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The basic foundational skill of responding to messages

In my last two columns, I discussed keeping track of your prospects and following up with them.

Sometimes I think these basic topics are too… basic. But I was surprised at the volume of positive feedback I got in the last month from experienced, skilled agents who simply needed a little direction on setting up a simple system of their own. 

Having simple but effective systems and procedures is the foundation of success.

That said, let’s go deeper into the core of this idea (simplicity) and talk about something that drives me crazy about so many real estate professionals.

There are way too many agents who are constantly looking for new sources of “leads” while, at the same time, they completely ignore their own inboxes. They’ve got people reaching out to them, but they can’t be bothered answering if they don’t see an immediate payoff.

This is a terrible attitude. If you’re feeling a twinge of guilt as you read this, it’s time to make a positive change.


You can’t predict where your future business is going to come from


But if you can establish yourself as a reliable and responsive provider of information, you’ll be shocked at how this pays off over time. Business starts flowing in from the most unexpected sources (not always directly from the person you responded to).

When I was doing over 100 deals per year and earning $800,000+, was I too busy to answer all the inquiries in my inbox (inbox = email or any other form of messaging)?

Not on your life! On the contrary, I regarded my inbox as the engine of my business. Did I pick and choose who I responded to and who I didn’t?

Nope! In fact, I have a self-imposed hard rule that has served me well my entire life. Here it is:

Answer every inquiry as quickly and as thoroughly as can be reasonably expected, whether you think it will result in future business or not.

(Excluding spam, of course.)


Make it a hard rule


A hard rule means there is no “if-then” function. You don’t need to think about anything besides simply answering the inquiry.

If this isn’t a hard rule for you, I strongly suggest adopting it— right now! 

Think about it this way: Every time you don’t bother to answer an inquiry, even if it seems unimportant or irrelevant, someone on the other end thinks a little bit less of you. That’s bad karma.

Every time you do answer an inquiry (no matter how trivial), someone thinks a little bit more of you, or at the very least, their positive feelings towards you remain intact.

After a while, you may be surprised that you no longer need to think about sourcing and (yuck!) paying for crappy leads ever again. 

You’ll get to that nirvana state—a never-ending stream of incoming leads!

I’m not saying that this hard rule on its own will magically create your never-ending stream. But it’s a foundational component. It was a crucial part of my past success, and it remains a hard rule for me to this very day. 

Never underestimate how the little things can have a massive impact on your reputation and your business.