Should You Follow Up on Email Leads

Should go without saying, and I know if your reading this you’re saying to yourself I do. Really?
On occasion one of our clients will change some information on our idx solution… an e-mail address, a phone number, a website domain, etc. When that happens I always take a peek at the maillog file that shows what emails requests they have received. After all I want to make sure their getting leads, otherwise when it comes time for renewal they might just cancel.
So I’m doing that today and in this clients log is this:

I am interested in looking at the home located at (address eradicated for confidentiality reasons).  I have contacted other realtors about looking at this home, but have not heard back from them.  You were recommended to me by some friends who you sold a house to a few years ago.  I am just looking right now, and this house peaked my interest.

Wow… I could do a whole day training session on the implications of the content of that email.

  • Contacted other realtors about this home.
  • Those realtors haven’t responded.
  • Recommended by friends (seems it at least real enough that their talking to friends).
  • Just looking right now. (should you respond or blow it off)
  • This house peaked my interest. ( a blueprint for a buying criteria)

First off, seems like a bonafide lead to me. Perhaps not for that particular home, but some home. I did a stint for quite a while helping auto dealers with their sales training and I’d hear this a lot from managers. “We got buyers coming on the lot all the time, the problem is they can’t find a salesman.” Meaning, most auto sales people are taught how to meet and greet and then the salesmanship stops there. It’s not that they weren’t met by a salesman on the lot, it’s just the salesman doesn’t know what to do after introducing themselves.
Is your follow up weak or so stupid you should be honored in your office as the chump of the month.
I’ll never forget when I first started offering our IDX real estate solutions to agents. I had a good friend who had just started a brokerage office. It’s actually how I got interested and started in this business. We put up a fancy site, gave each agent their own lead generating solution and then I tested them. I’ll never forget how Elvis responded (I’ll call him that because he had those huge sideburns like the king and looked a lot like him). I set up some fake email accounts and sent agents leads. Elvis responded back, two weeks later and this is what he said.

I’m sorry, this house went under contract last week.

End of email.
I kid you not.
About 6 months ago I ran a study on those same maillogs to try and gather some statistics. I found that in a six month period, our real estate clients were receiving on average 44 leads, brokerage offices were averaging 112 leads per office.

Two very good reasons you should follow up fast and often.

What I also found out was that the same people (based on email addresses submitted) were requesting information on different homes from different agents, at different times of the day and different days of the week.
I know the skeptic in you would say that these people were just tire kickers and weren’t in the market because why would they be asking for more information from different agents. Well, the skeptic busting answer is at least two-fold. One, they never received a response from the first agent and had moved on (considering they  never requested info from the first agent after the first request), and two, they were shopping around for an agent just as much as a home. Consider that according to NAR, 90% of all home buyers start their search on the Internet don’t you think it’s entirely likely that their also searching for an agent in which to help them purchase a home.
And if you read the quote up above again, ponder on this part real hard… “I am just looking right now.”
I can see what would go on in the mind of some not so smart agents. “I only want to work with buyers right now, if their not interested now, I don’t have the time.” Well let me ask you this. Are you planning on retiring or getting another job in the next few months? If not, I don’t care if it’s a year before they buy, their a buyer looking for a salesman.
Again, I’ll go back to my friend as an example. He thought he’d try and teach me something and impress me, so in those early days, he thought, I’ll get Rick on a conference call with me and we’ll call that lead in California (were in Colorado), and I’ll show him how “I do it”. I know he actually wanted me to become an agent in his office, so he was taking way more time teaching me things about the intricate part of the business than he should have. Anyway, so he calls this guy, talks for about 25 minutes, asks him about his family, why he’s considering moving to Colorado, and what his time frame was. It turned out to be a year if his daughter got accepted to a nearby college. He said he’d send him a relocation package and he’d stay in-touch. When we got off the phone, he was feeling good about himself, thanking me because this Internet thing is really starting to work, etc. Then he floored me. He said, “now if I can just figure out how to track him for the next year.” Again I kid you not. This guy was selling on average 70 homes a year, was REALTOR of the year just two years prior and he makes a comment like that.
Your timely follow up is crucial. That’s step one, without a doubt. If you’re checking email a couple of times a day, you’re loosing out on possibilities. If you don’t have a cell phone that can receive your emails, then you need to invest in one. Timely follow up is crucial, did I mention that already?
Second, you need to construct a plan of follow up on every IDX lead you receive. It’s always best to try and get the person to talk with you on the phone because let’s face it, that’s where you’ll shine.

What do you do when the lead goes silent?

It’s going to happen for all kinds of reasons, you’ll respond back in a timely manner and nothing, nada, zilch. You spend your time to construct a follow up message in response to the request and nothing.
One tactic is to construct a series of follow up messages that you can send automatically that will attempt to engage the prospect in furthering the dialogue with you. I can help you with that and I can show you how to do it automatically.
Another is to spend the time to create a 3 to 10 page report that outlines your market, what you can and will do for the propsect and send it to them. I can also help you in constructing that message.
Needless to say not all leads will pan out for all kinds of reasons. But let me ask you this. How long do you take to follow up on phone calls? If your a pro, you should consider and attack follow up for email requests with the same veracity as phone calls.

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Posted on by Rick Thomas