How to get more listings and higher fees

Star agent Glen Coutinho shares his winning telephone strategy and explains why it leads to more listings and higher fees.

Glen Coutinho

You're guaranteed to succeed in real estate if you make 30 calls per day, every day, without fail.

Why? Simple: it leads to more listings and higher fees.

The 30 people I speak to each day are ex-vendors, former buyers and people I’ve met at inspections. I might ask them whether they know anyone who's looking to sell or even whether they’re still enjoying that house I sold to them years ago. I also like to call bankers, lawyers and accountants to ask if they mightn’t have any business for me.

The reason I’m so proactive is because I believe that if somebody chooses you to sell their most precious asset, you probably need to talk to them a dozen times over a couple of years to get the job without competition. I find that if you speak to somebody that many times, you rarely have to compete for their business.

Of course, that means you don’t have to negotiate on fees because no other agents get called in. That’s better than waiting around for vendors to contact you, because then they’ll get three quotes and, before you know it, the talk about discounting starts.

I’ve been making my 30 calls per day for 30 years now. I actually got the idea from James Tostevin, who’s finished first in the Top 100 Agents ranking for three consecutive years. We started our careers together and he was the one who explained to me how successful this strategy would be.

If I’m being honest, I must admit I don’t make 30 calls literally every day. There are occasional days when I’m too busy or too tired for 30 calls. But I always atone for my sins. My mindset is that if I don’t do 30 on Monday, then it’s 60 on Tuesday. So, in the end, it works out to 30 calls each and every day.

When I say 30 calls, I mean actually connecting to 30 people. Speaking to an answering machine is cheating. I probably have to make 45-50 calls to hit my quota.

I find the best time to phone people is between 10am and midday, because people are often up for a chat before lunch. I never do it after 5pm because I think that’s intruding on people’s family time. Also, I don’t like to do it after 3pm because a lot of people are busy picking up their kids from school.

If you’re focused, you can get 30 call-connects done in 90 minutes. I like to do my phone work from a cafe. It’s more relaxing. I like the vibe I get from sitting outside and watching people walk past. It’s much more stimulating than being cooped up in the office.

When I speak to consumers, I always ask for their business. There’s no point ringing otherwise. But I do it subtly. I might ask if they’re happy where they are or if they have plans to move. Or I might ask if they’re thinking about getting an investment property. Normally, once you start chatting, they spill the beans pretty quickly.

I don’t use a script, because I find natural conversation works best. That’s especially true with people I’ve done business with. If they’ve bought a house off me, I would’ve given them flowers on the day they signed the deal, I would’ve given them a bottle of wine when they moved in, I’d know their kids’ names and they’d get a Christmas card from me every year. So if we’ve developed that rapport over a period of time, why wouldn’t they want to hear from me?

Succeeding in real estate can sometimes be complicated, but it can often be very simple as well. Making 30 calls each and every day over a long period of time is very simple – and it’s something that will work for every agent, no matter what market they work in or how long they’ve been in the game.

You’re guaranteed to succeed in real estate if you make 30 calls per day, every day, without fail. 

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