It is rare that a sale is made after an initial contact with a prospect, especially for any large ticket item or service such as real estate. Customers buy on their schedule and it is the job of the agent to stay in touch with the prospect during the sales cycle. Here are some ways to maintain contact throughout what can be a long sales process.
Make sure your message has value for the prospect
One of the keys to successful follow up is making sure your message in the follow up has value. A contact, by phone, letter or visit that conveys “have you decided yet” is often intrusive to the prospect and seldom successful. A better message conveys “appreciation for your interest, responding to any questions or your interest in the prospect’s success” is better received.
The telephone is often the most common tool used to stay in touch with a prospect. It can also be one of the most frustrating tools to use as well. Often the prospect is unavailable or busy. In either case, you should be prepared. If you do connect with the prospect, express your appreciation for his/her time and deliver your message clearly. Which of the following seems better:
“Hello, Mrs. Jones. I was calling to follow up on your request for information regarding the home in Your Town.”
“Good morning, Mrs. Jones. Thank you for taking my call. How are you today? (Acknowledge their response with words such as Great, Fantastic, etc. I would like to talk with you about a couple of new listings that just cam on the market this morning. Or, I would like to talk with you about a great loan package my lender just told me about.
Voice mail after you have made 3 attempts to call
You must also be prepared to leave a message (especially with voice mail) that conveys the same impression. Consider the following: “Good morning Mrs. Jones. I am sorry we are unable to speak directly. I wanted to make sure that you are receiving my emails with information about the new listings that just came on the market this morning. The two story home has (feature they are looking for)! Please give me a call today at 800-555-0000 so that we can schedule a time to see what could be your new home. If we don’t connect, please leave a message indicating when would be the most convenient time for me to phone you. Thank you and have a great day.”
Using electronic communication can be efficient and effective. By its nature, it conveys a sense of speed and urgency. It also has become the communication method of choice of many busy people. While e-mail tends to be less formal than the ordinary mail, make sure your e-mails are grammatically correct and conform to some “e-mail etiquette standards.” That means complete sentences, avoiding unneeded capital letters and avoiding using too much bold type. Also make sure to include information on how to contact you.
Be sure your e-mail message adds value
Using a hyperlink to additional information on your product makes it convenient for the prospect to learn more. You may also want to include links to some other part of the Internet where you have found something that may be of interest to the prospect. For instance, if you read some industry publications, you may want to send an e-mail with a link to an article that your prospect would find valuable.
The written word still has a place in our electronic world. Sending a short handwritten note thanking a prospect for a meeting shows your manners and conveys a sense of personal commitment to the prospect. You can also use the mail to show you are thinking of the prospect by sending materials in a “for your information” form. Many successful sales people scour publications to find articles that would be of interest to their prospects. A copy of the article and a short hand written note (maybe on the back of your business card) will remind the prospect of your continuing interest in helping them address their important issues.
Staying in touch with prospects and leads is critical. Maintaining contact can take many forms and will usually be more effective when it is consistent. Developing a system that includes several of these ideas and then following that system can make the process easier and more productive.
Make a Commitment: I will begin working on my follow up immediately!