5 rules for following-up leads

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4 min read

In some ways knowing how to go about making follow-ups can be more challenging than cold calling people and getting leads in the first place. Follow-ups are one of the most important ways agents have to proactively seek out business and get the process rolling with prospective buyers and sellers.

The purpose of making follow-ups is to qualify leads, gather information about them and begin to build a working relationship. So it is vital you have a clear follow-up strategy and tactics in place to make the most of interactions with your leads.

We’ve developed five rules to help guide you in making better follow-ups, to boost your conversion rates and ultimately grow your business.

Rule # 1: The purpose of making follow-ups is to book appointments.

When following-up a lead remember your main objective is to book in a meeting with them. You’re not connecting with them to check in, to have a chat and bond with them, to update them about the property market, to get your name out there or any other reason other than locking in an appointment time.

Once you’ve found a genuine prospect ask ‘When can we set up an appointment to start getting ready?’ and reassure them that you can always make time to sit down and answer any questions they have about buying or selling. Your office is the best place for an initial consultation, but you should be adaptable and open to other suggestions. If the client is unable to come to you offer to meet at their local café or even at their home.

Rule # 2: Your secondary aim is lead disqualification.  

The most successful real estate agents understand the importance of making follow-ups to filter out bad leads. Better agents typically have less leads in their client database because they’re mindful of not wasting time and resources continually following-up people that are not seriously looking to buy or sell in the near future. You’ll find that maintaining a database of thousands of leads is too daunting and time intensive, so it’s invaluable to weed out the time wasters early on. 

When following-up enquiries from your website, online listings, your open houses, advertisements or wherever you have collected your client database from over the years, you need to get a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer as to whether or not they are genuinely interested. This way if you confirm they aren’t interested you can delete the lead and invest your time, resources and energy in serious leads and finding better prospects.

Always keep in mind consumers can be hesitant and hold back when talking to salespeople as they fear they will somehow get talked into signing their life away over the phone. So the best approach when following-up is to let them know you won’t be offended if they turn you down and that it’s okay to say no if they’re not interested.

Make sure the script you’re using for your follow-up calls provides an opportunity early on to allow the client to say they’re not interested. Having this chance to be heard lowers the prospect’s resistance, enhances trust and makes them feel more comfortable to communicate their true goals and uncertainties if they decide to continue with the call. 

Rule #3: If you don’t get onto a lead try getting in touch using a different means of communication.

Before disregarding and deleting a lead completely from your contact list make sure you try another method of communication. Nowadays there are many ways to try to communicate with and reach out to prospective clients. 

Simply because you can’t get onto a prospect and they don’t return your call, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not interested. Some people are impossible to reach via phone so it’s always a good idea to test out and hone your sales skills via text message, email, direct mail and even social media to get their attention. You should try at least one other form of communication other than phone before you classify a lead as unreachable and you remove it from your database altogether.  

Rule #4: Determine whether or not they require your services.

A common mistake a lot of agents make when following-up is qualifying potential clients based on the lead’s interest level alone. Without any other information, finding out a prospect’s level of interest in your services is largely meaningless.

To qualify the lead in a more meaningful way ask yourself:

  1. Do they need your services?

  2. Do they want your services?

  3. Can they afford to take action?

  4. What timeframe are they looking at?

A lot of buyers and sellers use the line ‘I’m interested’ as a bit of a cop out and a way of evading commitment to you and other agents. If they are interested ask follow-up questions like ‘When do you plan on moving?’, ‘Have you spoken with a lender yet?’ or ‘Do you need to sell your current home first?’ to see if they are a genuine buyer and/or seller.

Rule #5: Categorise your leads for more time efficient and productive follow-ups.

The best ways to categorise your lead pool is based on the timeframe in which they are looking to do something and the prospect’s level of commitment. You could categorise leads using letters, i.e. ‘A’ for client’s taking action within 30 days or less and ‘B’ for clients taking action in 30 to 90 days and so on, so you can easily prioritise calls and know when you need to make follow-ups.

To classify your leads by level of commitment use the categories ‘committed’ for those that are dedicated to working with you and you’re almost certain they will list or buy with you, ‘probably’ for those clients that might do business with you, who are about a 50-50 chance of working with you and use ‘possibility’ to define those where there is a small chance they will work with you.

To have a healthy stream of business you need a reasonable amount of leads in each category. When making follow-ups you should aim to cultivate leads upwards from the ‘possibility’ category, to ‘probably’ and eventually to ‘committed’ clients.  

Categorising your leads and systematising your follow-up process allows you to get a clearer picture of your business’s position and helps you to forecast growth.

Following these five rules should help to improve your lead strategy and your follow-up processes.

Are there any script lines you find particularly effective when making follow-up calls? Please let us know in the comments section below. 

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Larissa Gardner
Larissa Gardner is the Marketing Manager at arguably Australia’s best looking real estate website homely.com.au. With a superb devotion to product innovation, user-centred design and innovative marketing platforms for real estate agents, homely.com.au helps millions of Australians find their next home.

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