Ken's Naperville Real Estate Blog : The case of the disappearing prospects...

The case of the disappearing prospects...

It happened again today...

It has been happening a lot lately.  My prospects keep disappearing...

Where do they keep going?

I have been generating a solid amount of new leads recently.  Most from my advertising on Facebook.  Others from my blogging efforts...

It seems every day or so, someone pops up, raises their virtual hand, and asks for information/inquires about a property I am advertising...

I follow up as quickly as I can.  "Sounds great!" 

If given a phone number I call.  Answering machine.  I leave a friendly message. 

I follow up with a friendly email.  Or a message on Facebook...

But nothing.

Where do they keep going?

Perhaps it is a sign of the times.  It is cold outside right now.  January 2014...

Perhaps life is just getting in the way.  Kids going to school.  Challenges at home.  Challenges at work...

Many are probably just making due.  Maybe just waiting for spring?

Who knows?

But I sure wish somebody would return my phone calls...




Comment balloon 76 commentsKen Tracy • January 20 2014 07:41AM


Ken, it sounds as if they are coming to you for a quick question to be answered - and once they have the details, they are hibernating.....
Posted by Carol Zingone, Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty) over 4 years ago

Hi Carol.  Thanks!  Hibernating is a good term...



Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 4 years ago

Same is happening in my market. With internet leads I've learned to call back within 5 minutes. Many of my "buyer" leads are folks wanting to rent. Go figure.

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 4 years ago


Good luck with your prospects becoming more responsive soon.  If you did the best you can with communicating, that's all you can expect of yourself.  We all just have to keep plugging away and keep a positive attitude!

Posted by Andrew Payne Realtor® Richmond VA Homes For Sale~804-938-5257~, Richmond, VA, Real Estate, SRES®, NAR Green (Coach House Realty) over 4 years ago

Similar situation in NW Wisconsin. Perhaps it's a sign of the internet times. Prospects will pop up for a quick question, then disappear. I think that when they are truly ready to buy, they will come. 

Posted by Jean Hedren, CRS, SRES, RSPS, Your Northwest Wisconsin Realtor (Edina Realty, Inc.) over 4 years ago


I am having the same experience with tons of calls from my yard signs here in south Texas on the border. I even thought about removing my phone number from my signs and just putting my website because it is game over once I give the info over the phone .It's the Houdini Effect.


Posted by Lenny Cavazos, Lenny Cavazos/Broker (Que Padre Realty) over 4 years ago

I have the same thing and it goes 1 step farther - We talk on the phone a couple of times, it goes really well, they're supposed to email me their prequal and we're supposed to make a date to begin looking and then, all of a sudden I stop hearing from them.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) over 4 years ago

I think the leads I get in the evening are folks pounding the keyboard with a couple glasses of alcohol under their belt. When I call the next day they disappear.

Posted by Rob D. Shepherd, Principal Broker ABR, GRI (Windermere/lane county) over 4 years ago

Great question. I too wonder what happens to them. Easy come easy go. I think they'll come back, their just not ready to pull the trigger.

Posted by Mike Baltierra, Full Service at Your Service Realtor-Corona CA (20/20 Realty Inc.) over 4 years ago
I know that it can be frustrating. Sometimes when I get Internet leads, I don't get my expectations too high. If they do the disappearing act when I try to reach out to them, they are not serious buyers. There will be other leads that will pan out for you.
Posted by Rosie Moore (Serving Sugar Land, Richmond, Rosenberg, Missouri City) over 4 years ago

Frustrating. I imagine that they're really window shopping and not very serious mortgage shoppers. When they're ready to commit, theyll find you.

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) over 4 years ago

They do disappear ~ it is the magic skill that internet leads have.

Even if you talk to them, send them information they asked about, educate them and answering their questions~ they still vanish.


Posted by Inna Ivchenko, Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA (Barcode Properties) over 4 years ago

Hi Ken, I usually take most internet leads with a grain of salt knowing that many are months away from buying and are just kinda "testing the waters". Perhaps they're not expecting up to answer our phones or e-mails so get a bit of cold feet when we start asking those qualifying questions. I'm thinking you just keep at it...keep doing touch points and checking in and when they are really ready, will hopefully know that you would be the best agent to go with!

Posted by Cindy Westfall, ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate (Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon) over 4 years ago

If you stay in touch with them, they will contact you when they are ready to buy or sell property. Internet leads start months and months in advance...just stay in touch by giving them relavant info on a regular basis.

Posted by Sheila Cox, Katy & Sugar Land Real Estate Agent ( over 4 years ago

I don't know of a single agent that has not faced this same dilemma.  So WHO is getting all these customers?

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Understanding a prospects timeframe is important.  Leaving them breadcrumbs without overwhelming them is important.  Set up a reminder system and give them some real estate information of importance every 14 days until they say stop or raise their hand again.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 4 years ago

I know the feeling, Ken.  There are moments when I say, she's just not into me.  But why...then I realized when this particular prospect has this particular behaviour after all the calls, e-mails and follow up i say to myself, why should I waste my time? I can't lose what I never had in the first place so keep on moving, be positive, there's more prospect to come, time to go back to ABM - Always Be Marketing attitude. 


Posted by Frank Iglesias, Atlanta, GA Real Estate Investor (Working With Houses, LLC - Atlanta Real Estate Investments) over 4 years ago

Must be the weather!   I had  a listing appointment for today and they decided to wait a sad:)  Since short sales take a while sooner is better. 

We need to keep in contact without being intrusive....walking the line in 2014

Posted by Evelyn Santiago, Managing Broker Heart Realty Group, Inc., Passionate About Real Estate & Our Clients! (Heart Realty Group, Inc..) over 4 years ago

Only in real estate can a buyer believe it's perfectly OK to call a real estate agent, pick her brain, ask questions about the economy, the market, certain neighborhoods, want all the information she can possibly get about a particular property -- # of bedrooms, square footage, when it was built, when the roof was last replaced, is there room for a pool, where is the laundry room, and go on and on and on, and when you ask if they want to buy a home, she will mumble and say they are just looking.

Here's a news flash: They aren't looking. :)

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (Lyon Real Estate) over 4 years ago

That happens a lot to me too...maybe they get scared when you return the call lol :).   Well, just keep generating more leads..the more you have the more you will get some converted!

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) over 4 years ago

I have been experiencing this as well. They ask for additional information, I call immediately, follow up with an email, and...nothing! 

Posted by Shannon Milligan, Richmond VA Real Estate Agent/Associate Broker, RVA Home Team - Winning with Integrity. (RVA Home Team) over 4 years ago

Ken, it's A numbers game, it only takes a few to make it worthwhile.

Posted by Adrian Willanger, Profit from my two decades of experience (206 909-7536 over 4 years ago

OMG -- I have had the same thing happen.  I think the important thing is to keep in touch.  I am going to put these folks on a drip campaign.. .Maybe someone will reappear!  They must be somewhere!

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 4 years ago

Ken, I don't know where they are going.  I see them pop up in my area and then do the same thing.  My approach has been to follow up for daily for several days then adjust to weekly checkins.  Let me know where you find yours, should they reappear.

Posted by Christina Sanchez Hood, #SiliconValleyHOODS | Inspired Living over 4 years ago
I am a new agent (about 2 months in) what advise do you guys recommend for follow ups (time frame, procedures)? They disappear on me too....
Posted by Marcos Avalos, The reliability and quality of service you deserve (RealtyOnceGroup) over 4 years ago

Hi Doug, Andrew, Jean, Lenny, Jill, Rob, Mike, Rosie, Wayne, Inna, Cindy, Sheila, Evelyn, Cindy, Frank, Evelyn, Elizabeth, Brenda, Shannon, Adrian, Joan, Christina, and Marcos.  Wow!  Thanks!!!

My first feature in a year!  I would never have expected it from this post...

Sounds like I am not alone.  Makes me feel much better about my efforts, because sometimes I have found myself wondering "What the heck am I doing wrong..."

Thanks again everyone!!


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 4 years ago

Dear Ken -
Keep up your positive thoughts! Soon it will turn around ...
Have a happy day -

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) over 4 years ago

Ken, I've found that many of these inquires are from folks already working with an agent, but second-guessing what they've heard. Or, sometimes they are even agents who'd rather have you do the research to answer their buyer's questions that do it themselves!

Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 4 years ago

Talk about a disappearing act...the strangest thing happened to me....I just met with a guy from out of state that I had been emailing with for a month. He came straight from the airport and we looked at 8 homes  he decided to write an offer on the last home we saw..he wanted to get to his brothers home (long day for him) so I told him I would email him the offer via docusign and he said he would get it back to me that evening..have not heard a word in 3 days.. called, emailed ,texted ,,seems the guy has fell off the face off the earth...

Posted by Patti Irwin, No Pressure, No Sales Pitch, Just Expert Advice! (HomeSmart Lifestyles-Fountain Hills AZ Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Ken, that's to be expected with internet leads, also, some already have Realtors they're working with, however, that doesn't stop them from calling other agents to get information.

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) over 4 years ago

Ken, It's happened to all of us. I tend to leave a bit of information, but not all of it, so they call me for the rest of the story. 

Posted by Monica Hill, the REALTOR to help you discover Delaware (RE/Max Associates) over 4 years ago

Happened to me today also. Just part of the deal. I put all leads on an automatic follow-up. Keep Prospecting!

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) over 4 years ago

Hey Ken, Fruitless inquiries are just a part of can be frustrating. It is only January - folks will get more serious after Groundhogs day I hope.

A mantra I learned reading the Action Principals -

Some Will - Some Won't - So What? - Next

Posted by Andre R. Aragon, Real Estate Photographer (Greater Tampa Real Estate Photographer) over 4 years ago

I get some leads through a lead router system and I contact every single one. I'd have to say about 80-90% never get back to me.  Who knows why.  Drunk-button-clicking?  Can't really buy a house and just thought they'd get an email with secret info if they clicked the "need more info" button?  

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, over 4 years ago

If you're talking about internet leads, only 1% or so ever convert so you need to be prepared for the "rejection through silence." But keep plugging away as I've found often there's silence for a year or two and then they sudenly raise their hand to me because I've stayed in touch. Also helps to remember that these are not prospects... they are leads.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC) over 4 years ago

Yes, I've heard a similar 1% conversion rate for real estate agents.  Focus on the ones you convert not the ones you don't.  It's better to stay positive.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 4 years ago

The question is how serious are they about buying a home now?  Are they ready to buy or just starting to look and seeking an education?

Posted by Ira Bodenstein, NMLS#: 445143 (PNC Mortgage) over 4 years ago

Ken, great question - I think it's just the nature of online buyer leads.  Conversion rates on these are low for me too.  Just keep on plugging away and you'll get a good one every once in a while that makes it worthwhile. 

Posted by Ann Zieve, Unmatched Ownership Experience (Keller Williams Success Realty) over 4 years ago

It is a product of instant gratification created by the Internet. Just ask a question and get an answer without making a commitment to anybody.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 4 years ago

Ken, its already been said that conversion rates for Internet leads are very low. For every lead that does not answer, you're getting closer to the one who will. Hang in there.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 4 years ago

You losing individual socks to mess up the pair too? Real estate is a numbers game. Check behind the dryer. Life happens and you lose people on radar.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 4 years ago

Hi Lynn, Karen, Patti, Beth, Monica, Bill, Andre, KAT, Nina, Debbie, Ira, Ann, Ed, and Michael.  Thanks!!!

Wow!  Feels nice getting all this positive response!  I work out of my home office, and at times feel like I am alone.  Good to hear we are all going through it...

Patti, that is quite a disappearing act...

Thanks again!


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 4 years ago

If it is meant to be...well it is. However, many things try to interfere with this. Today, with cell phones and texting...if people are serious, they can proceed quite easily

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 4 years ago


Not sure, but sounds like something I have had in the past, I use micro. and will respond to a person at least 7 times. with no answer especially the ones who are going to be thousands instead of hundreds,  than I drop them.

Posted by Dan Dee McGinnis The Pumpkin Man (eXp Realty) over 4 years ago

Hi Ken,  

We are out here in the Sunshine of CA and are experiencing the same thing. Must be a phase of the moon.  People seem noncommital right now.

Lets hope that changes for all of us.



Posted by Michael Layton, Michael Layton 7604085300 (Big Block Realty) over 4 years ago

So many are just looky-loos. And it is so easy these days to look without any effort.

Tons are already working with an agent and wander the internet looking for the 'steal or deal' that their agent is hiding from them. Click on the message agent button, ask a few questions and then off to find another property.

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 4 years ago

I've learned over the years that internet leads are just that.  Internet leads.  Most of them are unloyal tire kickers that just want information.  I focus on my sphere, my social media following, and the people that I know.  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) over 4 years ago

Excellent points, thanks for sharing.

Have a Big day,


Posted by Randy Shamburger, FHA, VA, USDA and Conventional Mortgage Expert (Movement Mortgage) over 4 years ago

Ironically, while I do not generate a lot of internet leads, the ones I do get almost always turn into clients.  They seem to be more motivated for some reason, but I cannot explain why that is.  I have heard this refrain, though, from many other agents about non responsive leads. 

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 4 years ago

Not uncommon --- happens here all the time too.  I have learned that the next challenge in the "funnel" is determining how to stay in touch and be available when they need us.  Developing and staying on top of the system that will, over time, convert these prospects to clients requires the same amount of energy as the marketing efforts that got them to call in the first place.

Posted by Rob Spinosa, Vice President of Mortgage Lending, Marin County (Guaranteed Rate, Marin County, CA) over 4 years ago

Some slip, some stick

Posted by Drick Ward, "RealtorDrick" - Experienced Representation (NEPTUNE REALTY) over 4 years ago

Ken - That is always frustrating. I've had that happen as well. Once, it took us 17 phone calls to reach one of our leads (yes, we were persistent). That man bought a home for $1.1 million and a $350,000 condo for his daughter from me.  The key was not giving up.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 4 years ago

I spend way more time contacting people I already know.  Internet leads can sometimes be valuable, but don't spend too many cycles on them.

Posted by Geoff ONeill (John L. Scott Medford) over 4 years ago

Ken, that's one of the unfortunate features of the anonymity of the Internet. We turn a fair amount into clients, but also have a large number that just disappear.

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 4 years ago

They go under the radar.  If you've got the email - start a drip campaign.  If they don't want your emails, they will unsubscribe.

Best to be top of mind when they decide to appear again.

Posted by Richard Arnold, Realtor - Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Phoenix (Keller Williams Realty East Valley) over 4 years ago

Don't know if you do this, but might want to try giving them a link to a free report or white paper, or home buying checklist to download.  Create a pop up so they have to give you their name and email address so you can build your email database and then email them home buying articles every two weeks. Just a suggestion.

Posted by Karen Deis, When In-house training is not enough! ( over 4 years ago

I put them on a drip campaign that goes out day 1, day 3, day 7, day 14, day 21... until they respond or tell me to stop. Sometimes it jogs them and they contact back.

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) over 4 years ago

That can be so frustrating but unfortunately it does happen in this industry. Maybe it's better to look at it this way: for every lead that disappears, you are one lead closer to getting a great client! 

Posted by Jesse Tuttle, MLO 269408 (Cobalt Mortgage ) over 4 years ago
Your persistence will pay off. Keep plugging away. Your day will come.
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge over 4 years ago

It happens all the time. They might brush you off for a few months, but then call you and all of a sudden they need to sell their home ASAP.  

Posted by John Anello, Stamford Area Electrician, Call Safe and Sound Electric at 203-536-0021 (Safe and Sound Electric LLC) over 4 years ago

I love how encouraging and helpful this community is. Everybody wants to help everyone and, whether it was just time to post a blog or you really are super concerned, you've got this! 

Posted by Gina Tufano, Ask Gina & Company, Northern Virginia Real Estate (Ask Gina & Company with Pearson Smith Realty) over 4 years ago

I agree with Cheryl - keep plugging away!! You just never know...

Posted by Jill Saddler, Draper Utah Real Estate Professional - 25 years+! over 4 years ago

Just be diligent about reaching out to them and even if you don't hear back from them, continue to market to them. I've closed transactions with buyers from 3, 4, 5 years ago who may have just been looking at the time, but they know who to call once they're ready.

Posted by Aaron Hofmann, aka Mr. Smyrna Vinings (Atlanta Communities) over 4 years ago

I think a lot of people just assume we all make a ton of money and we are for them a free information service. They also may be a bit shocked that you called back so quickly, most agents don't do that.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 4 years ago

Ken -- I think we have all had this happen. For me it was about a month ago. Then the buyer came back. Unfortunately, a family member had passed away and the buyer understandably took a step back.  Some come back; some don't. Keep at it!

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Ken:  Don't get frustrated or down about this.  I swear, it's the weather in Chicagoland creeping into your business.  There's lot of people putting "feelers" out there.  Playing with the idea of buying.  That's good news and shows good potential for the coming good weather and spring.  Hang in there .. and think positively ...


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) over 4 years ago

Ken, I think you have minutes, not hours, to respond to these types of inquiries. If they don't get an answer instantly, they move on. Congrats on the move to Charles Rutenberberg. Our Benchmark office is modeled after Charles Rutenberg Realty. Being able to keep more of my commission has made a big difference in my business.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 4 years ago

HA . . . they seem to be the same folks that contact me for information then leave. It's still early in the year Ken. 

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 4 years ago

Yeah , I think this happens to all of us at times.  Hopefuly they remember you actually responded, when they are actually ready to do something.  

Posted by Cathy Wolters, Your Brevard County Property Management Expert (Wolters Realty & Property Management Company) over 4 years ago

Maybe give them a reason to call you.  The internet unfortunately gives them a lot of information that we have access to.

But if you give them some "inside scoop" exclusive information that they do not have access to, they will call.  Such as a pocket listing that you or an associate has coming up?  A new listing that you just saw on open house?

Posted by Ralph Gorgoglione, Hawaii and California Real Estate (800) 591-6121 (Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes) over 4 years ago

We refer to them as "lurkers". They sneak in and out of our lives, scheming and dreaming about a house or investment property.  And sometimes when you least expect it, they resurface and make an offer.

Posted by Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 - (Madeline Island Realty) over 4 years ago


Sometimes it seems as though anything you're doing for lead generation isn't working, remember, stay the course my friend, it will pass and I'd agree it's part of the New Year coma wake up 

Posted by Alex Popovic MRP (Semper Find My Home) over 4 years ago

Hi Alex! Eric, Ralph, Cathy, Carla, Tammid, Gene, Barbara, Joe, Aaron, Jill, Gina, John, Cheryl, Jesse, Erica, Karen, Rich, Mike, Geoff, Jason, Drick, Rob, Susan, Randy, A and C, Than, Michael, Andrew, Dan, and Richie.  Wow!!!

So many are experi ending the same thing!  Makes me feel better...

Thanks again everyone for all the supportive comments!!!


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 4 years ago


Agreed! The Internet can be tricky – while it’s a great tool for marketing, it may yield some not-so-great prospects. If a virtual lead doesn’t reach out over the phone, chances are they may not be particularly motivated. (Do Internet Consumers Buy the Property They Called On?

Best of luck!

Posted by Suzanne De Vita, Online Associate Editor (RISMedia) over 4 years ago

Ken, is it picking back up yet or still the same?

Posted by Heather Fitzgerald, REALTOR Greenwood Indiana Real Estate (REALTY WORLD-Harbert Company, Inc.) over 4 years ago

Very interesting and encouraging reading the article AND the comments. Thanks 

Posted by Kaye Swain, Your Roseville Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams Real Estate Roseville CA) almost 3 years ago

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