Manos Findikakis: It’s all in the follow-up

Over the years, I’ve heard many agents mention the problem in their pipeline is a shortage of leads.

For those new to the industry that might indeed be a challenge, but for anyone who has been in real estate a while, I’d argue it’s not leads but follow-up that is your issue.

So how can you improve your follow-up strategy and why is it so important to long-term success?

Signs you have a follow-up issue

If you’ve ever sold a property for someone and later found they used another agent for a subsequent sale, chances are there’s a problem with your follow-up.

Why? Well, unless there was an issue with that sale, it’s very unlikely a happy vendor would forget the name of their agent.

That means the real problem was that you failed to keep in touch with them in the period afterwards.

And, surprisingly, the issue of follow-up is a lot more common than you might think, with statistics revealing around 80 per cent of sellers do not use their original selling agent.

That’s eight out 10 vendors you’re potentially letting slip away, despite the fact they know you, and may even have used your service to achieve success.

So how can you address it? Here are four key tips to improving your follow-up strategy…

1. Follow-up matters at every stage

While the example above relates to past sellers, the reality is follow-up should occur throughout the real estate process.

This includes following up after an appraisal, following up with a potential buyer, following up with a vendor to provide feedback after an open home or following up to let vendors know exactly where the sale of their property is up to once a contract is drafted.

When you follow-up you are providing true real estate service; you are matching buyers with sellers, keeping people in the loop and showcasing your expertise.

2. Tailor it to the individual

Successful follow-up isn’t a matter of just adding a name to your database and then bombarding them with messages and communication.

The follow-up strategy should be tailored to the individual and their circumstances.

For example, imminent sellers will have different touchpoints to those with no immediate plans to sell, while past sellers will also have different needs, as will people beginning their purchasing journey.

The key here is relevance. Each follow-up touchpoint must be relevant, well-timed, informative, and, from a big-picture perspective, display that the agent is active and knowledgeable.

The most effective way to accomplish this is to ensure you are intimate with your database and have segmented it according to your contact’s needs.

When you tailor follow-up to the individual, you help ensure your communication is personalised, because no buyer or seller wants to feel like a nameless number on a list.

3. A blended approach

Follow up must also have a blended approach.

In some cases, it can harness technology such as email, social media, and digital newsletters.

In other instances, it should be highly personal, such as handwritten anniversary cards, personalised SMS updates and glossy market reports received via mail.

The yearly phone call is also essential, while VIPs and those who are your raving fans should also be treated to yearly client nights.

4. A team strategy

If you’re set on improving your follow-up (and I would strongly suggest you do), I highly recommend conducting a full day planning session with your team.

Look at every touchpoint for each client of your business – whether they are a prospective seller, a current vendor, past seller, or a buyer – then map out and devise a strategy for each that you set in stone with systems and procedures.

These then become the ‘gospel’ that your team turns to day-after-day, forming the basics of the stellar customer service for which you want to be renowned.

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Manos Findikakis

Manos Findikakis is the CEO of Agents'Agency, Australia's first multi-brand real estate network.