Burning Bridges via Email

Services for Real Estate Pros with Escrowcoord.com

Burnng BridgesOK, I think I've made it clear that I LOVE the use of email for communication between team members during a transaction! It performs a number of functions at once which helps me save time!

Unfortunately, some people forget they are working in a professional environment and use email to personally attack other team members when they are frustrated.

My hubby taught me long ago to "Never Burn Bridges in Real Estate." Because you never know when you may forced to work with that person again.

I believe email Bridge Burning is even worse, because the documentation can be saved for many years to come by the recipient of the attack and possibly be used against you in the future.

A good question to ask yourself is does this letter reflect how you and your company want to be perceived? A friend recently received a scathing email from a disgruntled customer and I wondered what the CEO of her company would say if a copy had been delivered to them?!

When you believe you have a legitimate complaint about someone, stay away from personal attacks (You're lazy, you only want to get paid, you don't care, etc.).

Instead focus on the FACTS ONLY and clearly identify what you want. Also, provide consequences if they don't follow through (Note-consequences should only be used as a last resort!)

Here's an example;

Dear Bob,

I am writing this letter regarding your unresponsiveness to our email and phone requests.

Specifically, your input is required immediately to help assist the rest of the team in closing the transaction.

We have attempted to contact you via email and phone on the following dates with no response..

1/2 email

1/3 email

1/4 email and  voice mail message

1/5 left message with receptionist at your office

Once again, we ask that you immediately contact our office at xxx-xxx-xxxx by 12 pm tomorrow or we will assume that you are unable to perform and will contact your supervisor for further advice.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter.

As you can see, I am in no way personally attacking Bob by assuming I know why he is not responding (he doesn't know how to do his job, he's hiding something, he is doing drugs, his phone and email are down, he had a death in the family).

Bob may not be happy with me, but I have stated the facts only. I have maintained my professional integrity and asked him respectfully to follow through while assuming his also the consummate professional.

Comments (10)

Carol Zingone
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Florida Network Realty - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Global Realtor in Jax Beach, FL - ABR, CRS, CIPS

Diana, Sometimes, we have to hold their feet to the fire, and document their unresponsiveness. 

Feb 01, 2011 02:47 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives


I agree completely. Whenever I get an email that comes across as an attack, I put extra thought into how I will respond choosing my words carefully. We are not free to use the email to attack other people. That will get you trouble. Good post!

Feb 01, 2011 02:52 AM
Laura Forman
RE/MAX AEROSPACE REALTY www.LauraSellsBrevard.com - Melbourne, FL
Your Brevard Premier Property Specialist

As professionals that is the only way to respond.  Thanks for sharing words of wisdom.

Feb 01, 2011 02:54 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Hi Carol, I agree with documenting the unresponsiveness. Sticking to the facts will prevent an agent from looking like a fool and having to go on the defense. Thanks for your comment!

Feb 01, 2011 03:02 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Hey Patricia-Thanks for your post! I believe someone who uses email to attack others is a little short sighted on the bigger picture. One of my agents in my real estate office sent a rude letter to a sign post company complaining about their service. The owner sent me the email and called me. As the owner of my company, I was extremely embarrassed and apologized profusely. The fact that they provided less than stellar service was a moot point. I did not want to be known in the real estate industry as unprofessional and difficult to work with! Plus, they were ONLY one of two sign post companies that serviced our area! Like I said, never burn bridges....

Feb 01, 2011 03:07 AM
Joyce Herr
Prudential Lancaster Real Estate - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County & Beyond

Be careful what you write in emails - I so agree. You wouldn't believe some of the "professional" emails I have received.

Feb 01, 2011 03:09 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Laura, that is the key-We ARE professionals. Just wish there was an etiquette class some agents could take to help them understand the real meaning. Thanks for your comment!

Feb 01, 2011 03:09 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Joyce, those types of emails can be a strong influence on our opinion of someone. No matter how nice everyone else says that person is, an attack email for me gives me an inside look at the real integrity of that person. I won't forget that!  Thanks for your comment!

Feb 01, 2011 03:13 AM
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

I've had this happened to me in email and I was appalled by it. This loan officer from my past life tried to smooze me, invited me for coffee. When I replied back that I cant do it anytime soon, with classes and listings, he got upset and said - Let's cut to the chase. If I cant give him 15 minutes, clearly I'm not interested in doing business with him.

Well, he's got to understand that I definitely have a preferred lender by now. Plus why should I let you scold me in the way he did and still do business with you? LOL. Deleted the email.

Feb 01, 2011 03:20 AM
Diana Turnbloom
Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Hey Loreena! Wow, that poor guy must have been having a very bad day and made it worse by eliminating you from wanting to do business with him! You were absolutley correct in not responding and simply deleting the email. Sometimes we need to take the higher road. Thanks for your comment!

Feb 01, 2011 03:28 AM