How a Real Estate Investor Should Take a Phone Call from a Prospective Tenant

An Excerpt from the SF Real Estate Investor’s Policies and Procedures Manual

This article is not meant to just be a “How to …” guide on the way to lease a single family home.

Instead, what I wish to accomplish here is to make the point that your business is comprised of a series of processes and that by acting consistently over time you will achieve a predictable result.

Additionally I would like to illustrate by documenting your procedures you have a greater likelihood of following them with consistency so that you will get the outcome you desire, and that developing those procedures doesn’t have to be a painful or complicated event.

A simple binder with outlines of common procedures is all that I use, and the remainder of this entry is a section from my own manual. All it took to develop it was to attend Del Walmsley’s Financial Freedom Seminar, and convert my notes of Del’s best practices, into the format that follows, which I found online somewhere years ago (unfortunately, I can’t remember where to properly give credit). I urge every one of you to follow the same steps to develop your own manual. Attend and re-attend Del’s seminars as his insight into the real estate business is remarkable, and there is no substitute for live interaction with a master.

I saw a study once that indicated that only 7% of a message is communicated by its content, so don’t get hung up on exactly what to say even though I have included some scripts in this document. The reason I use scripts like this is because I often delegate the role of call reception to my teenage nieces, and I let them focus on the other 93% of the message—delivery, which is broken down in body language and tone. Take heed of your purpose of the call and that is to get a showing appointment and create a sense of urgency, not to get a signed lease (remember this is a process, and signed application and deposit is the purpose of the property showing which is an entirely separate procedure). To quote Lifestyles Unlimited®’s lead single-family mentor Chuck Maley, “When your marketing efforts generate a phone call from a prospective tenant then it is time to put on your salesman’s hat.” Use the tools inside this paper so that you too can focus on the most meaningful part of the phone call, the customers and adding value to their lives.

Division: Marketing and Sales Procedures
Department: Sales
Section: Taking Sales Calls from Prospective Tenants

Prospect Call Procedure

Purpose of the Procedure

To convert a prospect inquiry into an appointment to view the home with a sense of urgency mindset

Notes

This is the most important procedure in the sales process. Robert Kiyosaki writes that selling is the most important skill in any business endeavor.

The key aspects of this procedure are:

• Live receptionist during high probability call times
• Prompt call-backs for voice mail inquiries and caller id hang-ups
• Prospect contact data collection
• Consistent and thorough follow-up calling of both appointment keepers and no-shows
• Genuine excitement about the product and the prospective tenants opportunity to take advantage of it

This procedure is based on access to the following:

• The SpeedyClose business telephone (xxx-xxx-xxxx) and voicemail code (xxxx)
• The SpeedyClose sales department e-mail account: ForRent@SpeedyClose.com; log-in password (xxxxxxxxxxxxx)
• The SpeedyClose lead-book.
• Available property datasheets and/or flyers
• Driving directions to each available properties

Documents used in this Procedure

Forms:
• Telephone/Email Log – Lead-book page
• Applicant Screening Criteria
• Residential Lease Application
• Authorization to Release Information
• Application Deposit/Hold on Property
• Telephone Scripts
• Dated Lead Database

Letters:
• Email: initial reply
• Email: appointment confirmation
• Email: post appointment promotion deadline reminder

Prospect Call Policies

1. This organization adheres to ALL Fair Housing Regulations. No conversations, comments, or questions will occur between SpeedyClose Properties and its customers, prospective customers, contractors, employees, and anyone else in the universe regarding any statutorily protected class.

2. Actually smile when answering a call. This practice changes your tone. Keep in mind that content only accounts for 7% of the message that is communicated while the other 93% is in delivery. Each family calling may very well be calling about their dream home.

3. Answer all questions the prospective tenants ask cheerfully, even if the question is addressed in the ad and do so without saying “like it says in the ad …”

4. Use a professional voicemail greeting for any calls that might be missed. Studies show that a female voice (with an accent) in a voicemail greeting results in fewer hang-ups and more messages left.

5. Voicemail will be checked at 10am, 2pm, 6pm; Monday thru Saturday. Return all calls on the same day.

6. Email should be checked at 9am, 1pm, and 5pm; Monday thru Saturday. Return all messages on the same day.

7. Stack appointments: 2x per week. One weekday evening and one weekend afternoon.

8. Send an email appointment confirmation with map, pictures, and flyer immediately following the initial
telephone call.

9. Send an email reminder to all appointments on the day prior to the scheduled day.

10. Confirm all appointments by telephone on the morning of the scheduled day.

11. Follow-up calls are made the first business day following the scheduled appointment; unless an earlier call is requested by the prospect.

12. We will attempt to follow-up with a prospect 3x by telephone before placing them in the prospect email database.

13. Outgoing calls (usually confirmation, follow-up, and overnight voicemail) begin at 10:30am and should be completed by 12:00pm

14. Make every effort to determine and document the lead generation source of the caller. This allows us to track the effectiveness of our marketing dollars.

Procedure Flow Chart

Flow Chart

Procedure Steps

Step 1A. Prospect responds to marketing via Telephone

Performed by: Sales Manager or Receptionist

Task details
1A.1 Smile and greet the caller with, “Good afternoon. SpeedyClose Properties, this is Jeff.”
1A.2 Follow live-call script; enter call data to lead-book page.
1A.3 Note appointment date on lead-book page; offer multiple choice appointment selection.

Documents used in this Step
Scripts Sheet, Lead-book Page

Step 1B. Prospect respond to marketing via Email

Performed by: Sales Manager or Receptionist

Task details
1B.1 Enter contact data to lead-book page.
1B.2 Reply to the email (use Initial Reply Email).
1B.3 If the email received includes a telephone number, call the prospect on the phone following Call-Back Script.
1B.4 If the sender did not include a telephone number and does not respond before the end of the next day, then send a second email (Second Reply Email).
1B.5 After second email is sent then add the prospect to the “Dated Lead Database.

Documents used in this Step
Script Sheet, Lead-book Page, Initial Reply Email, Second Reply Email, Dated Lead Database

Step 2. Pre-Showing Contact

Performed by: Sales Manager or Receptionist

Task details
2.1 Immediately after appointment is made, send Appointment Confirmation Email, make notation in Lead-book.
2.2 On day prior to scheduled appointment, send Appointment Reminder Email, make notation in Lead-book.
2.3 On morning of appointment, make a confirmation telephone call, use Script Sheet and make notation in Lead-book.

Documents used in this Step
Script Sheet, Lead-book page, Appointment Confirmation Email, Appointment Reminder Email

Step 3: Attend Showing

Performed by: Sales Manager

Task Details
3.1 This is an entirely separate procedure. See Property Showing Procedure.

Step 4: Process Applications

Performed by: Sales Manager or Receptionist

Task Details
4.1 This is an entirely separate procedure. See Application Processing Procedure.

Step 5: Follow-up Calls if Property Does Not Lease

Performed by: Sales Manager or Receptionist

Task Details
5.1 On the day after the showing, send Promotion Deadline Email before 10:00am to prospects who attended the showing.
5.2 On the day after the showing, call Prospects Attended to answer questions about the property and application process or to hear feedback. Make these calls during the lunch hour. Use the Script Sheet to see if you can save the lead. If still interested send Lease Application and Authorization to Release Information documents by email or fax.
5.3 On the day after the showing, call Prospects Not Attended to reschedule for another appointment. Use the Script Sheet, making these calls in the morning after 9:30am. Note the appointment time in the Lead-book.
5.4 Make 3 attempts to contact. After prospect states lack of interest or 3rd attempt is made, add the prospect to the “Dated Lead Database”

Documents used in this Step
Script Sheet, Promotion Deadline Email, Lease Application, Authorization to Release Information, Lead-book

Telephone Scripts

I. Set Up a Voice Mail Greeting

Thank you for calling. If you are inquiring about a home to rent, buy, or sell, then please leave a message after the tone that includes your name, telephone, email address and how you found us, and we’ll call you back shortly. If you would like more information right away please visit us online at SPEEDYCLOSE.COM and click on the BUY, SELL, or RENT tab. If you are already one of our valued customers, then click on the TENANTS tab at the same website and you should find the answers for most anything that may arise. Again that site is SPEEDYCLOSE.COM – and please don’t forget to speak after the tone.

II. Answering a Live Incoming Call

LL: SpeedyClose Properties.

PTen: Hi, I was calling about the house you have for rent.

LL: Fantastic, … my name is Jeff, what’s yours?

PTen: Dan

LL: I am happy to make your acquaintance Dan. Are you in front of the home now or did you see our ad in the paper?

PTen: I’m looking at an ad in the Greensheet.

LL: Are you calling on the 3 br or the 2 br? (Even if you have only one.)

PTen: 3br.

LL: Fantastic, Dan. The home is a 3-2-2 with an open floorplan, covered patio, walkin closets, and fresh interior 2tone paint. Does this sound like a good fit for your family?

PTen: Sure does!

LL: Well, how soon do you want to move into your new home Dan?

PTen: ASAP. My current lease ends at the end of the month, so I’d like to start moving in about a week ahead of that.

LL: And why are you moving? (Note if they say that the current LL is selling or being foreclosed on, let them know that if you by the house they don’t have to move and get the owner’s contact info)

PTen: Blah, Blah

LL: So are you moving out of an apartment or a house?

PTen: House (or Apt)

LL: Perfect, well then let me tell you about a promotion we have going on right now. In addition to the Early Bird Special Pricing … {Explain the maintenance orientation discount program.} We can have someone meet you at the property on Wed., at 6:30pm or Sat. afternoon at 2. Which would work best for you?

PTen: (Chooses)

LL: It’s a date; I’ll be there. Dan, if you like I’ll email over some pictures of and a map to the home. What is your email address?

PTen: dan@mymail.com

LL: Thanks Dan—I’ll send that additional information right away, and I’ll see you on Wed., at 6:30. Remember, because this property is priced so far below what is should be, it is going to move pretty fast, and we lease to the first application that qualifies AND pays the deposit. So don’t forget to bring a $40 application fee in the form of a money order, and if you want the property held for you we can do that too with an upfront deposit. Obviously if your application doesn’t qualify then you’ll get the deposit back.

III. Call-back From Caller ID, No Message – Live Answer

LL: Hi, my name is Jeff and I am returning your call most likely about a home for rent. What kind of a home are you and your family looking for?

PTen: Well, we are looking for a 3-2-2 in a safer part of town, closer to work, that isn’t deteriorated, …

LL: It sounds like this home would be perfect for your family. This property is all of that plus …. By the way, my name is Jeff, may I ask yours?

PTen: Dan the Man

LL: I am happy to make your acquaintance Dan. How soon do you plan to move into your new home? (Pick up from ‘Move-in Date’ question above)

IV. Call-back From Caller ID, No Message – Leave Message

LL: Hi, my name is Jeff and I am returning your call most likely about a home for rent. Our property is a 3-2-2, with ceiling fans, fireplace, covered patio… If this sounds like something that would be a good fit for your family’s new home, then please call us back at 832-971-4557 and also take a look at SPEEDYCLOSE.COM and click on the RENT tab to see some pictures of, a map to, and an application for Your New Home. Again that website is SPEEDYCLOSE.COM and the telephone number is 832-971-4557. Thank you so much for calling.

V. Call-back from Message Left – Live Answer

LL: Hi, my name is Jeff and I am returning your call about a home for rent. The property you called about is a 3-2-2, with ceiling fans, fireplace, covered patio … Does this sound like it would be a good fit for your family? (Pick up from ‘Good Fit’ question above)

VI. Call-back from Message Left – Leave Message

LL: Hi, my name is Jeff and I am returning your call about a home for rent. The property you called about is a 3-2-2, with ceiling fans, fireplace, covered patio… If this sounds like something that would be a good fit for your family’s new home, then please call us back at 832-971-4557 and also take a look at SPEEDYCLOSE.COM. When you get there click on the RENT tab to see some pictures of, a map to, and an application for Your New Home. As you are probably aware, this home is priced significantly under market value for a quick lease, so you may want to do a drive by soon and if you like the property then go ahead and move forward with your application. Again that website is SPEEDYCLOSE.COM and the telephone number is 832-971-4557. Thank you so much for calling.

VII. Call-back from an Appt Show/No Apply – Live Answer

LL: Hi Dan, this is Jeff Smith. We met yesterday at the home you were interested in renting in Happy Town neighborhood. I am just calling back to see if you had any additional questions about the home or application process, or any feedback about the property.

PTen: Asks questions or says it wasn’t exactly what they were looking for.

LL: (If PTen is asking a question, then answer first then…) Did you want to go ahead and apply for the property now so that you can take advantage of the current promotion, since the rate will go back up to market rent when the next GreenSheet comes out and we correct the ad?

LL: (If PTen says it wasn’t for them, then…) May I ask what about the property I could improve to make it more attractive for the next family that comes by to see it?

PTen: The carpet looks dingy, the walls are dirty …

LL: Thank you so much for the feedback, it will help me quite a bit. Most of those items should have been taken care of during the make ready. The good news is it should only take my maintenance guy a day to finish up. Once he does and the next GreenSheet ad comes out we’ll be correcting that price and taking it back up to market rent. Would you like to take advantage of this below market opportunity before we get it corrected?

IIX. Call-back from Appt Show – Leave Message

LL: Hi Dan, this is Jeff Smith. We met yesterday at the home you were interested in renting in Happy Town neighborhood. I am just calling back to see if you had any additional questions about the home or application process, or any feedback about the property. If so, or if you would like to apply for the property before the next newspaper ad runs when we will end our special pricing promotion and bring the rent back up to market value, then please give us a call back at 832-971-4557. Thank you so much for your interest.

IX. Call-back from No Show – Live Answer

LL: Hi Dan, this is Jeff Smith. I am so sorry we missed each other yesterday at the house you wanted to see. I thought I was only about a minute or two behind, but it must have been more like 5. The good news is that the home is still available and the promotion we are running is good until this Thursday. Are you still interested in seeing the property and taking advantage of that rent discount Dan?

PTen: Oh oh ok, no problem. Yes I would still like to do that.

LL: We can have someone meet you at the property on Wed., at 6:30pm or Sat. afternoon at 2. Which would work best for you?

PTen: (Chooses)

LL: It is confirmed then. Is your email address still dan@mymail.com?

PTen: Yes it is.

LL: Perfect, then I’ll go ahead and resend you that map to the property and I’ll see you Wednesday at 6pm.

X. Call-back from No Show – Leave Message

LL: Hi Dan, this is Jeff Smith. I am so sorry we missed each other yesterday at the house you wanted to see. I thought I was only about a minute or two behind, but it must have been more like 5. The good news is that the home is still available and the promotion we are running is good until this Thursday. If you still interested in seeing the property and taking advantage of that rent discount we talked about Dan, then please give me a call back at 832-971-4557. As you are probably aware, this home was priced significantly under market value in that last GreenSheet ad, and that will be corrected in the next issue that comes out on Friday. So call me if you want to get in for the price we discussed, 832-971-4557. Thanks again Dan for your interest.

X. Confirmation of Appointment

LL: Good morning Dan, this is Jeff Smith. I am calling this morning to remind you about your appointment to view what I think will be your new home this evening at 6:30pm. The property is at 123 Elm St, which is just west of Main and First Streets, in the Apple Forest Subdivision. If you have any questions about your reservation you can reach me at 832-971-4557, that is 832-971-4557. Thanks Dan and we’ll see you at 6:30.

Sample Appointment Confirmation Email

Hi FIRST NAME,

Thank you so much for your interest in renting our house–or better yet, your new home. It was a pleasure speaking with you today. You can find the information we discussed earlier by clicking here, along with links to a map to the property and a rental application. Your appointment to view the home is set for 6:30pm on Wednesday.

As you know, this home is priced significantly under market value for a quick lease, so you may want to do a drive by before your appointed time and if you like the property then go ahead and move forward with your application. I do have all of the mini-blinds open so that you can see into every room from outside of the home. You can reach us at xxx-xxx-xxxx if you would like to make an appointment to get inside.

If you decide that this is the home for your family, and based on our conversation I believe you will, then print and complete an application for each adult moving into your new home. There are 3 ways to get it to us:

1) fax it back to xxx-xxx-xxxx;
2) bring it with you on Wednesday; or
3) scan it and email to ForRent@SpeedyClose.com.

The application fee is $25 for each additional adult moving in (must be certified funds). We adhere to all fair housing rules and will lease to the first applicant that qualifies and pays the first months rent plus deposit. Thank you again and I look forward to meeting you on Wednesday evening.

Best regards,

Jeff Smith
SpeedyClose Properties
TEL: xxx-xxx-xxxx
FAX: xxx-xxx-xxxx
www.SpeedyClose.com

Sample Call Tracking Sheet (Lead-book Page):

Use this as a guide to keep up with prospective tenant contact management.

Telephone

Comments

  1. It would be nice to get a copy of that form. I can’t even read it. it is too small. I would make a excel spreadsheet if I could read it.

  2. I improved the visibility of the forms a bit. Click on the images to enlarge them.

  3. Jerry Davidson says

    Thanks for being so thorough, Jeff! I’m a flowchart guy, so really appreciate the technical visuals.

  4. This is great information. Thanks for sharing. Would love to see more of your procedures.

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