Do You Use an Autoresponder? Please Be Careful with it!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

emailNo, I'm not saying you're in any danger by using an autoresponder... at least, not (to quote Jack Nicholson) "grave danger, is there any other kind?" But you are definitely in danger of running off perfectly good clients, prospects and referring agents.

I send out newsletters every week or so to several thousand real estate agents around the world. Every time one goes out, I'm slammed with autoresponders. And, my friends, I love y'all, but most of them are awful. I don't mind the ones that tell me you're on vacation (have a wonderful time!) or that you've experienced a family crisis (hugs) or are at a convention, but many are so bluntly written that I feel an initial shock when reading it. Call me hypersensitive, but when I receive an autoresponded message back that informs me you're busy and will return my email at such and such a time, I feel a little miffed. Oh, sure, intellectually, I realize it has nothing to do with my importance in your life, but like I said, I always feel a little twinge when I read it. And I tell ya - thousands of my readers don't have autoresponders, and I'm never emotionally offended by NOT getting an auto-response!

I got one yesterday from someone I'd sent a "real" email to (not a newsletter). It was apparently generated by the person's SPAM filter and sternly advised me to resend my message so that it would get thru this time. Uh, you're kidding, right? I'm going to fish through my SENT folder to find the message and resend it? Well, maybe if I have time later, and remember to do it (I haven't yet).

But the worst one I've ever seen came today. Again, from a SPAM filter program:

Hello Jennifer Allan,

This message serves as notification that you will not receive any more courtesy notices from our members for two days. Messages you have sent will remain in a lower priority queue for our member to review at their leisure.

Future messages will be more likely to be viewed if you are on our member's priority Guest List.

Thank you,
(signed by the guy who received my newsletter)

About this Notice
This courtesy notice is part of a free service to make email more reliable and useful. Boxbe ( uses your existing social network and that of your friends to keep your inbox clean and make sure you receive email from people who matter to you.

Say Goodbye to Email Overload



If you use an autoresponder, why not send yourself an email today and see what it says. If it's anything other than warm and inviting, change it, or get rid of it. In all likelihood, it's really not necessary to have at all...

Your thoughts?


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Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Sandra - right - and I think most autoresponders themselves should be classified as junk mail!

Darin & Andrea - I figure if you check your email every hour, why do you need an autoresponder?

Jul 22, 2009 02:37 AM #3
Dan Quinn
The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate - Silver Spring, MD
Dan Quinn

What happens when someone who uses an autoresponder sends out a message to somone else who also uses an autoresponder?

Do they keep reponding to each other indefinitely?  It might go like something like this...

Thanks for your message, we will respond in a few days...

    I got your message, I'll get back to you soon...

Thanks for your message, we will respond in a few days...

    I got your message, I'll get back to you soon...

Thanks for your message, we will respond in a few days...

    I got your message, I'll get back to you soon...

I think you get the idea. 

Jul 22, 2009 02:42 AM #4
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I use them carefully. I always set up a "hotmail" account for my listed properties and then have updated information on the auto-responder for the agents who call for information. This allows me to go in once a day and update my listings and not field phone calls all day.

My main email...I only use them if I'm going to be out of touch for some period of time, even if it's just a day..I pride myself on responding to emails and want people to know I'm not ignoring them.

Jul 22, 2009 02:44 AM #5
Tim Monciref - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

I hear they have worked for others, but in the price point that we are in, most prospects are sharp enough to know the system.  Thus, the lack of calls to the 800 number.  They call me direct.  Thus I canned the system.

Jul 22, 2009 03:23 AM #6
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

I recieved one of the boxbe ones this week as well, "hated it"

and I constantly receive Auto replies that are bothersome, people cant take the time to reply to a simple email? seems pretty crazy these days when it is so easy to get online. The only time that an Auto Reply makes sense is when you truly are NOT available, out of the country, on a TRUE vacation and that auto reply should provide the contact info of the person that is covering you.

the "I'm on the road and your email is important to me..." type of auto reply just doesnt look good.

Jul 22, 2009 03:36 AM #7
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

I emailed a listing agent the other day for showing instructions. (It was late).  I received a reply that said, "In order to reduce the amount of spam we receive, all incoming email is blocked unless you are an approved sender.  To register, call xxx-xxxx."  I was amazed. 

Jul 22, 2009 05:00 AM #8
Ed Schneider
Evers & Co. Real Estate Inc. - Washington, DC
Washington DC Real Estate Specialist

JA - What a rude system. I am automatically placed in a low priority category until the recipient, presumably another agent who perhaps has a listing I'm contacting him about, puts me on a priority guest list? Absurd. I'm sorry if you get too many Nigerian letters or v<i>agra spam. Everyone gets them. Kill them off and respond to my email, damn it. Don't make me grovel.

Jul 22, 2009 05:03 AM #9
Charlie Ragonesi - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

I am really not a fan of autorespopnders. Unless they have another name and number to call or email in them. Many do and I guess in this instant world we have to tell people we are taking a break.

Jul 22, 2009 06:39 AM #10
Teral McDowell
Referral Patners LLC - Murphy, TX

Same message could probably apply to voicemail messages. I hear some pretty sterile tones.

Jul 22, 2009 10:19 AM #11
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

I agree with you. I get some auto responders that they will get back to me shortly. Is that really necessary? Get back to me when you get back to me....

Jul 22, 2009 03:21 PM #12
Janie Coffey
First Coast Sotheby’s International Realty - Ponte Vedra, FL
Uniting Extraordinary Homes w/ Extraordinary Lives

I never use them, I hate them UNLESS and ONLY IF You are on vacation and have NO alternative for coverage (via a partner, checking daily, etc.)  good point to see how it arrives in the inbox!  I always try to test anything out that a client would receive to see how they migh interpret it.

Jul 23, 2009 12:42 AM #13
Ann Allen Hoover
RE/MAX Advantage South - Hoover, AL
CDPE SRES ASP e-PRO Realtor - Homes for Sale - AL

I don't think I have any.......but I'm going to check it out.  I'd hate to think I was sending something like this.

Jul 23, 2009 02:37 AM #14
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Ann - that's it exactly - I don't think a lot of people know what message their autoresponders are sending!

Janie - Agreed 100%!!!

Loreena - Exactly. An autoresponder is not going to impress me, but your getting back to me promptly will!

Teral - No kidding. That's another good exercise - call your voice mail and see how you sound!

Charlie - Yeah!

Ed. What you said. Perfect

Erik- CALL????? Are you kidding me?

Jul 23, 2009 10:37 AM #15
Dora & Vincent Kwok
HomeSmart Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
CNE - Chandler, Arizona Real Estate

Good aware of what your autoresponder email says and its tone. 

Jul 23, 2009 03:16 PM #16
Christina Cavins
Irongate Inc. REALTORS - Centerville, OH Search Ohio Homes For Sale

I have one on my email that states I will get back with the sender as soon as possible, but if they need immediate assistance to please call or text me.

I also have one on my Twiiter account from that says I look forward to reading their updates and I can also be found on Facebook and MySpace.

Jul 24, 2009 05:55 PM #17
Dianne Deming
RE/MAX Realty Group - Rehoboth Beach, DE

I do believe an autoresponder would have rescued my first Big Sale.  I had been working with a couple for more than a year.  I was on vacation when they emailed me about a house they received through the automatic MLS updating service I had set up for them.  I didn't have an autoresponder in place on my email and didn't check it for a few days while I was traveling.  When I finally did, there was a second email saying they no longer were in need of my services.  Turned out they bought that house through another agent.  There's no way to know for sure, but I think if I'd had an autoresponder saying I was unavailable for several days and given the name and number of my backup colleague, I would have gotten that sale.  It was an expensive lesson, but one I've never forgotten.

Jul 25, 2009 07:48 AM #18
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Jennifer - Ouch is right !  Who will be encouraged that the email that they took the time to send is "low priority" ?  Great message and recommendations.  At this point, we have not used "auto responders".  I guess we work too much and typically can always respond !! : )

Jul 27, 2009 12:11 AM #19
Andrea "Andy" Tolbert
HD Realty - Sanford, FL
Broker, Safety Expert, Instructor

Hi Jennifer!

I get the same thing when I send my email newsletter every week.  I can't imagine how a hot-to-trot client might feel when they get the same canned response.

IMHO, autoresponders serve 1 purpose: if you're out of the office for an extended period of days (health or vacation) to give them an alternate contact.

oh, one other purpose: if you're changing emails you can use them to inform people that are still using the old one.

I understand spam is a time waster, and I spend a lot of time on cleaning out my in box every day, but I also don't want a REAL email to accidentally get called spam and I never see it... that's bad!

Jul 27, 2009 08:23 AM #20
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Andy - I couldn't have said it better!

Chris & Stephanie - I have to wonder if the person who is paying for this service has any idea of the message that's going out?

Diane - In your case, the autoresponder would have served a purpose... but in general, I think they're meaningless on a day-to-day basis.


Jul 27, 2009 10:17 AM #21
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Jennifer,

I liked (#3) Karen Fiddler's idea of separate emails with updates foragents. It would be a bit harder in Atlanta where our listings "auto-populate" the email but I will check to see if it may be changed.

Have a happy day -

Apr 14, 2012 05:02 PM #22
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