Have you ever noticed how making cold calls is a lot like writer’s block? Stare at the phone/blank page? Check.
Thoughts of others being critical of you running through your head? Check.
A huge wall between yourself and anything intelligent you might say/write? Yup.
Even though following up with an internet inquiry should be at least lukewarm, many of us go through the same intimidation we feel with the icy ones.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Not if you remind yourself that the internet inquiry on the other end of the phone asked to be contacted. That should cure at least the initial paralysis.
Then, come up with a system that not only lends itself to increase your comfort level but effectively captures that inquiry.
It’s all in the timing
To transform an inquiry into a client requires building a relationship. The first contact, then, is critical. And, a speedy return call almost guarantees that you’ll connect with the inquiry.
A couple of years ago, Steve Olenski at Forbes.com mentioned a study that found the odds of reaching an inquiry decays significantly over time. Reach out within five minutes of receipt of the inquiry and your luck is at its highest.
Wait 30 minutes, however, and you are 100 times less likely to reach him or her.
Wait 5 hours and you may as well not even pick up the phone because you’re are 3,000 times less likely to reach the person than if you’d called within five minutes.
Achieving contact with an online inquiry is only part of a successful conversion campaign, however. Qualifying the inquiry – getting him or her to agree to work with you – has its own follow-up rules.
For instance, a study conducted by James Oldroyd, a professor at MIT, focused on figuring out not only when to follow up with an online inquiry, but the inquiry generating methods that resulted in the best conversion rates.
For instance, blogging and social networking delivered far more qualified inquiries than pay-per-click advertising. Another interesting finding is that inquiries captured by offering a book (either traditional or electronic) resulted in the highest conversion rate.
But, we digress. The study finds that the best conversion rates come from subsequent follow-up calls placed on Thursday between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The worst time? 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Ok, so what do I say?
Since we learn best from our mistakes, let’s talk about what not to say.
- Don’t talk about yourself—how much in dollars or how many deals you do, your designations, your integrity or anything else that these inquiries truly, honestly don’t care about.
- Don’t beat him or her up by trying to set an appointment. This is an informational call, so be a counselor, not a salesperson.
- Don’t make the follow-up call unless you have all of the inquiry’s pertinent information in front of you. This includes what he or she is looking for (to buy or sell), the type of home, neighborhood and the specific property viewed.
Ok, so here is what you should talk about.
First, identify yourself and remind the inquiry that you are returning his or her call. If the inquiry is a buyer, calling about a particular property, you should jump right into offering information about it.
Then, shut up.
When you listen, you’ll learn whether or not the inquiry is agreeable to staying on the phone with you. If so, you can begin asking questions – gently.
These include questions about the inquiry’s timeline (“When do you plan on moving?”), whether or not he or she will need to sell a home before buying this one and other qualifying questions.
Finally, let the inquiry know that you aren’t like the others he or she has reached out to – you won’t be relentlessly bothering him. Ask about a preferred contact method and then get permission to use it. Then, use it.
A sample intro
“Hi Jack, this is Anita Deal with ABC Properties. I’m following up on your request for more information to find out how I can help. I notice you’re looking at homes in the University neighborhood. Is that correct?”
This ought to get the conversation off and running.
Let’s wrap it up
There’s an old saying among radio deejays that, before they open the mic, they should always know how they’ll close. This way, if they get lost in their thoughts, they can always throw out their closing line, whether it’s the call letters or something else.
The same holds true for the follow-up call. Will you be offering the inquiry an incentive (CMA, e-book, etc.) for further contact? This is the ideal time to bring it up.
“I wrote an eBook covering the home selling process. Can I email you a copy?”
Or, “I’d love to send you a University neighborhood market report. Should I email it or drop it off?”
Once you have permission to keep in touch, remind the inquiry that you’ll be sending information on properties that match his or her needs, neighborhood-specific information or anything else you think may be of value to the inquiry.
And, end with a reminder to call you if they find a home they want to view. “I’m happy to set up an appointment for us to walk through the home.”
With internet-generated inquiries, time is of the essence. Don’t let your online inquiries go cold, don’t be pushy in the conversation and always offer value.
Take a look at the inquiries you’ve made contact with over the last few years (internet or other). Compile a list and send at least 100 Free Market Analysis Postcards to them.
Need assistance taking your marketing to the next level? Call our support team at 866.405.3638 today!
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Also…check these out 🙂