Caroline Bolderston: The fear of following up

Real estate sales can be a tough and competitive field, and following up with a prospective buyer or vendor can feel like putting yourself out there for potential rejection.

Many sales agents fear hearing a “no” or facing objections, which can be emotionally challenging.

Over the past 11 years as a coach, it has been my mission to uncover what drives these fears and to develop strategies to overcome them.

Each of us have belief structures that get in our way.

The belief of being a pest, being annoying or hassling the client is a limiting belief that plagues many. 

As an agent, you walk a fine line between being tenacious and persistent, versus coming across as pushy.

You may worry that following up too frequently or aggressively will turn the prospect off. 

It’s vital to recognise that your perspective or beliefs around what a person may think or feel about you is most often just an assumption.

The reality is, that most times your assumption is completely wrong.

A recent situation highlights the problem with these beliefs.

A client of mine, ‘Michelle’, was making some open home invitation calls to database prospects surrounding a new listing.

She came across a property owner, ‘David’, and through the conversation discovered that he was thinking of selling in the next three months and was receptive to her offer of an appraisal.

She checked the records and saw that her colleague ‘James’ had done an appraisal for David 18 months earlier.

But when Michelle suggested James provide an updated appraisal, David was adamant he didn’t want James anywhere near his property again as James didn’t ‘bother’ to follow up and he had never heard from him again.

Michelle booked the appointment for herself, and has subsequently added David to her 90-day pipeline.  

What a missed opportunity for James. And the most interesting part?

When Michelle let James know, he said, “I remember that guy and he said he wasn’t selling! He was just curious, so I didn’t want to hassle him”. And there it is. 

Below are five methods to help breakthrough these limiting beliefs:

  1. Things change: This is a simple but powerful belief. Just because a prospect has no plans to sell today, doesn’t mean something won’t change in their lives to alter their plans or timing. Even if you hear the prospect say, “We are here for the long-term” or “We have no plans for at least 10 years”, believe that the future is unknown and anything can happen. You need to keep checking in regularly.  
  1. Lack of clear strategy: If you don’t have a well-defined follow-up strategy in place, this will lead to uncertainty and anxiety about how to approach follow-ups effectively. There are two strategies: time-based follow-up and event-based follow-up. Always set one follow-up task for the time frame appropriate to the prospect’s current situation (six as six months, three months or two weeks) and then use your listings and sales (events) for relevant updates outside of the time-based strategy. 
  1. Uncertainty about timing: You may be unsure about the right timing for follow-up. You may fear that you might follow-up too soon and annoy the prospect, or follow-up too late and miss an opportunity. The best strategy is to control the expectation around your next proactive follow-up. If it’s a short-term prospect or buyer situation and you hear “I’ll come back to you,” be sure to add in “Ok, sounds good, and if I don’t hear from you by midday tomorrow I’ll be sure to check in.” If it’s a long-term situation, at the end of the conversation use ‘The Promise’ and say “Ok, no problem at all, I’ll check in with you down the track a little (time based) and I promise to also inform you of any activity that might be relevant to you (event based)”. This keeps you in a proactive position, with the expectation clearly set for both parties. 
  1. Lack of confidence: If you lack confidence in your ability or service, you may hesitate to follow-up because you fear the prospect will discover your flaws or weaknesses. If you are new to the industry and don’t yet have the knowledge or expertise you want, then align with a more experienced agent to mentor your calls and accompany you on your appraisals and listing appointments. This is the fastest and safest way for you to gain the confidence and expertise you need. 
  1. Overthinking and perfectionism: If you tend to overthink or strive for perfection, you may delay follow-up because you want to craft the perfect message or know everything about the property or the person before making the call. All this can lead to procrastination and missed opportunities. Often, time is spent on all of this preparation and then the prospect doesn’t even answer. Instead, prepare one or two open questions and go ahead and dial the number. 

It’s important to address these fears and challenges through training, mentorship, and personal development. Overcoming these fears and developing effective follow-up strategies will significantly improve your success and, most importantly, your enjoyment and fulfilment in your role. 

Show More

Caroline Bolderston

Caroline Bolderston heads up Being Bold Coaching and training, which provides coaching and support for Sales Agents, Sales Teams and Principals. For more information visit