Email is fast and convenient, but it’s also scary. Not only can it live virtually forever, it can be forwarded on – and on – and on.
That’s why we all need to be careful not to make crucial mistakes when writing to clients, prospective clients, past clients, and any of the other professionals who are somehow involved with our businesses. In fact, we should be careful when writing to friends.
Several months ago, Melissa Zavala wrote a warning about bragging, making promises you can’t keep, threatening, being bossy, and name calling. She was focused on emails sent between agents, but bragging and making promises you can’t keep can also creep into messages to potential clients.
At best, these practices can cause other agents to make every effort to avoid your listings and your offers in the future. At worst, they can land you in the middle of a lawsuit.
What about emails to clients and potential clients?
Some of the most common mistakes agents (and others) make are:
- * Making it all about themselves (beginning a message with I or we)
This is a mistake no matter when you do it. Remember that emails are part of marketing, and marketing always has to be about the client.
- * Writing “too-long” paragraphs (any more than 6 or 7 lines is too many)
Long paragraphs are difficult to read on line, leading readers to abandon the effort before getting your message. Break up those paragraphs and put a white space between them. It’s easier on the eyes and makes your message look more interesting.
* Using texting abbreviations and /or industry jargon
The goal of writing is to communicate – so make sure that EVERY person you write to can comprehend every word you write. Some people don’t text, and many people are unfamiliar with industry jargon.
* Criticizing another agent, an inspector, a lender, etc.
There are no doubt times when they deserve it, but resist the temptation. You don’t want to become known as a blamer, a whiner, or a generally negative person.
* Giving advice that’s not in their area of expertise
Stick to your own profession. If you’re a real estate agent, stick to real estate. If you’re an inspector, stick to inspection issues. If you’re a stager, stick to staging. Even if you know the answers, it’s better and safer to defer those questions to the experts.
* Failing to add a signature block that includes both their contact information and their location
I’m amazed at how many agents assume that everyone receiving their mail knows what city or area of a city they serve. Seeing a signature block with that information is more the exception than the rule. Many also fail to include a phone number or their web address.
* Failing to proofread for typos and misspelled/misused words
In some cases, the letter or email you send is that person’s first impression of you, so it needs to be a good one. If you’re writing to a current client, do a good job so they’ll know they made a good choice – and so they can comprehend your message.
Take some time to re-read what you wrote and make sure that it all makes sense, flows nicely, and is error-free. (And don’t overlook your subject line when you’re proofreading.)
One last thought…
Remember that once your message leaves your computer, you have no control over where it goes or who reads it.
You don’t want less than your best being forwarded to someone’s brother-in-law who happens to be an agent. If it’s full of errors, he just might use it to make fun of you forever more. And if he happens to be a direct competitor, there’s no telling HOW he’ll use it.
Write once, proofread three times. And if you’re not sure you should say what you said, let it rest over night before you decide.
Image courtesy of fantasista at FreeDigitalPhotos.net