Throw those canned follow-ups into the can!

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

inboxIf you want to find out whether your canned follow-up programs are effective, register to receive them yourself.   

I recently registered on another agent's website to gain access to listings for my daughter, who is relocating to that area.  Since then, I have been getting canned email follow-ups every few days.

  • They are very impersonal
  • They are very "lecturing" in tone
  • They are ANNOYING!  Say that again, ANNOYING!  (as in, too frequent)

Every time I receive one of these ANNOYING emails from the agent, I instinctively start to look for the unsubscribe link or the delete button on my email.  And I've grown to truly dislike her face, which is plastered at the top of every email.  However, I restrain from unsubscribing because her follow-up is an important reminder to me NOT to send anything like this to my clients.  Honestly, folks, after this experience I highly recommend throwing your canned follow-up programs into the "can".

After about 2 or 3 weeks of these most ANNOYING emails, I went into my Top Producer action plans and completely renovated my own follow-up emails.  I did as Michael Russer suggested and made each contact "all about the recipient", not all about me and my services.  The result:  RESULTS! 

Here are some of the changes I made:

  • Reduced frequency to 7-10 days, not always the same.
  • Provided a truly helpful tidbid and related link in each brief email.
  • Asked for nothing - I didn't even ask for their business or promote myself.
  • Prominently offered an unsubscribe link in every email.
  • Phoned the consumer monthly, just to check in and find out if the information in my emails is helpful and whether there is anything in particular they would like to receive from me in the way of information.

trash(By the way, I asked my husband to register on my website so he would receive my follow-up emails; I knew I could count on him to tell me if he found them annoying, since that's a spouse's job - to protect us from ourselves.) 

So throw away those canned real estate follow-up programs, and develop a sincere and personal follow-up plan.  It will take a small investment of time - maybe an evening or two to set it up - but you'll be glad, if you do.


Remember, when you have a referral for the D.C.-Baltimore-Annapolis triangle, contact Margaret in Maryland at RE/MAX Vision

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This infoMargaret Wodarmation was provided to you by Margaret Woda, an Associate Broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Crofton Maryland. Contact Margaret today for general real estate information or to learn how she can help you buy or sell a home in Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills, and Odenton. 

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Jim Crawford
RE/MAX Paramount Properties - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR
I agree.  That is why we used to refer to them as auto-response. Personalization is the key, and you were very smart to change the distribution frequency.
May 22, 2007 01:40 AM #1
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Thanks, Jim -

I always enjoy your posts, and I am flattered that you read and commented on this one!  By the way, that was FAST.  It hasn't been posted more than 2 minutes!

May 22, 2007 01:44 AM #2
Don Horn, ABR, CRS, GRI, CNE
Keller Williams Realty - Goodyear, AZ

Margaret, I enjoyed your post and I'm going through my top producer correspondence asap (probably while sitting at my next open house).

Your comment about spouses is correct, by the way.

May 22, 2007 01:59 AM #3
Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC
Thanks, I need to rethink the way I am following up.  You gave me a lot to think about & a new project!  
May 22, 2007 02:01 AM #4
J Perrin Cornell
Century 21 Exclusively, Wenatchee, WA - Wenatchee, WA
Ther is way too much impersonla auto internet stuff out there. Your points are well taken! probably the most important point is the monthly call! Internet is a great tool but it is just a tool. YOU have to sell the client ;)
May 22, 2007 02:13 AM #5
Darcy Rockwell
eMortgage LLC - Latham, NY
Mortgage Consultant
I agree.  In todays market although I am a mortgage broker not an agent I believe that all my corresponsences with either partners or clients should be what shows that I stand out among all the others, not a carbon copy of what everyone else is doing. 
May 22, 2007 02:14 AM #6
Steven Shewell
Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. - Ephrata, PA
The Mortgage Maverick
Great post.  Everyone needs to make the responses about the client, not themselves.
May 31, 2007 12:30 AM #8
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
Great post.I am going to change the frequency today.
May 31, 2007 12:36 AM #9
Mary Strang
Viroqua, WI

Yes develop a personal system, and save your money on these type of programs, the days of keeping buyers in the warming oven with canned scripts are over.  I feel it is just spam to a real buyer and provides no value.  



May 31, 2007 02:09 AM #10
Christopher Onwuasoanya
Atlantic Waste & Power System - Sparta, NJ
WOW. I send eome thing to my realtors 3 times a week is that considered too much? I don't ask for business. They are tips
Jul 25, 2007 05:50 AM #11
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Hi, Christopher - Put me on your list, and I'll give you a candid answer to that after about a month.  In the meantime, check out Michael Russer's e-Productivity course.  Just the 2-hour introductory program changed my entire approach to customer and client relations.  If I remember correctly, it costs less than $500, and it's done via conference calls with minimal inconvenience to your schedule.

Yes, Mary, you're right!  Personalization is very important - but I did build my customized messages on the Top Producer platform.  I count on it to deliver (and track) my follow-up emails on schedule.

Gia - 'Glad my suggestion helped you.  'Hope it works.

Steven - Instinctively, I always knew this to be true, but I think I finally got it right!

Jul 25, 2007 05:59 AM #12
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

Don - You know, I do love my Top Producer, and I love it even more now that I've re-written the entire Buyer Prospect Action Plan!

Cynthia - Sorry about adding to your workload, but maybe it will pay off for you!

Sorry for the delay in responding.

Jul 25, 2007 07:14 AM #13
David Fox
The Real Estate Tech Desk - Crofton, MD
Real Estate Technology Specialist

I've had several clients here in the MD area over the 6 months or so, really start to get away from "canned follow-ups".   So many people are doing them now, as they are included features in alot of websites, and of course, Top Producer!  They are easy to setup, and easy to forget about too....Agents set them up, and NEVER change the content or anything--thats mistake #1,   plus the fact that they, as you said, were impersonal, and auto-generated  make it annoying, plus the fact that clients (and maybe more important, potential clients) start to realize that your not spending any time to give them the know where I am going with that!

 I myself went through the home buying process almost a year ago down in the Raleigh/Durham area.  I signed up for info and searches on several agents websites (3-4)  and I was getting 10+ auto emails a week from these guys,  2 of the agents use the same company for websites--so I was getting the same auto emails from 2 different agents, one of the agents emails dont have a unsubscribe link, and after several requests I am still getting emails--a year later!

None of the websites we build have this feature included, and we dont even offer it as an option for the reasons above!  Personalization is the way to go, and it doesnt take THAT much time!

Jul 26, 2007 03:48 PM #14
Amber Williams
Re/Max Classic Homes - Moody, AL

I am always worrying if my emails are annoying people! A lot of my leads off LeadStreet are email only leads so I try to send an email that will give helpful information to them, make them want to call me, let them know I WROTE it, and not annoy them where they'll "unsubscribe".

On a different note, I'm considering using Top Producer, would you recommend it to a newer agent such as myself?

Jul 26, 2007 04:02 PM #15
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

David - Thanks for your input.  For those of you who don't know, David is my local tech guru who keeps my computer functioning.  He also builds websites and does other things we agents know nothing about.

Amber - Yes, I would recommend Top Producer for contact database management, if nothing else.  I also recommend using the Action Plan function, but (as David just mentioned) they can be very annoying.  If you're going to use the TP Action Plans, you gotta re-write the emails, and probably re-schedule them, too.  I HIGHLY recommend going to the hands-on training if they have it in your area.  We are fortunate to have it available about once a month in the D.C.-Baltimore area, and I go periodically (it's free) just for a refresher and to learn about new features.  They have tutorials and a great support staff, but it's just not the same as live training.

Jul 26, 2007 05:15 PM #16
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


You are so right about the canned email product. They can be awful, and yes, annoying. The changes you made seem excellent. There are two of them that I have been doing lately and the response has been very positive. Namely, ask for nothing, just provide information. And have the unsubscribe feature in a prominent place.

Jul 26, 2007 05:24 PM #17
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