Every step of your sales process is built around one thing: the eventual closing of a deal. From what you say to the person when they first contact you, to how you present yourself at the first meeting, or the email templates you use to stay in touch, everything needs to be geared towards closing the sale.
This laser-focus on closing the deal is especially important when you’re first following up on a lead. This is the point where people have no loyalty to you on a personal level: they might go with a competitor, or they might not even be convinced that they should be doing business in the real estate market. It’s a period of high uncertainty that every deal goes through, which is why it’s so important to get it right.
To make sure you handle this critical point in time correctly, we’ve compiled some of the most dependable tips out there.
The Best Ways to Follow Up On Leads
Tip #1: Space It Out
You need to respond quickly to leads to capture attention, but a quick response isn’t the be-all-end-all of proper timing. When your lead management tool sends you a notification that a lead has come in, you may be tempted to send them as much information as possible so that you can grab their attention. Unfortunately, this ends up being an email that explains who you are, gives a brief summary of what you do, an ebook, and an invitation to your son’s birthday party.
Now, sending all of this information isn’t wrong – though you may want to hold off on the birthday parties to begin with – but the timing is just as important as what you’re saying. Instead of this shotgun approach, you should be spacing out your contacts over time, building up rapport over a series of exchanges. If you start by just introducing yourself and asking a critical question before moving onto weightier material you’ll be less likely to scare people away with a tsunami of data.
Tip #2: Teach Them Something
Once you’ve started exchanging messages you need to prove that you know what you’re talking about. Traditionally this would take the form of a series of meetings where your client observes your expertise in action. Sadly, because the modern real estate market is so fast-paced and competitive you don’t have the time to build up trust over a period of weeks. Instead, you need to convince them that you are the person they need to listen to, and that without you on their side they’re in for a world of hurt. To do this you need to give them something both educational and meaningful.
If you’re serving a particular region and have unique expertise, consider writing down that expertise and creating an industry report that you can share with people. These types of educational resources not only make people feel more informed about making a big life decision, but also reinforce your place in their mind as an expert. This may sound like a tall order, but once you’ve written the materials and set up the process it becomes as simple as sending a template email.
Tip #3: Don’t Be Too Pushy
Nurturing leads is a process, not a switch that you flip that makes people receptive to working with you. Yes, there is a moment at which people sign a contract that says they’ll work with you, but that’s not actually the most important moment in nurturing a lead. In fact, while there is no single Most Important Moment that you should focus on, there is a certain attitude that you should focus on having throughout the process of nurturing your lead.
Specifically, you need to focus on not adopting an aggressive attitude when trying to close a deal. Yes, being aggressive as a business is a good idea to ensure that you stay competitive. However, just because you’re aggressive as a business doesn’t mean you should.
Many people find this unappealing and avoid working with these kinds of real estate professionals. You don’t want to gain a reputation of being someone that is only focused on their own bottom line or who is insensitive to the needs of partners, so avoid overtly pushing your own agenda at every step.
Tip #4: Provide the Next Step
As you begin to exchange messages with a potential client, you need to realize that you’re the leading partner. Much like in dancing, someone has to be guiding the process and making sure things are flowing smoothly. As alluring as it may be to allow your leads to set the pace for your sales process, leaving it entirely in their hands will only result in decreased revenue.
You need to make sure that every message you send contains a clear next step. It can be as simple as including a line at the end of every email asking for a small piece of information, or prompting the recipient to reply within 24 hours, or even asking if they’ve had a chance to read a specific article that you link to. Regardless of what it is, you need to provide them with an easy opportunity to engage with you and move the process along. If people start to feel like the process is moving slowly, it’s only a matter of time before it really is moving slowly.
Tip #5: A ‘No’ Is Almost as Good as a ‘Yes’
When you’re focused on closing a deal, getting a clear ‘no’ can seem like a crushing blow. All of the time, effort, and energy spent on nurturing a lead with no pay-off. When that message comes in you might want to respond aggressively and try to bring them back to the table, but this is usually an even more serious waste of time.
Instead, you should be thankful that they told you they weren’t interested anymore. A ‘no’ can clear up your sales pipeline, free up resources that can be spent on more important leads, and enable your team to focus on things that will actually deliver results. Sure, a ‘no’ isn’t as good as a ‘yes’ – only one of those can be deposited at the bank – but it’s not as bad as it seems in the moment you’re rejected. It’s similar to sending a wedding invitation to that one relative who never commits – you can’t move forward unless they tell you yes or no, but no matter how many times you send a reminder email, they never respond. Wrapping it up and moving on is just as important in real estate.
Moving someone from the “prospective lead” category to the “closed deal” category is the core of the real estate business. Whether or not you’re able to accomplish this defines whether your team will stay in business or be remembered as an ‘also-ran.’ To make sure that you don’t fall into the latter category, stick to the tips above.