Is there anything worse than working a new lead, only to have them straight up ignore your calls and emails? After all, you’re getting leads, so your lead gen strategy seems to work just fine. They just don’t seem to want to talk to you. What are you doing wrong?

Well, you’re probably doing a lot wrong—or maybe you’re doing nothing wrong. After all, getting a lead on the phone is hard work. Getting them to return your call is even harder.

That’s why we put together this guide to help you increase your odds of actually getting your calls returned by leads, customers, and even listing agents. 😁

1. They’re Confused About the Market

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“Today, one of the main reasons leads are not calling agents back is the macro factors in the market. Interest rate hikes, fear due to the decline in the stock market (and thus buyers’ net worth), or because they are just not excited to buy real estate. It’s important to not take it personally and to not get discouraged.”

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Nile Lundgren, Team Leader, Nile Lundgren Team, SERHANT

How to Get Them to Call You Back

“The first thing I think about when getting a lead to call me back is ‘how can I get them excited about transacting in real estate?’ I always call to educate my contacts on the market and if they don’t call, I’ll drop them a golden nugget of information.

“Whenever I attempt to get my leads to call me back, I always come at it from a place of empathy—I try to understand what they may be experiencing and then help them by educating and communicating excitement around purchasing real estate.”

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Nile Lundgren, Team Leader, Nile Lundgren Team, SERHANT

2. You Waited Too Long to Follow Up

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This is the biggest reason your leads aren’t calling you back. You’re waiting too long to reach out to them. In fact, an MIT study found that your odds of reaching a lead decrease more than 100 times after half an hour.

It makes perfect sense when you think about it. If your lead is reaching out to you at 2:00, they probably have at least a few minutes of free time after that to take your call. After that? All bets are off. How many times have you had to screen calls when you’re on a showing? Do you call your leads back with your client right in front of you?

How to Get Them to Call You Back

Get back to your leads as soon as humanly possible. You may even want to tell your buyer clients that you may have to pick up your phone occasionally while you’re on a showing. If you’ve established a rapport, most of them won’t mind at all. In fact, they’ll be rooting for you to get that new client.

Use a CRM That Includes Predictive Analytics to Get the Right Message to the Right Lead at the Right Time

One of the macro factors that keep your leads from calling you back is that you might be reaching out to the wrong lead, with the wrong message, at the wrong time. It’s not your fault, though. Sometimes there is just too much data to sort through to make sure your outreach is effective. 

Top Producer’s new Smart Real Estate Farming predictive analytics feature helps you work smarter, not harder. Smart Real Estate Farming laser-targets the top 20% of homeowners who are likely to sell in the next 12 months. That means your odds of getting a call back will go up dramatically.

Visit Top Producer

3. You Didn’t Sound Confident Enough

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Everybody has off days. Even if you’re a social butterfly who’s a voice coach on the side, chances are you’re not always going to be “on” every time you call a lead. For competitive FSBO or expired listings, you may never recover from that first nervous impression.

How to Get Them to Call You Back

Beyond a really, really, good follow-up email and a prayer, you’re probably out of luck here. Better to try and avoid this in the first place. Here are a few tips to sounding confident on the phone.

4. You’re Not Getting Through Receptionists or Other Gatekeepers

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While a work phone number is far from ideal, sometimes that’s all you can get. For leads who work in a corporate environment, this can be fatal. After all, any receptionist or administrative assistant worth their salt is trying to save their boss from the dreaded cold caller.

How to Get Them to Call You Back

Experts agree that the absolute best thing you can do to get that coveted sticky note from reception on their monitor is super-easy. Be very, very nice to any executive assistant or other gatekeeper you encounter. Creating a sense of urgency can work as well, but be careful not to overplay your hand here. Experienced assistants will sniff out your hard sell and you’ll NEVER get through.

If you’re pitching a company for relocation referrals, then you should also send over a nice gift to get in front of a decision-maker for a pitch. Cold calling alone isn’t going to cut it.

“Hi, this is Nick Baldwin with Keller Williams Realty. Joe inquired about a home for sale and I’d love to chat with him further. It’s a hot property in a desirable town and I don’t want him to miss out if he really wants to get in there and see the home. Can you put me through?”

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Nick Baldwin, Founder, Lab Coat Agents

5. Millennials Don’t Realize That iPhones Can Also Make Phone Calls💬💖📲👀

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Well, not really, but if you’re over say, 40, then working with millennials requires some adjustments. First and foremost, millennials grew up with text messaging. For a lot of them, a phone call is reserved for dire emergencies, and even then they might just send an emoji instead of calling you: 💥💀

How to Get Them to Call You Back

Hmmm. Not sure how to break this to you, but unless you’re calling them to let them know their car is on fire, you might as well give in. After all, you should be sending a follow-up email (or better yet text) along with your calls anyway.

If your texting game is weak, Real Estate Coach and Close contributor Beverly Ruffner has you covered. She has an in-depth texting campaign designed for new leads that will keep you in the good graces of the text-obsessed. Check it out here.

6. You Didn’t Make a Personal Connection

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The idea that real estate is a relationship business is such a well-worn cliche at this point that it hardly bears repeating. Sadly, many newer agents still don’t get the message. They work hard at “selling” and never try to build an actual relationship founded on reciprocity and selfless work.

Of course, there are always people who you’re not going to click with for one reason or another. For example, at a busy open house, the odds of being able to connect in the 15 seconds you have to chat is pretty much zero.

How to Get Them to Call You Back

If your first call or email was detail-heavy, a more personal message might work to get them on the phone. I’ve had luck with follow-up voicemails that acknowledge just how busy they are and that offer a specific call-back time.

Something like:

7. You Didn’t Have a ‘Call to Action’ in Your Voicemail or Follow-up Email

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Here’s one from Enrique A. Huerta, an agent at Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty in Laguna Beach:

“Oftentimes, agents don’t leave a ‘call to action’ in the voicemail that is compelling enough to return a call. If someone signs up on a website to browse properties, and the agents just call to ‘check in,’ what does that mean? The prospect may think that the agent is just doing his job by following up, but since the lead may not be in a hurry to do something, there’s no reason to return the call. Thus, agents should always include a compelling ‘call to action’ in their voicemails.”

Enrique Huerta

Enrique A. Huerta, an agent, Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty

How to Get Them to Call You Back

Simple. Always remember to include a call to action in your voicemails, emails, and texts. Your leads have to know both how and when they should reach out to you. Here are a few examples of effective calls to action for voicemails:

8. You Pronounced Their Name Wrong

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As someone who grew up on Long Island with a very French name, I will almost always give a cold caller the benefit of the doubt before hanging up when they mispronounce my name. That said, if they’re not even close, my finger is reaching for the end call button.

People with more common names that you still manage to butcher are not as likely to be as forgiving. After all, you can find out how to pronounce most names with a quick Google search. If you can’t find a good pronunciation or are a bit unsure, then skip their name entirely. The point is that you need to make an effort here, so winging it is not an option.

How to Get Them to Call You Back

Well, there’s no easy way to say this, but if you butchered their name on a voicemail, there’s not much you can do here beyond normal follow up. You just have to hope they didn’t take offense or hear from an agent who took the time to learn how to pronounce their name properly.

9. They’re Already Working With Another, Better Agent

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For hot leads, working with another agent is a very likely reason they won’t call you back. If you can get them to admit it, great. Just mention that you’re there to help if they ever need a second opinion.

How to Get Them to Call You back

You could always try telling them something like “I have an important market update for you that could drastically affect the price of your home,” but if they just started their relationship with another agent, coming across as too aggressive might backfire. Of course, you will also need that “important market update”—and it better actually be important!

Speaking of another, better agent—Real Estate Coach and Close contributor Beth Incorvati recently wrapped up a half-hour interview with Ryan Serhant. He talks about starting a new brokerage during the pandemic, advice for newer agents, social media tips, and big money energy.

Watch Beth’s Interview With Ryan Here

10. You Didn’t Mention How You Got Their Number

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Let’s face it. No one likes to get cold called. Even if they really, really need your services. That means not mentioning how you got their number can be a huge red flag.

Even if you didn’t cold call, they might not have remembered who the heck they reached out to on Zillow. A random call from a random real estate agent means instant delete for most people.

How to Get Them to Call You Back

Simple. Make sure to tell them exactly how you got their number. For example, “Hi, this is Jessica from XYZ Realty, just following up on your online inquiry for 1234 Broadway.”

OK, OK. Leads you got from REDX or another lead service might not be thrilled to have their information out there. Well, there’s nothing you can really do here, but rest assured that you’re not the only one calling, so you might as well be honest. That said, “I got your number from the internet” won’t cut it. Instead, try something like “I got your number from a database of people from XXX who might benefit from our services.

11. You Didn’t Even Leave a Voicemail

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The odds of your lead dialing a random number that left them a creepy half-second of silence on their voicemail is zero. Since almost everyone screens their calls these days, that means no voicemail = no call back. Maybe they’ll get your follow-up email, maybe they won’t. So why not leave a message? What are you afraid of anyway?

How to Get Them to Call You Back

Leave them a friendly, concise voicemail that lets them know who you are, how you got their number, and hint at your value proposition.

Of course, you’re going to want to leave messages for some leads, but not others. Generally speaking, I would avoid leaving messages for FSBO or expired listing leads. They’re going to have a TON of people calling, and unless you have an amazing voicemail script, a call back isn’t likely. Instead, send a follow-up email.

12. You Called Too Late at Night

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Playing phone tag with your leads is hard enough, but trying to figure out when they’re going to be most receptive to your call is even trickier. Many newer agents make the mistake of reaching out in the late evening, with the idea that the lead will have some free time away from work.

While this makes sense on paper, put yourself in their shoes. You just had a 12-hour day of showings, cold calling, and working feverishly on your website. You eat dinner standing up over the counter answering emails, then you collapse on the couch to scroll through Netflix with what’s left of that rosé you opened last night … your phone rings … do you answer it? Of course not.

How to Get Them to Call You Back

While some people might get offended that you would call so late at night, most people won’t. All you really need to do here to get them on the phone is reach out again during a more sociable hour.

Of course, you won’t have to deal with this problem if you address it with your leads on your first contact. Make it a point to talk about the best times for calls, emails, or texts during your first meeting to ensure never reaching out when they’re not receptive to calls.

Related Article
How to Build Rapport With Inbound Leads, Quickly [+ Scripts]

13. They Didn’t Get Enough Social Proof to Take You Seriously

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Anyone who gets a ton of calls, which your leads WILL BE if they’re any good, is going to take a minute or two to Google you before calling back. What are they going to find? Does your personal website or Zillow review page show up under searches for your name? Can they even spell your name?

Don’t have a good personal website? Now is the time to start building one and getting it to rank for your name. Check out our guide on the best real estate website builders here to get started.

The Best Real Estate Website Builders

How to Get Them to Call You Back

If you don’t have much of a social footprint yet, either tell them exactly where to look on your voicemail or skip leaving messages entirely and focus on emails or texts where you can link out to the social proof you want them to see most.

Related Article
Real Estate Agents Rank Social Media As #1 Marketing Channel in 2022 (+ Infographics)

14. You Gave Away Your Hand in a Voicemail

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“Hey Jennifer, I just spent a few hours running the numbers and I think I can get you $850,000 for your listing. Call me back so we can discuss. My number is 555 ….”

Meanwhile, smarter agents have already told her that your number is either way too low or maybe way too high in their initial calls. Then they backed it up with a solid comparative market analysis (CMA). They’re going to wait until they get a listing presentation before (trying!) to prove the cold hard evidence to convince them of their listing’s market value.

How to Get Them to Call You Back

Well, there’s really not a whole lot you can do here besides trying again. When you do, maybe try an email that carefully breaks down how you came up with the price that you did. If you’ve got a ton of relevant experience, mention that as well.

You should also do your homework and actually have a CMA ready for hot leads. This way, when you mention you have a CMA for them, you can offer to send it immediately. This proves you’re not just trying to sell to them, but are already working on their behalf.

Don’t have a solid CMA strategy? Check out our guide to writing CMAs here.

Read the Article

15. They’re Dreamers, Tire Kickers, or Time-wasters

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OK, let’s pour one out for the tire kickers, dreamers, and time-wasters out there. Even though the odds of them pulling the trigger this year are close to zero, they’re great for practicing your pitches. Of course, just because they might never buy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and knock it out of the park.

How to Get Them to Call You Back

Why would you want them to call you back? Instead, put them on a drip campaign, and try to nurture them. The goal here is to get them to stay in reality, but they might have friends who don’t live their lives in the clouds. But at the end of the day, maybe you don’t really need these jokers to call you back.

Over to You

Have a great strategy for resurrecting leads from the grave? Let us know in the comments.

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