I’m a bad friend. If making plans to get together was up to me, it would never happen. Not because I don’t want to, it’s just that I get caught up in my day to day life. My friends are always the first ones to reach out; the ones who always get stuck making the plans. Even my own brother knows to call me because I won’t call him. I know. I suck. But I know I’m not alone with this. I’m focused on my job and family, so everything else kind of falls to the wayside.

How many people do you know talk about doing something, but need someone else to nudge them into actually doing it? Maybe, for example, they are thinking about moving, mention it to you in a passing conversation, and then life gets busy again. A couple months later, they list their house- but not with you- and you’re left feeling disappointed because when they talked to you, it was just something they were thinking about, not actually ready to do! What happened?

You let an opportunity pass you by, that’s what happened. They probably needed a gentle nudge, and someone else gave it to them. When it comes to dealing with leads like this, we have a policy in our office:  We work them until they tell us to shove off. As soon as we get an inkling that someone is thinking about moving, we put them in one of three categories: Cold, warm and hot.

Cold Leads are those people who are working with someone else, will never get financed, or who have already told us where to go.

Warm Leads are those people who are thinking about buying or selling, working on getting pre-approved, or just started looking online and putting out feelers.

Hot Leads are those clients we are currently working with. They are pre-approved, are actively looking, and are ready to write when the property is right.

Which group should get most of our attention? The Warm Leads, of course. These are the people who need nudging and consistent communication. These are the leads that can make or break your year. The idea is to convert these warm leads into hot leads. It could take three weeks, or three months. But you have to stay on it. The first step is the initial contact.

Initial contact: Have a conversation with the customer about plans, a timeline, and contact preference.  Discuss pre-approval, property wants and needs, and set up an auto search from the MLS. (Do this because you know eventually the customer will set one up on Trulia and Zillow and then be contacted by another agent!) Finally, let them know you will be in touch in a few days- and actually follow through!

Second contact: Ask them how the pre-approval is going. Ask if they’ve seen any houses on the market that they are curious about. Answer all the questions they might have. You want to establish a relationship, and show them why you are a valuable asset during this process. This is also a good time to mention that if they see a property they want to check out, to contact you and not the list agent or Zillow agent.

Third contact and beyond: Keep calling, emailing, or checking in with them. If they don’t answer, leave a message and try again tomorrow. You need to be persistent and consistent. It may feel like they are dodging you, but in actuality are just really busy. Until they tell you to “shove off”, you need to keep trying.

Be careful not to sound defeated or annoyed that the person hasn’t called you back. You’re there to help them with a giant decision, not ridicule them for not acting fast enough.  The communication should just be a friendly “hello, how’s it going? Thought I would check in. I saw a house you might be interested in, and wanted to hear your thoughts on it. Give me a call or shoot me a text. Talk soon.”

So next time you run into an acquaintance that mentions moving, add them to your warm lead list and start working the plan. Next time you have a “lookey-loo” show up at your open house, don’t shrug and ignore. Nudge! These people have the potential to be at your next closing. Make sure they are sitting on your side of the table.


Amy Gilpin RealtorAmy Gilpin Associate Broker, Manager, ABR.
Fourteen years of helping clients. Six years of helping agents. All for this crazy thing we call real estate.
Production Realty 517-879-4141 Jackson, MI Amy@ProductionRealty.com

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