Do You Use an Autoresponder? Please Be Careful with it!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

emailNo, I'm not saying you're in any danger by using an autoresponder... at least, not (to quote Jack Nicholson) "grave danger, is there any other kind?" But you are definitely in danger of running off perfectly good clients, prospects and referring agents.

I send out newsletters every week or so to several thousand real estate agents around the world. Every time one goes out, I'm slammed with autoresponders. And, my friends, I love y'all, but most of them are awful. I don't mind the ones that tell me you're on vacation (have a wonderful time!) or that you've experienced a family crisis (hugs) or are at a convention, but many are so bluntly written that I feel an initial shock when reading it. Call me hypersensitive, but when I receive an autoresponded message back that informs me you're busy and will return my email at such and such a time, I feel a little miffed. Oh, sure, intellectually, I realize it has nothing to do with my importance in your life, but like I said, I always feel a little twinge when I read it. And I tell ya - thousands of my readers don't have autoresponders, and I'm never emotionally offended by NOT getting an auto-response!

I got one yesterday from someone I'd sent a "real" email to (not a newsletter). It was apparently generated by the person's SPAM filter and sternly advised me to resend my message so that it would get thru this time. Uh, you're kidding, right? I'm going to fish through my SENT folder to find the message and resend it? Well, maybe if I have time later, and remember to do it (I haven't yet).

But the worst one I've ever seen came today. Again, from a SPAM filter program:

Hello Jennifer Allan,

This message serves as notification that you will not receive any more courtesy notices from our members for two days. Messages you have sent will remain in a lower priority queue for our member to review at their leisure.

Future messages will be more likely to be viewed if you are on our member's priority Guest List.

Thank you,
(signed by the guy who received my newsletter)

About this Notice
This courtesy notice is part of a free service to make email more reliable and useful. Boxbe ( uses your existing social network and that of your friends to keep your inbox clean and make sure you receive email from people who matter to you.

Say Goodbye to Email Overload



If you use an autoresponder, why not send yourself an email today and see what it says. If it's anything other than warm and inviting, change it, or get rid of it. In all likelihood, it's really not necessary to have at all...

Your thoughts?



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Comments 22 New Comment

Dianne Deming
RE/MAX Realty Group

I do believe an autoresponder would have rescued my first Big Sale.  I had been working with a couple for more than a year.  I was on vacation when they emailed me about a house they received through the automatic MLS updating service I had set up for them.  I didn't have an autoresponder in place on my email and didn't check it for a few days while I was traveling.  When I finally did, there was a second email saying they no longer were in need of my services.  Turned out they bought that house through another agent.  There's no way to know for sure, but I think if I'd had an autoresponder saying I was unavailable for several days and given the name and number of my backup colleague, I would have gotten that sale.  It was an expensive lesson, but one I've never forgotten.

July 25, 2009 02:48 PM
Christopher and Stephanie Somers - Realtors - Philadelphia Real Estate
Realtor / Owner - RE/MAX Access

Jennifer - Ouch is right !  Who will be encouraged that the email that they took the time to send is "low priority" ?  Great message and recommendations.  At this point, we have not used "auto responders".  I guess we work too much and typically can always respond !! : )

July 27, 2009 07:11 AM
Andy Tolbert
Orlando Waterfront Homes for Sale
HD Realty

Hi Jennifer!

I get the same thing when I send my email newsletter every week.  I can't imagine how a hot-to-trot client might feel when they get the same canned response.

IMHO, autoresponders serve 1 purpose: if you're out of the office for an extended period of days (health or vacation) to give them an alternate contact.

oh, one other purpose: if you're changing emails you can use them to inform people that are still using the old one.

I understand spam is a time waster, and I spend a lot of time on cleaning out my in box every day, but I also don't want a REAL email to accidentally get called spam and I never see it... that's bad!

July 27, 2009 03:23 PM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Author of Sell with Soul
Sell with Soul

Andy - I couldn't have said it better!

Chris & Stephanie - I have to wonder if the person who is paying for this service has any idea of the message that's going out?

Diane - In your case, the autoresponder would have served a purpose... but in general, I think they're meaningless on a day-to-day basis.


July 27, 2009 05:17 PM
Lynn B. Friedman
Realtor - 404.939.2727 ATL BuckheadMidtownWestside
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Serving Clients is our Business - One Day At a Time.

Dear Jennifer,

I liked (#3) Karen Fiddler's idea of separate emails with updates foragents. It would be a bit harder in Atlanta where our listings "auto-populate" the email but I will check to see if it may be changed.

Have a happy day -

April 15, 2012 12:02 AM

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

Author of Sell with Soul
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