How many times have we heard the phrase It’s all in the follow up? Experts will tell you—and my experience backs it up—that about 80% of sales happen between the fifth and twelfth contact after your initial meeting with a prospect. What is more startling is that most agents never even follow up with a prospect. Think about how many people come through an open house with little to no follow up from an agent. There are many other examples of missed opportunities, simply because many people tend to want a quick sale versus playing the long game.
This is why it’s critical to follow up with prospects, past clients, and anyone who may have a real estate need. But how? The devil is in the details of two things: your system for following up and your system for making the time to actually do it. Many agents fall short in one or both of these areas, because most brokerages don’t talk about it. While we are all distracted by the latest and greatest technology, what many agents lose sight of is how successful you can be by simply implementing a process that you stay true to every day.
One Size Does Not Fit All
When it comes to the follow-up process, we can’t treat every client or prospect the same. Each type of client means something different to us and therefore requires a tailored approach. You wouldn’t necessarily send a past client the same informational item of value that you would send someone you met for the first time at an open house.
You also can opt for different ways to communicate. Some of the tried and true methods frankly aren’t as effective as they once were. While nothing beats an in-person interaction—and that is the ultimate goal—things like mailers and even phone calls aren’t as effective as they once were. People tend to discard what they perceive as junk mail, and most won’t answer a call from a number they don’t recognize. Remember, you want to ensure your content and outreach is being consumed. So how?
Your First Two Steps
First, determine your sources of prospects. The usual categories are past clients (people who know how wonderful you are), open houses, FSBOs, expireds, online leads, referrals from someone, and your sphere of influence. Next, determine what you will send. A booklet of vendors who can help a seller get the home ready might be appropriate for an expired listing, while the latest interest rates might be right for an open-house lead. You should never run out of content to send or communicate. The Texas REALTORS® website and social media pages are great resources to pull content from. Here are some other ideas to consider (be mindful of your MLS rules and the NAR Code of Ethics):
- List of current comps
- List of open houses
- List of properties coming soon
- List of homes that just reduced their price
- Spring cleaning checklists
- New ordinances or HOA rules
- Market statistics from Texas REALTORS® or your local board
MarketViewer, an exclusive benefit for members of Texas REALTORS®, provides you a vast array of market statistics for your area. You can download infographics in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Visit texasrealestate.com/marketviewer.
When you add in information you find on social media, the possibilities are endless. The real value comes from things that only you can provide. For this, you need look no further than the MLS, MarketViewer, and REALTORS® Property Resource. Any trends that you can present visually tend to draw the most attention.
Consider Your Delivery
Next is perhaps that most important step–how to communicate your content. Remember that people are only moving every 10-12 years on average, so they are only going to need us every so often. For this reason, it’s important we stay relevant, so that they will hire us when they are ready.
My favorite methods of communication are texts, video texts, video email, instant messenger, and in-person visits. If you use these methods, your content will surely get consumed. Think about it. When was the last time you didn’t look at a text? And if someone sends you a video, you are going to have a hard time ignoring it—even more than a written text.
Another method is a good old-fashioned handwritten note. Yes, it takes more time, but since no one else does this, yours will get noticed. Just make sure to hand address the envelope, keep the note brief, and include your business card. An example might be, “Hey Jane, just thinking of you today and hope you are well. Thanks for all you do.” In this example, the note is brief but also encouraging. Your clients will appreciate and respond to these kinds of notes. It creates an instant emotional connection that is long-lasting.
How Often Should You Follow Up?
More does not always mean better, nor will it ensure you increase your chances of gaining a client.
The last part is the frequency, or when should you reach out. More does not always mean better, nor will it ensure you increase your chances of gaining a client. Most of the time, increasing your frequency beyond a certain amount annoys people. I always say that everyone wants to buy; they just don’t want to be sold to. So how much is too much? Here is one schedule that has proven effective:
- Sphere of Influence – Days 1,7, and every 30 days after that
- Expireds – Days 1,3,7,14,21, and every 14 days after that
- Open House Visitors – Days 1,3,7, and every 7 days after that
- Online Leads – Days 1,3,7, and every 7 days after that
- FSBOs – Days 1,3,7,14,21, and every 14 days after that
- Referrals/Past Clients – Days 1,7, and every 30 days after that.
While no prospecting plan is a guarantee, if you want to increase your odds of successful long-term business, you must implement a system and stick to it. Set aside two hours daily for this plan. Some of this can even be done during non-traditional business hours. Even if you are part-time, you can still get this done.
Expect people to opt out of emails … expect people to not respond … expect people to hire someone else. That’s OK.
Expect people to opt out of emails … expect people to not respond … expect people to hire someone else. That’s OK. If you commit to a consistent approach and spend the time following through, your audience will find you.