John D. Mayfield, ABR, CRB, e-PRO, GRI, is a sales coach, author, and broker/owner of Mayfield Real Estate in Farmington, Mo. You can contact Mayfield through his Web site, www.BusinessTechGuy.com.
4 Tips to Boost Your Business Image
Present yourself as a true professional in your correspondence. Follow these tips to boost your business image in your messaging.
May 1, 2011
In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell describes the process of “thin slicing.” According to Wikipedia, this is a term used in psychology and philosophy to describe the ability to find patterns in events based only on “thin slices,” or narrow windows of experience.
Many psychologists believe consumers will judge your company and its associates by analyzing thin slices or small fragments of information they see. Case in point: the communication and the supporting materials and documents you distribute to your sphere of influence. A piece of correspondence can either build your image or tarnish your brand. It seems strange that so much of your reputation rests on such a small part of your business, but it does.
The wording you use in an advertisement or the look of your stationery and property fliers play a huge role in portraying your image as a real estate professional. Unfortunately, many real estate pros fail to recognize the importance of these details and how they can play such a big part in the way consumers view them. Here are four suggestions to help you make certain you are connecting and using the power of “thin slicing” in a positive way:
1. Have a Consistent Brand Message
Companies pay huge sums of money to create and develop a brand that delivers a consistent and positive message to consumers. Regardless of the size of your organization or whether or not you’re affiliated with a national franchise, brand messaging is essential.
Safeguarding and promoting this brand in a positive way is important in determining how others view your company in the marketplace. When you create letters and various other pieces of correspondence, make sure you promote your company brand in the best positive light. Remember, there is a synergy effect when everyone in a company is using the brand and logo in a consistent way.
2. Learn How to Write a Good Business Letter
There are many types of formats available — full block, modified block, etc. Understanding how business letters are constructed and following a standard each time your letter is delivered will pay big dividends for you as a real estate professional. Make certain your letters are properly centered and include the proper merged fields if you are using your letter with a mail-merge database. For example, if you are on a first-name basis with John and Sherri Smith, you would not want the letter to address them with “Dear Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” Your letters and correspondence should have the tone of you personally sitting down to write them.
3. Optimize Your E-mail Signature
Don’t forget that e-mail messages are a part of the “thin slicing” that consumers will use to evaluate your business and professional character. Having a professional-looking, well-formatted e-mail signature helps portray a positive image. Some software programs allow for the creation of multiple e-mail signatures, which can help you easily change up a signature depending on the nature of the message.
Below is an example from my book, 5 Minutes to More Great Real Estate Letters (Cengage Learning, 2011) on how you might format an e-mail signature:
Mailto: [E-Mail Address]
Licensed to practice real estate in [State]
[Quote or Slogan]
4. Organize Your Letters for Easy Access
Maintain a “Letters” folder on your computer’s desktop or documents folder. Inside this main folder, include subfolders for the types of categories you use regularly. For example, you might have separate folders named “Sellers” and “Buyers.” Extra folders might be labeled “FSBOs,” “Expireds,” etc.
As you write these, save them into these subfolders for easy retrieval and reference later on. Over time, you will have a vast library of letters you can easily and quickly use with your business. You can apply the same concept to your electronic correspondence you use regularly; by simply copying and pasting text, you can have a well-crafted e-mail ready to send.
Don’t take the printed or electronic messages you provide to the buying and selling public lightly. Everything you submit as a real estate professional is being judged positively or negatively in the consumer’s mind. Every time you prepare a document, remind yourself that it’s as important as a résumé. And in a way, it is: It will provide the thin slice buyers and sellers will use to determine whether they should do business with you.