Sales people who follow up consistently have a higher close rate than those who don’t, regardless of the industry. Depending on which statics you look at it takes between 5 and 7 touches on average before a real estate prospect is converted into a client, but many agents don’t follow up more than once or twice.
We all have people in our database who have fallen off our radar for some reason. They inquire about a property or we do a CMA for them, and then they go missing. We leave a couple of voice mails or emails but don’t hear back. We don’t want to “bug” them so we check them off the list and move on. Here’s the thing, though. The last agent who they talked with before they signed on the dotted line is going to get the business. Want it to be you? Be the last agent they talked with. Here’s how I manage my database…
The first thing that we need to recognize is that our sense of urgency is not necessarily theirs. Different people will move forward at different paces, depending on where they are in the process. I work my leads by segmenting prospects into different lists based on buyer or seller and where they are in the process, and follow up with each list in a different way, and I have time blocked off on my calendar every Friday to get it done.
Long Rangers: These people may have had a passing interest in a home I had listed, but they’re not ready to pull the trigger and buy. They may have wanted the CMA on their home because they were considering some updates and didn’t want to over-improve. I keep these folks on separate segments of my database, home owners separate from potential buyers. They don’t need regular update calls and checking in with them repeatedly would be intrusive. With the type of prospect who isn’t close to buying or selling but may do something down the road I ask permission to put them into my mailing list. For a seller, I might say something along the lines of “It’s smart that you’re looking at your home value before you invest in that new kitchen. I send out information about neighborhood values and which upgrades are best for home values.” They usually say yes, and I can stay front of mind with them through email marketing and touch base in person occasionally. Ditto for long range potential buyers (but it’s a different email marketing campaign).
Slow Burners: These are the people who will be buying or selling in the near future, but they’re not quite ready. These are the people who are 1-3 months away from buying or listing. With these people, as well as the hot prospects in Group 1, who I’ll get to in a minute, I pre-arrange my follow up. Don’t leave one call or appointment without setting a time for the next one. If you’re at their home to go over comps, set the next meeting while you’re there to check on the pre-listing updates they’re working on. The same goes if you’re working with a buyer. The more you take care of them through the preliminary stages, the more likely they are to choose you as their agent when they’re ready to buy or sell. Most importantly, have a plan for that next contact. Don’t just call – call with a plan to move them to the next step, be their resource, and set the next time to touch base while you’re at it.
Hottie Pattaties: These are the hot leads. They’re the pre-approved buyers and the motivated sellers who are ready to list. Follow up with these folks as often as you can. Call the buyer about that house that just came on the market, set up a time to see it, and get your buyer agency agreement signed. Update the seller on the home that sold down the street, update the comps, and get the listing.
Birds in the Hand: Guess what, you’re not done. These are your current clients. It’s easy to take the listing, get the MLS listing in, and post the house on Realtor.com, but you have to stay in touch with your sellers throughout the process. We don’t get many complaints from sellers in our office, but the most common one we get is that a seller hasn’t heard from their agent. What works best for me is a weekly call to check in, let them know about anything that came on the market or sold in their area, etc. Once a month I send them my internet report, showing them how many views we’ve had on Trulia, Realtor.com, etc.
Oldies But Goodies: Don’t forget your past clients. These are the folks who are most likely to send business your way, so keep in contact with them. Did they have plans to update the kitchen? Check in to see how the remodel turned out. Tax bills just came out? Call them to see if they need comps to protest their property taxes.
In case you didn’t notice, I don’t ever contact a prospect or a past client just to contact them. My goal with each and every touch along the way is to reach out to them with something that they will value. If you give them a reason to “Thanks!” every time they connect with you, they have every reason to do business with you.
Keep your contacts close. You’ll keep your sales pipeline full, and you’ll close more business.