3 Ways to Create a Follow Up System for Real Estate Seller Leads

by | BiggerPockets.com

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the expression “The fortune is in the follow-up.” Follow up is a key to success in any business.  Unfortunately there are real estate investors who are ignoring this critical business activity and leaving money on the table.

We all know that in the real estate business, you can’t get deals if you’re not making offers. If you’re making a lot of offers, you’re also getting plenty of rejections. What are you doing with those leads once the seller says “Thanks but no thanks”? Are you disregarding them and considering them “dead leads”?

If so, don’t! A seller who says no may simply be saying “Not now” or “Not under the current circumstances.” In some cases, sellers believe they can get a higher price so they will wait for other offers. Some sellers simply decide that they’d rather rent it out than sell for a big discount to an investor. You simply don’t know what the circumstances are, but the fact is that circumstances change.

I’m also a firm believer in contacting sellers rather than waiting for them to contact you. If you don’t call them and follow up, you’re missing an opportunity to build a relationship and potentially secure a deal in the future. In order to ensure that you do follow ups, you need to put a system in place. It doesn’t have to be complex or highly sophisticated…it just needs to be a system that works for you and makes it easy for you to make follow up calls an ongoing and consistent process in your business.

Here are 3 quick ideas:

Free or low-cost contact management system:

Using a contact management system is one of the most effective ways to make follow up simple. Depending on the volume of offers you’re making on a monthly basis, it may be your best solution. If your budget is limited, give some of the free contact management systems a trial run to see how it works for you. You typically get what you pay for, but many of the systems are probably more sophisticated than what is necessary for your purposes so don’t get too caught up in all the bells and whistles. I don’t have a specific recommendation for a solid free contact management system yet, but if you have one please add your suggestion in the comments section!

Good Old Fashioned Excel Spreadsheets

These days you don’t even need a copy of Microsoft Office to use Excel. Google comes to the rescue with Google Docs. Google Docs is awesome because you’ll always have your spreadsheets accessible to you as long as you have an internet connection — plus you can share the documents easily with anyone you need to such as a virtual assistant, partner, or whoever may be handling follow up calls to sellers on your behalf.

Your spreadsheet can be simple.

You can schedule standard follow up dates, for example on the 1st and 15th of each month and assign follow up dates as appropriate on each offer that was rejected for whatever reason.  Sort on “Follow Up Date” column and just pick up your phone on your scheduled follow up dates.

Even More Old Fashioned Lead Sheet System

Tech savvy people may groan at this suggestion, but there’s nothing wrong with simply having a binder with all of your seller lead sheets and dividers with a section that is dedicated to leads who require a follow up call after giving them an offer that was rejected.  If you’re dealing with higher offer volume (25+ offers a month), this system can be cumbersome and I’d recommend a technology solution.  Otherwise, if you’re doing things this way, I strongly suggest buying protective sheets from your local office supply store so that your seller lead sheets don’t get destroyed over time.

Whatever method you choose, what is most important is that you have a system and stay consistent.

What other suggestions do you have for creating follow up systems?

About Author

Shae Bynes is a real estate investor in Sunny South Florida. On her blog, GoodFaithInvesting.com, she provides helpful tips and an inside look at her real estate investing adventures -- obstacles, failures, & successes!


  1. Great post Shae!! When we sent out the letters this year (all 6500+ of them) my Dad used a simple binder, folder and list system. Dead leads went in the binder, good leads for follow up went in folders by the week or month when follow up was required and all calls were marked down on the overall list.

    It was a simple system that my Dad could manage while taking all those calls and it still allowed us to stay on top of the best leads and the overall results of the campaign!!

    Great post!!

  2. Awesome post Shae! I know of a couple of free CRMs that could be useful. I haven’t really used them in depth; I’ve just tinkered with them for a few minutes here and there.

    Force.com – Sales Force offers a free limited CRM that is pretty customizable. The options can be overwhelming though.

    Zoho.com has a CRM and other features that are similar to Google Docs.

    Also, if anyone uses Google Apps there are free CRMs that you can plug in.

  3. Richard Dale-Mesaros on

    Good post Shae,

    I use Excel in a similar format to the one you showed. I have several seperate sheets: “New Offers”, “Short Sales” (because these are on a longer time line), “Revisit” (offer made, but denied/ countered higher, so I’ll make another offer in 30 days or so), “Keep Tabs” (seller took another offer, but it could fall apart, so I keep tabs on it until it closes) and of course “Dead Deals”, which are history.

    This system has enabled me to get deals that other investors will have missed out on because they weren’t following up and I was. This is truly a numbers game and having a system for offers will stack the odds in your favor…..


    Richard 🙂
    603 726 0221

  4. Great article, definitely nothing wrong with an offline system if you can make it work for you.

    I think one of the challenges agents have these days is there are far more incoming internet leads than ever before and they are coming from multiple websites. Making some kind of automation necessary, trying to manually enter hundreds of leads in a spread sheet or even pay a VA to do it doesn’t scale well.

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