by Craig Proctor
When talking recently with some of my coaching members, I reflected on 3 follow up mistakes that I was guilty of, all in one week, that I thought they could benefit from. These may seem obvious to some of you, but I felt they were important to share so that all of you can avoid making the same lead-killing mistakes.
Mistake # 1:
I had a prospect on the line who was ready to list his house, and I was trying to set a time for an appointment. He was putting me off for some reason — either he had to check his day timer, or he had to check with his wife to see what time was good for her. Whatever his reason was, I didn’t push it. I told him to call me back with a good time to meet.
Well, he didn’t call me back and I guess I forgot about it. In my mind, I guess, I’d already converted him and we were simply down to the formality of when to meet. But when I checked the hot sheets about a week later, I saw that he had listed with another agent before I had a chance to call him back.
My big mistake was leaving the whole thing in his hands. I should not have let him off the phone without setting a tentative meeting time. What I should have done was set a tentative time with him so the onus regarding any change to the appointment was now on his shoulders. If I’d said, “Okay, why don’t we tentatively say Thursday at 3 pm, and if that turns out to be a problem for you, give me a call back. Otherwise I’ll see you Thursday at 3 pm”, now suddenly it’s his responsibility. I don’t have to call him back. He knows that unless he calls me back, I’m going to show up at his house Thursday at 3 pm.
You should do the same in your business. If you find that a prospect is putting you off for some reason, arrange a tentative time so that the onus is now on them.
Mistake # 2:
The second mistake I made was putting off a prospect who was ready to list. I had called this lady on a Wednesday night to follow up on a special report request she had made. She admitted that she was ready to list her house and wondered if I were free that evening. I can’t remember why I wasn’t — it wasn’t convenient or I just didn’t feel like going out at that time. Whatever it was, I set up a meeting with her the following Monday.
Well, Monday morning I got an email from her to cancel the appointment because she’d listed with another agent on Sunday night. So my big mistake this time was putting off someone too long who was ready to list. If your prospect is ready now, make your appointment as close to “now” as possible (not five days later) — a half hour after your telephone conversation would be good. The more time that elapses, the more things that can go wrong. If you really can’t make the appointment yourself, get one of your team members to make the presentation.
Mistake # 3:
On the basis of the thousands of follow up calls I’ve made in my career, I paid very close attention to what questions I asked and how I asked them. From time to time I modified the dialogue in my Universal Call Back Script to improve it, and here’s a case in point. When you have a ready-to-act prospect on the phone it is important to make the correct offer. To determine this I used to ask prospects who owned a home: “Would you prefer to buy first or sell first?” What I found is that some prospects didn’t really understand what I was getting at. They’d answer with “we really wanted to do both at the same time” – meaning that they really didn’t really understand what I was asking them. I thought this was just me, but when I listened to tapes of some of my coaching members (as I reviewed and critiqued their call backs), I found that many of their prospects were saying the same thing.
The current wording attempts to clarify the issue by saying it this way: “Would you prefer to buy before listing your home, or do you want to sell first?” Clearly, what you’re trying to establish is whether the prospect prefers to “buy first” or “sell first” so you can communicate the correct offer (your buyer offer or seller offer.)
When asking this question, make this distinction clear to them. Ask them whether they think they’d like to list their present home first, before they start looking for their next home (i.e. get a sense of outside interest in their home before they commit to moving), or whether they want to start looking for their next home first before they actually take the step of listing their current home (i.e. get a sense of their interest in what is out there before they commit to moving.) Again, their answer to this question is important as it will help you understand which offer to communicate first — the buyer offer or seller offer. Making the correct offer to prospects should not be guesswork. If you ask them, they’ll tell you.
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