No real estate agent wants to waste time pursuing low quality leads. You want leads that can be turned into income-producing clients, but first you have to determine whether or not they're qualified to buy a home. Find out their motivation before investing time and money in leads that might be unqualified. Ask the right questions, sit back and listen, and soon you’ll be screening leads and making appointments for them to meet your lender.
Prepare Before Calling
Before calling a lead to qualify them, arm yourself with information. What do you know about buyers and sellers that could help you make the most of your calls?If you talk to a seller, for instance, it’s good to know the typical age of a seller is 55 and they usually sell after 10 years of ownership. On the other hand, a typical buyer’s age is 45. How you speak to someone between the ages of 45-55 is much different than speaking to younger generations. This age group is often more knowledgeable than younger individuals who have never owned or sold a home. Information like this gives you a leg-up as you prepare to pre-qualify leads and convince them to choose you as their agent and your lender for their mortgage needs.
Many of your calls will be to first-time buyers, some of which will be from younger generations. Most will have done a lot of research online (nearly all buyers do) and yet they may need to be educated about mortgage applications, unlike older generations. Be their resource. Be prepared with professional advice on what it will take to get pre-approved and who they can trust.
Make The Call: Timing is Everything
It gets frustrating when you block out time to make calls only to end up leaving voicemail messages. There’s a solution to the problem: call the lead within 5 minutes after receiving the lead alert. I know it is not possible to call every lead right away, but knowing there’s a higher likelihood of converting the lead into a sale makes the decision easier. If you have a lot of leads coming in from different resources, considering hiring a part-time assistant to follow up with them. If you prefer to sit down at the same time each week to call your leads, schedule your calls on Wed. or Thurs., from 8-9am or 4-5pm -- the best times to call to qualify leads.
5 Goals For Every Call
- Is the lead working with another agent?
- Is the lead financially capable of buying a home?
- Urgency: how fast does the lead want to buy or sell?
- Is the lead pre-qualified for a mortgage?
- Be an active-listener
When making calls, focus on asking the questions above. If they aren’t pre-qualified, do some digging to find out if they’re financially capable of buying a home. Ask and learn.Take time to listen and repeat what they say and they will build trust in you.
Are they wanting to buy within the next 60-90 days? That's a hot lead. Are they just getting started on their search and wanting to wait a couple of years before making a purchase? Lukewarm lead. Get them into a lead nurturing campaign.
The lead may have used an online affordability calculator and knows they can afford to buy but haven’t been pre-qualified. Great, they're headed in the right direction. Others will have no idea what they can afford. Help them determine if they can realistically afford a home by focusing on the following:
- Down payment
- Credit score
Find out if they've saved for a down payment and how much. Do they have a good credit score? If not, help them understand how to improve it. Do they have credit card debt? If so, how much? It might take a bit more nurturing to eventually get them into your sales funnel, but if they're willing to provide information and make changes, you could be on your way to gaining a new client.
How to Get the Answers You’re Seeking
The way you ask a question will determine if you get an answer. Use reverse psychology to get more answers and less deflection. Consider the following examples:
Instead of asking "Are you already working with an agent?", ask:
"What did your agent say when they asked you to call me?"
Instead of asking "Are you wanting to sell your current home before buying another?", ask:
"Am I correct in that you’ve already put your house up for sale with another agent?"
Instead of asking "Have you met with a lender?",ask:
"Am I correct in assuming you’re already pre-qualified for a home loan?"
As you can see, there is a science to asking questions in a way that produces answers. You need to know if they're already working with an agent or lender to know how to move forward. Hopefully they're looking for an agent (you!) and a lender (yours!). Use this type of psychology to your advantage and the lead will be sitting in front of your lender in no time.
Before calling your real estate leads, do your research and know how to ask the most important, qualifying questions. If you receive verified leads, for example, from Real Estate Pipeline, take advantage of the information provided in the lead alerts (ex. price range; neighborhood they’re interested in) to add value to the call. No matter how much information you have about the lead, if they don’t qualify to buy a home, they aren't going to meet your lender. Move forward with unqualified leads by adding them to a nurturing email campaign and call them in 6 months to followup. Prioritize your qualified leads and close some deals! Time to make some calls. You've got this!