A lead is a lead, right? You should jump on every lead the moment it comes in, shouldn’t you? Not all leads are the same, and when it comes to the ones that come in late at night, it’s not always so easy to know what to do. Would a late night follow-up with your lead be too intrusive? If you don’t follow up immediately, does that mean you’ve lost them? Late night leads don’t have to be this stressful once you decide how you’ll handle them.
Before you jump on any lead, especially if anything about it (spelling, wording, or timing) gives you pause, do a quick search. Can you find them on LinkedIn or with a Google search? Has this specifically-worded email been used in recent scams? When in doubt, let it wait until the morning or at least until after you’ve had some sleep.
The question that often comes up is whether by answering a late night lead you’re “training” this person to expect immediate (and late) responses. If you’re up working and you decide to respond, let them know. Set the expectation right away that you typically respond during daytime hours. You may discover they work odd hours or nights. At that point, you can adjust accordingly so that you’re responsive without losing too much sleep every night.
Depending on how people can contact you, you can create a process to auto-respond no matter what time of day. Chatbots through Facebook Messenger or on your website and email messages that you set for after-hours are both options. When the message comes through, they’ll get a response but you don’t have to be there for it. If you set up something through email, you can include a link to a form or ask questions that require a response. Make sure you include a timeframe for when they can expect to hear back from you. This is a good way to vet real leads from the lookers or fakes.
Ultimately, how you decide to respond to late night leads is up to you. There’s a real fear that answering too quickly could make you look desperate. You may also set up false expectations of when and how fast you’ll reply to questions. Setting expectations from the very beginning can eliminate this, leaving you free to decide whether you’ll stay up a few more minutes or take care of it in the morning. You need balance between your work and personal life and late night leads can upset that if you’re not prepared.
It’s better to decide how you’ll handle late night leads before you get them. At 2 o’clock in the morning, you may not be thinking clearly and could find yourself in a late night back and forth when sleep would be a better option. Yes, you’re trying to run a business, but you don’t want to let your real estate business run you. Create a process, figure out how you’ll handle most late night leads, and then do what you do best – list and sell real estate. In the meantime, try to get some sleep.
Former Communications Director for a local Realtor Association and a big cheerleader for all things real estate related, Michaela is now a full-time freelance writer specializing in real estate and other business industries. When she's not writing the serious business-y stuff, she's likely to be found writing about the hilarity of being a Mom to two rowdy boys.