Working On Old Leads: Mastering The Follow Up

Being a successful real estate investor is often more about knowing how to work the leads you have, rather than how well you understand the business. Education and experience are great qualities to possess, but they won’t do you much good unless you know how to get deals. You will quickly find that leads and deals don’t just fall in your lap. You will need to really work for them. This means establishing how you will approach every new lead that comes your way. More than half of these leads will close with the person that works them the best and knows how and when to follow up.

If you don’t retain all of your incoming leads, you are essentially throwing money away. There are many investors that will judge the success of a new marketing campaign based on the number of calls they receive in the first few days. Getting an initial lead bump is always great, but the true measure of success can’t be judged until you mail your list or implement your strategy multiple times. Less than five percent of all sellers will want to move forward after the initial meeting or phone call. All of the other sellers will need some time to digest what is going on and weigh their options. If you push them to a decision, you will lose out on many quality deals.

The first step in saving deals is to develop a tracking system. Between excel, dropbox, applications and even a composition notebook, there are many different ways to track your leads. We are all busy with things going on in our lives, and especially in our business. It is inevitable that some things will fall through the cracks and be forgotten. Lead retention should not be one of them. Take the time to input information immediately after you hang up the phone – while the information is still fresh in your mind. If you just scribble down information on a napkin, you can bet that you will forget about it as you move on with your day. Every lead is a possible deal or a new contact. If you do not have a system for tracking leads, you need to put one in place immediately.

If a seller needs more time, you should be ready to give it to them. Obviously you would like to get a deal to contract as soon as possible, but this is rarely the case. If they need to wait, you should end your communication on a cordial note and set up a time when you will follow up. Investors will lose deals by taking it personally – don’t let that be you. You build a pipeline by getting people to work with you at various times in the future. If a seller wants to wait till they feel more comfortable, you should embrace their feelings and do everything you can to ensure that they know they are not being harassed. Three, six or nine months down the road will come quicker than you realize.

Regardless if your seller has a definite date in the future or just wants to hold off for now, you need to set up a system for how and when you will follow up. This is the single most important step for gaining deals that may be on the fence. Deals can be easily forgotten and one week will turn into a month that will turn into two and the next thing you know they are working with someone else. All the follow up takes is a quick text, email or phone call asking if they have any questions or if they have a better idea on what they want to do. It could be six months before they realize their situation and are ready to act. You may have reached out to them first, but if your communication was months ago they will probably forget about you and work with the last investor to call them.

Chasing deals and follow up can be frustrating at times, but it is an essential part of the investing business. What you will find is that closing old deals is about doing the little things that can make all the difference. A 30 second voice mail that merits no response is still having an impact. You are keeping your name and business fresh on the seller’s mind. When they are ready to act, they will think of you. Whatever follow up method you implore, you shouldn’t give up until you hear back from the seller with a definite answer. Getting a deal that you gave up on months ago is like finding gold, and there is a lot of gold out there for those investors who know how to follow up with old deals.