There’s a running joke in real estate that everyone waits to do anything until after the holidays. 

Unfortunately, one mistake I see most real estate agents make is they don’t have a plan for reaching out to those who said, “Call me after New Year’s. Call me in January. I’m too busy right now with my family in the holiday season.” 

So, I’m going to break down the game plan for reaching out to that group of people and having conversations with them, so you can be their agent of choice. 

Four point plan

Take notes—because this four-point plan doesn’t just apply to the month of January, it applies to every single month of the year. People always tell you to call them back at a certain time. 

#1—Identify Your Prospects

The first part of your four-point game plan is to identify the people you need to call. You should have them labeled or tagged with a follow-up task set in your CRM

If these are the hottest prospects, these are the ones that said, I’m ready to do something, just not right now,” you’ve got to have an easy way to identify them. 

One of the things we do with our team is we put a tag on these consumers in our CRM called “2024 Opportunity.”

I can literally click on that tag and see everyone who said, “Hey, I’m thinking about making a move in 2024.” I see when the last time I communicated with them was, and I’ve got a call sheet ready to go. 

Whatever CRM you’re using, you want to have the right statuses, the right follow-up task set, and actually follow through and use them. From there, go through the list to review your notes, and determine who are the hottest leads—the ones you should prioritize calling first. 

We know that the 9:00 to 11:00 am and the 3:00 to 6:00 pm time blocks, according to the Harvard Business Review, are the best times to make phone calls. By identifying those people easily, you can make the most of those time blocks. I’m a big believer in 100 dials a day, so I want to ensure I’m not wasting any time looking through old contacts to determine who to call. 

#2—Craft a Value-Based Script

Once you’ve identified who to call and you’ve set the follow-up tasks, it’s time to get clear on what you’re going to say to them. How are you introducing yourself? 

Here’s what you don’t want to say

“Hey, remember when you told me to call you on January 3rd because you’d be ready to buy a home, then? Well, here I am.”

You want to avoid these generic approaches when reaching out. Instead, lead with value and get the conversation by asking questions and empathizing with their real estate needs. 

Here’s an example script you can use:

“Hey, Tim, it’s Tom Toole here with RE/MAX. I’m following up with you as promised. I’m not sure if you saw, but rates have come down to 6.25% since we last spoke back in November. And, just out of curiosity, would that impact your real estate plans for 2024?” 

Remember the Phil Jones OFQ method?

  • Opening: “Hey, Tim, it’s Tom Toole here with RE/MAX. I’m following up with you as promised.
  • Fact: “I’m not sure if you saw, but rates have come down to 6.25% since we last spoke back in November.” (Obviously, make sure the rate you quote is accurate.)
  • Question: “And, just out of curiosity, would that impact your real estate plans for 2024?

Your fact needs to be something that’s relevant to the person you’re calling. Because when you follow up just to follow up, that’s not going to resonate, especially with today’s consumers.

Instead, choose something that will get them talking about their real estate plans. There are plenty of directions you could take with this to get the conversation started:

  • “Inventory is up.”
  • “Mortgage rates are down to ___%”
  • “Here’s the outlook…”
  • “The most savvy home buyers/sellers get ahead of the market and start planning now, instead of waiting until the spring.”

Once you know what to say to get the conversation started, move on to requalifying them. Ask them questions like “What are you looking for?” and “When are you planning on moving?” Get a feel for where they are in the process, and speak to that. 

Keep the conversation focused on them and their needs. 

Now you’ve got the list of people you’re going to call, and you know what you’re going to say, make sure you have your script prepared. 

And keep it visual—right in front of you when you’re making all these calls. I still keep my scripts where I can see them, and I’ve been doing this for 20-plus years.

#3—Set Appointments and Follow Up

If you have a conversation, and you set an appointment, beautiful! That’s the game plan here. That’s what we’re looking to do—get an appointment. That’s the only goal. 

With that in mind, there are going to be some people you don’t talk to. There are going to be some people that aren’t quite ready yet. 

So what are you doing to follow up with them? There are a couple of options here. 

Option #1—Send a daily mortgage rate quote

One is for the people you don’t talk to—let’s keep it around the rates conversation. Maybe you send them the daily mortgage rate quote from the lender that you work with saying— 

“Hey, I’m not sure if you saw this. I left a message earlier. Here’s where rates are coming in today. Would these lower rates impact your real estate plans for 2024?” 

Send it as an email. Use one of the bulk email features or a bulk text feature in your CRM. Attach the chart or graph to make the news visual for the people you’re sending this to. That way you’re creating a reaction.

That’s what text messages and emails will do. They create reactions, and maybe that gets their attention so you can schedule a time to talk to these folks later. 

Option #2—Send a handwritten note

Another option—a little old school, and this is especially for home sellers—is to send them a handwritten note instead of getting them on the phone. I’ve done this for decades, and anytime I walk into the house, and I see the handwritten note sitting on the dining room table when I’m going to meet with them, I know I’m in really good shape. 

You can also send a video after you speak to someone who’s not yet ready to move. 

“Hey, Nick, appreciate the time. I know you’re in the process of getting your job situated right now and getting a promotion. Hopefully, that gets wrapped up in the interview process towards the end of the month. I’ll give you a call back then as promised, and if you need anything in the meantime, feel free to reach out, and I’ll keep you updated on what’s going on in the market.”

Simple stuff. Video, handwritten notes, or for the people you don’t talk to, that mass value-based email or text. Use the bulk features in your CRM.

#4—Schedule Intentional follow-up

Here’s the thing most people forget to do: Set an intentional follow-up for you to call them back. 

Put this in your CRM, and put the right tag in there. Do all the things we just talked about, because when you have intentional follow-up, and if someone tells you to call them in a month, if you’re like me, you’re going to call them in two weeks just to make sure you stay top of mind.

That’s your four-point plan to engage the people who said, “Call me after New Year’s. Call me in January.” Because if you don’t have a plan and you’re just trying to figure it out as you go, you’re not going to be efficient, and you’re not going to be effective. 

Time is valuable, and the more planning you do, the more efficient you can be during that high lead generation time. 

This is why we see the best agents, the most hardworking agents, the hustling agents, take advantage of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday morning, Sunday morning. 

Now, go implement.