Is your follow up game strong enough to keep you busy with clients in 2023—and specifically in the spring market?
The strategy you implement over the next 120 days is going to make or break the growth of your business this year. With Q4 2023 projected to be worse than last year’s Q4, you need to be on point this spring. And a huge part of that is your follow up strategy.
To help you develop one that keeps your pipeline full and your business going strong, 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 sellers.
Three things to keep in mind when it comes to phone calls
A strategy involving one or two phone calls to your seller prospects is not going to cut it. Look at any of the sales guides out there, and they’re fairly consistent in recommending six-plus attempts to reach a potential seller client.
If you’re relying on the first or second call to get things moving, and you’re not trying to build a relationship with each seller on your list, you’re missing the boat when it comes to follow up.
Calling six-plus times—as long as every call brings value to the homeowner you’re calling—is not harassment or being “salesy.” Or it isn’t if you have the right follow up mindset. More on that in a bit.
Here are three things to keep in mind when making calls:
- Be prepared to make six-plus attempts to reach each seller by phone. Converting leads is going to take more follow up in 2023 than it did in the prior two years.
- You need to create an environment favorable to making a lot of phone calls. And you need to be in that environment every single day for a set period of time to execute on your follow up game.
- You’ve got to believe in what you’re saying. Because if you don’t, and you can’t confidently assert the information you’re sharing with them, that will come through to the seller. And they will not trust you.
Now, let’s get right to the best follow up strategy for sellers.
#1 – Have your OFQ down
The first thing you want to do—and this comes from Phil Jones—is to get your OFQ down:
Your opening shouldn’t be a lazy “check-in” with no value for the person you’re calling. If you open with, “Hey, this is [Your Name] from [Your Brokerage], and I’m just checking in to see if you’re interested in selling your home,” just…don’t bother calling. That’s lazy follow up.
The only one you’re helping with a “just checking in” opening is the agent who calls after you and knows how to deliver value every time they reach out to a client or potential client.
A great opening to start your phone call has this formula:
“Hi, [Homeowner’s Name], this is [Your Name] from [Brokerage], following up as promised.”
From there, you’ll dive right into the fact you’ve prepared for them—something they probably don’t know and that most other agents don’t know, either. This is the knowledge you possess because you know your market better than anybody.
What market data are you bringing to the table? What piece of knowledge are you giving them, because if you’re calling to check in, you might as well check yourself out of the listing ‘cause they’re not gonna hire you.
Your fact should be something timely and relevant to the market because your sellers are busy people, and you want to respect their time by bringing them a piece of information they haven’t heard before.
The third part of OFQ is the question. And, if you haven’t already, make sure you ask their permission to follow up and keep them informed on changes in their local market.
#2 — Ask permission and follow up with “as promised”
When you’re talking to a seller, always ask for permission to follow up.
Say, for example, the homeowner on the phone is saying, “Y’know, I’m not really ready to sell right now. I do want to, but I just don’t know when.”
You can respond to that with something like, “Great, [Homeowner Name]. Totally get that. Do you mind if I keep you informed a few times a year about the local market? Would that be okay?” If they give you permission to follow up, you can then ask for their email address.
Always get their email. Then, when you follow up, whether it’s through email or another phone call, you lead off with “as promised.” You made a promise to inform them of the market a few times or half a dozen times a year. And now, you’re performing—you’re keeping that promise.
The number one complaint consumers have about real estate agents is they don’t ever hear from us. Oftentimes, as Patrick Bet David pointed out recently, in a market like this, agents don’t pick up the phone. They’re afraid to. But the best thing you can do right now is call your clients—and potential clients—and acknowledge that fact. Tell them what you’ve noticed.
“Hey, you know what I’m seeing right now in this market is that real estate agents aren’t calling their clients, because this market is challenging, this market is competitive, and this market lacks inventory. And I’m calling today to just see how you’re doing.”
You’re not calling to see if they’re ready to sell their home (with you as their agent). You’re calling to let them know what most agents are doing in today’s market—and what you are willing to do for them to keep them in the loop and make sure they have the information they need.
Acknowledge what the market looks like. Paint the picture of the pain points. And let them know you’re there for them.
This is another example of branding the competition: “The average agent isn’t calling their clients because they’re used to what happened two years ago—which, by the way, put 40% (or 42% or 37%) appreciation on the home that you’re sitting on.”
#3 — Ask, “What’s your opinion on this price?”
The next winning tactic is the Zestimate screenshot, which is exactly what it sounds like. Check out their address on Zillow, and take a screenshot of their home’s Zestimate.
Then send it to your seller in an email with the subject line, “What’s your opinion on this price?”
This could be a text message, too, but in either case, include a message like “Hey, [Seller’s Name], I was thinking about you today and checked your home’s value on Zillow. I have my opinion. Let me know what you think.”
That’s a line that’s being taught right now on the Tom Ferry Roadmap Tour. It was effective five years ago. It was effective eight years ago. Byron used to print this out and use a yellow sticky note and go door-knocking and leave that with the sellers he was visiting.
And just like that, your phone call gets much easier. Because the first thing you can ask is, “Did you get the email/text with the price?” or “Did you see that text with what Zillow said about your house?”
Your tone and inflection are important here: “Hey, did you see what Zillow says your home is worth?” You’re reacting to the Zestimate and implying you have a strong opinion about it. And you’re inviting them to share their own thoughts about it.
As Mike Ferry has said, “Texts and emails create reactions; phone calls create conversations.” You’ve got to follow up and make sure the seller actually cares about the data you sent them.
#4 — Leave a professional voicemail
Not every phone call will lead to a seller picking up the phone. So, when you call sellers, you’ve got to have an intentional voicemail to leave. Tom is a big believer in pre-recorded voicemails, but he doesn’t make them generic “just checking in” messages.
Every voicemail message has to bring value. And it’s got to get their attention right from the start. So, lead with the benefit—not with your name.
“Congratulations! The value of your home just went up! Did you see what your neighbor up the street got for their home?”
From there, you can introduce yourself— “This is [Your Name] from [Your Brokerage]—and continue with something like, “We just listed and sold your neighbor’s property. We had 72 showings, it sold for 8% above the asking price, and we had ten offers. And that means we’ve got nine other people who want to move into your neighborhood…”
You can talk about inventory data—or about interest rates—or any changes that could impact their decision to sell or to stay put a while longer.
You want to leave them with an intentional voicemail that communicates, once again, that you’re there for them in a way the average agent is not.
Leave them with something of value so that when you follow up the next time, they know who you are and they know you’re a knowledge broker.
That said, we can’t stress this enough: always leave a voicemail!
There’s nothing more infuriating than when I get a phone call from a phone number that isn’t saved in my contacts and I don’t get a voicemail, and then I don’t get a text message after. Put yourself in that position. You’re the consumer, and you get a phone call—and no [voicemail] message, and no text message. You automatically put them in the spam bucket. You automatically write them off as a non-professional, non-human entity reaching out to you.
Leave your sellers the kind of message you would want to receive if you were in their place.
Get your head in the game
Greg Schwartz, the founder of TOMO, told Byron that when he goes into calls, he takes a couple of minutes to get into a mindset before making those calls. He asks himself,
- “What message am I going to be delivering on these calls?
- What’s my voicemail going to be?
- What’s my message?
- What information am I trying to articulate?
- And what action am I trying to get the recipient on the other side to take?”
He goes through that practice every time before he’s about to make phone calls. It doesn’t take him more than three to five minutes to go through that process and get his head in the game.
How you prepare yourself for making phone calls to your clients and prospects will have a huge impact on the attitude they pick up when they hear your voice. You can’t be fully there for them if your mind is on something else—or if you haven’t prepared for the phone call.