There are a countless number of books (not that I’m counting) written on the subject of sales and sales strategy. You name a sales topic - from traditional sales methods to social media networking techniques. Whichever the book, there is one rule that is always mentioned or discussed in detail - the basic rule of lead follow-up. Yeah, I know this sounds so elementary. You could even say it is Sales 101, but I ask you are you doing it? Are you following up with your leads in a timely and effective manner? As someone who is in the business of assisting real estate professionals with generating leads, I am amazed by the number of people who do not apply this basic sales principle. Or, when they do get around to following up with a lead it is too late.
I believe the main reason for poor timely follow up is caused by poor preparation not the lack of time or poor results, which are often excuses you will hear. Like so many other responsibilities where we try and “wing it” and fail, poor follow-up quickly becomes no follow-up.
Here are a few of the excuses I hear most frequently along with my candid thoughts about them:
If the prospect was really interested they will contact me. This is not the mindset of a successful real estate professional, but I do hear it often. Many people assume this is a good method for prequalifying a lead. They couldn’t be further from the truth. If you don’t want to speak with a lead I’m sure there are plenty of agents in your office that will be happy to do follow up. Pass it along.
It takes too much time. With a fine-tuned follow up phone call you can qualify a lead within 30 seconds. While it’s true a number of prospects will not be interested in your services, it is also true some will. Would you make 10 phone calls for a listing? How about 25 phone calls? How about 50? What is the number of calls you are willing to make to earn a listing? This number is different for everyone, but you should know your number. It will help as you plan out your day.
I’m just too busy right now. Hopefully your reason for being too busy is not because you’re putting together your next marketing campaign. If so, you may want to save the money and do nothing. If you are not following up with your current leads why generate more? No campaign will be just as effective…and less costly.
I don’t know what to say. Practice and preparation is the only way to overcome this obstacle. Put pen to paper and come up with quick, simple and direct responses and then practice each of these responses by role playing with another agent or family member. Remember the 5 P’s – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance!
The last person I called was rude to me so I’m not calling anymore leads. If you cannot get past this issue I suggest partnering with someone that is less timid. Have you ever heard the adage: Some will, some won’t, so what, next. In other words, move on and don’t worry about it. You may also remember as a child singing, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!”
I need to figure out a way to automatically follow up. Technology is great. I am a big supporter of technological advancements made in our industry. However, we are an industry built on personal and professional relationships. Period! All of the automation in the world will not replace a one-on-one conversation with a prospect. Use technology when appropriate, but don't forget the power of your voice and personality. Take the time to follow up with your leads.
I always follow up within 3 days but I’m not getting good results. There are a number of studies on the importance of timely follow up. It is estimated the chance of qualifying a lead is 20 times greater if the follow up is done within 5 minutes versus just 30 minutes later! If you are taking over 24 hours to follow up with your leads your effectiveness is greatly diminished.
Take a moment and review your follow up techniques and timeliness of your follow up. If there is weakness in either take the time to fix it. I promise you it will be well worth your time. After all, generating new leads and increasing your circle of influence (a fancy way of referring to the poeple that rely on your expertise) are what will ultimately make you successful. Good luck!