The words you use in a blog post, on a web page, in an email, or in a prospecting letter are often the first impression your prospect has of you. As such, they’re important.
Among other things, they tell that prospect whether you’re a professional; whether you’re a likeable person; whether you might be someone they can trust; and whether or not you pay attention to details.
If that first impression is poor, it often becomes the last impression.
So let’s look at some ways that a real estate agent (or anyone else) can ruin their chances for success by making a poor first impression with their words.
Making assumptions: Either rude or outright silly.
Some sales trainers actually advise agents to assumptions. For instance, they recommend beginning a letter with “I know you’re thinking of selling your home.”
That breaks rule #1 in writing a business letter (Never, ever begin with “I”) while being downright rude. If I received that message my first impression and reaction would be “You don’t know me and you don’t know what I think. Get lost.”
Perhaps you’d react differently, but is it worth taking the chance?
And then there’s silly. Here’s an example that came to my in-box last year:
“Mark Your Calendar!“
“In March, we sent out a newsletter with some information about our new web design, which we have been waiting for with excitement. Now it’s finally time to launch it and we hope you’re as excited as we are!”
“The last pieces are expected to be in place during the week and you can mark April 14, 2018, in your calendar as the release day of the new web design!”
Why did I receive that message?
First, note that I have no idea who these people are or what they offer. I didn’t recognize the name in the “from” space. But even if I did know them or do business with them, why on earth would a customer be so excited about someone else’s web design that they would mark their calendar? Why would they be excited at all?
Had they explained why that new design would benefit their customers, that would be a different matter. Or, if they waited until the new site was up, then told customers to come and test the wonderful new whatever, then their actual customers might be interested. I’m still not sure they’d be excited, but…
If you want to make a good first impression – proofread, and do it carefully.
Failure to proofread ranks right at the top of ways to make a really poor first impression.
I know I harp about this a lot, and I’ll keep on harping. It’s that important.
Everyone has a typo now and then. I’ve even found them in hard-bound books published by major publishing houses. They’re not good, but anyone who uses a keyboard will understand that it happens now and then.
That doesn’t excuse us from trying to find them, however, because some of them can turn a sentence into nonsense. Here’s an example I read recently: “Stay in touch with your sphere. They may not be ready to buy or sell, but they may now someone who is.”
They may now someone? What the heck does that mean? We can figure it out, but it was a stop sign, and stop signs interrupt your message.
Grammar errors are also not good. I cringe every time I see someone write “Please call I” or “Please call myself.”
Those who are unsure of grammar should either hire a proofreader/editor or get a trusted friend to help them. If you’re unsure and think you could use a “Grammar tune-up,” check out these articles on Active Rain.
Misused words are a serious stumbling block. They throw the whole meaning of the sentence off track, confuse readers, and make the writer look sloppy, at best. They give a very poor first impression.
One of the most common misuses in real estate is the confusion between advice and advise. This one makes me cringe as much as “call myself.” Advice is a noun. Advise is a verb, but is often incorrectly used as a noun, as in “Thanks for the advise.” If you’re unsure on this one, read this article.
Thanks to technology, seeing a strange word in the middle of a sentence is becoming more and more common.
Why is technology to blame? Because so many are now using voice recognition software, then failing to proofread.
Here are some examples from sentences I’ve read on line and in print:
- “a full bread mini schnauzer”
- “a blue healer”
- “sunlight coming threw the window”
- “with home we can identify”
- “fireless advertiser”
- “two late”
- “iron sidewalk greats”
- “there new home”
- “support are team”
- “Facing huddles at acquiring organic traffic”
Grammar correction software is also partially to blame.
Several times in the past I’ve had it “correct” something I’ve written.
Sometimes I think “thank you for catching that” and other times I think “No, that was correct.” For instance, I wrote an article in which the word “your” (as in your house) appeared twice. Both times my Word program tried to change it to “you’re.”
Since I don’t pretend to be the ultimate authority, I often take time to go to Grammar Girl and check usage before going on. And sure enough, the software was wrong.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression – with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing.”
“A good first impression can work wonders.”
Other goofy mistakes that make a poor first impression:
- Subject lines that read: “Insert subject line.” Oops!
- Letters that read “Dear <name>”
- “Click here” links with no link.
The bottom line: We all need to treat our words with care. We all make mistakes, but careful proofreading can usually save us from looking foolish.
Remember – I’m here when you need me.
I can’t be there to write your day-to-day emails, but I can provide you with prospecting letters – either custom or from my collection of pre-written letters. I can also write your agent bio, your buyer and seller pages, your community pages, your personal brochures, and even your property descriptions.
When you need help, write me: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Impression” and Grammar book courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedgitalphotos.net