If you have been in business for any significant period of time, you probably have a pile of old leads you are ready to dismiss. However, don’t be to hasty. Some of those contacts could be great leads at the moment, or down the road. One of the biggest misconceptions among new investors is that deals will just fall on their laps. In reality, you need to work to get the properties you want. In most cases, you need to speak with a new lead up to a half a dozen times before they commit to work with you. Instead of quickly moving on to the next lead, take a look at your old leads first. You may be surprised at what you find. To get the most out of your existing database, there are 4 key steps that you should take:
1. The all-important first contact: The very first time that you speak with a new lead, you need to get as much information as possible. If you are in the car or unable to write things down, you should not take the call. You really need to make sure you are ready to retain information coming your way. The first phone call is the feeling out stage when the seller is looking to get to know you and you need to find out what their intentions are. It is a good idea to have a template or script of questions you want answered. Knowing what they want and how they want it will give you something to revert back to in every subsequent conversation. On your first call, you need to get all different means and methods of contacting them. It is important to get an email address, in addition to a cell or home phone number. If you can’t reach them, all the information you obtain is essentially useless. The more information you can get, the more you will to talk about every time you follow up.
2. Stay organized: Every new lead you get you should have some system in place for following up. This can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet or as complex as having a virtual assistant. Whatever your system is, you need to put all the information you have somewhere as soon as possible. From there, you should make a plan as to when you are going to reach out to them. You don’t want to wait too long, but you also don’t want to call an hour after you speak the first time either. Give it at least 24 hours, but have something to say when you call back. One of the secrets to converting leads to deals is to put their feet to the fire. Ask them when you can see their house. Find out their bottom line price for selling. If they can’t answer, ask for a firm date in which they can. Converting old leads is largely about how organized you are and often you follow up.
3. How you respond: Sometimes there can be a product that greatly appeals to you, but how the message is delivered may have convinced you not to buy it. Homeowners who are in default and facing foreclosure need to take some kind of action. In the right circumstances, this means selling their property. Just because they need to sell doesn’t mean they are going to sell to you. By calling and leaving voice mails every other day – telling them they need to sell to you immediately – probably won’t get the deal. You do need to create urgency, but there is a right way to do it. Start by being mindful of what your seller is going through. They may be looking at one of the biggest financial decisions they have ever had. It is not unreasonable to give them a few extra days to think it through. Time is money in real estate, but you need to get the deal first. Personality can make all the difference in how many deals you get. How you respond and the tone you take in following up can put you at the top of the list if they decide to sell.
4. Don’t stop until you hit seven: There was a study that said that most contacts aren’t made until the seventh attempt to reach out to someone. If you are having trouble converting leads, ask yourself how many times you reached out to them. The most common answer is two, maybe three before you give up and move onto the next one. That leaves three or four opportunities that you are not giving yourself to close a deal. You never know the impact your messages are having. There are plenty of instances of deals that are gained because a homeowner looked at a business card the fifth time they received it. It only takes a few minutes to type up an email or to leave a voicemail. You may not think the impact is being felt, but you never know how many times they may have wanted to call or contact you back. Before you commit to any mailing or lead generation you should prepare to follow up seven times or until you get an answer.
Very few deals are gained from the first or second attempt. This means that you need to accept the fact that you need to follow up. How successful you are in following up can give you the few extra deals a year that will push you over the top. Before you give up on your old leads, give them another try.