Prospecting. Avoiding the “Forgotten Follow-Up”
Well lets start off by saying that there is absolutely no point prospecting if you forget to follow-up with an interested person. I know at one time or other we are all guilty of the “forgotten follow-up”. It happens innocently enough. You meet a person at an open house. They are interested in looking at a house a couple of streets over so you jot down their name and number and promise to follow up. They tell you that they are out-of-town for a few days and ask you to touch base the following weekend. The note gets scribbled on a piece of paper somewhere and is forgotten. The next weekend passes but you’re tired and don’t feel like calling today. The next day, your cat has kittens so you promise yourself that you will call the next day. The next day comes and goes. Eventually you sit down and call the guy and the call goes something like this;
Ring ring… Hi this is Mark, we met at my open house a few weeks ago. I know you were interested in that house a few blocks over and I just wanted to touch base to see if you want to see it. Oh, I see, you called the agent directly? Oh, well, I knew you were away and ummm, and then my cat had kittens and ummmm…. Oh, you bought it? Wow, ok. Well, um, hopefully we can stay in touch. Click.
What’s that sound? That’s the sound of my stomach going thud! But there is an even more disturbing potential ending. That involves you forgetting to call altogether OR postponing it to the point where you are now too embarrassed to call. It never fails however…you will bump into that person later and there will be a very awkward moment to contend with. You see, our job is to always be prospecting. There are some interesting statistics out there on how many calls you have to make with a potential prospect before they become a solid client. I have heard that number is as high as eight calls to convert a perfect stranger you met at an open house into a buyer (or seller). I’m not sure I am terribly surprised.
Contact with your sphere, whether it is past ,current of future clients, should be a priority in your life. Luckily there are a number of tools available today to make this task easier. Have you heard the term CRM? It stands for Customer Relationship Management. A fancy buzzword for staying in touch. There are a number of different companies that offer versions perfectly suited for the real estate industry. Top Producer and iXact are just two and there are a bunch more. If you are so inclined you may just decide to plug names into your phone’s daytimer or use your Outlook. Like everything, it takes time to make the action of adding names to your database a habit.
My top agent would be lost without her CRM system. Every morning it alerts her to call 5 past clients. These are simply catch up calls to say hi and stay in the client’s head or maybe it’s to wish them a Happy Birthday. Then it’s on to new business and touching base with new clients. There is no question that a CRM system is an invaluable tool of our trade and to get better, you have to use it. As a runner, I firmly believe in my heart rate monitor. It keeps me going. I know when to speed up and when to slow down. Ultimately it keeps me training at a constant level and I can monitor my performance more accurately.
That’s it for this week.