Mastering the Art of Email

Professional email can be murky ground. It’s a necessary form of communication that lives in a vacuum void of body language, verbal cues, voice, and tone. Email requires a careful mix of personality and professionalism that does not come easy. The whole thing relies on just plain words. For so many of us, words are difficult!

So how can you fire off better emails with confidence that you are catching positive attention from the prospect, client, associate, or colleague on the other side of the screen?

Try these tips:

  1. Proper greetings and sign-offs are one of the most important things your email can have. When sending an email to your family and friends, it might be acceptable to start off or end with something quirky, but not in a professional setting. Address the person to whom you are speaking with a formality you would give if you were actually speaking with them in person. A simple “Hello, Ms. Johnson,” works just fine — it is polite, professional and personal enough to show that you care about your contact.
  2. Never assume a contact is OK with being addressed informally by their first name or a nickname. Everyone should be addressed formally (Ms. Johnson, Dr. Smith, Mr. Anderson) unless otherwise given permission to be informal.
  3. Do not end your email directly with your pre-established signature/credentials. Ending with your signature disconnects the personal bond you are attempting to establish and instead closes with an abrupt “snap!” It’s better to end with “Thank you,” “Best,” or “Cheers,” followed by your signature line.
  4. PROOFREAD! You do not have to be an English grammar guru, but you must take the time to proofread your entire message as if it were being published. There’s no faster way to inadvertently say “I don’t care about you or this email,” than to skip the proofreading step.
  5. A good rule of thumb is to nicely point out attachments. Include a quick sentence that tells them what they’ll find in the atachment when they open it, like “I’ve attached the report about XYZ that we discussed.” Double and triple check that you have actually attached the document! There are few things less embarrassing than having to send a follow-up email apologizing for the missing document in the previous email.

  6. Hint: Always type the body of the message first, double check for attachments second, and then add the email recipient LAST before you push send. Making this order a habit will ensure no email ever gets sent into cyberspace before it is complete.

  7. Be exceptionally careful of the “reply all” button! This can lead to embarrassment and some serious damage control if something is sent to the wrong person.

Above all, remember that your emails are being read by a multitude of important people. By being courteous and polite, as well as refining and revising all communication skills, you demonstrate successful business etiquette, which just might lead to the “next big thing.”

P.S. If you find the typo in this blog, contact me and I will give you a free Client Follow-Up, valued at $25.

5 Keys to Gaining more Confidence

Success is a funny thing. Hard work and determination are only two portions of the equation to achieve success, but some people mistakenly stop there.

Though hard work and determination are invaluable, one key ingredient to success that often gets overlooked is confidence.

How confident we are matters, especially in a professional setting where it can change our perception of ourselves and of others. It can encourage and motivate individuals and crowds. It can even persuade.

So, how does one become more self-confident? Unfortunately, there’s no magic trick here, but self-confidence can be taught and learned. Here are a few tips to boost self-confidence:

  1. Clothing – We’ve all heard the phrase “dress for success.” It may sound odd, but clothing has the power to make us feel certain ways: dirty jeans and an old college t-shirt with paint stains on it might make us feel ready to tackle a DIY project, but it might not make us feel like a CEO. And while everyone’s tastes in clothing are different, finding the style that makes you the most confident is key to success.
  2. Learn to turn a phrase – All of us have those moments where we second-guess ourselves or have doubts about the work we do. This is normal. Learning how to turn a negative phrase into a positive one does wonders for confidence. Rather than saying, “I don’t know enough to do this,” try saying something positive like, “I know where to go or who to talk with in order to find enough information to tackle this.” By spinning the phrase into a positive, you will immediately feel more confident. (Can I have a high five?)
  3. Attitude! – We all have bad days. We are allowed to have bad days. However, having a positive attitude can change the atmosphere of an entire room. By smiling, laughing and being genuine to others and to ourselves, we seem more confident and self-assured. In other words, you walk around exuding a “You got this!” mentality.
  4. Know and build off your strengths – Knowing your strengths before going into any interaction and using them to your advantage will almost always lead to a win. If one of your strengths is empathy, being a solid listener and questioner makes you seem dedicated to understanding your clients and their needs. If creativity is your best strength, then presenting ideas in new and exciting ways could end up persuading people more than relying on traditional practices.
  5. Posture – Many studies out there show how posture affects social interactions. For example, crossed arms may indicate that you have negative feelings about the discussion. However, hands firmly above the hips (or the Peter Pan stance, if you will) and legs shoulder-width apart show self-confidence.

Though there are many different ways to improve self-confidence, these are a few to get you started. They may feel awkward at first, but before long they will become natural.

As Hall-of-Fame quarterback Joe Namath said, “When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.”

Earn More Respect from Clients and Colleagues

Respect plays an important role in the workplace and is a vital part of being a REALTOR®, but you have to earn it. Here are some tips from to help you get started.

  1. Be kind. Act warmly and kindly to everyone you encounter, from coworkers in the office to the cashier at the gas station. Even on a bad day, you can still smile and say please and thank you.
  2. Listen actively. When someone else is talking, keep your thoughts to yourself, ask questions, and encourage them to tell you more. Make eye contact, and don’t check your phone.
  3. Don’t make excuses. Acknowledge your own mistakes. Recognize your responsibility in the situation, look for opportunities to move past the mistake, and commit to doing better in the future.
  4. Let go of anger. It’s natural to feel angry occasionally, but don’t hold a grudge. See if you can rectify the situation and then move on. Everyone makes mistakes, and the next time it could be you.
  5. Be open to change. If you can’t change, you’ll be left behind. Re-examine your automatic behaviors, be willing to try new things to grow as a person, and keep an open mind to new ideas.

Are Your Emails Being Ignored? Here Are 3 Things To Do About It

Have you ever sent what you thought was a concise and well-written email, only to hear nothing but cricket sounds from the recipient? To say this is frustrating is putting it mildly. It could be the result of a disinterested, rude, or poorly organized recipient. But, it’s important to take the time to make sure your emails are as reader-friendly as you intend them to be.

  1. You’re not making it clear that you expect a response. Some emails don’t need a response, but if you’re expecting one, make it clear. End your email with a question or remind the recipient that you’re waiting to hear back. If it’s appropriate, try setting a deadline for the recipient to respond.
  2. Call-to-action is vague. Are individuals receiving your emails but simply don’t know what to do with them?  For example, you may send an email to a client listing three houses you’d like them to see. You end it with a question like, “Thoughts?” This might be too vague for some people to answer. Try being more specific with your questions. Try asking, “What do you think of this home’s porch?” or “Does this kitchen have the counter space you need?” These types of questions are much easier to respond to, and you’ll appear more engaged in the conversation.
  3. Wall of text. Maybe your emails are too intimidating to read. Lengthy emails tend to make the recipient think, “I don’t have time for this now. I’ll do it later.” That’s why it is critical to write short and concise email messages. Don’t be afraid to add an extra space between paragraphs to break up the text or to highlight your key points with bullets or numbers.

In today’s business world, we rely too much on email communication to do it poorly. Follow these three tips and you’re sure to see an increase in your response rate.

Upgrade Your To-Do List with The Bullet Journal

You have a lot in your life that you need to keep track of. If you’re like me, you certainly have days that make you feel like you’ve had your nose to the grindstone. At the end of days like this, it sometimes feels like you’ve accomplished nothing. Maybe part of the problem is your to-do list.

Most of us are all too familiar with keeping a to-do list, so let’s focus on how we can better prioritize our tasks to keep us focused on accomplishing long-term goals. Enter: The Bullet Journal.

The Bullet Journal isn’t a new product or mobile app, instead it is a list of rules for organizing a standard journal. Think of it as Robert’s Rules of Order for your to-do list or as it is marketed “an analog system for the digital age."

The goal is to provide an easy way to track the past, organize the present and plan for the future — with the flexibility to handle anything you need to record.

In today’s smartphone world, there are plenty of apps out there to help us stay organized. So why is The Bullet Journal system still relevant?

  • You now have a catalog of your daily work that you can easily go back to reference. With The Bullet Journal system, it’s even easier to find information from meetings that happened months ago.
  • It improves your penmanship. We don’t write as much today as we use to. Most of our writing is done on a digital keyboard, but when I do need to write something by hand, it’s usually something personal, such as birthday or anniversary cards or a thank-you note. It’s nice to have quality penmanship for these occasions.
  • It’s one less rechargeable thing competing for an outlet at your bedside. The Bullet Journal is analog, so no batteries ever die.
  • It’s easy to travel with. Mine goes everywhere with me.
  • It’s affordable, just a journal and a pen.

If you’re sold on the idea of using The Bullet Journal, then learn how to set yours up today by visiting their website

Could “Pokémon Go” Help You Catch Your Next Lead?

Pokémon Go is the latest app that is taking the mobile gaming scene by storm. You’ve probably already heard about it and maybe you’re even playing it yourself. But have you put any thought into how Pokémon Go can increase your real estate business?

If you’re not that familiar with Pokémon Go, let’s start by going over the basics. The easiest way to explain this game is to describe it as a digital scavenger hunt. Every day the Pokémon Go servers populate communities all over the globe with digital “monsters” from the Pokémon franchise. Then the game encourages players to go out and find these monsters at real-world locations. While players are hunting, they must also collect supplies that will help them catch more Pokémon and take care of the Pokémon they already have. Players can do this by stopping at locations on their map marked as “Pokéstops” or by purchasing them through micro-transactions. Pokéstops will be located all over your city and are usually a public landmark such as a statue, fountain, historical site, or a public building such as a library or post office.

Once players have collected enough Pokémon, they may join one of three teams: Team Valor or Red Team, Team Mystic or Blue Team, and Team Instinct or Yellow Team. They then compete against the other two teams at “gyms” for prestige and gym ownership. The goal of the game is to help your team own more gyms in your city than the other two. Like a Pokéstop, a gym will usually be a public landmark or building. Currently private property can’t be registered as a Pokéstop or a gym.

Now that you’re up-to-speed on what Pokémon Go is, who is playing it? According to your average Pokémon Go player meets the following criteria.

  • Average age is 29.
  • Has an average annual income of $52,430.
  • 84% of Pokémon Go players say they have visited a business while playing.
  • 51% of Pokémon Go players have visited a business for the first time while playing.
  • 71% of Pokémon Go players have visited a business because there was a Pokéstop or gym nearby.

As a real estate professional, how can you use this information to help you grow your business?

The first thing you should do is to download the app. Pokémon Go is free on iPhones and Android devices. Spend an hour or so familiarizing yourself with the application. If you’re going to use it in your marketing, you need to be able to speak the lingo. Then check to see if there are any Pokéstops or gyms close to your office.

If there are, then things are going to be really easy. Simply purchase a “lure” and drop it on your office. Lures are in-game items that increase the number of Pokémon that show up in a physical location for 30 minutes. This will encourage players to come by and visit your office or current location. However, if there are no Pokéstops or gyms convenient to your office (or maybe walk-up business isn’t that important to your networking), then there are still creative things you can do with Pokémon Go to boost your own marketing.

As a REALTOR®, you spend a lot of time on-the-go. When you’re in a new part of town, look at your Pokémon Go app and then report on your social media what Pokémon you are seeing and where you are. This is a great way to break into this community and provides fun content for your social media profiles. Likewise, if you’re trying to reach the millennial demographic, a lot of towns have started Facebook groups for Pokémon Go players in their community. Engaging them could be a great way to find new leads.

If you want to be really ambitious, try hosting a Pokémon Go event. In the game, more Pokémon will show up to areas that have a higher concentration of players. Find a local park and host a Pokémon picnic. Maybe your office can provide water or simple snacks. Recently in Kansas City, a Pokémon Potluck Picnic attracted over a 1,000 people to the event on a Wednesday afternoon — a great and affordable marketing opportunity for REALTORs.

Now get out there,your prospects are waiting and you gotta catch ’em all!