Cold calling or making small talk with people that you don’t know and have never spoken to before can be very challenging and put a lot of people completely out of their comfort zone. This can result in completing and utterly stuffing it up. However, for real estate agents, it is imperative that you become the master of small talk and cold calling.
When I was an agent, I came across a strategy called the FORD Theory, which is a great technique that helps you build rapport very quickly through conversation. It’s based upon the simple strategies that Dale Carnegie introduced with “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, which is of course ‘make it about them’.
How do you make it about them?
To put it simply you ask them questions. However, you don’t just ask questions, you need to also listen to their answers, take notes, and then comment on their answers. Before you know it, you’ll be deep in conversation. People love talking about themselves and if you’ve got them talking about themselves and talking to you, you’re building rapport at a very deep level. The FORD Theory affords you the easiest way to get this type of conversation started.
What is the FORD theory?
F is for Family
The first topic you want to be talking about is family. If you’ve met the person before and already know a little about them, you can ask “How is your family?”, or “How are the children?” If you have never met the person before, you can ask more general questions such as, “Do you have any brothers or sisters?”, or “Are you married?” It is important to remember the names of their family, and if you ask questions, people will go into more detail and start to really respond to you.
O is for Occupation
To start a work-related conversation, you could ask questions that include “What do you do for a living?”, or “how do you like your job?”. You can also ask how long they’ve been in that job, what they like most about it, or how they ended up in that line of work.
R is for Recreation
Recreation is anything that others do in their pastime. You can ask people what they like to do for fun and what they enjoy doing in their free time. If you also enjoy some similar activities, it then becomes very easy to make a genuine connection. Not only are you asking questions, listening, and asking further questions, you’re also connecting with common ground.
D is for Dreams
This is where you can begin to connect on a deeper level. You can ask questions like “What have you always wanted to do?”, or “If you could travel anywhere, where would you visit?”. You can really get creative with these types of questions.
While the FORD Theory is great at learning about others and having easy conversations, at some point, it is important to bring it back to real estate and what it is that you do.
For this, I created the LACR Effect.
What is the LACR Effect?
L is for Listing
This is where you bring it back to real estate and ask the question, “I know it’s a long shot, but have you given any thought to moving in the near future?” Now, in most cases, 98% of the time, they are going to say, “No we are actually quite happy where we are”. Which leads us to our next point.
A is for Appraisal
This is the perfect time to start creating a potential future client by offering to give them an update on their property and find out what it is worth in the current market. It is also a great time to use the Law of Reciprocity by offering this as a free service with no obligation.
“When last did you get an update? This is a free service we provide, so you may as well take advantage of it”.
It’s as simple as that.
C is for Contact
If they say they are not interested in an appraisal, you counter with, “Do you mind if I stay in contact with you for hopefully one-day serving your real estate needs?” If they then say “No, not interested in staying in contact”, you then move onto the next step, which is…
R is for Referral
You counter with, “That’s fine. Would you be interested in earning $1,000 for doing just about nothing?” This will pique their interest enough to ask how they can do that. This is when you offer the referral, “Well if you refer a friend, family, person at work, anyone who ultimately sells with us, we’ll give you $1,000 by way of vouchers when it settles”
Using the FORD Theory and the LACR Effect, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t be building tremendous relationships with anyone and everyone that you meet while also getting what you want, which is an opportunity to create a customer for life. Be it at the coffee shop, the movies, a school function, a barbecue, a home open, or where ever you may be, it’s imperative that you talk to people. These are powerful strategies to help you build very quick, deep, and meaningful relationships.
For more great strategies such as these ones, make sure you register for the FREE 1-day Real Estate Intensive seminar with Ryan Thompson where I cover topics on rapport building, creating an attraction-based business, and getting repeat and referral business.