Your Bad E-mail Habits May Send the Wrong Message


bad_email_habitsEmail has become one of the most common methods of communication, especially when it comes to being a real estate agent. When it comes to sending and receiving contracts, forms, information and more, the fax machine is simply a dinosaur. Can you imagine not being able to email a buyer an MLS sheet? We use email for everything nowadays!

But have you considered that your e-mails may be sending the wrong message to your clients or your peers? Forbes highlighted e-mail habits that can send the wrong message in a recent article. Here are five items on their list: 

1. Misuse of the subject line: Including the terms “Urgent,” “Action Item,” or “Read Me” in the subject line “presumes her message is more important than any other correspondence you might have received. This perception is that she is over-confident and thinks very little of your time.” The same can be said for over-using the “high priority” option on outgoing e-mails.

2. EVERYTHING IN CAPS: Typing in caps means you’re trying to stress your message, but it’s also the equivalent of screaming at a person and can come across as “forceful” and “arrogant,” the Forbes article notes. The same holds true for excessive use of punctuation, e.g., using multiple exclamation points. Plain and simple: Don’t use ALL CAPS.

3. Following up too quickly: Some agents might want to make sure the person received and read their e-mail, so they’ll call or send another e-mail right away to find out. But this will definitely come across as impatient and self-righteous. If you expect that quick of a response, the more efficient route is to pick up the phone in the first place.

4. Auto responses: Having an auto response for every e-mail you receive may give you more time, but it also has the potential to send the wrong message. While the response is meant to reassure the receiver that you care about their e-mail, you’re also saying that you’ll respond to it at a convenient time to you, which could be viewed as condescending, the Forbes article notes.

5. Resurrecting an old e-mail chain: The intention may be to help keep the correspondence all in one place and easier for the recipient, but you may send the message that you’re “lazy, disorganized, or [have] poor e-mail sorting habits,” the Forbes article notes. Begin a new e-mail chain with a correct subject line for every new issue discussed.

What are some bad email habits you’ve noticed? Comment below!

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5 Responses to “Your Bad E-mail Habits May Send the Wrong Message”

  1. Laura Brown Says:

    The tone of an email can be easily misunderstood. Watch how you say things and the message wil be better received..

  2. Carolyn Nicholes Says:

    If your sending a lengthy important message, it’s good to let it sit for a minute or two, and then read over it again before you hit that send button.

  3. tammie Says:

    Great article and these points are spot on!

  4. Kathy Steward, Broker Support Says:

    Another bad habit is sending business email with the catchy and efficient but non-professional text lingo such as “U” instead of
    ” you” and “R” instead of “are”.

  5. Jody Says:

    Thank you, Tish
    How about everyone on this thread sharing some GOOD email habits that you have set for your policy or seen from others?

    1) NEVER leave the subject line blank, and if possible:
    2) include very specific info in Subject Line – the street NUMBER and name every time, if inquiring about or exchanging info on a property
    3) Update the subject line, even when emailing the same thread back and forth (ex: if your clients reply to an MLS email listing and you begin an email exchange, change the subject to reflect the specific property, rather than “email listing for Client A”
    4) Always use a signature with your name, phone number and email
    5) Make sure your email signature has all correct info, photos, logos and spelling of company name (no stretched logos, “Better Homes and Gardens” …. NOT “Homes & Garden”)
    If you have a good webpage, include a link to it.

    EDIT before you SEND it!

    6) Re-read messages for content, grammar AND spelling. CHECK your homonyms (there vs. their vs. they’re; its vs. it’s, cell vs. sell); do NOT use texting abbreviations (see Kathy’s example) and always check your plural vs. possessive usage
    ex: Alll my clients prefer Metro Brokers’ agents – correct
    All my client’s prefer Metro Brokers agents – not correct!
    7) KISSP – keep it simple, straight to the point and polite.
    8) If you are angry and your email reflects that – don’t send it until you have cooled off. Like Carolyn says … let it sit a minute (or 30), reread, DELETE anything that does not reflect well on the PROFESSIONAL you consider yourself to be, and think again before you send something that might not be well received due to the tone or delivery of the message;
    9) Go easy on the graphics and large attachments – the office scanner is a great tool for copying files to small, manageable digital files. If you scan somewhere else and your contract or document file becomes huge (5+ MB), then find a way to scan smaller – learn to use the black and white document setting instead of color image.
    You don’t want your intended recipient to miss an important document because the file is so big it gets bogged down – or permanently stuck – in InterSpace or server lockdown. Dotto Photos – do not try to send very large photo files via email
    10) do not send important emails (or blog posts) when you are tired!

    Sadly, all of these rules evolved from crazy and unimpressive emails that i have received over time – and a few bloopers I have made.

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