With real estate leads, follow up is everything.
But does your team know that?
Look, great follow up isn’t easy. It takes guts, determination and the rare ability to relax and have fun, even when you’re under extreme pressure. Unfortunately, there will be days (though hopefully not too many) when your agents just don’t feel up to it.
Here’s what to do to get them back in the game.
The most obvious sign of a lack of follow up is a lack of sales.
Donna Stott is co-founder of Your Coaching Matters, a real estate coaching firm that has helped agents from all over the US grow their teams and scale their business.
According to Donna, “It’s easy to see when your team is doing poor follow up or none at all by A. A lack of sales or B. People complain.”
And the complaining is definitely part of it. A lack of morale will ALWAYS be accompanied by a poor follow up, poor sales and the absolute worst, unhappy clients.
That’s why the best teams operate on a steady diet of empowerment and accountability.
Without the right amount of inspiration, your agents will never pick up the phone and without the right amount of accountability, they’ll never feel like they have to.
For most real estate teams, follow up is an ongoing battle.
Justin Seeby of the Graham Seeby Group has seen some serious success in his real estate business, yet he still believes his team has plenty of room for improvement on the follow up front.
“We have the ability to see when they last looked at a lead and did any type of actionable task for that lead. Basically, we can see when they sent the last email or the last time they texted or called the lead when they use the app. It’s hard to get them back on track.”
Justin uses 15 minute daily meetings in the morning before the 9:30-11:30 am follow up time. “It works well, but still, it was not that effective so we hired a director of sales. We positioned her in the middle of all the agent’s cubies so she can keep them on track.”
But depending the size of your team, you may need more than one accountability officer.
“Another thing that we did was hire an ISA (inside sales associate). She has access to all the leads and will go through them daily to make sure the agents are doing their follow-up. Sometimes she will even call just to check in with the lead and see if there is anything we can do for them. Lastly, leads are handed out to agents who are in the office. If you are not in the office we expect that you are out working and would not be able to take a lead,” says Justin.
And after all that, he still feels like they could be doing more to follow up. “Sales people like ‘instant gratification’ and they don’t get it here,” says Justin.
An “instant gratification” mindset, fear of rejection and a lack of motivation are just some of the core mindset problems that can keep your agents running in place.
But what about the agents who are simply drowning in too many leads?
Reasons for lack of follow up will vary from team member to team member and most of the time, laziness has nothing to do with it.
Here’s how to figure out what’s really holding your team back so you can give them the right kind of inspiration and tools they need to do better — and (lovingly and respectfully) hold their feet to the fire if they don’t.
Many would-be rockstars are paralyzed due to burnout or overwhelm. It’s your job to help them work through the bottlenecks and get back on track to their next big success story.
“We coach a large mega team — one listing agent was feeling ‘overwhelmed’ and took herself out of rotation for new leads, we came up with some great dialogues for following up and offering service for the 27 leads she had while servicing the 14 she had under contract and she took 12 listings in March,” says Mike Stott of Your Coaching Matters.
Sometimes the solution is something totally manageable. If you can figure out what to add or remove from their plate, you can easily get them back on track and avoid the pain of having to let a good team member go.
For Mike, getting follow up back on track is all about, “Knowing your numbers if you’re a larger team – knowing your people if you’re smaller in size.”
Barry Jenkins leads the #2 Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate team in the US.
(And he also happens to be a master of real estate automation.)
Barry has accepted the follow up struggle as par for the course.
“Rather than complaining about it I’ve accepted it because if they were like me I would have the wrong team. I need them to be employee minded and that’s what’s going to keep them around longer. But rather than accepting them not working hard in following up I’ve inspired them to try harder and created systems that assist them in following up and giving them intel on the leads and manage them daily with a daily huddle.”
Barry ends his morning calls by reminding his rockstar team why the work they do is important.
Here’s how he signs off:
“As you drive to your appointments today, you’re going to see people unhappy and limited by their current employment. You have the opportunity to be different. The sky is the limit with your career path. Be grateful for your current employment and go crush it today!”
Barry is a big believer in treating others the way you want to be treated — which is why he’s a stickler for relevant content.
He created targeted drip campaigns to help his agents automatically follow up with leads in a way that feels easy and natural.
The content is all pre-written, but it doesn’t feel that way. All his agents have to do is personalize the templates with the right lead intel and suddenly they’ve got a high-value follow up ready to send.
Inspiring your team to do their best every day and giving them the tools to make that possible is the best way to get them back on the follow up bandwagon.
He ALWAYS suspects his agents aren’t following up. “As I write this I’m calling leads and checking notes on Follow Up Boss. Surprise!”
According to Tristan, you should “Always inspect what you expect.”
“I don’t wait until I feel like my team is slacking. Once a month I take a week and I just sit in front of the computer and dial. I call and call and call and call, I convert leads and I remind the agents that aren’t making calls and putting in notes to get on the leads. In the end, some agents just don’t fit the model and I have to let them go and some choose to go on their own. For those that stay, they succeed at a high level.”
Whether you’re using an Excel spreadsheet (not advisable) or a killer CRM like ours, don’t let it be a surprise to your agents that you’re checking up on their follow up stats.
Awesome accountability starts with crystal clear transparency. Everyone on your team should be completely aware of what’s expected from them.
To make sure your agents are meeting your expectations for follow ups, Mike recommends weekly accountability meetings to review the leads together.
“The only way to find out is accountability at least weekly — someone going through all the leads assigned to an agent with input on each one. Takes 10 to 15 minutes a week. We did this ourselves while in Hawaii and had 40 agents making over 400 sales year from leads we gave them.”
This is a system he and Donna regularly teach their real estate team leaders. Donna recommends using the following questions in your one-on-one reviews to help your agents see the bigger picture of what is and isn’t working.
If you’ve taken the time to sit down with your agents and coach them on their follow up game, they won’t be at all surprised when you track them on it, too.
At the end of the day, most people want to be held accountable.
We often do our best work when we know we’re being watched. Don’t get us wrong, you don’t need to go full-on Big Brother. But it’s important to have hard data to support your follow up goals and help you make important leadership decisions with confidence.
And according to broker-owner Robert Slack, you absolutely need to know what’s happening on the ground in order to be able to make the right calls in the way that you distribute and manage your leads.
“With Follow Up Boss it’s easy to check on the team members responses to leads, because, under the ‘Reporting’ tab you can easily see what the response time is for each Agent, how many ‘alerts’ they set, how many calls, texts, or emails they do. IF I suspect an Agent is not being diligent on this, I assume that they have too many leads and cut their leads.”
The idea of firing a team member is never fun.
In fact, for Bill Gassett of RE/MAX Executive Realty, the constant struggle of getting the team to follow up was one of the reasons he decided to go back to being a solo agent.
“I knew there was a lack of communication as some of our clients called it out. You are only as good as the sum of your parts. If one member does not live up to expectations, you will suffer for it,” says Bill.
And at the end of the day, that’s really what follow up is: Communication.
“In real estate one of the most important things is communication. It is what sets the best agents apart from the rest. One of the things I pride myself on is responding immediately whether it is by phone, email or text. Instant communication is an extremely important part of effective real estate relationships.”
It’s always a touchy subject when a team member drops the ball on a client. But you can’t afford to ignore it. “When you overpromise and underdeliver people remember that about you,” says Bill.
One of Inman’s top real estate coaches, Dr. Lee Davenport has helped many team leaders overcome the follow up struggle. “My coaching clients, out of frustration, would ask me, ‘Should I fire such-and-so?’,” she recalls.
According to Lee there are three key things to consider before you fire a team member:
1.Is it a scheduling problem?
Have you given the team member several responsibilities, including those that are more demanding (a.k.a. current transactions)? Before giving the heave-ho, be sure to review her schedule and see what realistic adjustments can be made to make more time for follow-up. For example, if the agent typically needs to “put out fires” in the afternoon, the afternoon should be avoided when planning follow-up time.
2. Is it a training problem?
Sometimes we, who have been in the business for years, take for granted that everyone understands effective follow-up. Follow-up is never “one and done” — one call, one email, one mailing, one social media post, one smoke signal, or anything else your team uses to stay in touch.
If you a have team member that is lacking in follow-up, have a pow-wow and point blank ask, “What does follow-up mean to you?” If her answer does not match your hustle and expectations, train her on what you want (or hire a coach to do so).
3. Is it a system problem?
As a follow-up question to, “What does follow-up mean to you?”, also ask the team member, “What system are you using to keep up with your follow-up activity?”
If you have a preferred customer relationship management (CRM) system for the members of your team to use, take a moment to get honest feedback from them. Is it truly user-friendly for EVERYONE on your team?
Sometimes technology is great in theory but clunky and cumbersome in reality, which may have stifled follow-up.
Take Lee’s advice. Before you part ways with a team member you know has potential, take time to consider whether you’re really doing everything you can to help them succeed.
Follow up isn’t easy, but with the right tools and systems, it doesn’t have to be so hard.