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By Craig Proctor

RISMEDIA, March 19, 2008–Agents sometimes make seemingly little mistakes with their client follow-up that can end up costing them business. I was talking to a group of agents recently who relayed some of their experiences to me. In this article I’ll cover three common mistakes that you should avoid in your business.

Mistake # 1:
One agent I spoke with had a prospect on the phone who was ready to list his house, and the agent was trying to set a time for an appointment. The prospect said he had to check his daytimer and confer with his wife to see what time was good for her. The agent didn’t push it and told the prospect to call him back with a good time to meet.

Well, the prospect didn’t call him back and the agent forgot about it. He confessed that, in the back of his mind, he felt he’d already converted the prospect and they were simply down to the formality of when to meet. But when the agent checked the hot sheets about a week later, he saw that the prospect had listed with another agent before he had a chance to call him back.

This agent’s big mistake was leaving it up to the prospect to get back in touch with him. He should not have let him off the phone without setting a preliminary meeting time. Specifically, what he should have done was set a tentative time with him so the onus regarding any change to the appointment was now on the prospect’s shoulders.

Consider this: If the agent had said, “Okay, why don’t we tentatively say Thursday at 3 p.m., and if that turns out to be a problem for you, give me a call back. Otherwise I’ll see you Thursday at 3 p.m.” Now suddenly it’s the prospect’s responsibility. The agent would not have had to remember to call him back because the prospect would know that unless he calls the agent back, the agent is going to show up at his house Thursday at 3 p.m.

You should do the same in your business. If you find that a prospect is not committing for some reason, arrange a tentative time so that the onus is now on them.

proctor_craig.jpgMistake # 2:
The second mistake is when the agent delays a prospect who is ready to list. Another agent I spoke with had called his seller on a Wednesday night to follow up on a special report request she had made. The client said that she was ready to list her house and wanted to meet with the agent that evening. The agent told me that he couldn’t remember why he wasn’t free – perhaps he had another appointment or a family engagement, or perhaps he just didn’t feel like going out at that time. Whatever it was, he set up a meeting with her for the following Monday.

Well, Monday morning he got an e-mail from her to cancel the appointment because she’d listed with another agent on Sunday night. So this agent’s big mistake was putting off someone too long who was ready to list. If your prospect is good, make your appointment as close to “now” as possible (not five days later) — a half hour after your telephone conversation would be good. The more time that elapses, the more things that can go wrong.

Mistake # 3:
A third mistake I see agents making is not asking the right questions to truly understand whether they should be making a buyer offer or a seller offer to a prospect. Let’s face it – many prospects are both, but usually they will have a preference for which process is step one in their minds. If you simply ask “Would you prefer to buy first or sell first?” what you’ll find is that your prospects won’t really understand what you’re getting at. They’ll answer that they suppose they really want to do both at the same time.

By being more specific and asking: “Would you prefer to make an offer on your next home before you list your present home for sale, or do you want to sell the home you’re in before you make an offer on your next home?” you have a much better opportunity of establishing whether the prospect prefers to “buy first” or “sell first” so you can communicate the correct offer (i.e. your buyer offer or seller offer.)

When asking this question, make this distinction clear to them. Ask them whether they think they’d like to list their present home first, before they start looking for their next home (i.e. get a sense of outside interest in their home before they commit to moving), or whether they want to start looking for their next home first before they actually take the step of listing their current home (i.e. get a sense of their interest in what is out there before they commit to moving.) Again, their answer to this question is important as it will help you understand which offer to communicate first. Making the correct offer to prospects should not be guesswork. If you ask them, they’ll tell you.

If you would like to find out more about increasing your conversion of over-the-phone prospects to face-to-face appointments, visit where you can learn about my 3-day SuperConference where I train agents on better follow up methods.

Billion Dollar AgentTM Craig Proctor has been in the top 10 for RE/MAX Worldwide for 15 years and is a real estate trainer who practices what he teaches. Craig consistently sells over 500 homes per year to earn almost $4 million in commission. Over 25,000 agents nationwide use Craig’s system to make more money in less time.

To receive free training from Craig with no obligation, visit: This Free Training includes free weekly teleconference training calls with Craig and some of his most successful agents where they discuss the cutting edge strategies they’re using right now, in this market, and explain how they work. You’ll also receive a free weekly e-mail newsletter that reveals the tested and proven marketing strategies that continue to make Craig one of North America’s top agents. By taking advantage of this free training, you’ll also get advanced notice of Craig’s free half day seminars that will provide you with the tools you’ll need to start implementing these ideas immediately. These seminars are held year round in cities across the country.

For more coaching articles by Craig Proctor, see: