Successful real estate agents usually all have the goal of securing high long-term conversion rates while at the same time avoiding over-tasking. If you are unsure of how to accomplish this task, the following article will provide you with two foundational rules and then some scripts to get you thinking.
Two Rules to Follow
The first important rule is to let go of your anxiety regarding the initial phone call. This isn’t where the deal is sealed and the money made, rather, that is in the follow-up conversation.
Many real estate agents imagine making that initial phone call, leaving all their information on the table, and then closing the deal simply following along afterward. However, many leads aren’t in the market right then and need to be contacted again later. The majority of agents will make a reminder to contact each lead at a certain point, and then completely forget about the potential customer, which leaves behind plenty of leads. (Then your competition is going to snatch those leads up, as well as all the potential referrals from them, which is even more of a loss!)
Moving away from this mindset, you need to make sure there is no lead left on the table. Leads leave a digital trail from wherever they have been doing their research, which means that other agents and companies can also follow that trail. Don’t let the competition overtake you; be assertive.
Speed on leads is important, yes, but there is also validity in the mindset that real estate can be looked at as a marathon instead of a sprint. As we already established, the first phone call is not usually the one that closes the deal, so even if your competition gets a phone call in first, you can get one in too. If you follow through they still may choose you when later on down the road when that client is finally ready to close. Until a lead firmly shuts a door, consider it open and walk through it often.
The second rule of thumb is that you don’t need to worry about blowing the competition out of the water. You simply need to be a little better than their best. You can do this by thinking long-term and having conversations that allow you to draw inferences about your potential clients that determine their needs and how you can fulfill them. A client can choose from many different agents, so try to make sure that you are doing everything you can to make all your interactions positive and helpful. They want to feel wanted, too!
If you continue to follow up and do so with a personal touch, you will already be ahead of the game and be able to retain more of the clients long-term that your competition is surely forgetting about.
Scripts for Long-Term Nurturing
These scripts will give you an idea of the overarching goals for different types of conversations. Don’t feel that you have to follow them exactly; you don’t want to feel boxed in and your lead should feel that you are having a natural conversation. But having a feel for where you want the conversation to go and the goal you want it to achieve will allow you to be more confident in your speaking.
First-Calls: Establishing Needs and Expectations
The first call should establish the specific needs of the lead and the ways you will be able to fulfill these needs. What can they expect from you as an agent? Here is a base script:
Agent: It makes so much sense to educate yourself on the state of the market even before you are ready to buy/sell. What information will be helpful to you in getting a solid feel for what you need to know?
Lead: I don’t really know, I’m just looking.
Agent: One of the best places to start is to see what your budget can get you in certain neighborhoods. Then you can solidify or eliminate locations and narrow down where you want to look. I can set you up with a general search so you can be notified of new homes as soon as they are added to the market. Then we can touch base and go over specifics every so often while you study the market trends. Does that sound helpful?
Lead: Yes, thank you so much.
Agent: Great, what is the best email address for you?
Lead: (supplies information)
Agent: Would you rather receive updates daily or weekly?
Lead: (supplies answer)
Agent: Great. As soon as I get that general search situated for you I’ll send it over. Just shoot me a quick reply so we can both confirm it hasn’t gone to your junk folder. That can happen sometimes when there are a lot of links in an email. Add (this address) to your contacts and you’ll never miss an update! I’ll get in touch in a couple of weeks to see if you want to make any changes. What is the best way: phone, text, or email?
Lead: (supplies answer)
Agent: Perfect. While you’re studying the market trends, how often would you like me to check in? I know that based on what you’re seeing and your own life situation, your time frame for (buying/selling) might change. I don’t want you to be wondering why I’m not contacting you and I would like to earn your business when that time comes around by proving how much I can help you. What can I be doing in the meantime to make sure you have what you need? (Give a few examples.)
What is important here is that you are asking leading questions instead of ‘yes or no’ questions. If you say, “Would you like me to contact you to see how you are doing?”, the lead might respond with, “No, that’s not necessary.” However, if you say, “Would it be best to contact you weekly or monthly?”, they are more likely to respond with something that continues the relationship in your favor.
This also puts you into their mind as someone they can trust and depend on, who wants to have contact. They know that they can come to you with concerns or questions. Just be sure to set a reminder to contact them when you said you would so that your dependability proves true. Don’t let the opportunity slip you by.
Now, part of the goal of this article is to teach you how not to over-task yourself. So, make sure that the leads you are having these conversations with are worth your time. Don’t create a plethora of tasks for each lead—especially when they aren’t showing promise—so that you then get overwhelmed and don’t complete any of them. Once you become over-tasked, even the important needs often slip through the cracks. Ask yourself if each lead would give you a 70% chance or more of signing with you… and then follow those leads the most closely!
Low-Priority Long-Term Lead Expectations
Again, you don’t want to over task yourself and risk not being able to concentrate on anything important and you don’t want to spend a ton of time on leads that are not going to be valuable. However, low-priority doesn’t mean impossible. You don’t want to ignore every lead that doesn’t feel promising because you truly cannot predict which leads are going to come around. The best way to work around this situation is by creating a mass-communication tool that can allow you to track and/or contact hundreds of leads at one time. Consider this script and how it might work for you.
Lead: I really can’t see myself buying/selling for about another year. I have to finish out my current lease but I am interested in not having to rent again.
Agent: I definitely understand. Planning ahead can help make that unknown feel less stressful. What information can I give you to help you feel comfortable planning?
Lead: Actually, I’m probably going to be relocated later this year with work. I’d like to start studying the market so I know what I’m up against in the new location.
Agent: I can definitely give you some valuable resources to get you set up and studying the right pieces of the market, either here or in your new location. What is your best email address, and what are the most helpful things I can send you regarding style, price, and your “must-have” list? Where is your dream location?
Once you do this for many different leads, you can set a group to be tagged in your database under “Monitor Activity” which will help you know that people are receiving and reading your property alert emails. This means you won’t have to work each lead one by one. You’ll be able to see who is actively reading your emails and what information they are clicking on.
Make yourself memorable by including new property alerts that are easy for your leads to access. You want them to feel that looking for a home with you isn’t a hard task that creates stress and anxiety. When they think of partnering with you, it should bring up good feelings that they want to replicate.
Here is another possible situation for leads that haven’t been opening your email communication or haven’t clicked on a new property listing since the last time you had a conversation.
You can send a mass message like this:
Hi (name), I am checking in about the property listings that I’ve been sending your way. What are one or two that have caught your eye?
Remember that you want to ask questions that lead to a conversation instead of “yes or no” answers. So instead of asking, “Is there anything that sparks your interest?”, to which they could just reply, “No thank you,” asking a specific question that bodes a conversational answer will keep you in their mind more toward the forefront.
A different option for a message could be:
Good morning (name)! I just curated the list of the best new homes listed this week and some of them fit perfectly into your must-have list. Would you like them emailed to (xyz) or a different email address?
“Tagging” as Your Secret Weapon
Systems should help you work smarter, not harder. Although many of a lead’s “deferments” are real reasons (relocation from a job, stuck in a lease, retiring soon, already with another agent, raising their credit score, getting divorced, etc.), you don’t want to give up and lose them because you’ve already invested time and money into each lead!
What you need to do (again, in order to not over-task yourself) is to group these needs/waits into categories, all of which you can then handle in the same manner. Your mass communication can all be structured for the same group of leads. You can even check in with them at certain times each month! (First Monday: lost buyers. First Wednesday: lost sellers. First Friday: already has agent. Second Monday: renters Second Wednesday: just looking. Second Friday: relocating.)
This takes a lot of the mental energy out of contacting these leads. You simply have them ready and waiting to be contacted when the time suits you. They can even be used for blocks of time that were originally sectioned off for something else. For example, if you have your entire day planned out but then a seller reschedules a showing, usually you might have an awkward two- to three-hour block where you can’t fit in a last-minute meeting or showing. But if you’ve done this initial pre-lead work, you have a perfect opportunity to do some easy follow-up.
Remember that you simply want to be in the right place at the right time as soon as a lead is ready. You want to prove yourself hard-working, a good listener, and a creative problem solver who will be able to get things done in a timely manner.
Here are some mass messages for each type of “in limbo” lead:
Hi (name), I remember that in our last conversation you were studying the market and waiting for the right time. A lot has changed over the last (weeks/months/years). What new questions do you have?
Hi (name)! How goes the house hunting? What types of properties are catching your eye from the ones I’m sending you?
Hey (name), I’m checking in to see how you’re feeling with your home search. Have any of your priorities changed or would you like to look in a new area?
Leads Partnered with an Agent
Hey (name)! Checking in regarding the journey of finding your new home. Is the process going well or are you having any struggles?
Leads Who Don’t Open Emails
Hi (name), I am making sure that I haven’t dropped the communication ball and that you’re still getting my emails. Is there a new address that I should be sending property listings to?
Leads Who Do Open Emails
Hey (name)! Checking in to see which of the property listings that I’ve been sending are seeming to be up your alley. When is a good time to go look at your top interests?
Hey (name)! I was thinking about your budget and there are some great options out there in the price range that you’re currently paying. If we could find you a place within (x-y dollars a month), would you want to take a look at it?
Hi (name), The market has been changing so much every month. Are you planning on buying within the next 1-2 years or more in the 5+ range?
Real estate isn’t about getting “lucky,” even though it might seem like that if you are watching every other agent out there buy and sell like there’s no tomorrow. Do the work to put yourself into the right seat so that the “luck” can fall into your lap (when really, you know you’ve worked to get yourself there.)
Imagine each lead as a pipeline to more and more business. Real estate is also about word of mouth, so when you can sign with a client and give them an incredibly easy, positive, feel-good experience, they will tout your praises all over town. People need to trust their real estate agent with their old home, their new home, and a very large sum of money either way, so the trust of a friend or family member’s word is an important asset.
Treat each conversation as if they were your only deal possible at that time. You never know what the ripple effects of the one right lead will be.
Implementing the ideas in this article will help you to create relationships that will turn leads into closing, potential into profits, year after year. You will also be able to keep yourself from becoming over tasked and burnt out, so that all your time and investment into creating a successful real estate business is not wasted, but instead, brings more value to your life and the lives in your community.