Here is an idea that we used to practice...
Each day of the week had a theme; Mondays we called all our Sellers (our Listings) and our Seller leads (FSBOs and Expireds), Thursdays it was my job to call the Buyers (Clients and prospects) in my pipeline. I wanted to see if I could rustle up some property showings for the weekend and maybe get something written. Even if they didn’t want to go looking, or if I left a message and they didn’t call me back, they would at least hear my voice and they would consider that ‘their agent is taking care of them.’
There are a couple of important principles involved in follow up with leads and clients.
1) Don’t expect them to call you back, It’s not their job.
2) You’re not pestering them, you’re doing your job; the job they expect you to do because they gave you their phone number. So don’t be a pest, be a valuable resource and find something of value to provide them when you call, or as a minimum I would just say “I just wanted to check in with you and see if there was anything I could do.”
3) Call on a regular sequence, but not every person needs a call every week. You’ll know when they need the next call. If they’re not very active and not really looking, a call once a month should do.
4) Always schedule the next call when you are finished with that call; then you’ll never loose track of a prospect or when you were supposed to call them
Here’s a typical (and hypothetical) example; I met a couple at an open house a few months ago; they weren’t really looking, they were just curious about the house. They rent half a house a few blocks away and saw our signs and just wandered in.
After my initial post-Open House routine*, I determined they are not very interested in actually looking at this time. So I set them up on my Homefinder System (auto-email notification for new listings, Open Houses, and price reductions) and scheduled a call for 2 weeks, just to see how they like the Homefinder System. After that call, I decided they would get a call three weeks later.
After several months of me calling every two or three or even four weeks and leaving messages with no response; I called one Thursday afternoon – as scheduled – and they said “Oh, I’m glad you called. We got your email the other day and the house looked really interesting and we wondered if we could see it?”
In theannual report NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, tells us that buyers usually take a couple weeks in the search process mostly on the Internet, before they contacted an agent.
So during the time while I was calling and leaving messages, they were looking at my emails, driving around looking at neighborhoods, and even visiting other agents Open Houses. So why did they feel loyal to me? Well, not all of the prospects that you follow up with will stay loyal, but most will because you were the only agent who stayed in touch and took care of them all along.
That’s how it’s done. Sometimes it takes a couple months, sometimes longer. But either way, don’t give up. They will tell you if they want you to stop, and if they don’t tell you to stop, Don’t Stop! Over the years I’ve learned first hand what they are thinking all this time while I’m leaving messages and they aren’t returning my calls – “Oh, that was just my real estate agent Jim keeping in touch with me…I don’t have any questions or need anything right now...He’ll call back again…”
This process doesn’t account for the very active Buyers you get a written buyer agency relationship with; those are clients not prospects and they get called much more often.
* Post-Open House Routine; each visitor at an open house gets a contact Sunday evening or Monday to see if they need any more information about the home they saw. If I have their phone number, I’ll call later that afternoon. If I have a mailing address they get a hand-written Thank you note on Monday. If I have their email address, they get an email of the property flyer from my website on Sunday afternoon and they go into my Homefinder System either for what they told me they were looking for, or for homes in the area of the Open House and similar to that house. Whatever piece of the contact info I have I’ll use that to try to get the rest of the contact info; Phone number, email address, or mailing address.
If you build some of these steps into your daily or weekly follow up routine, you should be able to keep track of these prospects for a longer time and eventually they should buy something.