The ways you can follow up with real estate leads and prospects have increased considerably in the past decade. But the fundamentals of follow-up haven't changed...not to mention that the expansion of lead-gen opportunities in real estate has brought some new twists and turns to some of the same unresolved lead follow-up challenges.
Can you relate? You see that you have a new prospect or client to reach out to, so you look at the listing forms they've filled out and any other information you can gather about them. Then, you quickly type up a follow-up email asking to meet up for coffee or a showing. And then you wait. And wait. And wait some more.
They never respond.
The truth is, buyer and seller leads often require more than one email before they’ll take action—or even respond. So, it's up to you to figure out a way to connect with them multiple times without being obnoxious. In this post, we'll explore three tips for creating an email sequence that will get you the results you want.
Tip #1: Make a Good First Impression For Future Referrals
Your mother was right when she said first impressions are important. In the context of email outreach for your real estate prospects, that means subject lines are important. You might have the right house they've been searching for, but if your subject line doesn’t make them want to open the email, they’ll never see what's inside.
Here are some stats that I reference and track here at Realvolve:
- 35% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. 69% of email recipients report email as spam based on subject line alone (Convince & Convert).
- 40% of emails are opened on mobile first, and the average mobile screen can only fit 4-7 words of the subject line (Contact Monkey).
- Subject lines with 30 or fewer character have an above average open rate (Adestra).
Think about your prospects and their buying or selling needs. Now, figure out a way to express those needs in 1-3 words. Once you’ve done that, your subject line can be as simple as, “Question about [listing address]?” Use your listing that they are interested in, and get that into the subject line in as few words as possible. If a particular subject line isn’t getting opened, it’s probably time to try something new.
But getting your prospect to open the email doesn’t guarantee anything. If you don’t offer them value and context immediately, there’s no reason for them to keep reading. So forget starting with your name and how many years you've been in real estate—all of that is in your signature anyway. Start with the context of your outreach and immediately move to the value you’re offering.
Context (first sentence of email):
- I saw that [listing address] caught your eye.
- [Mutual connection] told me you're moving to [city/state].
- I liked your recent [post/tweet/like/etc.].
Value (second and third sentences of email):
- I have an idea about that new rental property [insightful pain-point]. I'd love to set up some time to chat about [alternatives].
- Here's a link to recent properties in your area of interest [link to listings]. If you'd like to talk about about some of these, let me know.
- I recently helped your friend [positive outcome]. Is there a time we can connect to see if I could help you find a house in [area/neighborhood] of interest?
Get to the point quickly and keep it focused on the needs of your buyer or seller.
Tip #2: Always Be Helping
Even a great first email won’t always garner a response. People are busy, just like you! Even if they want to talk to you, they have other potential priorities vying for their attention. I recommend sending two or three follow-up emails as part of your outreach sequence or workflow.
If you want to get any traction in the process, you need to be sure every email you send offers some value to your potential client. If you just say you’re “checking in” or “following up,” they won't see any reason to respond.
The biggest mistake you can make is assuming that prospects and customers read your emails and keep a rolling tally in their heads each time you reach out. To overcome this challenge, remind your clients of previous communications and pair your communications together for a "stacking effect."
If you’re stumped as to what else to say, feel free to download our Double-Up Your Follow-Up Scripts.
Tip #3: Know When to Back Off (Email #6)
There are two reasons to make your sixth email your last one (which is my indication to cool my jets for a bit). For one thing, there’s no benefit to spending time and effort on a potential client who isn’t engaged. Badgering an unresponsive person won’t make them want to talk to you—in fact, it might turn them off from ever wanting to talk to you. Continuing to reach out after your fifth or sixth attempt isn’t helpful to your prospect, and it doesn’t do you any good, either.
But there’s an even better reason to cut things off, and that’s the power of what Blair Enns calls “Closing the Loop.” Essentially, you tell the person that you aren’t going to reach out to them anymore...in a polite way. Enns recommends being as emotionlessly matter-of-fact as possible. Here’s the template he uses:
Subject: Closing The Loop
I haven't heard back from you on [property/listing/new build] so I'm going to believe you've gone in a different direction or your priorities have changed.
Please let me know if I can be of assistance in the future.
If the person you’re emailing really isn’t interested, they either won’t respond or will send a quick thank-you note to confirm that they won’t be moving forward with you, (and that isn't all that bad). But if they are interested, even just a little bit, then this email might spur them to action, and maybe they’ll at least tell you when a better time would be to reach out.
Courtesy definitely counts for a lot in all of our communication. And, of course, if anyone uses any of the template/workflow ideas I've suggested here, you should modify them in your real estate CRM to make them your own.
What are some of your favorite tips for follow-up? Got a good subject line I should try? Let me know below.