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5 tips to increase real estate referrals with better email communication

Five email personality types

In July, we shared with you the work of Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. regarding how the five primary personality types convey over email and how to use them to better understand real estate clients.

We spoke with Dr. Whitbourne who shared with us a wealth of information on how to apply the five email personality types to emails from Realtors to consumers. Dr. Whitbourne says the five personality types are actually boiled down from a more complex set of 30 facets but still hold true.

The challenge Realtors face with email

Dr. Whitbourne noted that email is an informal means of communication that is “somewhere between a phone call and a phone message and is usually written on the fly without giving the email full attention.”

She said that Realtors using email should remember that in every message, they are conveying their professionalism, organization skills, helpfulness and how closely they tend to detail. When a message is poorly written or expresses elements of personality types a consumer finds less than desirable, Dr. Whitbourne says the email may fail.

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Just as with handwriting, most people are completely unaware of how revealing their every choice is, and while most consumers are equally unaware of the nuance, they are aware of how they are made to feel by an agent’s email.

We recommend that Realtors first identify which of the five types of email personalities (open to experience, conscientious, extroverted, agreeable, and neurotic) they most closely match and follow Dr. Whitbourne’s recommendations for their type below (and a more detailed description of the five can be found by clicking here):

Recommendations for personality type one:

Realtors, if you are the “open to experience” personality type, Dr. Whitbourne says you should be mindful of editing carefully and avoid hitting “reply all,” a potential downfall of this personality type.

“Impulsivity is bad, and it is hard to control out of excitement,” Dr. Whitbourne said, and notes that Realtors should take a step back and make sure everything is accurate before hitting the send button, especially for liability reasons.

Recommendations for personality type two:

Realtors who have the conscientious personality and email types should note that this type often is overly wordy, and editing should keep emails concise, but this problem isn’t as relevant when Realtors are emailing consumers as it is in other industries (or between coworkers).

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Regarding email to consumers, “It is probably better to over explain than to under explain,” she said. Unlike a phone call, emails remain forever, so keep real estate laws in mind, as the main risk of being too wordy over email is making sure everything is clear and nothing is subjective.

Recommendations for personality type three:

Dr. Whitbourne noted that extroversion is likely a chief characteristic of most Realtors, but notes that this personality type should be more authentic than overly enthusiastic (as this type is prone to do).

Extroverts, limit all emails to one exclamation mark only! Matching a consumer’s tone (rather than douse them with smiley faces) can be as effective as matching your demographic with your dress and car.

Recommendations for personality type four:

Realtors should never get grumpy or defensive over email and should always be agreeable but without being a pushover, Dr. Whitbourne said. Realtors have to balance being tough and kind.

In a down economy, consumers can be frustrated and even downright mean, but this personality type will remain agreeable but should avoid being agreeable for the sake of being agreeable and going along with any request simply because a consumer yells.

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Recommendations for personality type five:

The neurotic email personality has the biggest challenge in real estate, especially now because sellers and agents are anxious, Dr. Whitbourne said. In email, this type must be reassuring and not let anxieties show in any way over email. Be truthful, stay confident, and project hope without lying.

This personality type often projects their anxieties when communicating, thus, should hold their digital tongue and not put those anxieties on to their clients.

The takeaway

The real estate industry is tough and housing is undoubtedly a disaster, so any improvement a Realtor can add to their arsenal of communication tools can mean repeat business and referrals when consumers are happy. Extroverts, keep the exclamation points to a minimum and over analytic agents, don’t project your anxieties on to your consumers.

Buyers and sellers are looking for their hand to be held but for an agent that is tough, so make sure your emails effectively communicate what you intend them to rather than thoughtlessly sending poorly edited, poorly informed emails into space.

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Click here to learn more about University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. and her book “The Search for Fulfillment” (a groundbreaking 40 year study on life fulfillment, with a great deal of the book devoted to career development).

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.


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