You dress well.
You prepare ahead.
You know the business.
So what's the problem?
As Realtors®, we preach the value of staging in our clients' homes, offering testimony that sometimes even the smallest of changes can make a big difference in the salability of a home. The positioning of furniture, the placement of artwork, and the appearance of the decorations are the determining factors for many buyers.
And yet, we neglect to do the same for ourselves. Inside, we know our value. But our outward appearance just doesn't tell the same story to prospective customers.
10 Ridiculously Easy Professional Makeover Tips
Use a professional domain name for your email address.
Nothing says "amateur hour" or "part-timer" like generic domains (yahoo, hotmail, outlook, gmail).
Although there is an argument to be made for personalized domains (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com), personalized domains don't necessarily tell people what you do for a living, so they really lack the branding punch of the better alternative...
If you just don't have the option to use a branded account or forwarding address under your Broker's domain, consider getting a realtor.com forwarding address (free - ask me how) or secure your own name with the .realtor extension instead.
Use a professional email signature.
Want to know what is more dated and ridiculous than that 80s glamour shot in the feather boa? Using an imaged-based signature or NO signature with email.
Image-based signatures fall in the complete #fail category, because they simply aren't practical. Image-based text can't be searched, copied, pasted, or clicked . It must be manually transcribed, which instantly makes you "hard to work with" in the minds of customers and colleagues.
Tools like wisestamp offer automated email signature awesomeness that works on multiple platforms, and with their free version, there is no excuse for not being professional. Remember, every single touch is a marketing opportunity. Why not take advantage of this powerful branding tool?
Set up a professional, outgoing voicemail.
This is the voicemail equivalent to a professional email signature. The BEST outgoing voicemail messages are mini elevator pitches -- they work to reinforce your brand and fortify your value in the caller's mind.
Julie Durante shares great tips & scripts for setting up a professional realtor voicemail greeting.
Use text responses for calls you cannot take live.
Busy Realtors® often have 2 lines going at once, with text messages and emails coming simultaneously. When you can't take a call, make your cell phone work for you by responding with pre-configured text messages.
Be gracious in what you say. Remember, text messages can come across very abruptly and appear rude. Texting "I'm busy, call later" will not win you any points. Instead, try something like "Can't chat now, but will call you back asap." Here is a quick tutorial on how to set it up on Android.
Never decline an appointment invitation.
This isn't saying you have to accept… it's just saying 'do not decline'. Instead, propose a different time or day for the same event. Or, accept "maybe" and reply to the invitation by email explaining the conflict. Here is a quick tutorial for how to do this with Google Calendar.
It is poor etiquette to straight decline an invitation, especially before you've spoken with the inviting party. Let the inviting party reschedule or remove the appointment invitation.
Spell check is great, but you can turbo-charge your professional image by deploying Grammarly to assist you across all of your online writing activities. Grammarly's plug-in for Chrome will spot check your correspondence both inside and outside of word processing applications… So whether you are blogging on ActiveRain, posting to your favorite social media platform, or submitting an online form, you'll be able to put your best foot forward.
Know when and how to use "Reply to all".
What is it? "Reply" is a response only to the person who sent you the email. "Reply all" or "Reply to all" sends your reply not only to the person who sent you the email but also to everyone else who received the same email that you did.
This article offers an in-depth explanation of how and when to use "Reply all".
Responding with "Reply" when "Reply all" was needed gives other parties the perception that you are either being difficult, or that you are hopelessly technically challenged.
Responding with "Reply all" when "Reply" was needed can cause disastrous embarrassment and make you look foolish.
Know when and how to use "Bcc".
What is it? "Cc" stands for carbon copy which means that whose address appears after the Cc: header would receive a copy of the message. Also, the Cc header would also appear inside the header of the received message. (http://email.cityu.edu.hk/faq/ccbcc.htm)
"Bcc" stands for blind carbon copy which is similar to that of Cc except that the Email address of the recipients specified in this field do not appear in the received message header and the recipients in the To or Cc fields will not know that a copy sent to these address. (http://email.cityu.edu.hk/faq/ccbcc.htm)
This article offers an in-depth explanation of how and when to use "Bcc".
"Cc" abuse is rampant in real estate. From title companies and lenders, to agents alike, it is NOT COOL to "Cc" your entire address book and expose entire lists of email address.
If you are aiming to receive coal for Christmas, be the agent who uses "Reply to all" on the email sent from the other clueless agent who used "Cc" to email their entire contact list. Naughty, not nice.
Treat "I / me / my" like the plague.
Avoid using I, me, and my in professional writing. Using these pronouns focuses attention on yourself, rather than your ideas or your reader. Your reading audience should feel that they are belle of the ball, so to speak.
Bonus: Using inclusive words, like "we", "us" and "our" can help align and solidify your position as your client's advocate and representative.
Here are a few examples to help illustrate this skill:
Don't say, "I'm booked at 10:30am.
Instead say, "10:30am is booked. Could we consider a time after 3pm instead?"
Don't say, "I think the neutral carpet is a good choice."
Instead say, "How do you feel about the neutral carpet? Our results may be more favorable with that."
One mouth, two ears.
Anyone who is familiar with the DiSC test may be keen to the fact that many successful Realtors® index high on the "Influence" (i) scale. These are socially interactive, talkative, energetic, and personable people. This particular strength largely contributes to their success.
In line with #9 above, keeping that bubbly focus on the client or customer will go a long way toward creating affinity and professional rapport.
Consider the paradox of an agent who religiously advertises they are never too busy for referrals, and then replies with her entire day's agenda and all the details about her "busy schedule" when a client asks for a showing. Too much information.
In real estate, sometimes less is more. This is a universal truth.