There are a lot of frustrated buyers right now. Some are fed up because their offers keep getting beaten by cash buyers. Others feel like their agents are leaving them in the dark. No matter what’s happening in your market, it’s critical to follow up with your buyers just as much as you do with your sellers.
Let’s say you’ve got a long list of buyers, and you’re wondering how you’re going to keep in touch with all of them. You know you need to stay in front of these buyers so your list doesn’t shrink from 25 to two, but you’re not sure which strategies to focus on.
Last week, Byron Lazine and Tom Toole hosted a webinar on the best follow up strategy for real estate agents in 2023. Here, we’ll focus on the best follow up strategy for buyers.
We know you’ve only got so much time to do it all. So, how do you give your buyers the follow up they deserve—and have probably learned not to expect from most real estate agents?
In the webinar, Byron and Tom presented five key strategies for follow up with buyers. Because it’s not enough to get them under contract or to send them listings they can find themselves.
They need you to deliver value they can’t find on their own—or don’t know where to look for it.
Buyer follow up is challenging right now. Buyers are getting beat up. They’re losing out on multiple offers. And one of the core principles every agent should have right now is ‘Stay positive, and keep everyone moving forward.’
Your ability to do that—to stay positive and keep everyone moving forward even after losing out on the third or fourth home—is critical, especially in a market like this one.
So, how do you do that?
#1 — Be proactive with the property drips
You can, and you should, have every one of your buyers on a real-time instant property drip. But that’s not where your value lies.
Tom suggests, as your number one step, keeping your hottest buyers—the ones closest to transacting—on a one-page “top prospects sheet.” And this is a sheet you’ll want to keep visual in your workspace.
You’ll also want to take a copy of this sheet with you everywhere you go. So, when you’re in the car driving around, you’re able to call these people and stay in touch with them.
You need to be proactive with the property drip and work on expanding each buyer’s search. Check out the adjacent township or school district or municipality. See what they have that your buyer might be interested in. At the very least, it’ll give them more options, and they’ll feel more hopeful about what’s coming to the market.
Then, as soon as you see a property that meets the most important criteria—even if it’s a six or seven out of ten—pick up the phone and have a conversation with them.
“Hey, [Buyer’s Name], I saw this property that could be a great fit for you and [Spouse’s Name]. I’m not sure it’s for you, but here are all the features it does have. Do you want to take a look?”
Experience the search with them. Sometimes people don’t really know what they want because they don’t know enough about what’s out there.
So, that script, “I’m not sure this is for you, but…” takes the pressure out of it. You’re acknowledging you heard them, and you’re also getting them out in the field. Because the more homes you show, the more offers you’re going to write.
#2 — Ask direct questions to get conversations started
The next important strategy is to ask direct questions:
- “Did you see this one yet?”
- “Are you still planning to buy this spring?”
- “Do you want to take a look?”
Depending on their answer, you now know how to categorize them in your database. You know how to prioritize that buyer based on their response.
Don’t be afraid to be direct in your questions. And never be offended by someone not responding. They’re busy. Your job is not to make assumptions about their silence. Your job is to be obsessed with helping people in your community.
Great buyer agents don’t wait for their buyers to follow up with them and say, ‘Can you set this showing up for me?’ I promise you you’ll be extinct in two years because they’re gonna be able to set their own showings on Zillow within the next 24 months.
Search tools do not replace follow up. In other words, you can’t expect the MLS drip to do all your work for you. When you see a property you think might be good for them, hit their email or their text. And then give them a call.
“Hey, [Buyer], this one just hit your text. Did you see it yet?’
Get a yes or no. And get the conversation going.
Tom presented a statistic from someone who does Google advertising for his team.
It’s been inside the CRM of a lot of major teams around the country that when a lead inbounds, you want to call them ten times and text them six times in the first 14 days. Statistically, that will jump your conversion.
Ultimately, those buyers who are ready to transact will text more than they call, and it makes sense. When they’re at that stage, you’ve got to transition them to texting because it’s more convenient and it’s conversational. You text with people that you have a relationship with.
#3 — Monitor changes in rates and monthly payments
The next strategy is being the rate monitor or the monthly payment monitor. By that, we mean tracking the changes in mortgage rates on a daily basis—and calculating the difference in your buyer’s monthly payment from one rate to another.
The conversation you start with them might go something like this:
“Hey [Buyer’s Name], It’s Tom here with RE/MAX. I’m following up with you as promised. I’m not sure if you’ve seen it, but rates are starting to stabilize in the low 6% range. Are you still thinking about making a move, and has this affordability change caused you to re-evaluate your goals?”
Or, if you know they’re particularly interested in saving money on their monthly payment, you can present it this way:
”Hey, did you know with the new rates that your monthly payment is down over $200 a month. Does that make a difference for you?”
There’s another direct question. And once you have their answer, you can either set up a showing or find another way to deliver something of value to them—something for them to think about.
#4 — Use the “Coming Soon” approach
Another genius follow up strategy is the “Coming soon” approach. Here’s an example:
“These are the 15 unlisted homes in the market. And they’re going live tomorrow.”
Now you’ve given them a head start, which is an advantage they probably would not have had without your vigilance and your obsession with delivering value.
You can also refine your results by focusing on homes that meet the buyer’s needs and preferences.
“Out of the 15 homes that are unlisted and are going live before the end of the week, here are the three that have features that fit your search criteria. Would you like me to send them to you?”
Jimmy Mackin, the CEO of Curaytor, provided an example of an email subject line he’s used: “29 new homes are just about to hit the market.”
Inside the email, you can include a brief description of each home, plus a personal message regarding the smaller subset of homes that meet the buyer’s search criteria.
Use the “coming soon” feature, along with direct questions, to have more conversations.
#5 – Send a screenshot of a headline (not a link)
Finally, Byron explained a strategy his Real Word co-host and fellow agent Nicole White used that got him to consider a town he hadn’t even thought of—two towns over on the Connecticut shoreline.
She sends me a screenshot of an article that says, ‘Whole Foods is coming to Old Saybrook.’ Immediately, I contacted Nicole and said, ‘Find me a house in Saybrook. I want it to be downtown, I want to be on Main Street, I want to be walking to the shops and restaurants.’
I know what property values do when a Whole Foods comes in. That literally was the moment where I was like, ‘Get me in that town!’ …And within a week, boom, I went under contract on a house in a town I wasn’t even considering prior.
As it happened, that town also had lower taxes, but that wasn’t even on his radar at the time. He was thinking more in terms of the location’s convenience to a particular golf course—and the benefits of a Whole Foods coming to town. He knew that would drive property values up.
One thing he recommends is sending a screenshot of the headline—as Nicole did—and not the article link. You want the buyer to call you about that headline, not to click on the link and engage with whatever news rag it came from.
Finally, as Tom points out, the biggest mistake you can make in follow up is not identifying those most motivated to transact—or not knowing anything about them. You can’t build a relationship without understanding where they are in the process or what’s important to them.
That’s where these conversations come in. And your mission is to have as many as you possibly can—especially this quarter.
This webinar on follow up strategy for 2023 was brought to you by Virtudesk, which also sponsors the Knowledge Brokers Podcast, hosted by Byron Lazine, Tom Toole, and Lisa Chinatti—which airs every Friday.