6 Lessons I Learned From Cold-Calling So Far

Don’t call someone sexy.


Kevin Shan

2 years ago | 5 min read

It’s been a little more than a week since our auction launched. I’ve been slowly getting more comfortable with calling and talking to people as I continuously do it.

I was pretty atrocious in the beginning. I still am right now, but things are slowly getting better.

Here’s what I learned so far.

You’re Talking To Humans. They Were Once Failures Too

The hardest thing for me has been actually picking up the phone and dialing various people’s numbers.

It’s particularly difficult when I’m trying to dial real estate agents’ numbers, especially those who are very successful.

I often walk around for 20–30 minutes, thinking about how to make my script perfect. Then I dial and get no answer.

That’s the reason I have been super slow. I should be calling 10–20 agents every day, but I’m only getting to five or six at most.

I’ve just been so hesitant about calling anyone. And it’s driven by a fear of messing up or being called out.

What has been helping me push forward is thinking that all successful people were terrible at what they did until they became good.

I suck at calling people. But if I keep doing it, eventually I’ll become good.

So yeah, that might mean me hilariously failing a thousand times. But eventually, I’ll have built the skills to do very well.

Take It Slow

“Hi, this is Kevin. I’m working with Roopali Rajpal of the Sutton Group Realty Systems. We’re auctioning a 7,000 sqft lakefront condo. Would you be interested?”

“Wait, wait, wait. Who are you?”

I talk fast. And it’s not helping me when I am a complete stranger talking to someone random on the phone.

When I think about my personal experiences being cold-called, I realized that it was super hard for me to keep up when the other person talked fast.

It’s already difficult for me to hear someone super clearly through the phone. When I cannot see the person talk, it’s much more challenging to understand someone solely using your hearing ability.

I can only imagine how difficult it is for people 20 years older than me to really understand what I’m saying.

When you’re cold-calling people, you often don’t know what they’re doing, and they aren’t expecting you to call them. Chances are, they have their mind on something else.

If you suddenly call them and try to have a conversation, you need to give them time to shift their mind onto your discussion.

Take it slow and be clear.

Don’t Fill All The Silences

One mistake I made was trying to answer immediately and fill up all silences during my calls.

When I’m constantly blabbering on about something, people get confused.

And even worse, if I’m constantly trying to come up with things to say, I start saying things that I didn’t intend to tell the person I’m calling, and it often kills my entire conversation.

A few times, I basically told the other person that I was using them to get buyers for my property. I could hear it in their voice that they were telling me, “Fuck you.”

After realizing what I’ve done, I try to recover by giving them the benefits of working with me. It’s already too late by that time.

Let the silences stay, and let the people you call be the ones to ask questions. That will start engaging them and allow them to open up and really hear what you have to say.

Find A Way To Build Rapport

Before I call anyone, I try to research them a little to find common ground when I call them.

I try to find the things that would maybe get the other person on the line talking. It’s usually something that they’re proud of or are trying to sell to other people.

I had a really good call today.

When I called at first, the agent was all confused and tried to get out of the conversation. She kept asking who I was and why I was calling. I took it slow and told her about the auction in which she immediately rejected.

Then I asked her about the app that she built.

Suddenly, we had a conversation. She began talking all about the app she built and where they were going with it.

And after about 20 minutes, the conversation was much more open. The agent listened to what I had to say about the auction, and we had a good talk about the property’s value and what she thought of it.

Don’t Bait And Switch

My worst phone calls were when I asked about an agent’s listing and then talked about my auction.

When I call people saying, “Hey, I saw your listing at X,” they think I’m a potential buyer. Then I proceed to tell them about the auction, and they feel betrayed.

They were excited at first because they thought they would get their listing sold, and then the switch is destructive when they learn that I have no intention of buying their property.

Of course, they don’t want to help me. They got excited about nothing, and that feels terrible.

Other times, it’s subtle. I might call someone and ask them what they thought of the property. They then ask the question, “Are you looking to buy this property or sell it?”

Of course, I need to tell them the truth, or it’s going to bite my back later. So I tell them that I’m helping to auction the property, and we already have a listing agent.

And then they don’t want to talk to me anymore.

Think Of Things From Their Perspective

Thinking about how you would feel if you got cold-called is the first step. But not everybody is the same as you.

If someone randomly called me and the first thing they told me was that I was hot, I would for sure continue the conversation whether a male or female told me that.

I feel great being called handsome by someone I don’t know at all. But many people don’t, and I learned that the hard way.

I always do a little research on the agents I’m about to call.

There was one real estate agent who looked great from her Instagram photos. So I called her and asked, “Has anyone ever told you to become a model?”

Not the best move.

I realize in this day and age, if I were a female and a male stranger called me and told me that I was attractive, I would be a little creeped out.

I have no idea who the person calling me is or looks like. They could be some creepy stalker.

So lesson learned. I’ll be more considerate next time.

Keep Going And Look At All Experiences As Objective Learnings

Failing doesn’t feel good. But it is necessary to improve and become better.

I suck at cold-calling. But I’ll keep practicing and eventually get good. The only way to improve is to practice and analyze your ups and downs.


Created by

Kevin Shan

Project Manager at Concierge Auctions who sells multi-million dollar luxury real estate all over the world at auction.







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