Striking the right balance between contacting customers too infrequently, and the other end of the spectrum – being a pest – is a hard task. You need to make the most of your database and this means treating each client differently, as Tara Bradbury explains.
During my time as a BDM I remember attending a sales training event in Brisbane. I thought that having my database with over 500 contacts was such a great achievement, but as the day progressed I spoke with other attendees and found that I was missing massive opportunities for prospects.
At the time I was signing between 10 and 15 managements a month; I didn’t have time allocated for prospecting but was doing really well with having regular meetings with my referral contacts. So I was meeting great prospects, adding them to my database and if they didn’t sign with me on the day they would get a monthly newsletter until they were ready to sign.
Who knows if they were even opening it? I will openly say my methods were just plain lazy!
I realised how much opportunity I was missing out on and that so many of my contacts in my database no longer had any interest in property investment. Just because you have 500 or 1,000, even 5,000 contacts in your database, it doesn’t mean they are yours when they are ready to go. You need to have a consistent follow-up system in place to ensure you have regular contact, so when the time comes to making a decision they think of you first.
WALKING THE FINE LINE
I am often asked, ‘When should I make contact so I don’t come across like a stalker? What should I say, and after the first meeting how often should I stay in touch?’ My response is ‘Tough problem to have, isn’t it?’ The most important thing to remember is every client’s level of contact requirements is different. So ask plenty of questions and listen carefully. ‘What has been your experience over the past 12 months with buying, selling and leasing property?’
‘Do you have a price you are hoping to achieve?’
‘What’s most important to you when selecting a property management to manage your most valuable asset?’
You will find that asking these types of questions will encourage the prospect to open up and share fears, past experiences and what is most important to them moving forward. This means you have the ammunition you need to continue to provide them with valuable information when you follow up. Make sure you save these details in your database, and when you have your next point of contact refer back to some of the discussion points in your previous conversation.
The last thing you must do before closing the contact card is set a time for when you will next follow up the customer. Never close the file until you have your next point of contact saved and never rely on your memory!
HOT, WARM OR COLD?
I like to separate my contacts into three categories: hot, warm and cold. This allows me to set my follow-up tasks, and when I’m completing my call connection sessions my hot contacts are always the first on the list. I believe a hot contact is someone who is ready to go now and who has given you the date when they are ready to take action. This is why it is so important to ask the questions in the beginning and listen to the answers, so you don’t miss a golden opportunity. In most cases you will call your prospects the next day or the next week, depending on what you have discussed.
Warm contacts are prospects who have shown an interest in buying an investment property, wanting to switch management due to issues, private investors or even those who have just purchased. They haven’t indicated an end date yet, or the date when they wish to proceed is months away, so regular contact until then is very important. In most cases you will call them fortnightly to monthly and provide relevant and/or industry updates in between.
Cold contacts are customers who have shown an interest at open homes, are looking at buying an investment property or who have raised concerns with their current situation, but are not ready to open up completely. These contacts need time to feel comfortable with you and with making the next important decision that may impact them for many years to come. Best not to push them too hard, so set your tasks to once a month to every two months of phone contact, depending on the previous conversation.
Overall, it is important to remember these people have made contact with you or your agency because they need your help. You need to ensure that when you are connecting with your contacts you have something to discuss.