Communication will always be crucial to success in real estate, and these days the number of choices to conduct conversations is more than ever: email, text, online chat, and video calls just to name a few; and oh – don’t forget the old, trusty phone. While each of these methods is useful and effective, the truth is that phone calls still help you find the most success in our business.
Whatever methods of communication you use, the most important thing to remember about communication is staying on top of it. More specifically, it is imperative to consistently follow up with clients or prospective clients on a regular basis. While it can become easy to let communication slip while you continue to pursue additional opportunities, you definitely do not want to develop a reputation for not following up. Avoid this risk with some simple, tried-and-true tips for following up successfully …
Schedule Calls and Block Time
Everyone is busy. And so oftentimes, following up comes down to making the time for it. The best way to do so is to schedule a follow-up during the actual first call or point of contact. It’s the professional and polite thing to do. To truly have success here you’ll need to ensure you block your calendar for these follow-ups, not prioritizing anything else over the call. Also, be prepared to leave a brief message if it turns out they’re unavailable at the appointed time.
Be Prepared and Knowledgeable
It’s easy to tell when someone isn’t prepared, and that’s the last impression you want to give during a follow-up. In fact, being unprepared means you’ve just wasted everyone’s time. So take some time to get ready for your call. Thanks to the power of the internet, it’s easier than ever to get some surface-level background info on a prospect to better understand their experiences and interests. This info should be more than enough to get a natural, positive, and productive conversation going.
Ask Questions and Follow-Up Questions that Get Answers
Asking “yes” and “no” questions is an easy trap to fall into. Questions such as, “Do you like ranch-style homes?” might seem like good conversation starters, but they’re not. The truth is they make it easy for the conversation to sputter out, and can communicate the lack the insights you really need to turn the prospect into a client. Rambling or leading questions will net the same results – not much – and rambling conversation especially will drag a conversation out longer than necessary. As you see, it’s important to have thoughtful, focused questions, and just as important to have questions that lead to good follow-up questions.
Keep the Conversation Balanced
All good conversations have an element of give-and-take; it’s important they aren’t lopsided, where you’re the one doing all the talking. If you find yourself in that situation, it’s likely that the conversation won’t be successful. Be sure to take the time to listen, and not only listen, but truly understand what the other party needs or is interested in. This will help you identify more exactly how you can help solve their problem and provide what they truly need from a real estate agent.
Clarify Answers by Repeating Them Back to the Client in Your Own Words
Do you ever wonder why your server at a restaurant repeats your order back to you? Simple: it’s how they ensure they get your order correct. This same technique is a must when following up with your prospective clients. Even the best listeners can mishear or misunderstand something. So, if you’re concerned you’ve misunderstood something your client says, try repeating the answer back to them and allow them to clarify. This will help minimize unnecessary confusion and potential complications down the road.
As we mentioned earlier, there are more ways than ever to communicate. This is primarily due to the digital world we live and work in, and the growing number of different apps and services at our disposal only increases our communication options. Because of this, it’s important to have a broad range of knowledge about the latest technology and services. This is important because people tend to feel more comfortable when you meet them where they are, and communicate in the way they prefer. So take the time to learn new technology – you’d hate to lose out on business because you weren’t sure how to use an app or other communication service.
Follow-Up with a Recap Email
It’s not a true follow-up call without a follow-up email. So take good notes during your call, and identify the highlights from the conversation, marking any items that require further action on your part or theirs. Then compile those items into an organized follow-up email. This will not only serve as an accurate record of the conversation for future reference, but it also provides another opportunity to thank them for their time, and lets them know you’re serious about your commitment to their business.
Practice Makes Perfect
Improving your follow-up call technique simply takes practice. Along the way, recognize your strengths, but also be honest with yourself about areas of needed improvement. That said, we believe these eight steps are a perfect starting point for not only improving your follow-up but your overall communication skills as well. Perhaps now more than ever, these skills are absolutely vital to maximizing your potential for success.