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Mastering Real Estate Sales: The Power of a Systematic Sales Funnel

Once on a workday in 2011, I was forced to finish my lunch break in a hurry, get into my car, and quickly drive back to the office.

The reason was an unexpected problem: I started receiving so many calls from potential buyers of apartments that I couldn't keep up with who I was talking to and what to do next.

I had been experimenting with a new type of estate agent leaflets distribution tactic, and it was working.

However, I hadn't anticipated such a large number of calls, and at that time, I didn't have a good system in place for managing customer leads. This led to a new problem.

When someone called, I would grab the nearest piece of paper, scribble something on it, and jot down the caller's phone number.

A few days later, torn-out pages with phone numbers scribbled in the corners were scattered everywhere.

Whose number? What did we talk about? Which property was it? I didn't have these answers for many of them.

Due to my lack of organisation, I simply let several real sales leads slip away

That was the first memorable example of why creating a system is extremely important when working with leads.

Real estate sales funnel abstract illustration

Some time ago, I had a training session with a real estate agent who needed to secure 3 new properties for sale within a week and a half to meet their monthly goal.

Her weekly schedule was quite limited because the daycare center was on vacation during the summer, and a lot of attention was devoted to taking care of two children.

In addition, she needed to manage the marketing and showings of other properties in her portfolio.

Time for getting new business was limited.

So the question was: how to decide which action is currently the top priority to achieve the goal?

If she made the wrong decision based her gut feeling, the consequence could be that her monthly goal would not have been met.

In her situation, if she had decided to make cold calls to generate new leads, she would have likely failed.

However, by adopting a simple and specific sales funnel management system, she noticed that a faster opportunity for closing new contracts lied further down the funnel (in the "negotiating representation" phase).

Eventually she succeeded.

I have seen plenty of agents (including myself) who have forgotten certain leads because of a chaotic or non-existing customer information management system. Come the end of the month we start frantically searching for new leads that eventually do not close by needed deadline.

Whereas we actually had better opportunities.

I believe that a visual sales funnel is one of the most important tools for running an effective real estate sales business

When you sit in front of your work computer, most of the time you should be looking at your sales funnel on the screen.

Runproperty's real estate agent sales funnel view
Runproperty's real estate agent sales funnel view helps to see where the money is currently stuck.

It is also a great tool for coaching real estate agents. During sessions between mentors (team leads) and mentees (new agents) it is good to have an all-encompassing visual overview of an agent's progress.

Back in the day my sales manager would ask daily from me to show what is happening in my real estate sales funnel. Too bad we had no software for it back then and we had to work with folders full of paper documents.

What is a real estate sales funnel?

A real estate sales funnel is a visual tool that provides a quick overview of your whole real estate business from new leads to completed transactions. This way you can stay on top of every deal.

Managing a systematic sales funnel helps you:

  • Decide on your current top priority for moving deal opportunities to the next stage

  • Ensure you maximise all leads and no opportunity gets lost

  • Look up what you have discussed with specific clients

  • Work in an organised manner and plan your time more effectively

All of the above helps you acquire more new properties and close more deals with less time spent.

How to create a real estate sales funnel?

First, download a suitable software for managing your sales funnel.

I know I am biased but if having a visually beautiful, user-friendly and intuitive user interface is important to you, I suggest going with RunProperty. This software was explicitly designed for high level real estate sales funnel management with ease of use.

RunProperty's real estate sales funnel
RunProperty's project funnel view

RunProperty's projects funnel provides a quick overview of the entire sales funnel of a real estate agent.

(I know that many people primarily use Excel. I used to be an Excel guy as well, but believe me, once you adopt a proper CRM (Client Relationship Management) software, it feels like upgrading from a horse-drawn carriage to a supersonic jet)

What are the characteristics of a viable sales funnel?

  1. It is full. There are plenty of opportunities, and the loss of a single lead does not jeopardise the achievement of your monthly goal.

  2. There is constant movement. Leads do not stay in one phase for too long.

  3. It is balanced. There are almost equal numbers of opportunities in each phase.

How should you allocate your time among leads in different phases?

In general, there is a simple rule: book necessary time into your calendar to keep the funnel full and balanced.

What danger should you avoid at all costs?

The situation becomes risky when you rely solely on your hot leads (who you are in negotiations with) to achieve your monthly goal and do not dedicate enough time to generating new leads.

I have numerous examples where a broker is missing 2 properties from their monthly goal, there is one week left until the end of the month, they have 2 hot leads in their sales funnel, and they are confident they will close those deals. But then something happens, and the clients change their minds. Time runs out, and the monthly goal remains unmet.

This situation could have been avoided if the broker had dedicated enough time to the “new leads” phase.

Thank you for reading my post today!

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Jüri Preobraženski


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