“The best automation is a great virtual assistant…” – Joe McCall
“Automated follow up” gets thrown around loosely by real estate investors. On this post, we’ll dispel some of the misconceptions about what it really means to “automate” your follow up activity.
Quick note on Automation Vs. Outsourcing
Automation refers to technology doing specific actions on your behalf. Outsourcing is when a human performs the action, whether it’s an in-house team member or a 3rd party outsourcing company.
For the sake of this article, we will be talking about follow up in context to seller lead conversion: Turning existing leads into deals.
There’s no such thing as completely automating followup
If you expect your CRM or Lead Conversion System to “do” all of your followup…without any human intervention…you’re wrong.
While technology can certainly take away a lot of your administrative, repetitive actions, some things are best left to a human being.
Advancements in AI will eventually render the human salesperson obsolete…but until then. Here’s the truth:
The role of automation is to ENHANCE the human-to-human connection…so you can close more deals.
The 80/20 of Real Estate Investing: The “People” Part
The biggest needle moving activities, as shown by this chart, are related to the humanity of your sales process and business. All of the following things determine how effective your follow up is. Ie…if these were performed by an automated robo messaging system…you’d be LOSING money:
- Building rapport and trust with sellers/buyers
- Authentically connecting with sellers and solving problems without being sleazy about it
- Being personal, empathetic/sympathetic, and confidently providing your expertise
- Determining how much to offer and what type of offer based on the situation (never trust a robot)
- Holding your team accountable to consistently perform
- High level strategic thinking
What to Automate Completely
You automate frequently repeated, standardized, low leverage sales activities.
Cold leads should be treated differently than warm/hot leads. They should be “automated” as much as possible.
Thus, we recommend that leads with no motivation, but some desire to eventually sell, be placed on our Cold Lead Followup sequence.
This can be triggered inside of InvestorFuse by simply selecting the right sequence and hitting submit.
This engages a lead over time…in a semi-personalized way (in that it shows their name/address), and it looks like it’s coming from your personal email inbox (not some spam tool).
We recommend this, because if and when they reply, the system will automatically notify you to reply back.
We have clients that consistently book appointments from their cold lead automated followup pipeline each week.
Request a demo of InvestorFuse here.
Optimizing Your Automated Message Sequences
While this isn’t the bulk of your revenue…it can certainly help you recoup your marketing expense much quicker if you put cold leads on automated sequences.
The problem we’ve seen is that most investors are not willing to actually USE the sequences.
Once you put a little bit of effort into tailoring the sequences to your liking and make them more personalized…they WILL drive re-engagement.
Here’s some ways to optimize your automated cold lead followup sequences
- Make the messages short. People are skimmers these day. Pretend like the email or text is to a friend. You wouldn’t make it longwinded.
- Make them SOUND LIKE YOU. You want the messages to be “on brand.”
- Use the medium that the seller uses…ie. if they prefer text, make sure to include text messages in your sequences.
- We provide pre-built sequences inside of InvestorFuse…but that doesn’t mean you should just use those as-is. Make sure to use language you and your team would use, or what you would use locally.
- The sequence is automated…so you should make it last a long time. Ever heard the expression…”Followup until they sell the house or tell you to screw off”? This is when 100% automation comes in handy. Go for 3+ years…
- Define what a “Cold” lead means to your business, and train your team to put cold leads on a sequence.
- Don’t waste your time manually following up with them…and trust that the sequence will keep YOU on the top of the sellers mind over time
What to Automate + Outsource
Warm and hot leads require more human intervention, since these are opportunities you are pursuing NOW that need the finesse of a personal touch.
The “Automation” component, in the best lead management platforms, FORCE you to followup with these leads at the right time.
They are triggered by Action reminders.
The reminder aspect is the automation…the actual CALLING and following up is the human part.
They work synergistically.
In InvestorFuse, you can even leave your future self/team member a note, so they can include relevant, contextual information about the seller’s situation.
This makes you come across more professional…and you didn’t need to actually remember anything.
However, you may not want to put a warm lead that has a higher potential to turn into a deal on a Followup Sequence that just fires out non-relevant “engagement” style messages, such as “Hey I just got a bunch of cash and looking to buy another house. Were you still interested in selling?”
Those types of messages are best left for the 100% automated sequences you’d run on cold leads just to keep your service top of mind.
Who To Hire
For the human piece…you need to hire a Lead Manager or office manager to handle and qualify your leads. You can’t scale a business generating hundreds of leads a week doing this work yourself.
Again, see this chart for some ideas for the type of work you can outsource to an admin level team member.
Once a lead is in “Pursuit,” your acquisitions team can perform these tasks. But until then, you need to get a hold of a lead, qualify a lead, and collect information about all of your incoming leads. This is best performed by a Lead Manager.
You can even leverage VA companies like Virtual Lead Managers to find, train, and place a lead manager for you.
Hiring someone isn’t enough…you need to give them a PROCESS to follow.
Otherwise, human error starts to creep in, and you will miss out on a lot of potential deals.
How to “Marry” Automation + Outsourcing
When combined, your automation should be dictating the specific repeatable actions you are outsourcing to a human.
Your system should be the PROCESS for the human-driven aspects of the business.
Tasks, or Actions, that are intelligently routed to the right person on your team, provide a system of accountability.
We build our software InvestorFuse so that it just tells you what to do, guiding you through each decision point, and giving you the right information.
It is “automatically” guiding you through, making suggestions on what to do next and reminding you to follow up at the right time.
…and it records all of your data/key performance indicators in the process.
This type of technology is the essence of what we build at InvestorFuse.
The software DICTATES the human action…
It is the process, or framework. that you and your team operate in:
We believe you should be focusing on what’s important, and minimizing the time spent on your computer.
The opportunity we see, is to conduct your “80/20” Actions of the day completely mobile.
Everything else will be automated, or outsourced.
This should be the goal for every business owner that wants to focus on doing their best work…as a human.
We hope this was useful! Request a demo of InvestorFuse here.