Engaging Others Through Your Email

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

I do a great deal of relocation, and as a result most of the initial contact from folks who are considering a move and looking for help comes via email. No doubt this is true for most of us, given the fact that most buyers and sellers are using the Internet for their research and searching for homes. 

Emailing on my Blackberry is a breeze, and promptInitial contact by email is convenient, as it can be done at any time, from just about anywhere, via PC, laptop and phone, and it works well if folks are not yet ready to make a commitment to an agent and/or prefer to not have a phone conversation. And for many, it IS their preferred way to communicate, like it or not. 

I imagine some folks are bothered by this and want that contact by phone, but I find that email can be a great way to engage your prospects so that they then become your clients.

Here's how: 

First and foremost, a quick response is needed (and deserved), and with technology these days this should not be too tough (I get all my email on my Blackberry and can respond immediately, even with only a short note so they know I am listening). I have found that many inquiries are from buyers or sellers who are also querying others, so the first person to respond (or maybe the ONLY one to respond) is the winner. And what a great impression that makes. Not to mention that the consumer DESERVES a quick response if possible.  This is not unlike answering your phone (which many agents, and others in our business, seem not to do) - there have been several occasions when I got thanked for picking up my phone, as recently as last night. 

Make it real time. Sometimes you and the prospect will be on-line at the same time, so why not have an email conversation. You can write back and forth in a way much like talking...in real time. And if it feels right, suggest a phone call rather than continue to dialog in writing.

Provide the information requested. That's a no brainer. Granted, some requests are off the wall, or perhaps rather difficult or time consuming to respond to. But getting back to the prospect with some information they are seeking can work wonders, since so many do not. 

Provide a surprise by sharing some additional information that is relevant to their request. It could be a tidbit of market data, or some other information that may pique their interest, but I like to step above and beyond what was asked. Some buyers and sellers do not even know the right questions to ask, and since we are the supposed experts, we should be able to take this to the next level pretty quickly. 

I typically share information in a couple of emails, rather than just one, to continue the potential conversation. And when you are getting a response back with other questions or requests for information then you can simply continue on, as you have been given permission for further dialog.

Share links to blog articles you have written that are relevant. For me, with my focus on relocation and with most folks out of the area, I like to share community profile links and market reports. But certainly share other sites that may be useful, say information about the first time home buyer tax credit.

Listen to what the writer is saying. Really - listen. It's not quite the same as a face-to-face conversation, but sometimes people will tell you things that can be useful and important to know, or hint at something that you can address. So you don't want to focus on only what YOU think they need to know but respond to what they tell you they want to know. There's a difference. 

Engaging others through email

And how about these thoughts?

I also try to respond in a way that seems to fit with the writer's style- some messages are very cryptic, which suggests they don't want to read a 500-word email back, or they have a very precise question - while others are more detailed, or perhaps more general in nature. It's not unlike trying to mirror the behavioral style of folks when you meet them so the conversation is comfortable.

And it's important, as in our blog posts, to be conversational, and not blather on about how wonderful we are, or imply that we are the only agent they ought to be considering. If you share the information well, and the conversation is comfortable, in all likelihood it will progress to that point. 

Be mindful of your grammar and spelling, especially early on. I made a typo in one email and the writer called me on it. While I suspect many folks make an error here and there, it is an impression, often a first one, so try to avoid blowing it. 

Auto-responders - I am going to take an approach that may not be popular, but I do not like these. My opinion. Use them if you feel they work for you. But I prefer a quick personal note rather than something that is automated and clearly comes across that way. And the worst thing is, like those voice mails we hear, to say how important the email is and you will be back in touch, and then don't follow-up. 

Make sure your email signature provides links to relevant websites and blogs you have so folks will have the opportunity to learn more if they are interested. But don't overdo it - an email signature that is 20 lines long may just get ignored. Once set up you don't even have to think about it unless it needs updating. 

There are other things I do but hopefully this gets you thinking about how you might alter the way in which you can use email. No one will likely argue that it is not the same as a personal call, but done correctly and consistently, I have found that engaging folks this way works.


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If I can provide more information about Carlsbad real estate and surrounding areas, or the housing market in general, or otherwise assist you in your homes search, please contact me by phone or text at (760) 840-1360 or email me at JDowler@remax.net.

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All content copyright © 2009 Jeff Dowler Carlsbad Homes and Real Estate Tidbits


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Balboa Real Estate San Diego, CA - San Diego, CA

Jeff-I do 90% of my business by e-mail and would like to convert it to 100%. This frees up alot of time for me, and I can organize my work days much better. I do occasionally have "that client" who just needs to hear my voice, and I do speak to them on the phone. But soon I convert even those clients into communicating by e-mail. It is a great tool. Thanks for the tips!

Aug 28, 2009 10:42 AM #53
Cassi @ Knightyme Video Tours
Knightyme Video Tours - Lawrenceville, GA

Quick emails is just good customer service.

Aug 28, 2009 11:18 AM #54
Dora & Vincent Kwok
HomeSmart Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
CNE - Chandler, Arizona Real Estate

Jeff-Lots of good stuff in your post.  Thanks for sharing all the tips.

Aug 28, 2009 11:51 AM #55
Ginger Moore
Wilkinson & Associates Realty - Gastonia, NC

Hi Jeff, Great info as usual.. so you got thanked for picking up the phone!  Yes I have called many realtors and just get their voice mail.  some of the big reo agents will never return your calls, or pick up the phone.

Aug 28, 2009 11:56 AM #56
Mark Watterson
Salt Lake City, UT
Utah Real Estate

I have gotten emails on my mobile for several years now.  I receive my email contacts and response via mobile or desktop, whichever I'm at.   Hard for me image any agent not being wired these days. 

Aug 28, 2009 12:01 PM #57
Tim and Pam Cash
Crye-Leike (Sango) - Clarksville, TN
Real Estate Professionals - Clarksville TN

Jeff, I am with you on the auto responders.  We actually lost a couple of leads early on due to these.  Too impersonal and not at the appropriate time.  Great post.

Aug 28, 2009 12:38 PM #58
Naoma Doriguzzi
Virginia Beach - Virginia Beach, VA
New Media Director

I love email!  I am much better at email than listening to a voicemail.  But I also don't like the auto responder. 

Aug 28, 2009 01:29 PM #59
Real Estate Roxy

I thought I was pretty sharp on writing emails BUT learned two brand new concepts.   Saving information for TWO emails and mirroring styles.  

I love emails also but I find that phone calls work much better for actually making the appointment. 

I totally agree about the auto responders..they caused me nothing but problems. 

Aug 28, 2009 01:55 PM #60
Ricky Khamis
Amerifirst Financial, Inc. - Mesa, AZ
NMLS 173141 | CADOC 173141 - 480-339-1565

Very strong post Jeff, I am also and email fanatic.

Aug 28, 2009 02:24 PM #61
John J. Woods
Big Dog Press, LLC - Winder, GA
Going where no man has gone before - wouldn't you?

Excellent post.  Astute, common sense approach to e-mail that should work with anyone.  Appraisers, in particular, should be able to relate well to your statement that, "...the first person to respond...is the winner." now that all the appraisers are getting their assignments through AMCs.  First thing, early in the morning, the e-mails start coming in with possible assingments and the first appraiser to respond back is usually the one that prevails.  Even though your suggestions make (common) sense and display an awareness of (what should be) common courtesy, there are still many of us who may not think this type of treatment of potential prospects is warranted.  If you are one of those, then you will rarely be "...the winner."

Aug 28, 2009 04:30 PM #62
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

Jeff, I agree with all of your points 100%.  the only thing I do not do is use a blackberry and so when I am out of the office, an assitant will respond or give me a call and tell me what is up.  And I cannot immagine not having links to everything in my signature.

Aug 28, 2009 05:39 PM #63
Real Estate Virtual Assistant & Agent
Christine Wade - San Marcos, CA
Proud to Serve Your Real Estate Needs

Great post!  I often get irritated when I request information in an email, because I am busy and don't want to be stuck on the phone, and then the person on the receiving end of my request picks up the phone and calls me rather than responding to me "in kind" (in this case via email).  I don't want to sit on the phone while they go into their big long shpeel...I want to have it in my inbox so that I can deal with it when it is convenient for me.  Because in that case, I am the customer.  Respond to your customers / clients "in kind"!

Aug 28, 2009 06:22 PM #64
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

Nice tips to help us leverage a technology that many take for granted. I especially liked your emphasis on listening.

Aug 28, 2009 06:30 PM #65
Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

Nice Jeff - and I have to admit my blog url wasn't in my sig - it is now!  But it took some time as I have all my emails set up in outlook as sigs for quick send!  I'm with you on auto-responders - never have liked them.  And what would we do without our smartphones!?!  They make us look GOOD!

Aug 29, 2009 12:34 AM #66
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

ALL - thanks for the great commentary. I am tied up at a leadership conference for several days in Phoenix and having a tough time finding time to read and respond to all your thoughts. Will keep pluggin away at it.


Aug 29, 2009 02:37 AM #67
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

You have a great signature on your emails BTW which provides alot of info on what type of agent you are - you know what a website, blog is, etc.  A social media agent so to speak.  I am also of the belief that an auto responder should go by the wayside.  I get mad when I get one and I'm not sure why.  Like Sheldon said, on the R/M site we have in my area, I can pop an email to them thanking them for coming to the site - makes me think if they think that is an auto response? Yuck.  Will have to fix that.

Good post & congrats on the feature.

Aug 29, 2009 03:07 AM #68
Jill Watts

I enjoyed your blog article. Thank you for reminding me that I need to send community information!

I am finding that a lot of my clients like to text!


Aug 29, 2009 05:58 AM #69
Mark Velasco
Sharpstone Realty, Inc - Whittier, CA
Listing Agent-Whittier & Surrounding ciities

I found my wife online Jeff through IM. If I can build rapport through the computer...then surely we can build it with people looking for homes. Your advice was right on. Thanks.

Aug 30, 2009 12:12 PM #70
Bruce Brockmeier
Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS® - Yorba Linda, CA
Coached By Crouch

I have found that many inquiries are from buyers or sellers who are also querying others, so the first person to respond (or maybe the ONLY one to respond) is the winner.

Hi Jeff,

My clients report the same thing.  FAST response wins in most cases!  That's why I highly recommend the 15 Second Rule.  When you respond that quickly, buyers never forget you!  Sometimes you will catch them still reading your blog or website.  :)

Aug 31, 2009 01:45 PM #71
Jenny Durling
L.A. Property Solutions - Los Angeles, CA
For Los Angeles real estate help 213-215-4758

I'm with you on the autoresponder. I'm also not a fan of drip email for the same reason. I understand that it is a convenient way for us to stay in touch but it is so obviously NOT personal, that I prefer to take the time to personal my emails- even if the body is basically the same for different prospects.

Sep 02, 2009 04:34 PM #72
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??
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