6 Thoughts on Successful Lead Follow-up

Are You Aggressive Enough?

Let me throw a thought at you. Your leads gave you their name, their number, email address, contact information for a reason. Be respectful, but be aggressive. They wouldn’t give their name and number if they didn’t want you to follow up.

You know, I’d guess right now if we took all the hundreds of thousands of great customers we have and we totaled up all the leads that you folks have accumulated and held on to and are grooming and, you know, nurturing, etc. you probably have millions and millions of dollars in commission that are waiting to be actually given to somebody that will be aggressive.

We live in a highly competitive world today and it doesn’t matter what business, product or service you have, it could be a hotel, a car wash, or maybe you’re an attorney, doesn’t matter. The more aggressive you are in building the business, the better chance you have. I’ve said this time and time and time again, the biggest challenge we have in real estate today is our industry is attracting all these wonderful people, who often have no business experience and no sales experience. We MUST change this. So the job of the broker, and Mike Ferry, is to help formulate and mold you into a great salesperson.

Well, part of the molding process is having you become a little bit more aggressive. You have a name and number, you met someone at the store or supermarket, a neighbor says their best friend wants to sell their home, and of course we get excited on the spot, naturally, big smile. Name, address, phone number, email address, etc. and we go back to the office, and we have an 18-step drip email campaign follow-up program.

Now you’re not going to like this but this makes no sense whatsoever. In reality, even if you do mail them something every day for 18 days, they don’t read 90% of it. By the time the 18 days is up, they’ve listed with someone else so then we start this email drip campaign in lead follow up, and then on week 9 it says call the person. So, you call them and they’ve forgotten who you are, very common. And they haven’t read your emails, normal. And they say to you, “We’ve already listed, sold and closed. What happened to you?” And of course, we want to be upset, angry, mad because these leads were not any good. But this isn’t accurate.

1. Every Lead is a Good Lead

The truth is, every lead is a good lead and it’s good only if you call them to find out what the motivation of the lead actually is. So, my job when I get a lead is to call the lead ASAP. “Folks, before we have any conversation about getting your home sold, first, may I ask you a couple questions?” Find out where they’re moving to, why they want to move, how soon they want to be there. Find out basic information.

Now here’s what you have to understand, you have a right to ask questions. Salespeople ask questions. Go to the doctor and you say, “I don’t feel good.” They go, “Okay.” No, they ask a lot of questions. Go to an attorney, “I have a problem.” The attorney says, “Okay.” No, they ask a lot of questions. Selling is a system of questions; it’s systematically finding out the need, the desire, and how we can solve the problem of the client. So they gave you their name for a reason, be respectful of course, but be aggressive because they wouldn’t give you their name and number if they didn’t want you to follow up.

2. Discover Their Motivation

Ask your leads for their motivation ASAP. A lack of motivation means you’ll be spending a lot of time for no productive results. Now people like to talk about real estate. It’s a common conversation.

We’ve brought this up before, so you get a lead and you say, “Well, folks, first of all, if I could ever help you get your home sold, I’d love to do it.”

They say, “Well gosh, that’d be great,” and they say to you, “so what do you think the homes are selling for?”

“Well, it looks like they’re selling for $350 to $400 thousand,” you say.

They say, “Wow! Wouldn’t that be fun if we could sell for that much!”

All of a sudden you’re stuck in a conversation that is not leading to what your job description is, listing and selling homes.

Your job is not to be involved in wonderful conversations with people who have no desire to sell.
Some of you say, “Well that’s hardcore.” Well, you are hardcore. You’re a productive, professional salesperson. And a professional salesperson, whether it be for IBM, Xerox, American Airlines, The Marriott Hotel, The Mike Ferry Organization or you, a salesperson’s job is to uncover motivation. If we find out the motivation, bang, then we decide if we can be of help.

3. Score Your Leads. Stop Nurturing. Take Action.

Everyone talks about real estate, not everyone does anything about real estate.

Don’t be caught off guard. Aggressive lead follow up is somewhat like prospecting conversations because it’s a numbers game. Not every lead turns into a commission check, so what I want you to do is this; take a look, honestly, at all the leads you have right now. How many do you have: 4, 5, 3, 9, 10, 27? Put them all on a piece of paper, and then put a scale of 1-10. One being I don’t think they’re ever going to do anything and ten is they’re ripe to go. How many of your leads are an 8, 9 or 10? Because those are the ones you want to follow up on.

Now some of you say, “well I just hold onto leads and I nurture them and I groom them and I kind of work with them and eventually they-” Now folks listen, if the goal is to sell 3 or 5 or 8 homes a year, nurture the leads. If your goal is to take 15, 20, 30, 50 listings a year, you have to be more aggressive in your follow up and you have to go churn through some leads because remember: everyone talks about real estate, not everyone does anything about real estate.

4. Does Your Lead Follow Up System Set You Up For Success?

Question: is my mindset, or my practice, managing leads or going on appointments?

A lot of the salespeople we meet are really leads management people not appointment people. We don’t get paid to manage leads, we get paid to go on appointments, make presentations, get contracts signed and then get those properties sold; that’s what we get paid to do and yet I see people with these wonderful elaborate lead follow up systems. People ask me all the time, “What is the best lead follow up system you can advise me on?”

Here’s my lead follow-up system I’ve been using for over 4 decades. Go out and buy a stack of 3×5 cards, probably 99 cents will buy you 100 of them, and when you get a lead write the name, address, phone number, email address, cell phone on the left side. On the right side, write “b” if it’s a buyer or “s” if it’s a seller and you make a note of that, and then at the bottom you put the date you acquired the lead.

Now here’s the tough part (we’ll see how aggressive you are), next to it write the date you’re willing to throw it away. Now some of you will write down, “I got it 7/15/2018. I’m willing to throw it away on 7/18/2022.” What are you doing? Okay if you’re in that kind of a mindset, aggressive lead follow up makes no sense to you.

Remember: Your job is not to manage leads, your job is to go on appointments. How many of your leads (now I want you to listen carefully) that you presently have, are ready to sign a contract in the next 7-10 days? Think about that. And you can say, “Well I have 10 leads and not one of them is going to sign a contract the next 7-10 days.”

5. Non-salespeople Build Rapport, Professional Salespeople Ask Questions

Let’s do a “be honest.” Do you really have any quality leads? Why do we not aggressively follow up? Because we know they’re not going to do anything, so what’s the point in calling them all the time? Is there anybody within 5 miles of your office that’s going to list or sell their home in 24 hours? Sure there is. Are they going to call you? No, they’re not. Are you going to call them? No, you’re not. And if you do find them, and they want to list their home, shouldn’t you be more aggressive?

The objective in lead follow-up is to set appointments now, not to keep building a rapport. Watch, don’t get mad. We only build rapport when we don’t know what to say. If you don’t know what to say, you have to build rapport. If you know what to say, you can get to the point (which is what a valid, qualified lead wants you to do).

It is like going on a listing presentation, watch folks, they don’t want you to spend 20 minutes telling them how much you love the house, they want to know how much is it going to sell for, how long will it take to sell and what are you going to do to get it sold. That’s what they want to know, and if we’re spending all of our time building rapport, then we’re not getting to the point. Non-salespeople build rapport, professional salespeople ask questions so they can solve problems.

6. Stop Wasting Your Time, Energy and Money

The last point for today: prospecting continually without aggressive lead follow-up is a waste of your time, energy, and therefore, your money.

I’ve seen this so many times:

An agent says, “Mike, I have this stack of lead cards here.”

“Great, what are you doing with them?” I say.

“Well, I’m kind of getting ready to get going to get moving to do something maybe tomorrow, if I have the time, provided nothing comes up.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you know, I’m prospecting a lot so I’m getting more leads…”

Wait a minute if you’re prospecting a lot (which is of course something we all have to do) and you’re not following up, aren’t you wasting your time? Acquiring the lead is only the first step, you have to follow up and you have to do so aggressively.

4 weeks ago we talked about setting a schedule that is productive so you can get more listings. We talked about prospecting/lead generation/conversations. We talked last week about the value of your database, and today we’re talking about taking some of those results and taking action on them with the lead follow-up that you do. I’m excited for you because here we are now only about 10 days away from the fall season starting and we both know kids are back to school the end of August, September the market lights up again, so let’s be prepared for that light up in the market.

I hope a lot of you are watching the Superstar Retreat that you could’ve purchased and probably still can for a very minimal cost. You have about 10 days to watch it and learn what we taught. If you’re having trouble with aggressive lead follow-up, check out the Superstar Retreat. The top-producers we were able to visit with, show just what is possible if you give commit to aggressive lead follow up. Watch it. Review it. Watch it again.

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