Entry by Paula Bean

What Would You Say [Email Inquiry]


I got an email today from my web site...initially it irritated me, but after reading it several times, I realized this person has no idea that the don't know what they don't know.

I haven't responded back as of yet, still trying to figure out what to say without sounding like a female dog ;-)

I thought I'd through this out to the group and get some Q&A of what your feedback would be. I know what I'm going to say to this woman, but wonder what you would say if you got this sort of email?

Here it is:

Dear Paula,

Thank you for your response to my email inquiry. I have received responses from several other real estate agents and have included you on the short list.

(Don't I feel special? I'm on her SHORT list??!!!)

I will be filtering this list even further for my father-in-law, who owns this property.
(ok, now this is getting BETTER, YOU AREN'T EVEN THE SELLER! ARGH!)

In order to determine if you are an appropriate fit for us, I am requesting that you provide me via e-mail to (left out intentionally) xxx@yahoo.com your marketing and fee proposal for (SHE fills in address here and she is "GOING to interview ME to determine if I AM AN APPROPRIATE FIT?? )

Additionally, we will want to market the property for rent as well and request that your firm provide us with a marketing and fee proposal for this as well.
I CAN HARDLY WAIT! I bet she also wants $100K more than it's worth too!
>Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Should you have any questions, please contact me.

hmmmm........it's all I can do to send an email that says KMA, but, I've learned to stay a little calmer and wait to respond til later, so that is what I'm going to do. She is only trying to help her Dad, which I can't blame her for, so I'll email tomorrow when I'm calmer. Just wanted to throw this out there and see how anyone else would respond since you, too, will get emails like these.



Sounds like this gal has the old "lump 'em 'n dump 'em" mentality....she's lumping all agents together and dumping any who don't tell her what she wants to hear.

First, do you even know if she's a qualified seller? She says she's shopping for her father-in-law. Heck, she COULD be just another agent looking for you to prepare a marketing plan (er....wait....she wants TWO marketing plans) to add to her arsenal. And even if she IS LEGITIMATE, you've not seen the house, not spoken with the owner. How could you possibly know what you're really dealing with.

Although I UNDERSTAND your KMA temptation, I'd opt for diplomacy and expect the dialogue to come to a swift conclusion. I'd likely send her something like:

Dear R.J.,

Thank you for the note about your search for someone to assist your father-in-law. Unfortunately, brief emails back and forth simply don't give me enough information to determine how best to serve your father-in-law's needs. Though I understand the temptation to believe that comparing agents is a simple "checklist" process, suffice it to say that the "devil is in the details". Something as simple as getting a home into the MLS can be done either well & effectively....or, like anyting else, it can be miserably botched, effectively costing the seller many thousands of dollars in lost opportunities.

You mentioned the fact that you've been reviewing several agents....always a good idea! My approach revolves around the client's budget and priorities, which is why I love working as a Consultant, rather than simply as a sales agent. The focus, quite simply, is different....and, as a result, the client reaps the benefits. With over 72% of my business being either repeat business or referrals from past clients, that approach benefits us all.

I'd be more than happy to meet with you and your father-in-law to discuss his specific needs and objectives. Together we can discuss what approaches would most likely help him achieve his goals. You can reach me at xxx-xxxx, or let me know when would be a good time to call you and what number you'd prefer I use.

Looking forward to chatting with you soon,


Frankly, she might call or write back, or she might disappear. With the attitude she exhibited, either would be just fine. And mine would be....well....NEXT!!!!

I liked Judi's approach although I can certainly understand KMA after a Jack and Coke ;-O. I do believe she has the attitude of... I have been or will not be burned. The market sucks and I am not getting taken (on behalf of my father-n-law). Is she even authorized by the f-n-law?

I think the approach Judi has typed should be stolen (borrowed)and used on this gal. I bet she will bite... like chum for the sharks. HE HE.

Wht do you have to lose? Gotta Love this Group!!

Bill Holt, On The Outer Banks - in transit to San Diego - http://www.obxmls.com

Paula....the short list just *might* be the "best response" list. Afterall, she did take time to make a further request of you. If she wasn't interested in you, she might not have replied back further at all. I know when I respond to an email inquiry, I try and make sure my response will most likely stand out from the others by spending more time than other agents might, --asking lots of questions, throwing in some commentary to explain why I ask, etc. I also ask in my first response how many agents they have contacted, and then get into some loyalty issues and encourage them to begin by selecting *the* agent they feel most comfortable with, instead of trying to have many agents all working for them, when only one will be compensated.

Maybe you can spare yourself some anguish by first asking her what "the short list" means, before you might misinterpret something and respond unnecessarily, or inappropriately etc. ??? just my perspective....

Denyce Thomas in Las Vegas

I have a tendency to sound too formal, or stiff, and really have to watch my wording. From what Paula gave us, it sounded as though this gal wanted to be IN CONTROL...which is fine, IF you know what you're doing. But, as Paula said, and I say it all the time too...they DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW...and worse...they don't know THAT that don't know it.

I always felt that one of the dangers of providing folks with the "101 thing I'll do as your agent" approach is that the consumer BELIEVES that they can compare the checklists of different agents and determine who will do the most for the least. I've certainly fallen into that trap as well. Problem is, and we all know it, that it's not so much WHAT you do, but HOW you do it (ie, "the devil's in the details" comment)! What guidance are you giving the client? How much help are you providing them in staging, preparing a home for market, and preparing the seller for the market and for the offers when they come in? Those kinds of things are more the "intangibles" that consumers don't even think about...until they're trapped in a listing with someone who DOESN'T DO THEM.

When responding to an inquiry such as Paula received, I think the objectives are mostly to RETAKE CONTROL, DIFFERENTIATE, ASK FOR THE APPOINTMENT. I wanted to TELL HER (subtly, in a way that would hopefully not offend) that her approach was not as valid as she thinks...which is why the "checklist" comments. Then I wanted to mention working as a Consultant as a means of differentiating...and adding "rather than simply as a sales agent" was meant to get her thinking "huh???? you mean all agents don't work the same way????" My repeat/referral stats comment was designed to be a sort of subliminal "testimonial" to add credibility.

I don't believe that, in an email, I can be effective at "selling" my services...the "what I do, how & why I do it...and moreover why YOU NEED IT" stuff. Others may be good at that in emails....I'm simply not. I want to get face to face...I want to know THEM...their needs and priorities, the "why's" behind their plans, so I can know best how to guide them. And if they DON'T WANT TO WAIT FOR A FACE TO FACE.....oh, well.....then DON'T WASTE MY TIME!

Sorry, hope this didn't sound like 'preaching' here....I just thought that sharing my mindset at the time of writing that "response" might help others who might want to do the same....but in their own words (as I said, I know I can be "stiff" in a way).



Hi Paula,

I loved Judi's response. It is professional, focused, and let's the prospect know that you are not a commodity like any other agent on the short list who will jump through hoops to get her business. You will accomodate her, but you are IN CONTROL!!! You have the option to decide if she is a good fit for you.

This past spring, I was contacted by email. The seller was contacting several agents. He too wanted everything via email first then deciding to meet. My approach was similar to Judi's. He bit, and decided a face to face was best.
He had 8 agents (can you believe it?!) finally come to his house for an initial meeting and "walk thru". I was trying to pin him down on how he found me. It was the internet and he didn't remember which site. He narrowed the final CMA presentation to 3 agents.

To make a long story short.....he and his wife were delightful and charming; I got the listing; from day one, they thought I was wonderful; I sold it in 10 days at full price (in this market that is such a GIFT!!); and will get his investment property when he ready to sell that in a few years.

I would most likely go around my house all day singing a little tune that included many renditions of KMA, but would write Judi's letter.

Good luck.

We have all had experiences with difficult people and in reading the posts I am reminded of this...

If you loaned a person $20 and you never saw that person again...it was probably worth it!

Tom Pickering

Great quote Tom, lol. I know some people I'd loan $50 to ;-)

Now - for my response, and I was quite proud of myself, because I normally would not have responded so calmly. I have learned recently that when I get an email (or a voice mail) not to respond quickly to it if it irritates me. I take some time, think about it, maybe get some other opinions, and THEN respond (ok, most of the time, not all of the time, but I'm workin on it).

At first glance, I sort of felt mad. Not only am I a cynic, but I am a control freak as well, so I was a little 'put off' by her demands, especially when she was not even the seller.

Then I thought about it some more, and as I often do, tried to look at this from the other side of the fence. Maybe she is just an over-protective daughter trying to help her Dad not get taken advantage of? I could see me doing the same thing for one of my family members. Perhaps she lives here and he doesn't? Maybe he is in a retirement home and this is all the money he has in the world?

Maybe not.... but I emailed her back and said how terrific she was for trying to help out her Dad, but as a consultant, there were many other questions I had to be able to help them out and it would be best to talk by phone if she had time. I assured her that I was not a pushy, obnoxious salesperson, (I love that in Mollie's site!) and I sent her a link to my personalized REconsultant page for more information on how a consultant differs from the many other agents she may be speaking with.

So, we shall see what happens! At least I didn't giver her $20 ;-) although the time to read, think and respond to her email probably cost me that much of my time, it may have saved me much more in the long run.

Time will tell! Now let me go to the documents section and listen to the Billing Song again so I can keep reminding myself I did the right thing! For those of you who haven't heard that yet, it's worth it, for those who have - it's worth it again.

This page contains a single entry by Paula Bean published on August 17, 2007 7:50 PM.

Are all checks run through the broker? was the previous entry in this blog.

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