Working Your Leads: The Art of the Follow-Up

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I was sitting enjoying the victory of the Auburn Tigers this past weekend (War Eagle!) and discussing business with a friend of mine.

He’s in the insurance sales industry.  I listened to him as he explained to me that he needed a minimum of 20 leads (30 to be safe) in order to be successful in his business.  He said that for every 10 leads he was able to make a sale.  Leads are the lifeline of his business.

Hmmmmmmm….  “We’re in the exact same business” I told him.  He agreed.

We may sell different products, but we both rely on leads (home sellers in my case) in order to further our businesses.

He shared with me that he uses a yellow card system.  It’s full of shorthand, symbols, etc.

It’s literally a box full of index cards.  It has a section with dates/appointments and then an alphabetical filing system for names of current clients, etc.

He tries to touch base with clients on birthdays as well as 6 months before that, as this is the time that he needs to upgrade their insurance products if needed.  If a potential client is not currently interested, but wants to touch base in 3 months, he files that away and calls them in 90 days.

I realized the following:  he was better at following up with his potential clients than I was with mine.  If my potential seller doesn’t fit the mold of a wholesale deal, renovation, sub2deal, or a listing, then usually it finds its way into the trash file.  But just because a seller doesn’t have a deal for you currently, it doesn’t mean that their situation will be exactly the same in the future.

Luckily for the past few months I had been on a search for a CRM (customer relationship manager) that was easy to use that was more effective than my current use of an excel spreadsheet (this doesn’t remind me to make a call!).  After looking at a number of products, I realized that most of them were actually too complicated for what I needed.

I needed something free and simple.  Something where I could enter a person’s info, place notes about our calls, set a reminder for when to call them next, etc.

Well, I’ve found a product that I’m finally happy with (you even get 250 contacts for free).  The company is HighriseHQ.  So far I’ve been very pleased with it and I think that it will help my follow-up dramatically.  It is probably advanced enough for 90% of real estate investors out there.

I’ve heard that as many as 50% of real estate deals come from the follow-up.  I’m not sure what exactly the correct stats are, but I’ll be sure to let you know!
Photo: Pete Simon

About Author

Brooks Conkle

I am a Real Estate Investor and REO Agent focused on Wholesaling, Rehabbing, and Selling Foreclosed Homes on the Gulf Coast. I also like the occasional Bungee Jump, Skydive, and World Travel -- time permitting.


  1. Good resource Brooks. I will be sure to check it out. I used to use my shoebox technique for managing and following up with leads. I would place hot/warm/cold leads in separate shoe boxes. Back when I worked for a large tech company:)


    • Were they just tossed in the box? 🙂 I can only assume that they were organized in some fashion.
      Whatever works!
      My only fear with this method is losing the box, box getting dumped, box burning, etc.
      No way to back up. Digital products can be backed up multiple times (great for people like me!)

  2. Hi Brooks, yeah I would write notes on the business card indicating hot/warm/cold. Then place them in the appropriate box. Funny thing once I was racing to an appt. had my hot list in the box on my car. Drove away, and there they went…gone. LOL

  3. Hey,
    I’m not going to downplay the ”old school” method.
    Sometimes we try to over complicate things — make it all digital, emails only, online submissions, etc.
    At Some point, you have to shake a hand and have human contact with people.
    This tool can just help you be more effective at getting to that step…

  4. Melodee Lucido on

    Thanks for this Brooks. I am getting tired of allllllll these yellow legal pads—especially when a seller from 2 months ago calls or emails and I have to find my notes on that convo /: # !!

    I’ll check it out.

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