3 Reasons to Follow Up More!
Apply the follow up strategies that I talk about here, and you will make more money in whatever business you are in, period.
First, a quick story for you
I own a bunch of vacant lots and a large number of rental properties in Richmond, VA. And from time to time, I get a letter or a postcard from another investor, usually a wholesaler, offering to buy my property.
I like to keep these in a file in order to see what type of marketing people are using these days. And from time to time, I’ll contact these wholesalers to get on their buyers’ list, since I’m looking to buy more property, rather than to sell mine.
A few days ago I opened up this file and observed something very interesting:
Guess how many times I got a follow up piece of mail from the same investor about the same property in the last 3 years? Yep….you guessed it: 0 times!
This completely blows my mind. And then I hear real estate investors in my market complain constantly that there are no deals to be had. Well sure, if that’s your follow up system then you won’t get very far.
Let me tell you another quick story
About two years ago, I was doing a pretty targeted mailing campaign for some local vacant lots in a market where I do a lot of development. I was hitting the same addresses about every six months. One day I get a phone call from this nice lady who own a KEY piece of land that would be absolutely AMAZING for a mixed-use development. I’ve had my eye on that piece of land for a few years at that point and have sent her at least three letters by then.
She calls me up and says: “Hi Daniil. I got your letter so wanted to call you as a courtesy. I just put this piece of land under contract with another investor three weeks ago and he’s supposed to close next week. I wish you had contacted me sooner!”
Now, again, keep in mind I’ve been mailing this lady every six months and she had gotten at least three of my letters at that point. You would think she’d save them and call me when it was time to sell. But she didn’t. When she decided to sell, she called the first letter that was in front of her – probably the latest letter to have arrived on her doorstep.
So what’s the moral of this story?
- You have to follow up frequently. After that experience, I decided to increase my mailings to every 3 months to my targeted lists of properties that I really wanted.
- In an “outbound marketing” effort like direct mail, you have to be in front of people on THEIR time. When potential sellers receive your mail, if you’re not hitting them at the exact right time with the right message, then they won’t call you. And if you think they’re saving your letters or postcards for later instead of tossing them in the trash, you’re crazy! So that means you have to keep hitting them and following up so that when they DO decide to sell, you’re the first person who they think of and whose correspondence they hopefully see.
Now, and this is important, this whole “follow up consistency” concept applies to everything in business, not just finding deals. This applies to selling, to relationship building, to raising money, to just about anything else.
It’s been well documented that sales people who follow up consistently out-earn those that don’t by HUGE multiples. 80% of sales are made on the 5th follow up! Think about that.
Relationship building with key people
Let’s say there was someone important who you really wanted to be “in with”. This is a busy, successful individual. You finally get the nerve to reach out them and invite them to lunch. You have a great meal, talk about topics of mutual interest, and then part ways.
Here’s the mistake that most everyone makes and I have made myself in the past: Instead of reaching out to this person again quickly and building a relationship, you wait and wait until just the right reason or the right opportunity. You don’t want to bother this individual unless the reason and the timing is right.
But here’s the problem with approach: As Keith Ferrazzi said in his (awesome) book “Never Eat Alone (and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time)”: “…relationships are more like muscles—the more you work them, the stronger they become”.
Ferrazzi goes on to state that “relationship equity” is not finite, like a pie that you can cut into, and you shouldn’t be hesitant to exercise it. Exercising this “equity” (by following up with people and building your relationship) actually builds more equity!
So the more you follow up, the stronger your professional relationship will get. This is assuming, of course, you’re not just wasting people’s time but are either coming to them with specific questions or things you need help with, or offering them some kind of value.
So consistent, strategic real estate follow up can get you more deals, more sales, and vastly improve your social circle, your reach and your influence!
Take some time and think about what parts of your life and your business can benefit from a better follow up strategy and then plug those holes!