Real Estate Marketing

Real Estate Leads: How Much Do You Really Need to Follow Up?

Expertise: Commercial Real Estate, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing, Business Management, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Mortgages & Creative Financing
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How much do you really need to follow up with real estate leads in order to find deals, close them, and generate the best net returns?

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From what I’ve seen, the follow up makes or breaks investors’ success. Whoever is the best at follow up will get the best deals and the most deals—not to mention the best profits!

And those who don’t understand this? They go out of business.

Related: 5 Ways I’m Still Finding Deals in Today’s Real Estate Market

The Pain of Not Following Up

Failing to follow up hurts. It can get really expensive. And in all types of sales, the one who follows up the most wins.

Think about when someone sells you on something—whether it’s physically making a purchase or fully buying into a concept. You’re usually sold by those who follow up the best, right?

If you’re not strong at follow up, every deal you do close is likely that much more expensive. This is because you’ve probably spent far more on leads and experienced a far lower conversion rate. Plus, think of all the time you’ve burned—and for what?!

woman in maroon shirt and yellow sweater talking on a cell phone while going over notes on a notepad

There is really nothing that feels worse in this business than losing a deal because you dropped the ball. (I am speaking from experience.)

Now my philosophy is to keep following up until they die or I do. Never stop—you just don’t know what might happen.

I once missed a follow up with a couple who said they would never sell their multifamily apartment building. Months later, they wound up in a divorce—and sold to someone else!

If I would have just followed up one more time, I would’ve had that deal.

Here’s worse: imagine your mom or best friend selling a deal to your competition—because you didn’t follow up! Oh man, that stings.

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing in Real Estate

I find outbound marketing to be superior in today’s market. It’s better for finding the best value off-market deals.

Frankly, most other people seem too lazy to do it well. So, it’s a nice sweet spot for acquisitions.

Still, no matter how good your offer, or how motivated they should be to sell, it can take an average of seven to 12 contacts to get in touch with a seller. Some you might get on the first or second attempt; others might only come around after you’ve kept showing up for a year.

When it comes to multifamily apartments, that difference might be a half million dollars on the purchase price. Isn’t that worth a few extra follow ups?

You can do it by phone, personal visits, social media, snail mail, and email. You can even automate it with a CRM!

Time is your most valuable asset, and technology can really help protect that. Aside from these tools, real estate mogul Grant Cardone says the best investment is buying or leveraging other people’s time to have them follow up for you.

Over the last decade, a lot of investors have jumped on the inbound marketing train. This means running ads, distributing content, and hoping to draw inbound leads—counting on someone else to take the initiative and call them the moment they are most motivated to make a deal.

It sounds great! And also unrealistic.

In most cases, if they were to call, they’d be calling you and your competition back to back to back—and the first one to respond gets their business. Unless you call back instantly, they’ll connect with a competitor.

And if you happen to connect with them after they’ve spoken to someone else? Bidding can be fierce. How do they know who to trust?

These are all reasons to follow up religiously if you want deals.

Related: When’s the Right Time to Approach Potential Home Sellers?


How much do you need to follow up with your real estate leads?

Whether it is weekly or monthly, the most important point is to never stop. Once they are in your CRM, that is money you can’t afford to neglect.

Those with the best follow up get the most deals at the best profit margins. Period.

Do you agree? If you don’t, I’d love to know why. 

Write me in a comment below. 

With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling currently manages over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $26MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments and single-family homes. Through the company he co-founded, Holdfolio, he owns just under 400 units. Sterling was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single-family investing and apartment investing to wholesaling and scaling a business.

    The German
    Replied about 11 years ago
    I believe that the best real estate sales happen in the country side. It is a win-win situation and that is a market that can never slow down. In an area like rural Germany or France, the vistas are so beautiful that people can’t resist it. And the price is also pretty realistic. Nice article and all the 4 points make sense. Thanks 🙂
    Crystal Tost
    Replied about 9 years ago
    I find the advertising in other countries and in mediums that are not real estate related a waster of money and time. I think targeted advertising coupled with good pricing and proper presentation will get the house sold to a local buyer that is likely out there as we speak. Why focus on an audience that you are not even sure exists in mediums that are not targeted?
    David Grbich
    Replied over 8 years ago
    Setting a realistic list price at 10% below market may lead to a very lonely existence as a realtor – not many sellers in the California market have the equity to price 10% below market – but yes that should get the home sold. Great point overall – thanks.
    Marilou Ancheta from Clovis, California
    Replied 7 months ago
    This article is very timely, Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 7 months ago
    Anytime! Glad it brought you value..What was the biggest takeaway for you?
    Ephrem Bekere from Lancaster, Pennsylvania
    Replied 7 months ago
    Great article! Any recommendations on a good CRM for following up?
    Asif Aman Specialist from Durham, NC
    Replied 7 months ago
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 7 months ago
    There’s so many..Depends on your objectives..Podio is a good starter..I personally use the pricey side).
    Loretta Kreider from Dover-Foxcroft, ME
    Replied 7 months ago
    Thanks for such a helpful article! Just to clarify, as I’m new here, outbound marketing is basically cold calling and reaching out first?
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 7 months ago
    No, thank you! That is correct to your question.
    Jason Lefley Flipper/Rehabber from Berkeley, CA
    Replied 7 months ago
    Thanks for the article Sterling! What are your thoughts on striking a balance between following up often enough to keep a lead alive and overdoing it to the point of annoying the seller? Do you have a rule of thumb for how often to reach out?
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied 7 months ago
    It depends on how creative your follow up is..If you’re using one channel to constantly follow up then yes, high probability seller will get annoyed quickly. And it is a feeling out process on rule of thumb..If someone claims they will “never” sell a property and it is being ran into the ground(poorly managed) I will follow up every month via one of the channels personal visit, direct mail, email, social media etc.
    Jason Lefley Flipper/Rehabber from Berkeley, CA
    Replied 7 months ago
    Awesome thanks – makes sense