How to Sell Less and Close More—Interview with Dale Archdekin

Lead Conversion
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When Dale Archdekin was sixteen, he never imagined his part-time gig selling credit card insurance would one day lead him to create a market-leading real estate training company with clients who collectively produce close to $1 billion in sales.

“It was totally dead-end for me. Right? I was just a high school kid not serious about anything and didn’t realize that somehow, so many years in the future, I would call upon that experience to be able to get myself into the real estate industry."

Despite having no network, database or SOI to speak of, Dale hit the ground running and became one of the top expired and FSBO agents in his area.

Fast forward a few years and Dale was approached by another agent who wanted him to become his “super ninja assassin on the phones”, converting the leads his other agents were ignoring. But by that time, Dale was completely burnt out. He agreed to help, but only if he could do it by teaching others what he'd learned from years of hitting the phones.

“We grew [a business of] five agents and 100 transactions to 30 agents and 650 transactions,” by simply building out an unstoppable inside sales team.

Lucky for us, Dale now spends his time teaching everything he's learned to other team leaders. He sat down with us to peel back the curtain and share some of the exact tactics he uses to build 9-figure real estate businesses.

Not much of a reader? Listen to the full interview here.

Table of contents

  • Set Up Your Sales Assembly Line
  • How to Organize New Leads in 4 Simple Steps
  • Why Scripts Don’t Work
  • Dale's foolproof Objection-Handling Strategy
  • Teach Your Team to Stop Selling

Set Up Your Sales Assembly Line

Despite Dale's love for coaching, he still enjoys getting down into the trenches with his clients.

With all the economic and tech shake ups reshaping the real estate industry, he likes to see firsthand what the impact is for high performing teams. According to Dale, no matter what's happening in your market, there are two fundamental areas of focus when transforming your business. 

  1. Sales Skills - scripting, language, dialogue, techniques for entering a conversation, objection handling, setting up logical closes, how to articulate your value propositions, etc.
  1. Leadership Skills - how to train agents, salespeople, and ISAs to improve their own processes, find great people and learn to be a better leader for them

Blend them perfectly and watch the magic happen. Of course, it's easier said than done.

That's why Dale starts every coaching journey with the same set of questions:

  • Do you have a sales assembly line set up? 
  • Does everyone know what to do on the line? 
  • Are they actually doing it?

Often the answer is… “Uhhh, part of this.” 

Many real estate team leaders get comfortable in their own shoes and forget to set up a rock-solid sales process for their agents. But as Dale puts it, "It can get really overwhelming when you come into a database that's a complete mess and has 20,000 leads in it."

Dale wants every team leader to transform their CRM into “that machine”—the one that drives your entire sales and leadership process.

Here's how he breaks it down:

How to Organize New Leads in 4 Simple Steps

Day one, a new lead comes in.

Do you know exactly what happens next?

According to Dale, your answer to this is everything.

Dale explains that those first few days after a lead is generated are critical to getting the end result you want. This period is called the “intensive contacting period,” he explains. 

During this time, Dale recommends categorizing your leads in one of four buckets:  

  • Cold - the leads who ignored your initial follow up
  • Hot - the leads that are ready to book an appointment
  • Nurture - you had a convo, got the who, what, where, when, and how much and need to keep in touch until the time is right
  • Dead - not going to do business or refer business and doesn't belong in your database

The trick, according to Dale, is to focus on these core categories and resist the urge to over analyze.

"It doesn't matter what the source is. And it doesn't matter whether you were a past client or repeat client," says Dale. "When it's this simple, it becomes really easy to work your database."  

Every day moving forward you want to:

  1. Start with any responses that came in from your efforts the day before. 
  2. Move to any new leads that came in since you last checked
  3. Work through the 'Recents' (leads that are still in days 2 to 7)

When this assembly line is running smoothly and effectively, “it will clean up 90% of the issues out there.”

For agents, by getting through your 'Recents' each day, Dale says, “you will be rocking it.” He also points out that you should make time every day to touch your 'Nuture' pile, but try to relegate this to the late afternoon during an activity lull.

For your ISAs, you will probably want to add a fourth step where they complete any follow ups and a fifth step when you have them look through the cold leads to see if they can warm any of them up.

“We always do new lead generation in the mornings," Dale says, “and you can work on your nurtures in other times of the day.”

It's a system that requires two simple time blocks, for massive results.

Why Scripts Don’t Work

Once you've got a simple, effective follow up workflow in place, it's all about mastering the art of the sale.

And according to Dale, that means scrapping your script

"That's not the way that conversations work with other human beings. It's not a formula. You can't just plot it on a graph."

So, what do you teach your team to say?

According to Dale, you've got to go back to basics.

Teach them the sales principles and watch them enter a whole new realm of success. 

Train your team to know:

  1. How to enter into conversations
  2. How to determine what category the lead falls into on the fly
  3. How to get to the core of a lead’s motivations
  4. How to handle objections

Give your team different scenarios to role play. This will help get them accustomed to problem solving quickly, while still sounding natural on the phone.

Tee Up to a Logical Close: Now, Sooner, or Next Step

All of the steps listed above are designed to help your agents set themselves up for a logical close. 

This doesn’t only mean the closing of a home (although that is obviously where we hope things go), according to Dale, there are a series of small “closes” throughout the sales process that will propel you forward to the ultimate close. And it all boils down to one core thing:

Do something now with the client.

Whether it's setting up the next appointment time now, listing now, reducing now, signing a contract now, etc., you've got to know your next step.

Dale hosts regular role play groups in the Smart Inside Sales Facebook Group.

If the answer is no, then why not? Train your agents to get to the bottom of why “now” doesn’t make sense.

The goal is to see if your prospect might be willing to commit to making a move soon versus now. Next week, next month, next season—it's all ok as long as it's on your calendar.

“Get a tentative agreement to talk at those points,” says Dale. If your lead agrees that there is a need for you to keep in contact with them, you're well on your way to a win.

A simple way to do this is to provide them with valuable information and then follow up on that info. For example, you could tell them that you'd love to get a sense of the style of home they would be looking for, so you can help keep an eye out for them.

According to Dale, if you really want to take your business to the next level, you must position yourself as the expert by spelling out each step of the process and what milestones need to be hit in order to achieve the client's end goal (e.g., having a home bought or sold in a certain time frame).

Lead the client on this journey as their guide, not their salesperson.

By outlining the process, you build trust with your prospects so that they feel like they're in good hands, instead of feeling like they've been tricked into an "opportunity".

And whatever you do, don’t monologue it. Make sure every conversation is a two-way conversation.

Dale's foolproof Objection-Handling Strategy

Too many agents stop at no.

And the ones who don't, tend to push too far and end up turning leads off completely.

According to Dale, every objection has three core components:

  1. Your Lead's Perspective - what they think they know, what they've been told 
  2. Your Lead's Process - what they are going to do, when they are going to do it 
  3. Your Lead's Outcome - what they think they are going to get by doing it their way

When you hear an objection, get to know the outcome part right away. Dig into what this person thinks they are going to get by doing it their way. 

Dale gives the example of a common objection, “We are going to wait until the spring.” 

Find out why. 

“Get down to the core of it,” he says. Are they waiting because they will get a better price? The interest rates will be different? What unique benefit do you think you are getting out of waiting?

He calls this the “what are you buying” tactic. In his example, the client thinks that they will get more money for their home and more buyers in the spring.

Once you get to the root of the objection, you then sell it back to them with how, by working with your team, the result will actually be cheaper, faster, better, easier, etc.—even if they sell now.

But here's the key piece: You don’t want to just sell them back what they are getting. 

Make the deal sweeter than the one they thought they were going to get.

For example, the idea that they can sell the house now at the same amount they would get if they sold in the spring doesn't bring anything new to the table.

Why would they go through the hassle of doing it now, with your team, unless the benefits outweigh their objections?

Focus on how your offer makes things: better, cheaper, faster or easier.

Here's Dale on how to handle objections, without forcing it.

Teach Your Team to Stop Selling

Okay, you get it. It's all about the authentic sale.

But what about your team?

The last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time building trust with your leads only to have someone else blow it for you.

According to Dale, it's all about teaching your team to gauge and categorize leads, based on their level of intent. And it's simpler than you think.

At the end of the day, there are only three types of leads:

Easy calls: When the person has the intent to talk to you first, e.g. your referral leads. Here, all your team member has to do is get to the bottom of what their intent is and work from there.

In the middle: These are the leads that show signs of having intent, but didn’t know they would be talking to an agent right away. These can come from leads generated on your website or opt-in form—the point is, they took the first step. Find out if they intend to take action or not and start categorizing, including working through the objection process. 

Hard ones: These are your classic cold leads and probably the ones that will give your team the biggest headaches. You could train the team to cold call them, but many people don’t want to hear from you and many agents dread these calls. Instead, think about whether there is something of value you could offer as a way in. Events and giveaways can be good opportunities to stay top of mind.

For example, Dale's wife makes cookies for past clients around the holidays. 

It's one small basket of cookies that leads to multiple chances to reach out.

  • First, by asking if the client wants a basket
  • Then, letting them know it’s ready
  • Lastly, you can let the people who didn’t want any know that there are some left over and you'd be happy to drop by 😉

Of course, you can also circle back and ask how they liked the cookies. 

(And come on, who could ever be mad about that?)

One Small Adjustment for Giant Results

Although this interview was loaded with great tips and tricks, if you take away just one thing, it's this: 

Don’t make calls sound like a sales pitch, get the client involved and engaged in the process. 

“Listen to your own calls,” explains Dale, “or your own conversations, or listen to your own teams and just make that small shift. It's like judo, right? If you are using the correct move, you can neutralize anything that’s coming your way.” 

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