of "Seeing who I can help today" it could be a good thing. But if you're like me, thinking that you're about to bother someone, then it's not a good idea.


Sep 22, 2010 07:51 PM #90
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Threre's another powerful behavioral element to these approaches:

It is a widely accepted metric that people will generally tell 10 other people about negative experiences, but only tell 1 other person about good experiences.

So the mathematical impact of these actions either goes 10 fold against you (Now 300,000!!!!) or it doubles your positive impressions (now 600).


Leverage is a powerful thing.

Sep 23, 2010 01:08 AM #91
Karen Bernetti
Southington, CT

I absolutley love when traditional beliefs - THAT MAKE NO SENSE are challenged.  This is such an old and common business practice that I NEVER understood.  Thank you!! 

Sep 23, 2010 01:54 AM #92
David Karp
Peachtree Realty Group, LLC - Woodstock, GA
Woodstock, Marietta GA Real Estate

Jennifer, It is a great post. Pay it forward is the way to go!

Sep 23, 2010 09:33 AM #93
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

I'm wondering when cold calling someone in a targeted market with a valuable service or information you have to offer is defined as annoying? Whether it's a direct marketing mailer, face to face or phone call, is it really annoying or only if you use the phone? Doesn't it depend on who and where your target market is located as to what type of marketing plan you should employ or shouldn't you simply never use the phone?

Sep 23, 2010 10:15 AM #94
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Thanks for all the comments, both pro and con! For those who don't agree that cold-calling is annoying, I certainly respect your opinion on the matter, although I disagree with it. When you say that you're providing value to your audience with your call, I just don't get that. Where's the value? Not the value to YOU, but to the person who was just disrupted by your unsolicited phone call (or door-knock)? The chances are very slim that the person is interested in talking real estate, especially at that moment in time when they're doing something else, so in the vast majority of cases, your call is not welcome (unless the person is really lonely).

If a person wants to learn about real estate services, they'll likely know where to go, at a time that is convenient for THEM, as opposed to sitting by the phone waiting for some stranger to call them with a sales pitch.

Just yesterday, a friend of mine got a luke-warm call from an agent he'd worked with ten years ago. The agent told my friend he was just updating his records, and then launched into a pitch about some properties he had listed. My friend wasn't remotely interested, and he had to be somewhere, but he felt he had to politely endure the pitch. When the pitch was over, my friend, again, politely said good-bye, rolled his eyes, and continued with his day. Was this agent aware of my friend's annoyance with him? Or did he get off the phone, pleased with himself because he thought he just provided "value" to my friend?

Sep 24, 2010 12:31 AM #95
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

You give much to think about,But even more than thinking about it we all should heed your words and work to upgrade the image the public has of those in the RE profession. Thank you for this post

Sep 24, 2010 04:04 AM #96
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services
AMEN JENNIFER!!! That says it all!
Sep 24, 2010 04:20 AM #97
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Jennifer: Quality over quantity any day and I think 100 rejections a day might damafe ny ego!


Sep 24, 2010 08:33 AM #98
Coleen DeGroff
eXp Realty - Gainesville, FL
Haile Plantation Real Estate - Gainesville FL

Jennifer - If cold-calling works for people, then they should work that as a strategy for their business.  I admire the grit, tenacity, and incredible amounts of self-esteem it must take to do this! 


I am NOT one of those people and have always felt incredibly bad about it.  Reaching out to people I know via facebook, phone, and face to face are my methods for keeping in touch....it keeps me at the front of their mind, and, more than that, gives me the warm fuzzies spending the time connecting with them! :)

Sep 25, 2010 04:19 PM #99
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Makes sense to me. One good contact a day would be fantastic!

Oct 19, 2010 05:04 PM #100
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