May 7, 2020
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Hassan Riggs

How To Follow Up With Leads

Text message is the best way to follow up with online real estate leads

Hassan Riggs:

Hey buddy. How you doing, man?

Edward Terres:

Hey, man. I'm doing solid. Thanks for jumping on a call with me.

Hassan Riggs:

Yeah, man. Always great to chat with you. So tell everyone who you are.

Edward Terres:

Yeah, so my name is Edward Terres. I'm a real estate broker with Spaces Real Estate in Chicago, Illinois. I started at Spaces about three years ago, where I was specifically just a leasing agent and just renting out apartments and now taking more of a turn where spending a lot more of my time working with buyers and sellers just because of the nature of the business and the differences of commissions and lifestyle.

Hassan Riggs:

Yeah, yeah. And one of the things, man, one of the reasons I wanted to chat with you today is because you have a great system for follow up. So we all know that, listen, you can get leads from anywhere, but all the money is made in followup. And you've got a system down. 

You got a process down to follow up with leads that helps you close more deals more frequently, man. So just kind of share with the audience, share with everyone and kind of what you do for your followup process, the systems you use, the techniques you use, the strategies, all that type of stuff.

Edward Terres:

Sure, yeah. So my followup I feel like is a little bit different, and there's been areas where I've struggled and had to make some additives to compensate. So I would say as a leasing agent in the city of Chicago, someone who's just leasing apartments, you can lease apartments and buy and sell property at the same time, which is what I do. And for us, we make the majority of our income from about May through August as a leasing agent. And then it's a little bit different with the sales side. 

Edward Terres:

So to kind of help with that, I still need to be on that showing for that apartment because it's still part of my business. But when I'm out there on that showing, especially last year, or before last summer, I should say, last summer before the last, there was nobody answering that call. There was nobody messaging and priming that person who just reached out about a property for sale. 

And so when you can have a system such as Smart Alto where you're on a showing or you're in a very similar situation to myself where you have other priorities, children you're taking care of, whatever it is that's going on in your life, you can have a system in place where you can still do that, but then somebody is priming that person. Does that make sense?

Hassan Riggs:

It makes a bunch of sense. And I think that's where it's just important because a lot of our clients, before they start working with us, they're doing two jobs. They're part ISA and appointment setter, and they're part real estate sales professional because they have client-facing responsibilities, and it's almost impossible to do both things really well because they're both full-time jobs. When you're doing one, you're not doing the other.

So you kind of need some help and use what I like to call OPM, OPM, not other people's money, but other people's manpower, in order to get kind of the job done. But you have Follow Up Boss as your CRM, right?

Edward Terres:

Yes.

Hassan Riggs:

So talk to me a little bit how you use Follow Up Boss along with Smart Alto to convert your leads. I know that you had a couple of clients you were telling me about earlier.

Edward Terres:

Yeah, so the way that I kind of use them both... And I think that as a side note, if you're going to have a steer around, there's the classic phrase that the best [inaudible 00:04:12] is simply just the one you use, right?

Hassan Riggs:

Yeah.

Edward Terres:

But for me, I need to feel like I'm clearing an inbox. When I feel like I'm clearing an inbox, once my inbox is clear, I get to be done with the day. So 8:00 to noon should be your time to clear that inbox. But in relation to that, Smart Alto, let's say somebody comes in through Facebook, if that's your lead source. The lead comes in.

They're going to start talking to the client, and they're going to saying, "Yeah, I'm available for a call at" blank time. So I'm going to make sure that the people who've been primed and follow up with, especially on my Smart Alto systems, they're the first people that I contact during that 8:00 to noon time while I'm clearing all those inboxes, if that makes sense.

Hassan Riggs:

For sure. No, that makes a lot of sense to me. One of the things that it's really important for people to remember, so when you use a CRM, I don't care if it's Follow Up Boss or Sierra Interactive or BoomTown or CINC or Wise Agent, any of these CRMs, it's important to kind of have a understanding of the role of the CRM, how to work your database and how to work with other tools like Smart Alto. 

And so one of the things that's important, which I know you do a good job of as well, is your statuses. So people have a lot of statuses, hot, cold, nurturing, which really don't mean a whole lot because there is no objectivity to those statuses. No definitions apply to those statuses. And so one of the things that we share with our clients is that before you pick up the phone and call someone, you need to know a lot of information about them, and your statuses need to reflect that.

Hassan Riggs:

And so when someone kind of gets into your CRM, the way that you should move people through your funnel is not based on whether they're hot, cold, or nurturing, but a couple of different statuses. 

And I'm going to share with you what those statuses are, what they mean, and how they're objective, they're personalized, and they're scalable so that someone else can come in. If you go on vacation over the holiday season or you need to step away, someone else can come in, take over your database, and actually be productive. So the first status is prospect. So people who are prospects are people who've given you their email address. 

And that may be the only information that you have about that person. They're a subscriber. They're a prospect. Actually, we don't even put those people... And we share with our clients not even to put those people in your CRM because you just don't know any information about this person at all. All you have is their email address. You don't even know if it's the right email address.

Hassan Riggs:

The second status is a lead. A lead is someone who's given you their name, telephone number, and their email address. They're more sales ready. So they've given you their name, telephone number, and email address. Maybe they responded to your list of homes, Facebook ad, or they filled out something on your blog, but now you know more information about them. You can at least verify that some of this information is correct. Next is a marketing qualified lead. 

A marketing qualified lead is someone where you know their name, telephone number, and email address, but you also know more information about them such as their area or their budget. 

You know more information about them to move them to that next stage because a lead, you just have their name, telephone number, and email address. But now this person, you have their contact information plus you know they're their budget and their area. That's a marketing qualified lead.

Hassan Riggs:

A sales qualified lead is someone where you have their name, telephone number, and email address. You know their budget. You know their area, but you also know something else that's really important about them, such as they have the authority. They are a decision-maker in this process. 

You know their needs, wants, and expectations, that they want a three bedroom, two bath on the north side of Chicago, or they want a pool. So you have more information about that person. That is a good person you should up the phone and call because now you've captured all this info about them, and you know you can help them. 

And then we call opportunities sales qualified leads, but people who you also know their timeline. You know that they are looking to buy within three months, within six months, et cetera because that's someone who you really need to be focusing your attention on. And then the client obviously is someone who you have assigned buyers or sellers agreement with, and they're ready to take that next step. And then ultimately an evangelist is the person who's willing to give you referrals and testimonials and all that type of stuff.

Hassan Riggs:

So that's really helpful to just kind of understand how to organize your database, your CRM, and how to objectively apply definitions to people so that when it's time for you to pick up the phone and call someone, you know where you should focus your time, what information you have on people, who you should call and who you shouldn't call because oftentimes as business owners... And that's what we are, me, you, everyone, we're business owners... our job is to figure out how to most effectively use our time. 

And so with that said, how do we deploy our resources, our time, our energy, our money, our focus? Most people, they know what to do. They just don't know what not to do. And so they're so scatterbrained, they're like I have all these leads in my database. Let me just pick up the phone and call everyone. It's a bad idea. It's really ineffective, and it's a waste of time most of the time because most of those folks, they're just not sales ready. 

They're not ready to talk to you on the phone, but those sales qualified leads, the people you have their contact information, you know their area, you know their budget, you know their needs, you know all that information about them, that's a sales qualified lead, someone who you can pick up the phone, have a really good conversation with them, and then move them over to the next phase.

Hassan Riggs:

So, man, I just went on a tangent, didn't I?

Edward Terres:

That's all right, man. That's all right. I learned stuff as we were going.

Hassan Riggs:

Yeah, it's good. So I know that you had a couple of folks, man, who Smart Alto has helped you qualify and that you wanted to share with us. So show us your Follow Up Boss account and kind of how some of that stuff works.

Edward Terres:

Yeah. So it's nice. I can actually just show you straight to my Follow Up Boss because it integrates with it. So that's something that I really like because I don't have to go to my Smart Alto if I don't want to.

Hassan Riggs:

It's showing. [Inaudible 00:11:23] showing at four.

Edward Terres:

Oh, wait. Oh, oh. Are we good? Can you see it?

Hassan Riggs:

Yeah, yeah, I can see it. Yeah, I can see your screen. Yeah, go ahead.

Edward Terres:

Oh gotcha, gotcha. Okay. So I got a couple people here that I can explain to you guys. So this was a really good experience. Graciela, she's actually a person who have I assigned buyer's agreement with. And I'll kind of say this on a side note, is a lot of people, they don't ask for buyer agreements, but most of the time it's just because they don't know what to say and how to pitch it, and they're just scared to do it. 

They've never done it. I highly recommend it because you wouldn't list a house for sale unless you had an agreement. 

Typically at the end of the conversation, I'll just ask them if they want me to help them buy a home, and then I shake their hand when they say yes, and then I get my agreement out. And at that point it's really hard for people to come back because they just shake my hand, and they said yes, if that makes sense.

Hassan Riggs:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It makes a lot of sense.

Edward Terres:

So Graciela, she sent her information in. So we're kind of at that next step where she's a lead. We have her name, number, and email. And Alex, the ISA, asks her a question. And right after asking the question, she didn't respond after I think six or seven responses. 

And eventually she responds and says, "Hey, sorry. I've been busy with work, and I haven't gotten the chance to check my emails." And I think that's something that people have to keep in mind, is when you're doing followup or you have a system like Smart Alto that is following up with your leads, is people are busy. That's why it takes 10 or 12 attempts to a lot of times reach people. 

So that's the nice thing too as well. I'm out helping my retro clients, my other buyer clients, or whoever it is. Smart Alto is going to be texting them to get them primed and ready. So boom, she gets primed and ready, and then I give her a call, and that's when I actually set an appointment with her when she was ready to meet after these seven messages over a series of days, and boom, we have a buyer's contract.

Hassan Riggs:

Yeah, and that's so important, that long term followup process, just continuing to follow up with people because all the money is made in followup. And that's just the reality. Again, you can get leads from a lot of different places, but if you don't have a strong followup process and systems in place, a game plan for every single league, then you're basically going to be throwing some money away. Who else you want to show us, man?

Edward Terres:

Yeah, for sure. And I think something to keep in mind too is personally I'll treat Smart Alto as my capturer. They're capturing information for me, getting them ready for the point when I meet up with her and we get an agreement. Then she's one of my people that I reached out to directly, and then my Smart Alto is then getting other people, is capturing that information.

Hassan Riggs:

For sure.

Edward Terres:

So Annette, she is a person that I met up actually I think a couple days ago. And this is a really awesome experience because... And I think I've shared this with you before when we were having a one-on-one conversation, but I have specific days that I delegate and I time block. 

I'm huge into time blocking. I think that every realtor should be if you're going to be running a business. And I specify certain days and time when I'm hanging out with my girlfriend. We always hang out on Wednesday evenings and Sundays all day. And Annette, she reached out and sent her information. 

I wanted to call that lead in that moment, but I had the relief of knowing that Smart Alto would be reaching out to her. So I'm like, you know what? I'm not going to even touch base with her. And I think at some point, we know that she needs a lender. We know her price. We know where she wants to live. And then says that she's going to be available for a 5:00 time. I was in Olive Garden during that point in time. And I didn't have to stop eating Olive Garden with my girl.

Hassan Riggs:

Yeah. Wow. That's amazing, man. That's amazing. That's great.

Edward Terres:

And I think one other one, Leon. This guy's awesome. So this guy ended up actually being an investor who's looking for a primary residence. And same thing. Smart Alto got his info. He's looking for a four bedroom, two bath, Berwin, 200,000 to 270,000. And after getting that information collected, I actually called him, and he already knew the property that he wanted to purchase. He already saw it.

Hassan Riggs:

Really?

Edward Terres:

Yeah, he already saw the property.

Hassan Riggs:

Wow. So where you at with this guy now?

Edward Terres:

So as a rental agent... That's something I did for a long time... I sent him off-market properties, let's say four unit buildings above, could be a 25-unit building. I sent him those. And then, yeah, so that's kind of what I do with business. I'm still helping him-

Hassan Riggs:

For sure.

Edward Terres:

Find a property because the one that he wanted to purchase, somebody ended up getting it before we could. So I'm still actively helping him.

Hassan Riggs:

Yeah, yeah. So wow, so basically one of the things that I kind of hear you saying is speed to lead is important, but also continuing to follow up with those folks are important. And you use Smart Alto as that initial contact to make sure that it can qualify your leads for you and protect your time. So the reason this is so important is because... So I think a lot of the folks who will be watching this, they'll know a little bit about me, but some folks won't. 

My name is Hassan Riggs. I'm the founder and CEO of Smart Alto. Also I write for Forbes about real estate marketing, real estate technology trends, how to set appointments through text message. And also, I spoke at NAR about how to build better customer relationships through digital marketing, how to convert leads.

Hassan Riggs:

So one of the things that I teach a lot is BANTAR. Never call a lead before you know as much information as possible. You want to know BANTAR before you call. That's the perfect time to call someone, is when you know BANTAR. What does BANTAR mean? B stands for budget. You want to know their budget. 

You want to know their price range. You want to know kind of what price range are we talking about? We talking about luxury homes here? We talking about first-time home buyers? B stands for BANTAR. The A stands for authority. Does this person have the authority to buy? Are they a decision-maker in the process? You have a lot of online leads coming from Facebook and Instagram, who oh, I'm a mom looking for my son, or I'm a dad looking for my daughter. That person is not someone you should pick up the phone and call because they're not an authority in this process.

Hassan Riggs:

N, needs. You want to know their needs, wants, and expectations. They want a three bedroom, two bath? They want a five bedroom, seven bath? What do they need? Is that even available in the area that you're talking about? 

T stands for timeline. What's their timeline? Three to six months? 12 to 18 months? Five to 10 years? What's the timeline to buy a home? A, the second A, stands for area. What's their area? Is it even a area you work or that you know about? So if you're in Washington DC and the person wants to buy in Baltimore, do you know the Baltimore area? 

Probably not. But if they're in Washington DC and they want to buy an Arlington, well, do you know the Arlington area? Probably so. It's right across the bridge. So what's the area? And then R stands for relationship. 

What's their relationship with another agent? What's their relationship with the lender? If they don't have a relationship with the lender, they ain't been pre-approved. If they have a binding agreement with another agent, you can't work with them. They're married to that agent. So why pick up the phone and call them, right?

Edward Terres:

Yep.

Hassan Riggs:

Again, protect your time and understand as much information as you can about these people before you call. 

Now, you don't have to figure out all their information. You can use a tool like Smart Alto because that's what we do. Our goal is to figure out BANTAR, the budget, authority, their needs, timeline, their area, their relationship, BANTAR. 

That's we want to figure out, and that's why Ed has been so successful, is because he protects his time. He allows Smart Alto to follow up with leads. He connects it with other systems like a CRM. He has a process and status. If you're a business owner, you got to have processes. You got to have systems in place to help you take your business to the next level. 

If not, then you really don't have a business. You've got a hobby. I know that's hard to hear, but that's just the reality of it, you know?

Edward Terres:

Yep.

Hassan Riggs:

Well, man, thanks, man. You've been great today, bro. You've been fantastic, man.

Edward Terres:

Oh, you too, man. You've been phenomenal.

Hassan Riggs:

Yeah. It's always great to chat with you, and I hope to talk to you soon, man. I want you to have a good couple of days, and I know I'll see you in the real estate marketing mastermind Facebook group here in the next couple of days.

Edward Terres:

Absolutely.

Hassan Riggs:

All right. Thanks, man.

Edward Terres:

Thanks.

Author
Hassan Riggs
Hassan is the CEO and Co-founder of Smart Alto

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