Dear Zuess,

I have trouble trying to convert people who call in from a sign call or newspaper ad. I try to ask the right questions. Yesterday, it happened. The gentleman on the phone suggested I send him my email information. I never heard back. Last week at my open house I put some people on the auto email system. I have emailed them a few times this week and called but no response. I always get stuck at this point.

Thanks so much for any help.



Dear Rose,

Great question and there is no simple answer.  There is a real art to handling incoming inquiries.  Our main intention needs to be to build trust and rapport so that they want to speak with us further.  In other words, we want to build a relationship.  They don’t!  They are likely looking for some information and nothing more.

There is a process that works much of the time.  Give them what they want and then ask for something in return.

Caller: “Hello – I’m calling about the property in Riverview that you have on the internet.  Can you tell me if it backs onto the greenbelt?”

Agent:  “Hello Back, actually it does.  Who am I speaking with?”

Caller: “Joel – it does? – does it have many trees in the backyard?”

Agent: “Yes Joel, there are a bunch of mature trees towards the back of the garden – is that something that is important to you?”

And thus begins a process of exchanging information.

If Joel seems anxious to get off the phone, ask him if he is working with an agent?  If yes, ask who?  Acknowledge this relationship and ask if he is happy with that relationship.  If yes, ask, “Is there Natural Curiosityany other information I can give you at this time?”, and get off the phone. There’s no client here.  If you get any other answer or some hesitation, continue to dialogue with the prospect from a mindset of curiosity and with the intention of building rapport and trust.

In addition to your intention to build trust and rapport, continue gathering information to decide if this prospect qualifies as a potential client.  If they do, you close for an appointment to meet and discuss working together.

Asking if they want to receive auto emails is offering an easy out, and you are off the phone without any commitment to the next steps.


Columnist, The Nature of Real Estate

Dear Zuess is a column dedicated to offering tips for real estate agents who want to put their natural curiosity to great use. Do you have any real estate binds you’ve been in lately? Drop Zuess a line at