Why is the follow-up important? What we have to acknowledge is that in real estate, buyers are on an especially intricate and difficult journey. Even for ‘experienced’ home buyers, the whole process is wrought with stressors – to say that buyers are cautious is an understatement.
The reality is that THE golden rule for buyers is to never make a rushed decision. If it doesn’t feel right, take a day or two to think about it – especially on a major purchase like a home.
THIS is the situation which separates the wheat from the chaff. While some salespeople think you need to close ASAP, and apply ‘strategic pressure’ to close, the smart salesperson is playing the long game. Sometimes you have to let them walk out the door and put your faith in your follow-up game.
But why is the follow-up important? Because a follow-up is where you are significantly more likely to close a deal where the buyers will recommend you to friends. Why? Because buyers value salespeople who aren’t just out to close a commission, and who are willing to let them think on it. It matters to them.
But it isn’t just for them. Believe it or not, it’s actually helping your conversion as well. How’s that? Because the majority of sales require FIVE follow ups (1,2,3,4 and 5!).
It doesn’t just stop there. The sales game is won by persistence, not by a quick close. How certain is this?
- 44% stop following-up after one rejection
- 22% stop following-up after two rejections
- 14% stop following-up after three
- 12% stop following-up after four
92% (NINETY-TWO!!!) of sales reps are giving up before the crucial fifth follow-up. What that means is that the 8% of sales reps gutting it out to the fifth pitch are closing 80% of sales. The rest are going home with bruised egos and smaller commission checks because they couldn’t take rejection.
To sell, you need to handle rejection like a pro. And a rejection on a follow-up stings a lot less because you’re anticipating the push back.
REMEMBER: Your first contact should only be 5 to 10 minutes MAXIMUM. Going past that, let them go and make arrangements for a follow-up by email or phone call.
Let Your SMARKETING Do The Pitching
If you’re running a tight harmony between sales and marketing, you should be pointing the potential sale to your marketing materials after scheduling a follow-up. Tell them to look at it at their own pace, and the follow-up can be to address any potential questions.
The trick is, if you’ve got marketing materials designed using common objections and push-backs in mind, your marketing materials are actually getting the potential buyer closer to yes. It’s a great ‘half pitch’ which will not faze a genuinely interested buyer, but is enough of a pitch that they’ll let you know right away when you follow up. It’ll either warm your lead, or turn them cold.
You’ll either get a receptive potential buyer, or a quick and reasoned rejection. From there you can either elect to make another attempt from a different angle, or move on feeling confident that there’s no path to yes.
The Effective Follow-Up: Phone or Email?
This is a dilemma for most reps: do I make the phone call, or do I email? Well, that depends on how much time you have. If you want to go the email route, you need to be willing to follow up frequently, and factor in potential delays in actually getting to talk to the person you need to talk to.
Realistically, you want to start by calling. It simply allows you much more control over how quickly you can get to the connect stage versus email. Emails require a lot of maintenance trying to secure a future chat, and you have no way of verifying whether anybody actually reads your emails. You can convey more in one confident voicemail (or phone chat) than you can in a dozen expertly crafted emails.
Put your best efforts into trying to get them on the phone, but don’t neglect your email game either. Get them on to your automated smarketing-inspired email list and send them some information, then use it a reason to follow up.
Pro Tip: 48 hours between contacts. If you’ve had no luck after two attempts, send a ‘break up’ email as a last contact thanking them for their time and saying you don’t want to bother them if they don’t have the time. It may sound cliché, but it is actually the email which often gets the most responses.
This is a time-consuming and intricate process – even more so when trying to sell a house. The fact is that you’re going to get MAYBE one first attempt sale in your life, and while it will be the easiest commission you’ll ever make, you’ll learn exactly NOTHING from the process. The people with all of the wisdom in real estate sales are the 8% of sales people who gut out as many as FOUR separate rejections to get to yes.
The reason they succeed is that they recognize the importance of not only persistence but in learning what each rejection means. Realistically, if you have a strong smarketing game, an effective email strategy, and – MOST importantly – an effective CRM (you’re logging a lot of contacts, and knowing what happens along a potential sales’ buying journey is ESSENTIAL so you can craft your next follow-up), then you’ve got everything you need to gut it out to that all important fifth follow-up.
The reality is that selling a house is the biggest decision most people will make. If you think you’re going to sell that house on the first shot, you’re mistaken. The follow-up is where the majority of sales are closed.