We’ve all done it: forgotten to follow up with a client, only to find out that they bought from another agent. The first time it happened to me, I was absolutely heartbroken at the lost commission and time. But that didn’t stop me from doing it again. In fact, it took me some time to figure out how to master follow-ups.
Over the years, I’ve come up with five key practices for making my follow-ups count:
1. Never say that you’re “just following up.”
Whenever you reach out to a lead, have something to offer beyond your contact information—for example, information about local schools, new statistics on sales, or a listing they might not know about. Give the lead a reason to value your communications right from the start and throughout your correspondence.
2. Ask a question.
Show interest and a desire to help. You might worry that questions will sound nosy or intrusive—but they won’t, if you ask them in the right way. Open-ended questions like, “Can you tell me the reason that you’re focused on this neighborhood?” and “Can you tell me what your ideal property would look like?” will give you crucial information. They can also create an emotional connection with your client. And how can you serve your clients if you don’t understand their needs?
3. Keep emails short.
You have a lot to say—but don’t. Nobody has the time to read long emails, so keep them to a few sentences. Longer communications can be handled in a phone call or meeting.
4. Write compelling subject lines.
Subject lines usually determine whether someone will—or won’t—read your email. Read a few online tutorials about how to write a good subject line, and craft accordingly. One successful strategy I use is to make my subject line into an invitation: for example, You’re Invited to Tour my New Listing.
5. Do it again—and again.
Even if you don’t hear back. Don’t assume that your email is unwelcome or that your lead doesn’t want to work with you; just follow up until they tell you to stop. Most people won’t reply after the first email, or even the fourth. On average, plan to follow up 5 to 12 times. (And use a system like FollowUp.cc to do so!)
Remember, following up can make the difference between gaining or losing a client and making or losing a sale. It may seem like a small gesture, but it’s anything but. Build it into your sales process so that it’s simply a given (again, apps like FollowUp.cc can help immensely there), and do it with the knowledge that your success often depends on it.
*Original article has been updated.
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by Suzanne Cohen