There is a reason the saying good things come to those who wait exists. And there is a reason why it takes time for most people to make a decision on when to buy a home and who to help them get there.
Tomorrow’s buyers have much different tools at their disposal and a vastly different economic outlook. So, now it is time for you as the agent of these transactions to start adapting and evolving beyond tomorrow’s buyer with smart prospecting.
Because those customers who don’t want to become clients right now are going to fill your pipeline for years to come. And the only difference between conversion and failure is mastering the process of prospecting.
Perceived Reality: I may not have a full pipeline, but if I provide great customer service to the clients who want to buy now, I’ll have referrals breaking down the door! Oh and those leads who I ignored because they weren’t ready to transact? Maybe they’ll come back around.
Actual Reality: Online real estate leads are in charge. And playing hard to get won’t “get” you anything except the omission of your name from the next top teams list. Unless you’ve been around the real estate block for several years now and have referrals lined up for ages, you need to choose your monopoly piece and enter it into the waiting game.
Yes, the waiting game is a reality of the real estate industry. And no, it does not actually entail a lot of waiting IF you follow the rules. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a complete outline. These team structures and action plans will help you start to think of far-out-buyers (FOB’s) as reliable lead sources for years to come.
Understand the State of the Real Estate Union
Let’s dive in. First of all, from here on out we will refer to far-out-buyers, or the leads who aren’t interested in buying in the next six to 24 months, as FOBs.
And those FOBs? They aren’t going anywhere. The largest generation has still not grown into prime home buying maturity and if you’ve been paying attention to the economic ecosystem, they won’t appear en masse for awhile.
For the first time since 1880 more 18-35 year olds are choosing to live with parents over other arrangements. And this odd coincidence is far from coincidence. Along with the Great Recession came an extremely slow economic redemption for younger generations.
Despite housing prices rising and the unemployment rate on the decline, census data indicates the median 25-34 year old income is down from what it was in 2000.
The result? Younger people are less able to afford homes. And when you aren’t yet able to afford something what do you do? Browse online.
And here is where you come in. Even though the situation appears bleak right now, you organize your team and put a plan in place to handle the leads of tomorrow.
Organize Your Team for the Leads of Tomorrow
If online leads are a challenge, it means you either A. aren’t handling them the right way, or B. you don’t have the time to handle them the right way.
Either of these challenges are not hard to tackle with the right approach. If you have a few hours, and the right system, a simple smart prospecting plan will do wonders.
Not familiar with smart prospecting? Learn more here.
On the other hand, if you are facing the issue of time, then you either need to get smarter with your time management and leave up to technology and automation what you can. Or if you have the ability to do so, arrange your team to accommodate online leads.
Whether you have a customer care specialist, a dedicated ISA team, or a hybrid ISA model, like Chris Lyons, these support roles do wonders in facilitating online leads now and later.
More on how the hybrid ISA role works with the teams at Lyons Realty:
Now when a lead registers, they get automatically assigned to an agent, but our customer care team is still the one calling them within the first five minutes, and trying to qualify them and see where they’re at. They’ll call within the first five minutes, if they don’t get a hold of them, we’ll put them into qualify and then our customer care team tries to call them for the next six weeks to make the qualifying call. If we don’t reach them, then we just move them over to nurture or watch if we do, then put them in the appropriate category.
Note: When Lyons is referring to “nurture” or “watch” he is talking about a few of the categories the BoomTown system uses to help prospect and filter leads throughout their lead cycle.
Once you have your team or your technology in place it’s time to make sure you are asking the right questions. Becky Babcock and Brad Nix have created an entire bustling real estate business around one question, and it always starts with the “why”?
If you can formulate a plan surrounding why your leads are searching, and even more so why they are looking to move, then you have a world of information at your fingertips.
The “Why” Makes All the Difference in Real Estate Prospecting
Real Estate Smart Prospecting Templates
If you have arranged your team or streamlined your process and are ready to implement smart prospecting action plans, then you’ve come to the right place.
The trick to connecting with FOBs is to be quick to contact and efficient in your outreach.
The waiting game is all about timing after all, but with timing comes technique. Just as all of those online leads have ample tools at their home search disposal, you too have endless outreach tools.
Texting, calling, emailing, social media, etc. The opportunities are endless to knock at a lead’s digital front door.
Your Very Basic Online Lead Action Plan:
- Call within the first five minutes if possible. This is important since you or your customer team could potentially speak with them while they are still on your site and explain further valuable search tools on the website.
- Answer: Ask the most important question.
- Doesn’t Answer: Leave a voicemail (scroll down for suggestions).
- If the lead does not answer, you can send a text message (scroll down for suggestions) and continue to call at a steady, but subtle rate over the next few weeks.
- If you have an email address your lead also needs to be on a drip email plan.
Note: If you are a BoomTown client, make sure to browse through the BoomTown Sharing Library for more in-depth proven follow-up plans for online leads!
The goal in any lead situation is to generate enough information so you can put a follow-up plan into place. But let’s say in the following situations, you have been able to at least come to the understanding that these leads are not ready to buy yet. In other words, they are official FOBs.
We will follow the process of initial phone calls, texts, and voicemails and then address FOB specific emails below:
First Touch Phone Call Example Scripts:
This situation would occur if a lead registered on your site or a 3rd party site with at least their name and contact information. This example assumes you have basic information about what they are looking for.
- Hi, may I speak with [First Name]? How are you today?
- I received your contact info from your recent registration on my site, and I wanted to follow up with you quickly in case you had any questions about any of the homes you were browsing through.
- When are you looking to buy? I can set you up for eAlerts so you are the first to find out about new listings that fit your preferences. Even if you don’t want to buy now it’s always good to see what’s out there in your price range.
- Are you still interested in the [area name] around [price point of the home they were looking at]? If so, are you working with an agent already?
- I actually have an area expert for the neighborhood you are looking in. He/She can fill you in on the market for that area, can they give you a quick call later?
- Yes: Sounds good! Is this the best number to reach you?
- No: Is there a better time for me to reach you?
- No, don’t call: Would you prefer email? I can arrange them so they only come as often as you like with the listings in your price range and area.
- No, don’t contact me: I completely understand. Definitely take advantage of the site’s search tools and if you see anything you want more information on in the future, we are here to help!
First touch Voicemail Script:
Hi [first name], this is [your name] calling from [your company name]. I wanted to quickly check-in and make sure you didn’t have any further questions about the properties on our website. If so, I would love to help you get a temp of the area you are looking in. My number is [your number here], and I look forward to speaking with you soon.
First touch Text Script:
If you don’t receive an answer to the first phone call, it’s always a good idea to send a follow-up text.
Hey [first name]! Wanted to quickly follow-up with your visit to [your website name here] to see if you would be interested in chatting with our agent who has worked in that area for awhile. When are you looking to buy?
Next Steps: Continue conversation with more qualifying questions and attempts to schedule a call.
Post-Qualifying Prospecting Plans
After you have gleaned enough information to qualify your lead as an FOB, then it is time to begin the waiting game. But what most don’t realize is this is as simple as creating buckets for these FOBs to fit into depending on their reason for searching, and then assign a smart prospecting plan to each bucket.
All it takes you to play the waiting game is the dedication to train yourself and your team on the process it takes to achieve actual results.
Too many real estate professionals these days focus only on results. But results don’t come until you are dedicated to the process.
Don’t be those results-only real estate pros. Focus on your smart prospecting process now, in order to reap the benefits later.
We’ve laid out the emails below so you can jump right into the game:
Email #1: Re-Introduction Email
Email #2: Listings Email
Email #3: Market Update
Email #4: Listings Email
Email #5: Buyer’s Guide
Email #6: Temperature Check
Email #7: Re-Start the Process
Email #1: The Re-Introduction Email
Subject: Ready to Browse? New Homes in Your Price Range Are Here!
We enjoyed getting in touch the other day and wanted to send along a few updates to keep you in the know. High five for beginning your search now instead of waiting to the last minute. This will only help you in the long run!
Searching for a home is a big undertaking, but no matter where you are in the browsing or buying process we’re here to help. I’ll make sure to send along market updates and new listings within your preferences.
If you would like to customize those preferences further, head on over to the site:
CTA: Further Customize Your Home Search
Don’t hesitate to reach out!
Annie the Agent
Email #2: The Listings Email
Subject: Time for Some Online Window Shopping?
We wanted to send along a few of the latest listings in your price range and favorite area.
If these aren’t what you are eventually looking to buy, please let us know. Sometimes it’s hard to nail down exactly what you want, but we want to make that process easier for you. Feel free to give me a call at [your number here], or further customize your search with our tools on the site:
CTA: Customize Your Home Search
Talk to you soon,
Annie the Agent
Email #3: The Market Update Email
Subject: What’s the temperature on the real estate market right now?
Prices may be rising, but there is ample opportunity to find the right property when you are ready. After years as a real estate agent, I’ve learned how to navigate the murky waters of several economic ecosystems in order to achieve the best outcome for your investment.
Take a look at what has been going on in your market as of late:
[Utilize Local MLS Data and Canva to compile a pie chart or
a graph to Display Recent Market Activity]
If you need to change up your home search due to the market changes, let us know. Chances are we can help you adjust your online browsing to fit where the market will be headed. Give us a call at [your number here], or shoot me an email.
Annie the Agent
Email #4: Repeat Listings Email
Email #5: The Buyer’s Guide
Subject: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
It never hurts to be prepared for when the time comes to buy a house. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with a client who is waiting to buy and then finds the perfect property in the meantime.
Don’t get caught off guard without checking everything off of our buyer’s checklist first! This will help you to financially prepare for when the time comes to put in an offer.
CTA: Download Your Buyer’s Guide Here!
As always, I am here if you need me! My number is [your number here].
Annie the Agent
Email #6: The Temperature Check Email
Subject: How Much Does Your Dream Home Cost Right Now?
If you want me to start sending more or less of these listings just let me know! I’ll make sure to check-in every once and awhile to make sure you are only receiving what you want to browse through.
Be on the lookout for our next market update as it will shed more light on the seasonal market changes. For now, here are the listings we’ve seen that may fit your preferences:
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything! My number is [your number here].
Annie the Agent
These emails can be spaced however you gauge the lead would prefer. We suggest to keep in touch at least twice a month, and even more right after they register. If these leads are saying they won’t buy for another year or so, keep this in mind with your email sends. You want to avoid bombarding them right out of the gate.
A few creative spins on the emails above always help to keep your readers intrigued. Remember to always deliver value and possibly one of the suggestions below:
- Seasonal market changes and how this will affect buying/prices every year.
- What to expect in the next year for interest rates, home prices, etc.
- Honesty with the outlook of the market. If the market isn’t looking so good in their area of interest, suggest another neighborhood or part of town that may be better.
- Pertinent content beyond a buying guide. This type of content can speak to your specific value-add and goes a long way in preparing future buyers.
After you have decided what plans work with which FOB buckets, it is time to put these processes into action. And once you have this process in place and functioning, the waiting game won’t include much waiting any longer.