Mastering the Follow-Up: Proven Strategies for Effective Real Estate Conversions
Ryan McGinnis: [00:00:00] For those of you that do not know me my name is Ryan McGinnis. I manage a team of a little over 60 agents here in Southern California as part of the Provident Real Estate team at Fiv Realty. I’m new to the role, but was an agent for the team for a little over five years. I talk super fast so I’m gonna try to talk at a slower pace today.
So I like to think of myself as the hardest working lazy agent. If I’m gonna work, I’m gonna put in the effort into it. I’m not just doing it to check a box. I was comfortable selling 20, 25 houses a year while trying to enjoy and spend time with my wife and two kids.
I didn’t invest a whole lot of time trying to actively find new business outside of my sphere and the leads that were coming through. And we get a lot of those here. I hate cold calling. I don’t like door knocking, but I’ll do it. [00:01:00] Open houses are okay, but you know, they take up my weekends. But I’m really good with a warm lead.
And that person could be ready to go right now or two years from now. One thing I’ve always been good at in all of the jobs that I’ve had is follow up and follow through. I noticed that’s one of the biggest areas of opportunity for our agents right now. And as I say, the money’s in the follow up. So that’s what this, this zoom call is all about today is the how to follow up as best as possible and, you know, to maximize your time and and your efforts.
So it’s easy to take the initial call or have the initial meeting with the client, but what do we do from there? First of all, you gotta utilize a CRM and a CRM can be a basic Excel spreadsheet. You know, that’s totally fine. Whatever works best for you. We use Follow Up Boss over here, but the key to making the CRM work is to look at it every single day and reach out to the people [00:02:00] in there every single day.
At least five days a week, you know, Monday through Friday. If you can do it on the weekends too, that’s even better. So we’ll talk about what follow-up or how often follow-up looks like later in the, in the call here. So for us here at Provident, we get a lot of Zillow leads. So that’s kind of what we’ll focus on, but this really applies to any brand new lead that you get especially online leads or anyone that you’ve never met in person before, but it still applies to your sphere, just kind of to a lesser degree.
Because with the your sphere leads you’ve got that built in trust and connection with those people that you don’t have with these online leads. So this is gonna kind of go over how to do that and, you know, make that as easy and simple as possible to get that connection with your clients.
So let’s start with what happens after the first phone call. So ideally, you’ve gotten the basics on their home search, the bedrooms, bathrooms, location, price point, all that good stuff. My [00:03:00] first step after that is to send them a video message. That way they can see my face and how excited I am to help them out.
In doing this message, you gotta be standing up with a big smile on your face for this to be impactful. If you’re monotone or have a sour look on your face, this is not going to be effective. So before I’m turned around the camera, I got a big smile on my face and it’s, Hey Joe, this is Ryan, your Zillow premier agent with Provident Real Estate.
I’m super excited to help you out and see Banana Street. Tomorrow at four o’clock. I’m gonna go check with my partners and see if we have any other off market properties in the area that might work for you. Of course, I’ll also check the m l s to see if there’s anything there too. In the meantime, if you come across any other homes that you want to go see while we’re out tomorrow, just send them my way and we’ll add them to the tour.
And then that’s that initial video that I’m sending to them. The reason I mentioned the off-market properties in there is because I want to give them something. Nobody else is going to be able to give them access to off-market properties. And when you say [00:04:00] that, all of a sudden you’ve created a little bit of intrigue for them.
They’re like, Ooh, that’s this guy’s giving me something that. Nobody else is, is gonna be able to give me I’ve also provided a little bit of value to them other than just being a door opener or an online home searcher for them. They can go search for homes online themselves. They can look on Zillow.
Zillow’s gonna send them properties all the time. But if I’m actively looking at stuff for them and I’m sending them homes that aren’t even on the market yet, I’ve created a little bit of value for these people. That video message is accompanied with a text message that I have a keyboard shortcut for that says, Hey, with an exclamation mark.
It’s Ryan, your Zillow premier agent with Provident Real Estate. Just wanna make sure you have my contact info. And then I put a little smiley face emoji on there because, you know I’m a smiley guy. And emojis, they help break the ice a little bit. I think. So I like using a lot of emojis. That might not be your jam, but whatever.
And then I also say if there are any other houses you come across while searching online, just send them my way [00:05:00] and we can add those to the tour for tomorrow. And then I end it with a thumbs up emoji. If you know me, that’s like my big deal. It’s thumbs up, everything’s all one thumbs up, two thumbs up.
And like I said, I have that as a keyboard shortcut, so I’ll have to do is type in Z Z, Z and that text pops up. All I have to do is add their name right after. Hey, and then we’re off and running. Within five minutes of that, I’m texting them, not emailing them, one to four more houses that match their home search.
Or at least kind of close to it. And here’s the key. I’m not sending them all at once and saying, Hey, look at these houses. What do you think? I’m saying, I know your original search was for X City, but have you considered Y City in YC City? That house, this house has a pool, the loft and the office and the right square footage, and it’s X dollars less expensive, or this house is right around the corner.
It’s a little bit smaller, but it’s got the open floor plan you were looking for, and it’s highly upgraded, like you mentioned, would be a plus. Whatever it is, just be specific about [00:06:00] the properties you’re sending to them and again, limit it to like four max. Otherwise it gets too, it gets to be too much.
They can’t, you know, After you see more than four, you’re like, eh, I don’t know what I saw. And if you’re giving them specifics about it, like they know that they, that you heard them in the original conversation I always acknowledge how it does and how it does not match what they told you. I, I know you said no smaller than 2,500 square feet, but this one is 2,250 square feet and has blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
It might check off all the other boxes on their checklist, but be as slightly smaller than they were originally looking for. I’m acknowledging that I heard you 2,500 square feet, but this might work for you sending these properties right away. After that initial phone call does a few things. It tells the client you were listening to them because you’re pointing out specifics about the home based on what they told you.
Even if some of those things you’re pointing out aren’t necessarily what they originally wanted. It also shows that you are fast and responsive, [00:07:00] and I believe that’s one of the most important things in this business is being fast and responsive, especially with the ease at which clients have access to finding other agents online.
If you’re not fast, especially at the beginning of the relationship. You’re gonna be easily replaced. We had a guy in our office earlier this week had a client reach out at seven 15 in the morning, and he got back to them at nine in the morning and they told them, Hey, sorry we found somebody else to take care of us.
He was like, what the heck? I was super fast, and I’m like, Hey, you gotta be faster. They’re going to find somebody else. It’s too easy to find other agents out there right now. For me personally I love hanging out with my family, but they know if a client needs something from me, I’m dipping out for a minute.
I could be at a birthday party, a family barbecue eating dinner. If a client is texting me, I’m getting back to them right away. And I believe that’s one of those things that helped make me pretty successful in this business. The last thing sending out the properties right away does is it separates you from [00:08:00] 95% of the other agents out there.
They’re just not doing it. They’re waiting for the buyers to come to them. They’re very reactive instead of being proactive. And when you’re reactive, the client does not need you. They can go into an open house without you. They can go directly to the listing agent without you, but if they know someone is looking out for them, they’re all yours.
The rest is easy. All you have to do is find them a home they love and negotiate the crap out of it, which you know, in this market, definitely easier said than done. But so let’s talk about what happens after the first meeting with a client. Again, I’m a big fan of video messages, so it’s gonna be another quick video message and it’s gonna be about wherever we left with things.
It’s gonna be something along the lines of, Hey Joe, it was great meeting you and Jane today and the kids I just sent you the lender’s info, so reach out to Joey as soon as you can and he’ll take great care of you. I’ll be on the lookout for more pool homes under whatever price, and send them your way.
Again, if you come across any other homes, just send them my way and [00:09:00] let me know good day and time, and we’ll make it happen after that video message. I’m saying the more properties as soon as I get home especially if they’re highly motivated clients, somebody that’s pre-approved, ready to go, wants to move right away.
Even just a motivated buyer that doesn’t have their approval quite yet. But they’re, they wanna move in the next, you know, few weeks or couple months or whatever. They’re getting that text right away with more, more homes. Sometimes they’ll say something like, Hey, check out this house on Apple Street.
It has a, B, and C. Lemme know if you wanna go check it out sometime this week or this weekend, or this home on Pear Street Might be a better one cuz it has a bigger backyard. So, The point is that we’re always trying to secure that next appointment as soon as possible. Statistics show that if you show a client three houses, they’re more likely to use you.
So getting them to see those three houses no matter when, no matter where, like that’s super important. I’m a big fan in my text message and video messages of saying, let me know a good day and time and [00:10:00] we’ll make it happen because it puts the client in control. And you know, we work for them so they can be in control.
I want them to know that if 6:30 on a Thursday is best for them, then that works for me too. It’s crazy to me how many people ask if I work on the weekend. Like yes, I always work on the weekends. Whenever you are available, that’s when I’m ready to go show you some houses. And if I have an appointment at the time that they suggest, I’ll say something like, ah, shoot, I got another showing at that time.
How about an hour earlier or an hour later, or, you know, however that works out. I always have an appointment on Sunday morning around 10 o’clock or one 30 from September through January. Hopefully February this year. But, you know, being a Browns fan is kind of rough sometimes. But the point is like, you can, you can navigate around that a little bit.
So before I mention how quickly I respond with [00:11:00] people to people with more properties based on their cl, their motivation level. Like if you’re lackadaisical towards me or towards the process, I’m gonna be that way towards you. I can’t want the house more than the client does. Same thing with like the agents on my team.
I support them in every way that I can, but, I can’t want them to be more successful than they want to be. If they wanna sell five to 10 houses a year, that’s cool. That’s totally fine. But if you’re selling five to 10 right now and you wanna do 25, let’s go. I’m gonna help you figure things out and how to do that.
Same thing with the clients. If you’re ready to move through the process and get a house, I know that I’m the best guy to make that happen, and I believe that you all should believe that about yourselves too. Or else, you know, why are we doing this? You are the best person. I know I talked about video messages a lot and it’s cuz I’m a big believer in that.
It doesn’t matter what you look like. It doesn’t matter what you sound like, just do it. [00:12:00] People want to see people. Otherwise you could just be an AI bot or a computer, they don’t know. But when they see your face, like you become a real person to them. That brings us to another point. If you’re following up with someone and they’re ghosting, you try a video message.
In my experience after you send a video message and then try to reach out a couple more times after that via call or text message, roughly 20 to 30% of the people are going to respond to you. And sometimes with, eh, I’m not interested. Other times with, oh shoot. Sorry, I’ve been busy. Yeah, let’s go see some houses sometime.
The point is it’s worth a shot, right? You’re not getting anything from them anyway. They’ve totally ghosted you shoot your shot and see what happens. What happens if a client’s looking for something and what they’re looking for is very, very few and far between. So I have a buyer right now that’s looking for a $300,000 or lower price point in Riverside here in Southern California.
And for us, that’s an incredibly low price [00:13:00] point and not much comes up at that price. But things do pop up. So every seven to 10 days I’m sending a quick test, a quick text message with, Hey, nothing new at the market In a while we still wanna stick to that area only, right? Or maybe I’ll send him another home that’s 10 to 15 minutes away that’s in the right price point if I think that that might work for him.
But as soon as something does pop up in his price range in the city he is looking for, I’m sending that over right away to him because you know why Zillow’s sending that probably before even I am. And I want him to know that I’m looking out for him and that the homes that he’s looking for so you should be checking the m l s every day or better yet, set yourself up on the same home search as your clients so you know right when that perfect home hits the market, again, I’m all about making my life as easy as possible.
So how much time do you need to spend each day doing this? And this is the really [00:14:00] cool part, I think, cuz to be honest, probably an hour two, if you have like five pretty hot clients. Maybe three hours if you got like 10 or more. I’m talking about like hot clients ready to go, ready to make offers. Like you don’t have to invest a lot of time in this if you’re sending the right messages to these people in the right homes.
I. You don’t have to do a lot. So in my personal experience, if I reached out to about 50 clients in a week with a meaningful text message or phone call and that can include touching the same client like two or three different ways. Or sorry, two or three different days during the week if they were hot, that would translate into about two to four appointments for the week.
And that in turn would turn into one to three escrows per month for me. And I try to track these things as best as possible with an accountability partner. And when I stopped tracking those things my business fell off. And that happened to me at the end of last year. 2022 was an [00:15:00] amazing year from January through about September-ish for me.
And then I took my foot off the gas. I didn’t track my contacts sometime around the middle-ish of the year. You know, because business just kept coming. There was fear business that was coming through. Open houses were successful, like things just were falling into place. So that happened and then when I started Trek Things again around the end of the year, my business picked up, but it took a few months to get back up and running again.
I didn’t sell a house from around October of last year until around February of this year. I didn’t need to because the rest of the year was good in, in my eyes, but around the end of December, I was like, shoot, what the heck? I started taking more leads and tracking my follow-up around November and that shit did not translate into business until February, so like three months later.
Follow-up does not stop with clients either. I believe that follow-up extends to lenders [00:16:00] and the agent on the other side of the transaction as well. If you submit an offer for your client, How soon are you following up with a listing agent? Like for me, I’m sending ’em a text immediately after I send hit the send button.
On my email I tell ’em, Hey, can you please confirm receipt? Cuz sometimes I go to spam, which is true. Once they confirm that they received it, I’m asking when they’re presenting offers. That way I have that information from my client. And then I’m following up shortly after they told me they’re gonna be submitting submitting, or sorry, presenting offers to their clients.
So if they told me Tuesday at five o’clock, I’m following up Wednesday morning, maybe even Tuesday at around like seven or eight o’clock-ish. I want the listing agent to know I’m on top of my shit. I don’t wanna do, and I do this without sounding too buggy, of course. Like obviously I don’t wanna piss off the listing agent either.
It’s usually with a quick text like, Hey, how are we looking on our offer? I want the listing agent to know my client is interested and motivated. My follow-up is [00:17:00] similar with lenders. If you work with a shitty lender because the buyer didn’t wanna work with your badass, preferred lender, you gotta stay on top of them sometimes.
Hey, how’s the approval coming? What are they missing? How can I help? Can you send me the de approval? I’m not sitting back waiting for other people to do their shit. I’ve got shit to do, and waiting for somebody else isn’t going to be one of those things. To be honest, that’s how your clients feel too, and that’s why you need to be responsive to them.
Jonathan Patterson: Ryan, can you hear me? Yep. I’m gonna make sure that you don’t feel like you’re doing a great job and I’m gonna ask you a question.
Ryan McGinnis: Sounds good. It’ll probably be a stupid question, but,
Jonathan Patterson: okay. Yeah. You know, maybe, but just, you know, hear me out. So, and for people who have, like, who’ve taken a lot of clients they, I know for me at one point, like it was kind of overwhelming.
To follow up with so many clients, how do you, you personally, prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed with all of those follow up and keeping that’s keeping
Ryan McGinnis: a question. That’s a great question. Minimizing the number of [00:18:00] clients that you have is the key to that. So for me, like I’m good to like for like 25 to 35 ish people, as long as most of those people aren’t like super hot.
After that, I start letting people fall off. So getting your list down to a manageable level is super important. Like for us we dump ’em all into a pond and that makes things a little bit easier. It’s weird to think that having less people will make you more successful, but that’s actually in my experience how, how it goes.
How many homes are you sending at one time, one home at a time in the text message, and I’m being very specific about why I’m sending that house. Like, Hey, this has blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, that you were looking for, or, and it’s missing, but it’s missing, blah, blah, blah. And I’m sending one to four of those individual text messages at a time.
What’s the frequency on the [00:19:00] one per text? Depends on how how hot the client is. It’s every day if you’re a pre-approved buyer and like you’re looking to make a move right away, I’m sending you one to three homes a day. And talking about each one. And why I think it matches your home search.
Now, obviously if what they want isn’t super common, like if they want a single story pool home here in Eastvale and those only pop up once every three or four days, then I’m sending it as soon as, as soon as they pop up. In the meantime, I’m sending other areas, like I might send one a couple miles away unless I’m sure like this is the only area that, that they’re looking for.