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7 Real Estate Agent Tips for Dealing With Unresponsive Prospects

How many times has your kindling relationship with a potential client been going along smoothly until, suddenly, it’s not? One week of silence passes, then two. And you’re left wondering what you did wrong—and if there’s any way to fix it.

By this point, you’ve likely sent follow-up text messages or emails and left a few voicemails for your prospect. So, what’s your next step?

Here are seven marketing principles to adhere to when sending a follow-up email after no response. Follow them, and you’re more likely to welcome a few of those potential buyers or sellers back into your open arms.

1. A-B-C (Always Be Closing)

As a real estate agent, you’re trained to be a negotiator. But sometimes you need to ask yourself, honestly, if you included a close in your first contact attempt.

When sending that initial follow-up email to fish for a response, Realtors sometimes soften up the ask. Thew throw in an "I’d love to hear back from you" or "I’d like to learn more about what type of home you’re looking for." The problem is, these aren’t questions and none of them ask for a close.

Closing isn’t just a will-they-or-won’t-they-meet-with-me question. Every communication you have with a prospect—from initial outreach to final signature on the dotted line—should include a close. Whether you’re closing for another five minutes of their time, a cup of coffee, a quick drive through your favorite neighborhood, or a discovery call, you’d better have a purpose and a call to action (CTA) every time you reach out to your prospect.

So, instead of an ambiguous statement like, "I think I can really help you with your home search; I hope we can catch up soon," make sure you actually ask a question. Include firm questions like, "Are you free for a cup of coffee this Friday?" or "Can you return all feedback on your ideal home checklist by Thursday?" and give your prospect an actionable request to respond to.

2. Make every email a fresh start

Never cut and paste or forward the original email you sent to the prospect. To you, it might feel empowering, but to your prospect, it feels like you’re trying to guilt-trip them for not responding. (Plus, from a practical standpoint, resending emails could trigger a spam filter. You don’t want to get blocked.)

Treat each follow-up email as a blank slate. Try new subject lines, greetings, and calls to action. You never know what’s going to finally move your prospect to respond, so why limit yourself to one email thread that already has seven ignored messages weighing it down?

For more ideas on how to improve your follow-up emails, check out 3 Tips For Real Estate Prospect And Lead Follow-Up.

3. Don’t use deceptive subject lines

Never use subject lines like "Re: Our meeting last week" or "Following up on our phone call” if you haven’t actually had a meeting or phone call. Your subject line should be genuine and accurately describe what’s in the email.

4. Try an easier call to action

If your initial call to action garnered no response, make your next CTA a little easier to deliver on (because as more time passes, it will only get easier and easier for your prospect to ignore you).
For instance, if your first follow-up email asked for a meeting, your second might ask for a referral instead. If you still get no response, your third email could request more information about what they’re looking for in an agent.

If all else fails, ask a question entirely disconnected from listings or showings. If you know of a farmer’s market happening on the weekends in a neighborhood they’re interested in, ask, "There’s a really cool weekend farmer’s market in the neighborhood! Have you checked it out yet?"

Sometimes it’s easier for prospects to answer personal questions about themselves. It reminds them you’re a human and not just a machine. Once you get a response to your farmer’s market question, you can steer the conversation back to business.

5. Don’t follow up too quickly

Some Realtors like to categorize themselves as persistent, or even relentless. But sometimes persistence can look a lot like pestering.

If you’re only waiting a day or two to touch base again after the first outreach email, you’re not giving them enough time to respond. Not only are you adding unnecessary pressure, you’re also signaling to your prospect that you’re not really that busy—and no one wants to work with a desperate real estate agent.

Bottom line: Wait at least one week between your first and second follow-up attempts.

For more email follow-up tips, check out: Are Your Emails Annoying Your Real Estate Leads?

6. Assume positive intent

When you've sent a couple emails or made a few phone calls and haven't heard back, it's easy to take it personally. But top performing real estate agents have to have a thick skin. Avoid a passive aggressive attitude and instead assume positive intent. You never know what the prospect has going on in their life.

Phrases like, "Just wanted to bump this email to the top of your inbox," or "Wanted to touch base on this," quietly acknowledge that your prospect is busy and might just need a gentle nudge to get the ball rolling again.

Try these two "no-show" email scripts that we use here at Realvolve.

7. Ditch the breakup emails

If you’ve tried the steps I’ve recommend above and still nothing has happened, stop sending your prospect emails. Go away, wait, and follow up a few months later.

Don’t get mad and send a breakup email.

When you send a frustrated email—"Well, since I haven’t heard from you, I’ll assume you’re not interested in the properties you liked last month.”—you do four things:

  1. You make your prospect feel bad
  2. You make yourself the victim (not a flattering look)
  3. You decrease the likelihood of them reaching out to you in the future
  4. You ruin your chances of getting referrals

By waiting and reaching out again after a few months have elapsed, you keep yourself in a position of authority and avoided passive-aggressively blaming your prospect for never responding.

When you do finally reach out, keep it friendly: "I hope you had a great fall! I know a lot of my sellers are focused on getting their homes ready to hit the market before heading into the spring months. Is this a priority for you right now?"


Non-responsive prospects? Handle with care.

Dealing with a suddenly silent prospect is a precarious situation. You have to stay positive and even-keeled—no taking it personally or getting frustrated. You have to be careful with the timing and frequency of your outreach—you don’t want to pester them. And you need to analyze what you’ve been doing that may not be working—is your CTA a little too aggressive? Are your questions too vague? Could your subject line be catchier?

Be smart about your follow up. Follow the advice shared here, and talk to other real estate agents to see how they handle these types of situations. Before you know it, you’ll once again have a pipeline full of engaged prospects!

Jon Yourkin

Jon Yourkin leads marketing operations and sales enablement at Realvolve and designs high performing marketing processes to accelerate revenue growth. With a strong background in internet marketing and funnel management, he excels at building scalable integrated campaigns that leverage cutting-edge marketing techniques. Although performance is at the core of who he is as a marketer, he believes real estate agents need to create predictable and scalable processes to build a sustainable business.

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