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"The E-mail Doctor Is In!"


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Scot Kenkel Photo
6/4/04 Interview with Scot Kenkel

The E-mail Doctor
111 William Lane
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
Biography

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Progress with Email

  1. In 1998 when Kenkel bought a home in Tennessee, he searched the area for an agent by email and got only one response from 13 attempted contacts; the situation represented what he came to identify as a communication gap-the use of email as a communication tool in the real estate industry.
  2. Since 1999, he has done an annual test of the industry (broker audits of agents across the country), which showed steady improvement up to a 50% email response rate in 2003; in the last year, however, the response rate has declined to 40%.
Advice for Agents

  1. Take every email lead seriously-each is an opportunity for business; not responding is even worse than not returning a phone call because email leads are a different type of buyer than phone leads.
  2. Email leads are likely to have taken more time and to be more serious than callers, and they are likely to be better prepared for the transaction and to work with an agent.
  3. Over half of agents do not respond to email leads at all, and about 50% who do respond are disappointed that they do not get a return response from their leads.
  4. The chief error agents commit in responding to an email inquiry is asking the lead to call; you need to respond to leads in their chosen style and form of communication; give leads the option to call but make clear your willingness to continue by email.
Components of a Good Response

  1. A professional response involves a lot of subjectivity, and there is room for variation in agents' styles; however, agents who get a high percentage of return responses share five common components.
  2. Include a salutation; recognition of the person you are addressing by name is basic sales etiquette.
  3. Show appreciation for the fact that the lead contacted you; "thank you for contacting me" will suffice.
  4. Engage in "walkie-talkie talk"-answer and ask brief questions to generate a continuing conversation with the lead.
  5. Use good spelling and grammar; failure to do so indicates a willful disregard of basic tech tools (spell check).
  6. Identify yourself; 44% of the professional email responses that Kenkel tracks fail to give the agent's full name, company and professional signature file; multiple signature files can be set up in email programs for quick use.
Building Business with Email

  1. The real estate business is a popularity contest-all about "who knows you;" the more people who know you are in the business, the greater the chance that you will come to mind when a transaction turns up.
  2. If done right, email-because of its cost-effectiveness-can be used to stay in touch on a regular basis with an unlimited number of people; if you know the mechanics, this can be accomplished without spending a lot of time.
  3. The two key email issues are what to send and to whom to send it; getting people to agree to receive messages from you regularly is a challenge.
  4. Society members have excellent content available to them in the form of the monthly CyberPro customizable newsletter (included with Society membership).
  5. In developing an email list, you want to get maximum exposure from all the people you ever met or ever will meet; do not limit your list to people currently ready for a real estate transaction.
  6. Keep in mind that you have good information in your newsletter for a varied audience; learn how to sell the value of that information to everyone you run into.
  7. In promoting your web site, you relinquish control of your relationships, but in promoting your regular newsletter, you retain control.
Dialogue for Soliciting Email Contacts

  1. There is a 70% chance that people you run into use email as a regular form of communication; don't hesitate to strike up conversations to recruit email contacts.
  2. Introduce yourself to strangers and ask their name; after a little small talk, inquire if they use email.
  3. Mention that you have great information that they would find of interest and value-"Would you mind if I sent it to you?" Explain the content focus of the newsletter if they inquire.
  4. Then ask for their email address; over half of the people you ask will welcome the opportunity to get good information on a regular basis.
Other Sources for Email Contacts

  1. Add centers of influence to your list-lawyers, accountants, bankers, mortgage brokers, movers and others who deal with people who buy and sell property can be valuable sources of referrals.
  2. Of about 15 possible sources for getting email addresses, only purchasing a list is not worthwhile; other possibilities include past clients, family and friends, and agents no longer in the business.
Avoiding Anti-Spam Laws

  1. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is targeted at people who conceal their identity as the source of their messages; they use deception in the Subject and From lines as well as in the message itself.
  2. Agents who conform to the act and are honest about their identity and what they are sending take little risk of being called in violation of the act; by definition, they are clear.
Tips for Creating a Newsletter

  1. Understand the frequency (how often it should go out), and know how to put your content together; be sure your email provider allows you to send the volume you wish to distribute.
  2. Figuring out what you can and can't do can be frustrating; Kenkel delivers a course focused on creating, managing and continuing the growth of an email newsletter distributorship.
Useful Sites on the Web

  1. Kenkel values newsletters to which he subscribes, including The E-Zine Queen (covering the mechanics of newsletter distribution) and eMarketer.com (for statistics).
  2. RisMedia and Inman News provide good information about the real estate industry.
How to Handle the Flood of Spam

  1. For most agents, the most helpful action is to manage your In Box with filters-setting your own rules gives you control; the risk of using spam-filtering software is that it may screen out messages that are leads.
  2. Kenkel allows any size message to download into his computer, rejecting only those messages that contain viruses; Jack Peckham, however, finds it convenient on Eudora to limit a download to 20K unless he previews the message and opts to download the rest.
  3. Peckham is also testing a spam-controller named OnlyMyEmail ($3/mo.); his early results for cutting out spam while not losing valuable messages have been excellent.
Contact Information for Scot Kenkel:

(v) 865-220-0111
(e) scot@theemaildoctor.com
(w)www.theemaildoctor.com


Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

The E-Mail Doctor TM
Society CyberPro newsletter
CAN-SPAM Act of 2003
The E-zine Queen
eMarketer
RisMedia
Inman News
OnlyMyEmail