Never Say ‘Please’; Always Say ‘Thank You’
Communicate with clients from a position of strength. Learn how a single word can change the tone of your outreach.
September 22, 2016
“Please call me back.”
“Please reply to my email.”
“Please contact me.”
As real estate professionals, we often find ourselves saying or writing sentences like these, particularly when it comes to communicating with the public.
I was recently on a weekend getaway in Breckinridge, Colo., with my family. While walking around downtown looking for a place to eat, we window-shopped at many nice storefronts — the kind you’d typically find in a Colorado ski town. I noticed two real estate offices on Main Street, and both had a sign that stated “Please, Come In.” That’s when I realized that none of the other businesses or restaurants had this type of wording on their storefronts. Other establishments had simple “open” signs. None of them begged people to come into their store.
Even though the word is associated with politeness, “please” has a connotation of desperation — subconsciously at best, overtly at worst. My advice to all of us in the real estate community (myself included) — and particularly to brokerage owners — is to stop sounding like you’re begging for business. We need to act with confidence like any professional would. That means never saying “please,” but always saying “thank you.”
Have you ever noticed when someone from a doctor’s office calls and leaves you a voicemail, they say, “Hello, Mario, I’ve got the results back from your test. Give me a call back when you can.” Or when a lawyer sends you an email: “Mario, we have the documents ready for you to review. Call us back today.”
I understand how salespeople can inadvertently become beggars. I’ve been in sales all my life, and I managed a sales team prior to becoming a real estate practitioner back in the tech boom. Many of my salespeople would get on the phone to follow up with a lead, and they would say, “Hello, this is Bob Sacamano. I just wanted to make sure you got the brochure I sent you. If you have any questions, please call me back.”
Whenever you say “please,” you’re coming from a position of weakness, especially in this context. “Please” in other contexts is appropriate — even recommended. But brokers and their agents shouldn’t have to beg people to communicate with them.
The most important thing I want from my client relationships is respect. I want us to see each other eye-to-eye. I want to be in a position where we’re equals. I don’t want to be in a position where I’m begging them to do business with me or to move forward. I want them to do what I ask, and I will do what they ask.
This advice especially applies in how you present yourself in the digital world. When creating content, don’t beg people to contact you. That means stop putting “please” on your website or in your emails. I recommend writing a simple statement, such as: “If you would like to learn more, contact me here…” or “If you’d like to know the value of your home, contact me here…” or “If you’d like to view this property, contact me here…” These are all very straightforward and professional statements. Be positive and set the expectation for them to contact you.
Conversely, always say “thank you” when helping your clients. I’m always saying “thank you” to everyone in my life. It comes naturally to most of us: “Thanks for making dinner, honey.” I do the same with my clients. Whenever you can, make sure you communicate this verbally and in emails to your clients and the people you work with.
Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts or interesting examples related to this topic you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.