When it comes to following up with prospects and clients, there are no "cracks."
Yet, time and again, real estate professionals explain their failure to follow up with a prospective buyer or a seller client by saying, "I guess they just slipped through the cracks." As if the buyer or seller had caused the problem!
First of all, there are no "cracks" in real estate, just the pockets of more organized, efficient real estate professionals. The buyers and sellers whom you let down or ignore don't abandon their plans to buy or sell real estate, they abandon you, because you abandoned them. Their real estate transaction will still happen, just without you. The commission that could have been yours ends up in the pocket of the real estate professional who followed through, earned trust, and enabled the client to achieve their goals.
There's no "slipped" in real estate either. When you fail to do what you said you'd do, prospects and clients don't slip away from you. They run. Today's smart-phone-savvy consumers want answers now and results even faster. Disgruntled prospects and frustrated clients will quickly turn to receptive professionals who can be trusted to do what they say they'll do. Wouldn't you if the tables were turned and you were intent on buying or selling your home, but an unreliable real estate salesperson or broker got in the way?
Don't kid yourself. When you say you'll do something, then in the mind of over-stressed buyers and sellers you just made a promise. When you promise to do more than you deliver on - whether that's failing to return phone calls, email information, or search out new listings or buyers - you let down those whom you need to earn trust from. You also let yourself down - now and in the future.
PJ's Test: What is FAILURE TO FOLLOW UP Costing You?
Let one prospective buyer "slip through the cracks" when you don't follow up on emails, promises to call, or on anything you committed to do for a buyer or seller, and you're the loser on many levels. As you read through the following list of repercussions of abandoning a buyer, use the average commission you earn on your typical real estate transaction to add up how much just one failure to follow up may cost you (This is true for abandoned sellers, too.):
- Lost commission for that buyer's real estate transaction: $ ____________
- Lost commission from subsequent referrals of that buyer's friends and family (let's say 2 more deals you won't get): $ _____________ X 2 = $ ____________
- Lost commission from resale of that property in the future: $ __________
- Lost commission from that buyer's next purchase: $ ____________
- Those un-followed-up-on buyers will spread word of your failings to anybody who'll listen. Every time your name comes up, those buyers will chime in with "promises were made." You may never know how many more buyers and sellers you lose. Or, social media may reveal exactly how wide ranging the buyer's negative reach is. Be optimistic and only dock yourself two deals here, but add to this amount your advertising budget for counteracting your proven bad service rating: $ __________ X 2 = $ ___________ + $ _____________ = $ _____________
What's your total cost of just one failure to follow through?
If your average commission were $3000 per deal, this list could represent a loss of $21,000 plusthe cost of advertising that is undermined by word of mouth and social media activity. Failure to follow through is expensive!
Since not following up is a bad habit, those who do it once will repeat this self-defeating behavior again and again. That means your total from one missed deal multiplied by how many times a year you drop the ball with a prospect or client is…. Do yourself a favor and do the math: $ __________ .
If you find yourself deciding to toss aside one commission possibility, especially a small commission, to chase "bigger fish," you've missed the point on many counts:
- Re-read this article if you need a reminder of what "just one failure to follow up" really represents.
- Stick to your chosen target market and build an excellent referral network for buyers or sellers whose needs fall outside your selected location or property type. Help every consumer who touches you achieve their goals, even when you can't help them directly, and you'll benefit from the positive fallout.
- For those tempted to cherry-pick the multimillion-dollar market along with a mass of other professionals, consider the math above. Smaller commissions in less competitive markets can quickly add up to great incomes with follow through.
Attach a dollar figure to follow through, so you always relate the promises you make - from phone calls or emails to research or marketing - to your bottom line. This enables you to move from it's "only a phone call or email" to making business decisions about opportunities to lose or to earn credibility and income.
Part 2:The Best of Intentions Isn't Enough
The challenge for most real estate professionals is that they have the best of intentions when making promises and they normally care a lot about the buyers and sellers they work with, but…Part 2: The Best of Intentions Isn't Enough will be posted April 29.