Just this week I was asked three times essentially the same question: “What do I do with a backburner prospect (BBP) to stay in touch and not lose his/her potential business?”
- “I met with a homeowner who wants to sell his home ‘sometime;’ maybe by the end of the year.”
- “I hold frequent open houses and meet many visitors who have ‘just started looking;'” and
- “A friend asked me to ‘keep an eye out’ for a particular kind of home in a particular neighborhood.”
Since they asked, here are my thoughts on the matter!
First and most important…DO NOT put the BBP on any sort of drip campaign or systematized follow-up!!!! Puh-leeeaze! That’s what every other real estate agent is doing (and yes, they are likely talking to several) and trust me, being added to a drip campaign doesn’t endear you to anyone.
What to do instead? Howzabout this? Follow-up personally each and every time you do follow-up (to be discussed shortly). Put a reminder in your planner at appropriate intervals to check in with your BBP, no pressure or pitches, to remind them that you’re ready, willing and able to help when THEY are ready (see below).
Second, add the BBP to your regular Sphere of Influence communications if you do any – i.e. your mass email distribution list or snail-mail/doo-dad list.
Third, when you do follow-up with your BBP come armed with something of value (besides just “Are ya ready to buy/sell yet? Huh? Huh? Huh?”). This should be easy enough – if it’s a homeowner wanting to sell at some point, let her know when a neighboring property comes on the market, goes under contract or closes. And if previewing is allowed in your market, make a point to preview new listings in the area as they come up.
If it’s a BBP buyer, just keep an eye on the market he’s interested in. Put yourself on an auto-search for them and make an effort to preview new listings that come up so you can speak intelligently about them when you follow-up. Again, don’t just put THEM on an auto-search and hope they contact you if they see anything interesting… be more proactive than that!
And finally, when you do check in, never pressure your BBP that they need to BUY NOW or SELL NOW. In fact, just the opposite. Be casual, low-pressure, patient… “Just checking in – when you’re ready, I’m ready!”
Now, what if your BBP doesn’t respond to your check-ins? Don’t fret! They may have changed their minds about buying or selling and it’s nothing personal. Or they might have other things going on right now and you are a low priority for them (again, it’s not personal). But if you’ve checked in several times with no response, just make a final call/email saying “I don’t want to bug you, so I’ll leave the ball in your court. Just track me down when you need me and I’ll be ready!” I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how often they will call you to apologize for not being responsive!
Guest Author Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn has authored seven books and multiple courses designed to teach agents her Sell with Soul philosophy that centers on four interrelated principles: Respect, Competence, Confidence and Enthusiasm. You can also visit her online at www.sellwithsoul.com or attend one of her free teleseminars on a variety of topics of interest to the real estate community.