We’re in the third quarter of 2023, and, for the most part, agents are optimistic about the next six months. But that optimism doesn’t always have a strong foundation. 

For example, in a market like this one, agents who are blindly hoping everything will work out without requiring them to invest any additional effort…will probably be disappointed. 

Committed knowledge brokers, on the other hand, who recognize that meaningful optimism is earned, are not afraid of working harder when they recognize the need for it. And if you’re reading this, you’re probably in that camp. 

You know what needs to be done, and you’re doing it. So, you’re aware of the realities—and you’re not afraid to talk about them. Facts can’t be positive or negative. They’re just facts.

In a recent episode of the Knowledge Broker’s Podcast, co-hosts Lisa Chinatti and Tom Toole gave what we’re calling a listing masterclass for real estate agents—including those under the impression that the nurture stage ends with converting a lead into a client. 

That’s a major pet peeve for Lisa, who has run across agents with this mentality far too often. Even if the contract is signed—or especially because it is—your client has a right to expect continued effort on your part to follow up, build rapport, and work toward the outcome they want.

Trust is earned. And clients want to be reminded that you’re working for them. 

Even agents who recognize that the nurture stage simply looks different after the contract signing will find something in the clip below to put into practice. 

“We’re in a much longer lead time.”

We’re running out of income-producing days for 2023. But if you’re looking at each client relationship as part of the long game, you’re less likely to approach them with the kind of desperation you’re likely to see in some of your fellow agents right now. 

In today’s market, you’re looking at a longer lead time—-from the moment you add a new lead to your funnel to the time you start seeing any reward for the time and energy you put into nurturing that lead

In 2020, my appointment-to-sale ratio was 1.1 to 1. So, every 1.1 appointments I went on, I did a deal. That is a bananas number. And that’s because of the market. It’s not because I’m some skilled agent. It’s because the market was there, and I put myself in the right position. Now, that number’s gonna rise up, and I think people need to realize you’ve got to almost throw your stats out from the past three years and either look back further, or…start tracking your numbers now and see what they’ve been like the last 6-8 months because that’s gonna be much more realistic.

Tom Toole

Getting from the top of the funnel to the bottom is a longer game than it was in the past few years when buyers were eager to transact and take advantage of record-low mortgage rates. 

That longer lead time is exactly why it’s more important than ever to realize that the nurture stage doesn’t end when a lead becomes a client. It just looks different. 

That client has a stronger claim on your time because they’ve agreed to make you their advocate and resource in the buying or selling process. 

But like most human relationships, the activities you undertake look different on either side of a clear and mutually-understood commitment. 

It doesn’t mean nurture is no longer part of it. But when an agreement has been reached, both sides tend to do less of some activities and more of others. As long as they’re on the same page when it comes to frequency and type of communication, this typically isn’t a problem. 

It’s when that communication breaks down that the relationship tends to do the same. 

And it breaks down when agents get complacent or when they convince themselves that the payoff for continuing to invest time and energy in a particular client is too low. 

Granted, in some cases, it can be—which is why, as Lisa and Tom pointed out, developing an effective and sustainable nurture plan is a balancing act

Make future-pacing sellers a priority

The backbone of any solid nurture plan is communication. And one of the things you need to communicate clearly to your clients is the amount of time it’s likely to take to get to the outcome they want. 

In today’s market, how quickly a home sells will depend on the strength of buyer demand for homes at the seller’s price point, as well as on factors like— 

  • Location and proximity to work, shopping, schools, etc.
  • How move-in-ready the home is—or how much it would cost to get it there
  • Competition from other sellers in the area—and from new construction

Buyers, too, need to have a clear idea of how long it could take to find a home that ticks the most important boxes (the non-negotiables) on their list and to have their offer accepted. 

There’s not just a lack of skill or ability to have conversations about price adjustments…not all agents are going to do a great job future-pacing sellers to be able to understand the realities of the market. (This) is going to create a lot of consumer frustration with an agent who didn’t set the expectation that seven days is no longer the norm and that it might be 30 to 45 days (to sell their home). But also understanding 30 to 45 days is still insanely fast, all things considered within the real estate market.

Lisa Chinatti

Agents who don’t set that expectation with the consumer up front are more likely to see broken contracts as clients get frustrated and decide to look for an agent who can get them results more quickly. 

Matching your follow-up strategy to your prospect’s mindset

Some aspects of your follow-up strategy will be much the same for every client, with variations depending on each client’s goal (buy, sell, or invest). But the close-up view of your follow-up with a particular client will depend on a variety of distinguishing factors, including their mindset

Lisa recalled a situation where the client said they wanted to sell but not until after September 1st. Could the agent have pushed for an appointment before then? Sure. But in cases like these, it’s more important to develop a strong nurture plan that respects your client’s (or potential client’s) needs and preferences, while still keeping you top of mind. 

Understanding that…when you hit on someone’s emotion too hard, you end up with a lot of canceled appointments or a lot of canceled contracts. And so, being able to toe the line and find that really great balancing act of meeting the consumer where they’re at but still keeping them engaged is the number one priority that we as agents—knowledge brokers—can and should be doing.

Lisa Chinatti

Tom has noticed the same tendency among agents to sometimes push too hard for the pacing they want, at the expense of the client’s boundaries. Fortunately, there is a way to avoid making this mistake.

Too many salespeople don’t listen to the consumer… The customer should talk more than you and you should be asking more questions. And when you talk at somebody, and you have verbal diarrhea, which I’ve seen happen…it’s a problem. You’ve really gotta learn to edit that. That’s where practice and role-play goes a long way.

Tom Toole

Earned optimism vs wishful thinking

While co-host Byron Lazine was missing from this episode, he echoed some of the biggest takeaways in last week’s episode of The Real Word when he and co-host Nicole White discussed the results of the first BAM-1000Watt Agent Sentiment Index survey

One of the (many) surprising stats from the survey was the share of agents expressing optimism about the next six months. And given the current market, it does raise questions about the general mindset behind that optimism. 

The market is going to get tighter in quarter four, in my opinion. We’re seeing an interest rate that’s going up, day after day, not down. I think we’re going to see a real tightening in the market come the end of this year. And so… ‘extremely confident,’ I couldn’t put myself there. I couldn’t put myself at a 10…. I’m probably, on this scale, a six or a seven. But to me, that’s giving me the motivation to really make a difference over the next six months.

Byron Lazine

The main reason for Byron’s concern is something he’s observed over the summer, which is how unprepared many agents are for the final quarter of 2023. 

While there’s more than one way to interpret the general optimism reflected in the survey results, it’s worth pointing out that optimism without preparation is just wishful thinking. And no business can survive on that. 

We’ll leave you with this as a final reminder to make this day your new standard for taking action—and the right kind of action—to set the tone for the rest of 2023. 

You see some agents out there making like ten phone calls in a week, relying solely on social media and mail that says, ‘Are you thinking about buying/selling?’ I promise you, if you’re putting out a piece of mail that says, ‘Thinking about buying/selling?’ you’re gonna have little to no business off of that campaign in quarter four because it’s such a weak hook…People put that in the trash more times than not.

Byron Lazine