The Importance of Following Up

Let me ask you this:  If you http://gardencare.uk.com just met with a really hot prospect, how long would you wait to follow up with them?  A day?  A couple of days?  A week?

Here’s my experience with a couple of real estate agents this week:

My wife and I are selling our home and have begun interviewing real estate agents to represent us.  I got a couple of referrals from good friends in our neighborhood, and then I reached out with an email telling them that I’m ready to list my home and want to meet.  I think I’d call that a hot lead, wouldn’t you?

So Tuesday night we meet the first agents – a husband and wife team – a very nice couple who have been selling real estate in our neighborhood (“South of the Boulevard”) and claim to be the Number One agents in this area (It’s odd that the other two agents we meet with also claim to be the Number One agents as well, but that’s a discussion for another article).

We spend a nice couple of hours together, really like them, like their recent experience and success on the next block and also love their strategy.  We tell them that we’re meeting with another agent referral the next night but that we will get back with them the following day.

O.K., so now comes the test.  When would you, if you were them, get back with me?

The right answer is 9AM the next morning.  If I were them, I would have sent a quick email saying it was so nice meeting me, that I enjoyed and really liked the house and that I was confident that I could sell the home using the strategy I outlined.  I’d say if there was anything I could do, just reach out to me, and that I look forward to speaking with them (me) very soon.

No brainer, right?  Well, here’s what happened:  Because I’m a Top 20% closer, it was ME that sent them an email thanking them for their time and how nice it was to meet THEM!  I sent it at 9AM and hadn’t heard back from them homepage by NOON that afternoon!  How do you think that made me feel in terms of how they would represent me?

O.K.  So the next night we had the other agents over – a team of two “Number One” selling agents in our area (they really used that term as well!).  We really liked their pitch also and were impressed by what they wanted to list our house for.  In fact, when they left, we were leaning towards hiring them!  How long do you think it took for them to follow up http://www.vinegarhillhouse.com/generic/ with us?

We’re still waiting to hear from them two days later!

I’m still stunned because as we told them we’d have a definite answer by the next morning.  Did we get a follow up email?  No.  Did we get a follow up phone call?  No.  Now two days have gone by and have we heard from them??  NO!!  YIKES!  What’s wrong with these sales people??

In the meantime, the first couple emailed us the next day wondering what happened with our other meeting and expressed their strong desire to work with us.  We then spoke on the phone and negotiated a bit.  Now they are coming over tonight to pitch us some more.  They’ve redeemed themselves a bit and will probably get our business.

By the way – the other team?  We still haven’t heard from them, and I’m thinking I never will.  And that’s too bad for them because when we woke up the next morning, we were completely on the fence, and we decided that whoever got back to us first would probably win our business.  We figured we’d wait and see who was more of a go-getter, and who would be more aggressive overall and that this would (hopefully) translate into who would be more aggressive in selling our home.

So here’s the lesson for all you sales reps and business owners out there – Don’t wait days or weeks to follow up prospects!  Especially the hot ones or the ones you’ve either met with or spent quality time with over the phone.  A simple email that thanks them for their time, acknowledges how much you learned and how excited you are to help them will go A LONG WAY to earning you their business.  Especially since not many others have this kind of urgency.

By the way, I usually send a quick email right away when I get off the phone with a prospect and include something of value in the email – a white paper, an article – something that will help them and also help them think about me.

So start thinking about what you can send to someone when you reach back out to a prospect.   And follow up more often and sooner than you think you should.  Based on what the majority of other sales reps apparently do, it will mean more business and referrals for you…



Mike Brooks

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, works with business owners and inside sales reps nationwide teaching them the skills, strategies and techniques of Top 20% performance. It started for Mike in 1987 after a failed attempt to own and operate a nightclub. He had just blown every dime he had, maxed out every… more

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