There’s plenty of folklore out there about the most efficient way to convert real estate leads. But the awful truth is that 79% of marketing leads never convert — usually due to a lack of lead nurturing.
At Follow Up Boss, we like real-world examples of what does and doesn’t work. And Ryan Melville, leader of The Melville Team, has generously shared his proven process for hyper-focused follow up that successfully brings in more deals.
Read on for our practical step-by-step guide for how to develop the same habits Ryan and his rockstar team use to connect with hundreds of leads every day.
A killer combo of time blocking and focused follow up
The days of notecards and Rolodexes are well behind us. But unfortunately, too many agents still rely on their memories to guide their daily prospecting activities.
Not Ryan and his team. The leading Arizona real estate team has a clear process to determine the exact frequency of their follow up. “For us, it’s important to have a strong morning ritual when it comes to this,” Ryan explains. And he’s right. A great time management system can work wonders for your business (and life).
- When Ryan’s agents make contact with a lead, the leads are immediately organized by the type of prospecting they require based on their unique buying stage. These break down to: Qualify, Watch, Nurture, Hot Prospect, etc.
- Next, leads are grouped into a Smart List and tagged based on how often Ryan’s agents should follow up with them. New leads go under the ‘Daily’ tag and eventually get moved to a ‘Weekly’, ‘Monthly’, ‘Quarterly’ or ‘6 Months’ tag, depending on their buying timeline.
“We’re talking about a live list here,” explains Ryan. Tags are flexible and easy to add so you don’t feel like you’re locked into a set system.
If you decide you want to move a lead from a daily to weekly follow up cadence, you simply remove their ‘Daily’ tag and add the ‘Weekly’ tag, which automatically moves them to the desired list.
- In the ‘Daily’ stage, Ryan normally gets in contact around 8 times. If there’s no answer from the lead, it is moved to ‘Weekly’ where it gets hit with a message once a week and so on. Almost all leads end up in the ‘Monthly’ and ‘Quarterly’ stage — and the only people in the ‘6 Months’ stage are those who just want to browse properties.
- Pro Tip: For leads with unclear intentions or not enough info, you can move them to ‘Archive’ and still keep an eye on them without constantly following up or letting them get in the way of more urgent and important follow ups.
Always knowing where each and every one of your leads stands translates into money in pretty much any business — but for real estate, it’s everything.
In terms of how much time to spend daily on follow up, Ryan suggests blocking a chunk of two hours every day: one hour for lead generation and another one for actual lead follow up, to make sure you stay on top of all leads.
“Two hours are distraction free — anything else that comes in during that time is left until I’m finished,” Ryan emphasizes. And if you ask us, that’s the kind of fully focused commitment it takes to really drive results.
One thing that’s very important to Ryan is to have a system that guarantees no lead ever slips through the cracks. For that, he uses a “catch all” Smart List to exclude all of the lead tags and make sure there are no relevant leads who are not in on one of his active follow up lists.
If you’re a Follow Up Boss user and you need help setting up Smart Lists, you can click on your name in the top corner of your screen and go over the help docs by doing a quick search for ‘Smart Lists’. (And here are some more tips on how to manage your Smart Lists, just in case.)
Under each contact, you can easily see how many calls and messages were exchanged so you can work on a stronger follow up strategy if you feel your team is not being persistent enough.
Ryan reached a point in his business where he felt the overwhelm of having to follow up with more than 100 leads each day. He was using task automation through action plans, but this made his agents hate their CRM because every time they logged in, it showed a terrifying amount of work they hadn’t yet done. Imagine coming back from a holiday or day off and getting immediately smacked in the face by tons of backlogged leads. Not great for productivity.
Psychologically, task automation through action plans reduces the impact of what a task means for someone. If they’re constantly getting assigned hundreds of tasks every day, it’s only natural to freeze under the pressure.
After switching to Smart Lists, two crucial things happened in Ryan’s business:
- Ryan found a clearer way to stay on top of his leads in a shorter period of time, without losing his productivity and focus.
- Tasks organized in Smart Lists retain value: follow ups are just a few clicks away, which makes the whole process more efficient and meaningful.
Remember, the system you design needs to reflect the needs of your team and your customers. The Smart Lists inside Follow Up Boss can be customized to organize leads depending on how often you want to fire them up with emails and messages.
Ryan’s unique approach is not based on mass messaging: he will either call, message or email a lead individually.
And that matters to prospects. Research shows that personalized emails generate up to 6X more revenue than generic emails.
How automation dramatically reduces your workflow
Automation and integration play a big role in Ryan’s business.
He uses Zapier to connect Follow Up Boss with his Real Geeks account. By simply adding the tag ‘Real Geeks’ to his leads, the system will automatically pull out the leads and add them straight into the listing site.
The team uses the Follow Up Boss dialer so that all communications, from texts, phone, email and direct mail are coming from the same system. According to Ryan, it “completely changes the speed of the follow up process.”
Ryan has also integrated a sign call system called CallFire. The idea is simple: he has a normal office phone number that rings his team, which is also the main number on the listing site. But he also has an additional sign writer recording 24/7 that sends any leads who call a direct link of the listing they’re interested in. Cool, huh?
But what about mailers? Let’s say it’s Christmas (great timing!) and you want to send a nice postcard to your contacts.
Ryan uses the Direct Mail Manager via Zapier to launch campaigns like sending postcards to clients or a simple thank you note to leads for taking the time to talk with him.
And of course, if you’re not using a built-in calendar system, it’s always a great idea to integrate that too so you never miss an important call or meeting.
If you want the full walkthrough of how Ryan and his team are using Smart Lists plus smart integration to follow up with more leads in less time, you can access the full video masterclass right here.
Smart prospecting is a journey
This is the success story of a team who’s doing an ace job of making technology work for them (not the other way around).
Ryan’s system makes sure all their contacts are being nurtured in a relevant way by a living, breathing, caring human — and that’s what makes the difference.
Ryan’s been in the real estate industry for over a decade and he’s learned a lot along the way about how to make your processes more efficient. Because of the way he uses tags to manage his and his team’s ongoing follow up, he’s turning tasks into something more meaningful.
Remember, every time you see a task in your system, it’s not just another follow up to cross off your list — it’s a real person you agreed to get back to. And they’re expecting to hear from you. Take the time to set up a system that lets you serve leads well, and the success will come as a natural byproduct of your efforts.
And if you want more examples of how smart automation can skyrocket your business, check out Barry Jenkins’ stellar success story of how he doubled his business while working just 25 hours per week. According to Barry, it’s all about replacing the things that are getting in your way. “With tools like Follow Up Boss and Zapier, there is no reason you can’t buy back a significant amount of time in your business and personal life.”