Is there a right and wrong way to prospect in your quest for new business? How do you convert your leads into qualified prospects? In commercial real estate, we are seeing more and more NO SOLICITATION signs everywhere and receptionists are trained to screen you when you call or drop by their office to speak with the decision-maker. While traditional cold calling has become more challenging, does this mean it no longer works? Avoid these five common mistakes:

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1. Talking yourself out of the call.

It is easy to find excuses to NOT call someone. Maybe they are busy. Maybe they already work with someone. Maybe I will sound desperate. And the list goes on. This is negative self-talk, which will give you zero success if you want to get in the door. Instead, set a goal of number of calls per day or per week and stick to that number. Be disciplined. Understand that if you have something worthwhile to share, it will come across.

2. Not having a plan.

Most people will avoid prospecting because of how many times they hear the word no. Remember, any response is better than no response. The more Nos you hear, the closer you are to that Yes. Track how many dials you make per day, week or month. Follow their timeline for appropriate follow up. Being organized and detailed this way will yield results. If you work in commercial real estate and walk office towers, the same rule applies. Sometimes face to face is easier and more natural.

3. Not staying in touch.

Expecting to get instant results is unrealistic. Relationships need time. Trust needs to be built through regular contact. Understand your industry’s sales cycle. Is it three to six months or six to 12 months? Whatever it is, understand that persistence is what will push you to the next step closer to closing the deal. Stay in touch with people. Educate them about what you do. Get curious about their background and passion for what they do. Have real conversations.

4. Avoiding the phone.

Social media and emailing are great ways to keep in touch with people. However, you cannot hide behind these tools and avoid using the phone. Human connection is about live contact. Set your intention and make regular calls. You will get better at it over time. So what if you are not pleasing everyone at every moment. This is part of cold calling. The goal is to turn as many cold calls into warm ones. The same thing applies to door knocking in a particular geographical territory.

5. Not following up.

It’s amazing how so many sales reps and business professionals work hard to get Bob or Jane on the line. Yet when it comes time to follow up in three months, the communication went dead. Track your efforts. Track when you will follow up. So simple. Ask for the business and close the deal.

You do not have to be one of those sales reps who has a bad name for being too pushy. You are doing your job. It takes guts to pick up the phone and get rejected over and over again until someone says yes. Keep going. Don’t quit. Believe in your message. Replace the word “pushy” with “persistence.” Change your mindset. Maybe even enjoy the process. Stop hiding behind emails and start having real conversations. Learn from each call.


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