Prospecting - If it Feels Wrong, DON'T Do it! (The Go-Giver Chronicles continue)

Education & Training with Sell with Soul


Quoted with permission from Go-Givers Sell More by Bob Burg and John David Mann:

"You may have been taught that to be successful in sales, you need to "step outside of your comfort zone." Let's reexamine that idea. If you push yourself to a place that makes you uncomfortable, chances are pretty good you'll end up making the other person uncomfortable, too. Consciously or not, they'll sense your discomfort - and attitudes are contageous.

We human beings tend to resist discomfort; in fact, we'll typically do anything to avoid putting outselves in uncomfortable situations. Why base your entire career on something your strongest instincts tell you to avoid?"

One fine day last spring, I got a phone call from a real estate agent whose name didn't ring a bell.

This agent whose name didn't ring a bell small-talked with me for a few minutes, while I racked my brain to figure out if he was someone I should remember.

Well, when the small-talking was done, he asked me if I knew anyone moving to his town that I could refer to him. Ahhhhhh, sez Jennifer, Now I get it. He's prospecting. Well, I know it's hard to believe, but I didn't happen to know anyone moving to his area, so I told him he could send me an email with his contact information and I'd be glad to let him know if that situation changes. He bade me farewell and hung up. And I never heard from him.

I thought it was pretty funny, not to mention an abysmal waste of his time - cold-calling someone and asking for referrals - and then not even following up?? Interesting strategy.

But over the next month, I got more such calls from agents around the country. Agents whose names I DID recognize; agents who were followers of my philosophy which specifically advises against any form of referral-begging. All asking me if I knew anyone moving to their area.

Now I was confused. What was inspiring this flurry of referral-begging activity?

I gently tried to dissuade the callers from making more such calls to their spheres of influence, but they all seemed determined and even enthusiastic about it.

Well, okay. To each his or her own. Far be it from me to talk someone out of a prospecting technique they're excited about.

It finally dawned on me that these calls must be part of a corporate training program. My assumption was correct - there was a program making the rounds where participants were instructed to call 100 people per day (or maybe it was per week) and ask for referrals.

Whatever. I think it's a ridiculous strategy to abuse friendships with any sort of referral-begging, but apparently I'm in the minority there, at least in the world of real estate training. I'll just say that I don't like it when it's done to me, so it's a given that I will never do it to anyone else.

But the epilogue to this story is that I heard from one of the agents again the other day. Was she calling to hit me up again for referrals to her area? Nope. She was calling to apologize for doing it the first time. That she'd felt sick to her stomach doing it, not only to me, but to the other dozens of friends and acquaintances she subjected her pitch to. She is concerned that she'd actually damaged her friendships and was asking for advice on how to repair that damage.

My friends, if it feels wrong DON'T DO IT. IGNORE the well-intentioned (?) coaches and trainers and brokers who say you have to venture out of your comfort zone in order to succeed. Because there's a difference between overcoming a fear of something new, and doing something you feel is wrong. A BIG difference.

And you know what? You can tell the difference if you'll only pay attention to that little voice inside of you. It knows what it's talking about!

Stay IN Your Comfort Zone!
Work with What You Have - You're Wonderful Just the Way You Are!
Be Yourself, Have More Fun, Sell More Real Estate



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Real Estate Sales and Marketing
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More Referrals: Strategies & Tips on Getting More Referrals
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Comments 54 New Comment

Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605

I was just thinking....yes I can do that sometimes :-)  The thought was that it might be a good thing to go back to the good old days when there was no such thing as unlimited calls.  At $0.25 a phone call - this...ahem....method would cost $1300 a year.  That might slow some people down....hopefully....

September 08, 2010 01:14 AM
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Personal Service, always.
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC

As long as your friends know you are a real estate professional, there is no need for asking for referrals. And cold calling? I hate it and I don't do it and furthermore, don't call me!

September 08, 2010 07:33 AM
Kim Boekholder **Results Real Estate**
Broker, Selling Salt Lake Homes
Results Real Estate 801.580.5624


I wish I was able to join your class coming up.  I love your post and your styel.  I get told to "cold call" for referrals all the time, and I've never been able to do it.  Its not my style.  Thank you always for the advice and your knowledge

September 12, 2010 10:20 AM
Ann Allen Hoover
CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL
RE/MAX Advantage South

Hmm, I recognize this training program and it's not for me.  Ick!

September 13, 2010 04:30 PM
Kerry Carloy
Keller Williams Realty Coppell Market
It's so important that we be able to conduct all of our interpersonal activities with sincerity, to be able to feel comfortable looking that person we're engaging in the eye because we have a good solid motive in monopolizing these precious minutes of his or her life, to feel like I'm initiating a "win-win" dialog, not just trying to line my own pocket.
August 15, 2011 08:36 PM

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

Author of Sell with Soul
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