If you got a chance to read yesterday’s 100 Days of Prospecting update, then you know that I mentioned that I’m thinking of cutting back certain elements of my follow up plan. To the bone.
Right now when I get a lead I use a mixture of follow up emails, phone calls, and sequential mailers. The mail component consists of 12 cover letters that Realty Juggler personalizes for each lead. Each cover letter references a particular article that goes out with that letter. Whether the lead is planning on listing in the next 30 days or in 6-12 months, they all get the same letter series, the only difference being how far apart Realty Juggler spaces them. These letters go out in hand-addressed envelopes. I don’t do the hand addressing. My wife does. My handwriting sucks.
Does It Work?
I have a closing scheduled for the end of this month. When I first met with this seller she pulled out a folder to show me how she’d kept everything I’d ever sent her since our first Mojo phone conversation on July 16th 2014. The letters I’d sent her were in there. Most of them were unopened.
So here’s where it gets confusing.
I can tell myself that the letters “helped” me get that listing. But did they really? She didn’t even open them! It leads us back to that major, MAJOR problem that real estate agents never seem to recognize exits which is this:
When you ask, “Will It Work?”…you are asking the wrong question.
EVERYTHING Works, as long as it’s done consistently.
The PROPER questions is, “If I invest my time or money in this particular thing, would it give me the BEST results or would I get BETTER results if I did NOT do this thing but instead took my time and money and applied it to something ELSE that would perform better?”
That’s the real question we need to be asking ourselves whenever we make any choices in our real estate business but ESPECIALLY choices in regards to prospecting, marketing, and follow up.
The Contrarian Example
Conventional wisdom would tell us that I should keep doing exactly what I’m doing. Keep sending the sequential mailers. After all, what could it hurt? I mean..if it just got you ONE DEAL PER YEAR….
We’ve all heard that type of thing, right? Probably from someone at Zillow or some other vendor trying to sell you something.
That whole, “If it gets you one extra deal per year it’s worth doing” line of thought is the greatest productivity robbing lie ever foisted on the real estate community. The truth is that your TIME comes at a premium and if you are NOT at the point where you have a full-time admin assistant, it’s even MORE important that you prioritize the things you will and won’t do in your business. Otherwise you wind up in a rut because your Superman Complex has you trying to do more on your own than you could ever accomplish.
Which brings us back to Lucky.
Lucky Luciano Corona. The Obi Wan Kenobi of cold calling. As I type this, Lucky has made over 17,000 phone cold calls in January. And we’re just 12 days into the month. I’m in the #2 spot on this month’s dialing contest and I only have 6,200 calls in.
This Toronto real estate agent that has proved by example that you can focus on massive cold call phone prospecting ALONE and close 52+ deals per year. No systematic following up with leads via mail or email. No face-to-face pop ins. No social media presence. None of that.
Just calling. Cold calling on the front end to get leads and follow up calls on the back. Buried in the Monster Cold Calling forum I remember him replying to someone’s inquiry about follow up recently to the tune of:
“In the past I’ve tried to mail a postcard to my leads once per quarter. I’ve gotten away from that but plan to get it back up and running soon.”
That’s not a direct quote and I’m not digging through all 470+ pages to find his exact words. They did JUMP OUT of the page at me when I read them though because they implied something very profound…
This guy is NOT consistent with his mail follow up – and he’s STILL closing 50+ deals per year!
He WAS consistent with his phone follow up though. That seems to indicate that the mail component is NOT as important to the success of your overall follow up system as a whole. And if it snail mail isn’t essential, how should we cold callers adjust? Specifically, how should an agent who has either no money or no admin to do tons of follow up mailers adjust?
Sitting on the top of my printer right at this moment is a stack of letters, complete with hand addressed envelopes, that were supposed to go out two weeks ago. My wife just got around to doing the addresses last night. There’s another set of 20+ that are printed up but have not had envelopes done up. Those are overdue too. It’s Tuesday right now which means that yesterday, Realty Juggler will have queued up ANOTHER batch for this week that hasn’t even been printed yet!
This is bad. But it gets substantially worse.
I’m about to bring on a second Mojo dialer. To double up the number of people I contact on a daily basis. Last month in December of 2015 Lucky ran two dialers, chewed through more than 44,000 dials, spoke with over 10,000 people, and secured 70 leads. This is HALF as many leads as I got when I myself called 49,000 people from July of 2014 through December of 2014 which means that Lucky’s idea of a “lead” is far more strict and serious than mine has been.
Either way though, it’s at LEAST 70 leads per month.
Seventy. Per month. Each of them getting 12 letters spread out over time. That means that if you’re “doing the right thing” and mailing all your leads 12 times like I am, then you’re committing to send out 840 pieces of mail to those 70 leads you connect with each month. If you’re not too picky on what qualifies as a “lead” then that number could EASILY double which means you could find yourself committing to mailing out 1,600 pieces of mail. Each month!
After 5 months you reach a point where you’re pretty much mailing 2,000 to 5,000 pieces of mail every month. These are not postcards either. Letters. Each of which need to be hand addressed. Did you remember the part about how my client had the folder stuffed with UNOPENED envelopes from me? Even if you DID get more business because you sent out the mail, how MUCH more would you get? You certainly wouldn’t double your business. If you’re closing 52 deals per year WITHOUT mailing then I doubt you’ll see that jump to 75.
My guess is that you’d score 3 to 5 pieces of business. But you’d be mailling thousands and THOUSANDS of pieces of mail. Forget the cost of the mail – just consider the hassle. Doesn’t it seem like it would make more sense to just axe the mail campaign and repurpose the money you WOULD have spend on it to hiring someone to do cold calls along side you so as to DOUBLE the number of leads you put into your pipeline? Yes. Yes it does.
Mail Done Right
I’m starting to realize why my coach Fearless Agent coach, Bob Leoffler, says to ONLY do postcard mailings. Nothing else.
Here’s the point you need to get before we get into that though.
If you have no admin to do up thousands and thousands of pieces of mail per month, then telling yourself that you’re going to do all that work yourself is a joke.
It’s the Superman Complex in you. What it will really do is this. It will take you off your game. Your phone game. Some part of you will be less committed to the phones than it needs to be because you can’t let go of the idea of mailing your leads “high value/high impact” content. Even people I respect, such as Grant Cardone, would say to do the mail. To “find a way”. To take your follow up to 10x levels and not only do the mail but do text messages, fax, email, Facebook messages, and personalized videos in order to earn that prospect’s business.
It’s not possible. Not with just 24 hour in the day and no admin. And if you’re going to go full macho and say, “Just do whatever it takes to GET a full-time admin…” Well that’s exactly what we’re doing. Figuring out how to get plenty of deals on a shoe string budget so that we can AFFORD to hire an admin to work all day doing up letters if we want them to. We ARE doing “whatever it takes” by calling, calling, calling to secure leads and then calling, calling, calling those leads over time to secure appointments.
(Of course that begs the question that if we can get the business WITHOUT doing all that extra stuff when we DON’T have a bunch of money to hire an admit….why would we add all that stuff in at substantial cost and hassle LATER if it only provides an incremental boost to commission revenue?)
Here’s What Will REALLY Happen
If I choose to continue mailing to my leads, the REAL results will be this. Lower levels of focus. Lower levels of consistency. Lower levels of production.
It’s like Bob Leoffler says. All business begins with a phone call. For every time you earn a listing appointment because someone called you off a piece of mail you sent them and they just so happened to “be ready” when they got it from you – for every time THAT happens you’ll go on TWENTY listing appointments where you actively reached out to people by making a phone call from you to them.
So if you only have so much time and/or money and something has to get cut. What should get cut? The mail of course.
If I can wield two Mojo Dialers and secure 70 SERIOUS leads per month and then do NOTHING but send them a weekly email blast and follow up by phone like a hawk…how many of those leads do you think I could turn into a closed listing transaction?
Ten percent? Could we squeeze seven closed transactions of out that month’s 70 leads? That’s good money. And it’s repeatable too which means it’s the kind of money that would enable you to HIRE a full-time admin at will after a year passes, right?
But the front-end calls have to be made to get the leads and if you don’t have a dedicated paid-by-the-hour cold caller yet, then that means that YOU have to be the one with two headsets on spending 3 hours per day calling 200+ people. You ALSO have to be the one making the follow up calls…because in cold calling it’s the follow up calls that get the appointments.
Now if YOU are the one that has to work the phones, are you ALSO going to be the one doing up tons of mailers? What’s more likely to happen if you go down that road? Will you close MORE business sending out mailers and inevitably getting distracted from your phone work – or will you close more business cutting your mail campaign loose and re-focusing on The One Thing of working the phones at a high level?
The Choice is Clear
Effective immediately I’m suspending my sequential mail campaign. Each lead will get an initial “meet-n-greet-introduction” mailer with some business cards and a how-I-do-business. What Bob Loeffler calls a “one sheet”.
I’ll leave my email component in place because it consists of a simple email blast I send out to everyone once per week. I’ll also leave my monthly AnyPresentations snail mail newsletter in place because I literally don’t have to do ANYTHING with that to keep it running other than plug the name/address of the leads into it online and pay the company each month to print it up and mail it out. So no real time commitment there.
Switching to long-term email and phone follow up ONLY means that both my time and my mind will be freed up to double down on my dedication to making cold calls on the front end so as to put more leads in the hopper to follow up WITH over time.
Will I ever add mail follow up back into the mix in the future?
Maybe. But probably never like I’m doing it today. That folder of unopened letters haunts me. The Fearless Agent method to snail mail follow up is to simply get one postcard of you and your brand statement printed up in bulk and then mail that same postcard out to the same people again and again and leave it at that. I’ll probably just do that. After the Fearless Agent postcard campaign is up and running I might entertain the idea of sending out Just Sold Testimonials to any leads that are in the same city as the home I just sold happens to be in. I think that “social proof” that your getting the job done has value.
I might not though. I’m not losing sight of my over all goals. I want to do more fishing. LOTS more fishing. And more hunting to. Both by myself and with my kids. If I’m closing 52+ deals per year I might just stop “adding” anything else into the mix. I’m not going to try to expand my business just to expand my business in order to dodge the “if you’re not growing your dying” bullet. Rather I want to get to the point where I can choose to do the things that I what I want to do with the people I care about. Once there, I’ll severely restrict adding any “new stuff” to my business that might interfere with my overall life goals.
But that’s just me. Your mileage may vary.