Remember when you were first looking for ways to generate leads because you wanted to quickly grow your sales funnel? You were so excited to see them pouring in. Then reality hit and you sadly realized many wouldn’t answer your calls or emails, or you had so many leads you couldn’t reach out to all of them. Those leads ended up in the bottom of a pile of dead-end leads. Want to create some new sales? It’s time to pay a friendly visit to those old leads. Dust them off and make something new and shiny out of them (I’m talking coins, shiny coins. Moolah. Bucks baby.).
Set goals before calling this group of old leads. Start with a daily, short-term goals to help you focus (schedule 2 appointments each day). Then, set a long-term goal (increase sales by 30% over last year). These goals with keep you motivated when you want to stop calling after a couple of hours (yes, hours). Smile as you talk to the leads, stay positive, and focus on your goals.
Short-Term Goal: Schedule 2 Appointments/Day
Long-Term Goal: Increase Sales By 30% Over Last Year
Do Your Research
What do you know about the lead you're calling? I recommend doing some research beforehand so you have a reference point vs. just blindly calling. You never know, they may ask how you got their number. Review notes on leads you've talked to in the past and, for those you have never contacted, find out from where you generated the lead (ex. your website). What did they inquire about in the first place? The value of their home? Buying a home between $350K - $425K? Find openings in the conversation to share something personal you already know about them. This will put the lead at ease and stimulate conversation. By researching the lead before calling, you will have a greater chance of converting the lead because you aren't going into it blindly.
"I remember you joking about finding a home with an Olympic size swimming pool because you were training for a triathlon. Are you still competing?" (If someone remembered this about me, I would be impressed!)
I used to work with an agent who took great notes on all of her leads which, in turn, resulted in personalized follow-ups and more conversions. She would call an old lead, after a year, ask about their children or if they were still playing lacrosse. Talk about making an impression! She always did her research (looked at CRM notes) and left the lead feeling like she really cared about them, not just about earning a commission. Add notes to your CRM program after each call so you can refer to them in the future (include “Do Not Call” flag if they request no further contact). In a nutshell, know who you’re calling, based off of background notes, and aim to create connections even if you’ve never talked to the lead before.
Listen to Their Tone
Recognizing the tone is someone's voice can save the call and leave an opening for future conversations. If you choose to ignore their irritation, for example, you might leave them with a sour taste in their mouth. Really listen to the tone of their responses and if they’re upset, don’t push the issue. Sometimes you’ll get a bad vibe from the beginning of the call, but that doesn’t mean the lead won’t eventually lead to a sale. By simply understanding how someone is feeling (we’ve all been there when an unwanted salesperson calls us…), and responding in a gentle, non-salesperson way, you can leave feeling good about the call.
"Are you still looking for a home?"
"I really don't have time for this right now" (snarky).
"I understand and respect your time. Thanks again for visiting my website, XYZ Realty, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to call us."
Mark the time of day and their response in your CRM program, and create a task to follow-up with them in a 3-6 months... at a different time of day. You never know when they’ll be receptive to a call and ready to buy or sell. Pay attention to their tone, leave a good impression and you may find yourself closing a deal with them in the future.
Ask open-ended questions that will stimulate conversation on their part -- “What questions can I answer?” (open-ended) vs. “Can I answer any questions?” (closed-ended). Closed-ended questions lead to “no” answers. Open-ended questions lead to conversations. You create more value for yourself and the lead when asking open-ended questions because it encourages the lead to elaborate.
As you speak with leads, you may find them bringing up issues -- being outbid, issues with past agents, problems selling their home, etc. Listen to the issue, address it, tie it into their needs, and gently offer guidance and a solution. This builds trust and leaves a positive impression because you're coming from a place of helpfulness vs. selling yourself. When the lead knows they're being heard and understood, a future relationship and sale are more likely. Consider providing a real-life story based off of your experiences with clients. When you tap into the real-life, emotional side of a problem, you increase your chances of making a connection with the lead.
"I understand wanting to look at homes without getting pre-qualified. Sadly, I've witnessed the heartbreak of clients who have missed out on their dream home because they weren't pre-qualified. While looking at homes outside of your price range may be exciting, it won't bring you closer to finding a home you can comfortably afford. Knowing what you're pre-qualified for makes the home search much more efficient because you're looking at homes within your budget. I would be happy to share my lender’s name."
Ask if You Can Stay In Touch. It Might Lead To Future Sale.
Although a lead may not be interested in buying or selling, don't hesitate to ask them if you can stay in touch. Remember, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know the answer. Start by letting them know you will not inundate their mailbox with emails every day (stick to your promise!) but will send relevant information 1-2x per month. (Look at your analytics to see how often they’re opening your emails and clicking on links, then begin sending emails more frequently.)
"My clients find a lot of value in my blog, for staying up-to-date on housing prices and changes that affect future buying/selling. Would it be ok if I shared my blog articles a few times a month? ("That would be fine.") Great. Is your email address..........".
If you ask to stay in touch and they decline, simply create a task to follow up with them in a year. You never know when they might be looking to buy/sell or when they might want a new agent. Although they declined, close the call on a positive note and share something unexpected -- “By the way, if you know of anyone looking to buy/sell, we provide movers and moving supplies to all of our clients."
When You Cannot Get Them on the Phone
No doubt you will run into leads that you cannot get on the phone. Dejavu, right? Don’t give up. Continue to reach out by sending an “I’m just checking in” email. You can do this directly after the unanswered call. Simply mark them as “no answer” then quickly send an email through your CRM or other system (or use a system that segments the leads into a batch then send all emails at once). Although you might use a template, take time to personalize it. You want the message to sound genuine vs. canned. Don’t forget to use a creative, catchy subject line. The following is an example you could send to a lead looking for a home (tip: keep it short and sweet).
I wanted to follow up with you because you visited my XYZ website. I see that you looked at properties in __________ area. A few homes are coming on the market this month and I wanted to see if they fit your needs. Are you still looking? Please let me know by replying to this email or give me a call at 000-000-0000.
Enjoy the rest of your day!
P.S. Did you see the news about ________ ? Visit my blog for more information.
If they don’t reply via phone or email, remember to check your system analytics to see if the email was opened (a good sign). Also, check to see if they clicked on the link to your blog (even better). Maybe they read other blog articles too. If that’s the case, you’ve officially re-engaged an old lead. Congrats! Keep nurturing them with relevant information (drip email campaign). The more interactions, the more your brand will be top of mind. When they’re ready to buy/sell, the chances of them picking you is elevated. It’s all about nurturing the lead so they don't end up in the dustpan again. So even when you can’t get them on the phone, sending a quick follow-up email may be enough to engage them and eventually get them into your sales funnel.
Feel Like You're Out of Options? Here's 1 More
Utilizing Facebook Ads to reach out to your old leads can be an effective way to get their attention and re-engage them. Leads will see the ads when they're browsing on Facebook (we've all seen them off to the right). Even if they don't click the ad, brand awareness is powerful.
Head into this with a campaign objective, what you're trying to accomplish with the ad (ex. increase sales). Start by segmenting the leads into a CVS file then upload them to Facebook Ads. From there, you can decide if you want to expand the audience to include an audience similar to the list of customers you've chosen ("look alike audience"). You can fine tune this audience by choosing specific demographics and other audience parameters, like gender and personal interests. This will help you find additional prospective customers who are also interested in your services (heck yeah!).
Following up with old leads can prove to be highly beneficial, ultimately leading to increased sales. A few tips to consider as you begin making calls:
- Set goals
- Before calling, be prepared by referring to notes you have about the lead
- Be a good listener
- Stay positive and know your efforts will pay off
- Come from a place of helpfulness vs. being a pushy salesperson
- Offer to provide solutions to problems
- Ask if you can stay in touch
- Utilize drip email campaigns
- Remember, any lead is a potential prospect.
Consider having your top salesperson make these calls, to increase the likelihood of a conversion. It might take 100 calls to convert 1 lead into a sale, but the effort will be worth it. You might even find old leads referring friends to you (who doesn’t love a referral!). It’s time to get excited about your old, dusty leads! Get on the phone and make some calls. You’ve got this!