Full-Throttle Follow Up #15
So it’s almost 10am and I’ve yet to do pretty much anything. This after staying up late 3 days in a row trying to catch up on follow up. It’s official. I’ve overloaded myself.
Here’s what all is suppose to be done by close-of-business Saturday:
- Create 18 Personalized Follow-Up Packages for Unmet Prospects
- Drive to these 18 prospects’ homes and give them the material/get face time
- Create 16 Personalized Follow-Up Packages for MET Prospcts
- Drive to these 16 prospect’s homes and give them the material
- Donate Blood at the Red Cross
- Launch 24+ New Leads that have been waiting in the wings for months
I already sent out about two dozen of these follow up packages this week that were overflow from last week. So I’ve not been sitting idly by.
I’ve only prospected for a total of 5 days this month as I’ve been trying to catch up on all of this stuff. It’s clear that the amount of work that comes due is outside the scope of what can realistically be done by myself – and there are only 150 contacts in the works right now. By the end of this year there will be over 600 and that’s where it will remain forever.
Obviously, it’s clear that I need to get some dedicated help to do this follow up, but that’s not an option right now so I have to reign this beast in without decreasing effectiveness.
Good Intentions, Bad Execution
If you rewind, the clock and read earlier posts you’ll know that I originally had this crazy idea that I would stop in to visit all my prospects every other week. Now I tossed this idea pretty early on when I was developing my Face-to-Face follow up system as it became clear that this idea was both impossible and unnecessary.
So I created my staggered follow up system which was as follows:
- 90-Day Leads: personal visits every other week starting two weeks after initial contact with the 8th contact in the series requiring a Requalification on timeframe for the lead. Entire series would take just over two months from start to requal.
- 3-6 Month Leads: personal visits every three weeks starting 2 weeks after the initial contact with the 6th contact in the series being the requal. Entire series would take just over 4 months from launch to requalification.
- 6-12 Month Leads: personal visits every 5 weeks starting 5 weeks after initial contact with the requalification on the 4th contact. Just under 5 months for this entire series from Launch to requalification.
This Didn’t Work
I’m notorious for underestimating the amount of time necessary to get things done so somewhere in November/December I realized that this was not really manageable. It was too time consuming. I brainstomed for a solution which turned out to be simply to keep the same schedule of contacts but convert half of them to mail instead of personal visits.
This was an easy change to make. Simply tweak the follow up system so that after the initial meeting they would get their info from me in a leapfrog fashion – mail, visits, mail visit, etc. until requalification.
Now if you think about it, this would cut down my face-to-face interaction SIGNIFICANTLY for the MAJORITY of my leads. You see, the lion’s share of my cold calling leads are 3-6 months out. So they get put in the 3-week-touch follow up sequence. Well if I’m only visiting on every other scheduled contact and every contact is 3 weeks (mail, visit, mail, etc) then I’m actually only knocking on their door every 6 weeks. Now granted, that’s more than any other agents is doing, but it’s still more than a month between visits…and don’t forget that a lot of them don’t answer the door when I show up anyway.
So I re-tooled things and have been using this method up until now.
It Still Is Not Workable
This brings me up through today. Early days, late nights creating material. And still looking at a sheet of 30+ contacts that need material prepped.
Not. Gonna. Happen.
Even my scaled back version of my Personal Follow Up System required too much work for one person. I’ve not even added in new prospects from contacting Expireds/FSBOs that will be getting added into the mix by the end of this month. The 600+ leads that I plan to get from cold calling alone this year are not even part of this beast…and it’s already bursting at the seams.
It’s time to stop. Readjust. And then relaunch.
Switching It Up
I’ve been reluctant to use canned follow up sequential mail sequences such as are found in Top Producer and Realty Juggler. They just smack of pie-in-the-sky pipe dreams that Realtors typically fall prey to. You know, the whole “I’ll just put this person I’ve never met into into this CRM, hit “Launch Campaign”, and then sit down and print up each day’s letters and mail. Then sit back and wait for people to call me to list their house.”
Sure. Right. Keep thinking that.
Whatever business IS gleaned from that approach could be tripled by effectively using personal, face-to-face follow up. Looking at it from the glass-is-half-empty perspecting, an agent who relies on canned sequential mailers and email alone for their follow up is leaving 66% of their income on the table.
That’s just how I see it.
Still, It’s a Necessary Evil
While I’m not a fan of sequential mailers, it’s clear that they are going to have HAVE to be part of the follow up marketing mix going forward. You see, the major log jam in what I’m doing now isn’t the actual driving to people’s homes. It’s the preparing of the material.
The real estate industry is all abuzz right now with making your marketing “personalized” for greater impact. I take this to a whole new level by creating a mini-site for every prospect branded with their address (e.g. 3383Wall.MyHouseSpot.com) and whenever I print out an update of what’s going on in their area I embed the MLS search results in a personalized blog post. Then, on the paper that they’ll be getting handed when I show up at he door, I make sure that their website and a call to action is prominently displayed which tells them to visit the website to see pictures.
I have to believe that this is fantastically powerful. I also know for a fact that it’s incredibly time consuming to pull off.
So instead of continuing down this path, I need to switch things up a bit. I need to have the interval that I’m called upon to create these reports to be spread out more. At the same time I need to maintain (or even increase) the total number of “touches” that I make to each prospect over time.
The solution is to add time between when one personalized report is made and the next one comes up needing to be made. This will cut down on the “touches” but we’ll reinforce the schedule of contact by bringing on one of these sequential mail systems. I’ll be using Realty Juggler for this.
Now that I’ve identified the change that needs to happen, here’s the checklist of changes that has to happen.
Launch Phase Tweak
- As Realty Juggler will be new, an extra step has to be added to my “Launch Program” to get the contact into this secondary CRM with the mail sequence activated.
- This needs to be done only AFTER the initial Face-to-Face meeting is accomplished. I will still go to each seller prospect’s home repeatedly until I get a personal interaction with them at the door.
Overhaul of Personal Follow Up Sequence
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about cold call leads – it’s that there is NO “now business” to be found in their ranks. Cold call leads are almost universally 4 to 6 months out from listing their house. Even the ones who SAY they are going to list in 30 days are probably overly optimistic about how long it will be before a sign goes up in the yard. It’s bad business to build a more frequent follow up sequence around the very, very few who WILL list in less than 90 days if they are a cold call lead.
If you want “now” business, then you should be prospecting FSBOs/Expireds in addition to cold calling. These people have reached a point where they are are least doing SOMETHING to sell the house, even if it’s just taking a crappy picture and uploading it to Zillow.
This being very clear to me, unless they tell me a very convincing reason why the house is going to be on the market in the next 30 days or so, I will be treating EVERY cold call lead as if they are going to be signing listing paperwork closer to 6 months from now.
This means that they don’t need to see me every two weeks. They don’t need to see me every 3 weeks. If they see me once every FOUR weeks…it will be enough.
So I will amend the action plan accordingly. All Cold Call leads will be dubbed either 3-6 month leads or 6-12 month leads. The 3-6 month leads will be getting a visit from me with personalized neighborhood report every 4 weeks. The 6-12 month leads will be getting a visit from me every 6 weeks.
Again, while my personal visits will be fewer, each seller prospect will be hearing from me more often because of the sequential mail campaign.
I need to preview/tweak the letters in Realty Juggler so that they are ready to go.
All of my personal visits for this week are being scrapped. I’m not making the reports at all. I’m going to recreate the personal follow up system over the next few days and then re-launch all of the leads accordingly. It’ll pretty much take two full days of work to get this fired up properly.