Have You Got Your Sales Blinkers On?
When making calls to potential prospects to build up your contact list, what are you focused on? Would it be safe to assume you are going after the ‘low hanging fruit’, the owner occupier or investor looking to list or buy a property in your local area?
If you are, then you’re probably like 90% of the other real estate agents out there, following the easy money trail and trying to take advantage of a quick sales opportunity. Unfortunately, you are basing your strategy on two faulty assumptions – the first is that this low-hanging fruit is always easy pickings (sometimes they are, sometimes they’re not!). The second is that you assume the rest of your answered calls which are not “hot leads” aren’t worth the time and effort to follow up because no good opportunities exist there.
Let’s concentrate on identifying the golden opportunities you may be missing out on by not having a strategy to deal with the “cold leads”.
Studies show that on average, you will conduct around 10-12 outbound prospecting calls an hour. Of these, you may achieve 1-2 meaningful conversations which you can then enter into your CRM system and turn into contacts. The rest of the calls, which equate to around 80% of your time spent prospecting are wasted, right? Wrong!
Here’s why. When you focus on only the most qualified prospects, you are like a horse wearing blinkers, you effectively have tunnel vision, and you can miss other potential opportunities right under your nose. Sure, some of these may be longer-term and require a bit of lead nurturing but chances are, if you can catch them at an earlier stage of the selling/buying process, you will avoid competition with other agents and more importantly, be rewarded with your prospect’s on-going trust, i.e. by helping meet their needs and solving their problems.
Tenant Strike – Let’s imagine a couple of scenarios where this can be applied. You are calling your leads and you contact a tenant instead of an owner. Your first reaction is to move on or try to get a contact number for the actual owner. However, there is a possibility the tenant may be a property owner themselves, perhaps owning an investment property and currently renting because of:
- Lifestyle or family reasons
- A new job they started
- An investment strategy they have adopted
- Financial difficulties resulting from divorce, business problems etc.
The tenant could also be a new home buyer saving up for their first property or be a candidate for a financial review because they have money in the bank but lack the knowledge on how to invest it in the property market.
In other words, all you have to do is spend a little more time on the phone, asking the right questions, and offering solutions to their needs and suddenly the opportunities will start bubbling up like freshly poured champagne!
Owner-Occupier Strike – Now let’s take a look at a call to an owner-occupier who says they are not in the market to sell. It would be easy to cross their name off your list and move on to greener pastures. But think about the opportunities you could uncover with a bit of detective work. The owner-occupier could be:
- A candidate for a financial review which could potentially loosen up some cash for an investment property
- Looking to invest in a second property but is unsure of the market
- A great referral contact for friends, neighbours, family or business colleagues wanting to list or buy*.
*Make sure before you pick up the phone you are very clear on your company’s referral policy – you may need to discuss this in great detail with an opportunistic character.
The other point to note is, if you are ringing a landline and you contact an owner-occupier during working hours, there is a good chance they are “homebodies” and know all the gossip in their street. They may be a great source of valuable information, plus they just might appreciate the conversation being one of few they possibly get in their day.
Interstate Owner Strike – Finally let’s look at the interstate owner. It would be easy to dismiss this person as irrelevant because they currently don’t reside in or near your patch. But what about if their name was on your database because they once owned property in the area or they still own an investment property there, would that change your perspective? In this case, an interstate investor could be:
- Looking to offload their investment property or buy more property in the area
- A perfect property management opportunity to pass on to your team e.g. are they happy with their current property manager?
- A great follow up prospect allowing you to become the valued resource for all local information
- A great source for a referral to other potential investors living interstate.
To summarise, it’s no crime to chase after the low-hanging fruit, that small percentage of hot leads who you identify during your prospecting process as being ready to list or buy. In fact, you should probably be spending at least 60-70% of your time and effort following up these leads. However, keep in mind that the low hanging fruit is not always the easy option and that focusing exclusively on these “late-stage” prospects means you are missing out on other potentially hidden opportunities.
A much better strategy is to cast a “wider net,” bring in prospects from every stage of the selling/buying cycle, and then employ lead nurturing strategies to drive this larger pool of prospects forward through your sales funnel. You will be ultimately be rewarded with more faithful clients and greater sales success.