For many agents, the challenge is not getting a lead or prospect, but how to continually cultivate that lead until they are ready to buy or sell. It is typical for a prospect to make an initial contact well before they are able to make a purchase or sell their home.
They might be just testing the waters, looking for information on market conditions. Perhaps their credit has been damaged and they need to wait a few months before buying. In either case, it is critical to keep a constant dialogue with your Prospect. When your prospect is ready sell or buy, you need to be the one REALTOR that they think of. It's not necessarily a bad thing if you give them the impression that you are well organized, diligent and persistent. These traits are well respected and appreciated.
There are several ways of doing this and the mostly involve taking advantage of Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM) to track all your prospects and where each of them are in in the sale pipeline. A good Real Estate Software product can do many things; just a few are listed below.
You can send a sequence of time-released Emails (usually called a DRIP sequence) that has been specially calibrated for the specific (for example, new home buyer, or a seller who needs to do a short-sale). Real Estate Software products will have pre-written sequences available that you can use without modification of you can tweak them for your own specific needs. DRIP sequences typically are automatically sent, so the only work is in setting them up initially.
A second way of keeping your name in the mind of your Prospect is to send a monthly newsletter containing current market conditions such as interest rates, days on market and houses sold. Local current information is valuable, and as an expert on a specific neighborhood, you are in a fantastic position to provide that expertise. When it comes time to buy or sell, you have positioned yourself as an expert and this increases your ability to be a part of that deal.
Don't underestimate the value of Christmas cards. Everyone likes to get a card in the mail around Christmas time. Make sure to send Christmas cards to everyone you know. You don't need to be pushy - just make sure that they know that you are still selling real estate and are still an expert in the specific neighborhood(s) that you have staked out. An added benefit is that returned cards will give you information on who has moved. If they didn't use you to sell their house and they moved, then take them off your list.
Finally, there's nothing better than a phone call in making a cold lead heat up. A good Realtor Software product will have the ability to track past phone calls and schedule future phone calls. Finally, it will allow you to build your own call list, so you can efficiently make follow-up calls. Don't underestimate the power of the phone call. You can easily evaluate the odds of a prospect turning into a sale with a phone conversation, and that is simply not possible using email or a Christmas card.
A good Real Estate Software program can do so much more, but these four ideas are good places to start.