Selling Soulfully with Jennifer Allan

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Professionals Don't Need Drips

A few years ago I wrote a blog called "Professionals Don't Need Scripts" where I pontificated on my strongly held opinion that someone who is an expert in their field (or even reasonably competent) should not have to (or want to) rely on scripts when interacting with clients or potential clients. 

So today, a mere 2.25 years later, I'd like to expand upon that notion with a discussion of the emailed script, aka "drip emails."

Let's start with a definition of "drip emails." A Drip Email Campaign (for the purposes of this blog anyway) is a pre-written series of emails that you send to someone you have met or had a conversation with about real estate. In all likelihood, you can "personalize" the emails with the person's name ("Dear Matilda,"), but otherwise, the emails go out automatically with the exact same message to each recipient. 

So, let's say, you visit with a homeowner about selling their home. The conversation goes well, but the homeowner isn't quite ready to make a decision. You head back to the office, knowing you will need to stay in touch with the homeowner so they don't forget you when they are ready to sell. You add them to your "Seller Nurture Campaign" drip mail which will send them two emails per week until they list with you, list with someone else or die. And you promptly forget about them and move onto other prospects. 

But your emails go out so that the potential seller doesn't forget about you! Twice a week, they hear from "you" with reminders about how important it is to hire a Realtor (the RIGHT one of course!), helpful tips about preparing their home for market and the like. 

"So what's wrong with that, Jennifer? Aren't we s'posed to follow-up?"

Absolutely! At least, if you want a chance at inspiring that seller to want to be YOUR seller once they're ready. BUT...

Remember the definition of "drip" - a pre-written message or series of messages (crafted by you or purchased from a marketing company) that go out automatically without any personalization other than the salutation. 

Seriously? 

Let's say I'm considering selling my home sometime in the next six months, and therefore in the market to find a real estate agent to represent me. I meet with an agent and we have a productive meeting. I like her, but I haven't committed to her yet. It's still early in the process, but I'm looking forward to hearing from her with her thoughts on our home and updates on the State of the Market. 

Do I hear from her? You bet! Every three days I get a "Dear Jennifer and Bruce" email with a fancy banner and signature block... and a canned message that has nothing at all to do with our home or situation. 

Let me pause for a moment (as I see I'm coming up on 500 words already), and ask YOU... if YOU were the potential seller, would you be impressed that this agent took the ... ahem... "time" to put you on an automated email campaign? 

 

Click here to read some further thoughts on the matter... 

 

 

 

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Comment balloon 58 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • October 02 2015 06:24AM

Comments

I've been trying to figure out how to create a custom "drip" that I can use that doesn't look like a drip, that would encourage them to reply back to me either with a response to a question or a request for more info on whatever it was I sent them (such as a list of handymen and if they had someone they'd like to suggest for my list). Certainly not 2 emails a week - maybe 2 a month? Tops?  With one item being a market update for homes either in their HOA/neighborhood or zip code ....

I want to create some "canned" material just to save time but I don't want it to look or feel canned.  That's the hard part.  I don't think ANYONE likes getting canned material. It goes right in the trash unless it's SUPER interesting. And serously...what kind of canned stuff can we send that is THAT engaging and interesting?

Posted by Karen Rice, Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales (Davis R. Chant, REALTORS) over 2 years ago

So, Karen... maybe you have your answer... :-)

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

Yeah, but I still am ... up in the air about the whole thing. I want something that doesn't exist, lol. Like a lot of my buyers! ha!

Posted by Karen Rice, Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales (Davis R. Chant, REALTORS) over 2 years ago

Karen - what you're referring to above (I think) is more along the lines of mass emails to your sphere of influence, not communication with a potential client. I have no problem with a "mass" communication piece being obviously not personalized, but rather when you write to a potential client one on one using canned/pre-written material. 

This is not to say that when you do communicate with a new prospect you don't say some of the same things each time, although to be honest, I don't think you need to. 

I will elaborate more on this soon!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

A drip campaign is fine for prospective clients, that you have not established a relationship with.  I feel very strongly about personal contact with ones you have met and are actively prusuing to list or sell.

Canned emails are mostly just that, and belong in the junk can.  Important to send that note or make that phone call.

Posted by Bob Hooker, Applied Probate Solutions (Applied Probate Solutions) over 2 years ago

This is some great food for thought for those that do drip campaigns. A few of my agents do them with mixed results. I've never done one because it's too impersonal. I put my contacts in categories and reach out to them indivudually according to the situation. It takes more time but I feel like I get a better rate of return.  

Posted by Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert, Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com (Zion Realty) over 2 years ago

I don't like "scripts" or "drips".  How many of these do I receive a week?  And how annoying are they? 

Posted by Jeanne Gregory, The most important home I sell is YOURS! (RE/MAX Southwest) over 2 years ago

For the reason stated by Jeanne Gregory

I do not evden bother with it......

Posted by Sam Shueh, mba, cdpe, reopro, pe ( (408) 425-1601) over 2 years ago

Jennifer, I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't like "drips". They are just like the old form letters. We are currently getting something mailed to us from another agent whose "farm" we seemed to be in and who is paying a ton of money for the service. Sometimes we get two pieces a week and it's interesting (for me) but it really is too much of inpersonal junk mail. 

Posted by Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES, Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living (Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!) over 2 years ago

I have a follow-up blog already written that describes in detail, exactly what I believe an agent can and should do instead. But please keep your thoughts coming! 

It warms my heart to see the comments so far on "my" bandwagon :-)

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

Very good points - no customer/client/consumer wants to be just another email address in a system of robotic replies. This is an interesting discussion though. I think it's all about balance. We're seeing evidence as to why you cannot rely solely on a drip campaign to establish a relationship with your prospects, but you still need a way to effectively manage your time in reaching out to everyone. I think that if you have a CRM that allows for you to set up reminders in the campaign itself, then you can have a balance of some automated emails and personal emails and calls. If you rely on automated emails, then they need be useful and relevant - not just some random text that you're sending out.

Posted by Mary Weiss, Trainer & Content Manager (Zillow Group Mortgages) over 2 years ago

Mary - I agree! I always say that technology should HELP you stay in touch with people, not do it for you! 

And I don't mind automated emails if it's clear that's what they are and if the recipient indicates a desire to receive them. Perhaps it might make sense for an agent to contact someone personally before putting them on the campaign to let them know saying "just FYI - I've put your on my 'wanna-sell-my-house-sometime-soon' emailed newsletter because I thought you might find it helpful." 

And then, follow-up with them PERSONALLY as well. 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

I dont like scripts or drips! If you cant speak to the subject you shouldnt be talking! and drips are just like they sound.... annoying...

Posted by Debra Leisek ( Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska) over 2 years ago

Jennifer, I've had two RE coaches before, never used the scripts that were presented by them as that's not how I talk. I feel the same about canned emails, they are not personal, on the contrary they are "annoying" to me(my personal opinion) so I don't feel comfortable using them.
Instead, I email, text/call to keep in touch and I do not ask for a listing every time we speak. I think a "soft closing" works much better. Make it all about them. If they have kids, send information about schools, actities, keep them up to date with current market, local events etc I also send them a handwritten card twice a month just to say hello and once includes a gift card to Starbucks.

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) over 2 years ago

The only thing those drip campaigns accomplish is to keep your name in front of the consumer.

And while that's typically a good thing... will they think of you kindly, or will they think that you're a nuisance?

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Coldwell Banker Residential) over 2 years ago

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn - agreed. Knowing your clients' needs will better determine what kinds of information will be most helpful to them - what won't be spam, and what gives you, their agent, (or other professional) value. Emails can never replace that personal relationship though - and I think that's where we can all unanimously and wholeheartedly agree.  

 

Posted by Mary Weiss, Trainer & Content Manager (Zillow Group Mortgages) over 2 years ago

Alan - exactly! Being remembered isn't always good if what you're remembered for is being annoying, lol. 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

It's a drag to get dripped on . . . so I won't do it.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Jennifer, I've been dripped on a couple of times.  Once it happened when my old roof started to leak.  That was pretty annoying.  The other time was when I did a property search for a town there was a remote possibility I might move to.  That was even more annoying, and I think it is the canned nature as much as anything else.  I've emailed people once or twice a week, but they were written to the prospective client about his or her own situation.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 2 years ago

More and more often I am finding people who never open their emails anymore. It is all facebook/chatting/IM/twitter.  Those drip emails are not only annoying they are useless.

I find lots more success sending a card, a note, making the phone call or sending a facebook message than sending a canned email. To me taking the time to personalize the communication is what is eventually going to net me the sale. I couldn't trust that to the content providers - drips.

Thanks for the post.

Posted by Michael Layton, Michael Layton 7604085300 (Big Block Realty) over 2 years ago

Good point, Michael. In fact, if an agent started dripping on me, I'd be inclined to hit DELETE on the next email I got from him without even looking at it. Doesn't take long to "train" me to delete!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

You are preaching to the choir!  I have a good sized database, after 10 years in the business - but I have never yet used "robo-emailing" (or scripts, for that matter). Authenticity is an important part of brand, and I would rather communicate less, but communicate in a way that connects directly with the needs and aspirations of my prospective buyers and sellers.

Posted by Jeanne Dufort, Madison and Lake Oconee GA (Coldwell Banker Lake Country) over 2 years ago

You know I did stop the drips.  Have considered starting some of my own design, stuff I write.  But what I do is send out e-mails linking to my blogs.  I do this on a irregular, but fairly frequent basis.  When I write a post a letter goes out to everyone in a group that might find the article interesting.  

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Yeah, I purposely give the agent my email and phone and quess what?  I will get plenty of email but the phone calls, not at all. Let's take an IDX site for example: I have signed up to see if I get a phone call and that's right, only one call from at least 7 signups. What's the problem?  A lack of time management, a lack of follow up and a lack of controlling your personal life to allow your business to grow. After watching some agents since 1995, I now know what NOT to do.

Posted by Ron Aguilar, Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995 (Continental Mortgage) over 2 years ago

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn Great post!

I absolutely HATE drip campaigns. Especially, when I'm on the receiving end.

If a real estate agent is really a "professional" agent, they don't need this crap. They should already have a process to go through their leads on a regular basis at which time they should make the decision to contact now or wait.

And, at least when they DO make contact, it's likely to be a phone call to say, "Hi. Just want to see how you are. And, see if there's anything new going on at your end. Oh, and by the way, did you know that . . . ?"

Now, THAT'S a productive follow-up.

Thanks for the post!

Posted by Ken Jones, ASA, SCGREA, CRES, Commercial Real Estate Specialist (VRI Commercial Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Well, I do believe in drip campaigns, although possibly not for people you've already spoken with about listing their homes. They need something a little more personal.

An exception would be for FSBO's who aren't yet of a mind to list. Sending helpful information about all the work they need to be doing just might sway them your way. 

And, with any drip campaign I think the agent should also send market updates. 

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 2 years ago

I am not a fan of canned information, drips or scripts. I am a fan of staying on top of information and communication with relevant information.

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) over 2 years ago

This has been a very interesting post and I have enjoyed reading all the responses.  Like many of you, I do not believe in the constant drip ... just the sound of it gives me a headache.  After 22 years in the business I have built up a large following of clients and am of the belief that a few times a year is sufficient for TOMA (top of mind awareness) with clients who have had a good experience with me.  I do a few different things throughout the year that help me to stay in touch. Social Media has also helped. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next 5-10 years ... what works, what got tiresome, and what went by the wayside.

Posted by Diana Dahlberg, Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563 (1 MONTH REALTY) over 2 years ago

Diana - you say this beautifully! I don't think anyone needs to be in their past clients' faces every three seconds IF they did a great job for them during their time together. A few times a year IS enough! That's not really the subject of this discussion, but it's SO true! 

Personally, I believe all the hype about having to "touch" someone constantly to stay TOM is put out there by the companies who are trying to sell us stuff to keep us TOM!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

I don't think most agents have even read the emails they're dripping. I've seen them, usually really shallow. I'd be embarrassed if any potential client thought that was coming from me. 

 
Besides, every client's situation, needs and goals are different. It's not a one size fits all business why would you want to communicate as if you assumed that?
 
Okay, now here's my drip response to your post. "Jennifer, wonderful post, very thought provoking, keep up the good work!"
Posted by Dave Hymes (RE/MAX Gold) over 2 years ago

Marte - I personally have several of what might be called "drip campaigns" (although I detest that term) available on my website for real estate agents to subscribe to... THEIR choice - they read the description of the material and decide if they would like to receive it. I get great response to it (http://www.sellwithsoul.com/newsletters). 

But as you say, that's not the same thing as putting a potential cient on a campaign INSTEAD of communicating with them personally. 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

Ken - YES!!! Very well said!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

Dave, I wonder the same thing..

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

Jennifer this is why I have been a Raving fan of yours since I first met you, you speak to agents the way we all want to be treated, hmmm, now there is a thought, treat our clients and potential clients like we want to be treated, no drip here.

Posted by John Marshall - FORE!, Specializing in Golf Course Properties (The K Company Realty) over 2 years ago

Some 'drips' are definitely better than others. Mine don't go out automatically. I do spend some time reviewing notes and editing my standard emails to fit the customer/situation.

Posted by Jill Winchel, We make it easy. You make it home. (Royal Shell Real Estate - Koffman & Associates ) over 2 years ago

I believe everyone would rather not use drip campaigns, but sometimes they feel that the choice may be to drip or to do nothing.

It is hard to find the time to do everything you know you need to do, so any opportunity to do more in less time is seized upon.

The thinking is, that even though a dripped email is immediately deleted, the senders name still registers and may surface when the need arises.

I personally don't use drips, but it may be that I would do so in the future.

I admire all those that manage large databases in such a way that they do not need drips. You are to be commended for avoiding them.

Posted by Thomas McCombs (Century 21 HomeStar) over 2 years ago

You raise a lot of good points. I like a systems that sends a reminder to keep in contact with the seller/buyer -- But will permit me to compose the message.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 2 years ago

No drips! I will unsubscribe or simply delete without reading. Glad someone finally had the insight to write about it! 

Posted by Pat Starnes, Brandon, MS, Broker Associate, ABR, 601-278-4513 (Front Gate Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn it's just top of the mind awareness. No DRIP campaign should be just emails. That's not the right drip!

The drip is a combination of different touches we make with clients - and that includes lot more than just series of emails. Like phone call, personal note, pop-by and face-2-face, too!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 2 years ago

I don't read canned stuff that comes to me, and I won't send it either. On one platform, I do use some canned emails but always review and change before I send so they are appropriate for the person I'm mailing. However on every other platform, it's just me typing a personal note.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) over 2 years ago

Many of you raise a good point about emails not being reliably read the way they used to be (perhaps much like voicemail isn't always listened to). So it occurs to me that we need to be even more careful not to send material to our people that will train them to DELETE it (or unsubscribe) without being read. You may not get a second chance! 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

If I have something of value that pertains to the client specifically - an article or market report, for instance - I will take the time to send it with my own thoughts or just a note saying I read this and thought of you.  Otherwise, follow up is by phone. And you know how I hate the phone! There are times when emails are just the lazy way out. 

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 2 years ago

Great information as always, I have gotten great ideas from you and your books on how to stay in touch and they work.. Not a bug oriducer but most of my clients are referals and I figure I must be doing something righ,, NOT Drip Mail

Posted by Sheila Cashin over 2 years ago

No script! I can buy a canned response. I want the real you

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 2 years ago

It depends on what is sent. I would send staging tips, etc & something that they could actually go thru & use. If they are getting ready to sell but the timing is not right yet, how to get ready tips are great.

In fact you can even send them over to Pinterest now for great ideas. Your staging board of course.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 2 years ago

I do not follow the drip stuff...I believe in personalized and customized.  While many emails may sound the same I write each one for specific reasons. 

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) over 2 years ago

Interesting topic.  I agree in general that drip campaigns are misused, but check out this blog to see how they can be beneficial.  Might just be a different take on this subject for some.

Posted by Sally Lawrence, Broker, CHS, e-Pro, SFR, REALTOR® (Advantage Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Sally - the link doesn't take me to a blog... can you check it? 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

Here is a timely blog written by a friend of mine called "Respect the Inbox"!

 

http://mariojann.com/respectinbox/ 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

Jennifer, I feel the drip campaigns you describe here are spam. It’s what agents do because that is what they are told they need to do.  Getting back to basics and forming relationships with people that build trust is what agents need to do. But, that takes time … and most agents … well … let’s leave it at that.

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) over 2 years ago

Professionals understand and know the differences between spam and DRIP marketing. Your illustration IMO is used by ignorant sales people, certainly not by professionals.

Professionals use personalized DRIP scripts at preplanned intervals depending on the time-line of their prospect and usually inserts some useful or informative information about their interests uncovered in the initial visit. The followup DRIP is friendly and informative and doesn't include any sales hype or call to action.

Pros don't sell, they inquire, qualify, inform and consult, after which, the prospect says yes, I want to own, no, not ever or the timing isn't right to own today but in 3 months, 6 months, a year or whatever. 

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) over 2 years ago

PErsonally I do not like drip emails.  I don't like to receive them (from retail stores, etc) or from lenders, etc.  So I don't send them to prospects. I would prefer to just write a personal note or send a personal email -- that works for me.

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) over 2 years ago

Nope, I would not be impressed at all! It is the relationship that will seal the deal, not the drip campaign.

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 2 years ago

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn  I do not believe in drip campaigns . Seal the deal with a real relationship . Pick up the phone and communicate . Perhaps take the client to lunch ..don't be a drip  it is close to harassing someone

Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) over 2 years ago

Here is the follow-up!

https://activerain.com/blogsview/4758075/professionals-don-t-need-drips-part-2

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

Nice read Jennifer,  I use a drip email but tweak it to fit specific buyer parameters. 

Posted by Robert Schott & Paula Hemani, Your Link to Real Estate (TeamConnect Realty) over 2 years ago

But what about web leads? Can I drip on them? https://activerain.com/blogsview/4760955/professionals-don-t-need-drips-so-what-about-web-leads-

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 2 years ago

Over the years our brokerage companies have offered drip campaigns, but I've never made use of them. I like the idea that something goes out automatically, but I get what you are saying about the canned message. We need to find a happy medium!

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Agent (HomeSmart Realty Group) over 1 year ago

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