My Thoughts on Spam, Cold-Calling, and Automated Contact Management

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I strongly dislike spam, scam calls, and junk mail so I refuse to use these techniques to market my business. I never cold-call or cold-text. I do not use any kind of automated contact management software. I personally compose each email, write each text, and mail each letter. I do not share client or customer contact information and personally follow up with each person who contacts me. This is much more time-consuming and difficult, but I’m not selling “miracle diet” pills or “giving away a free cruise” or “warning you about your expiring car warranty.” Instead, I’m offering my services and advice about serious business: the purchase or sale of residential real estate.

I’m a professional and I respect my clients and customers too much to spam them or harass them. Sadly, many agents disagree with this approach and use automated systems which generate enormous amounts of spam, mailings, and text messages. If you’ve been shopping for a home on Zillow or Realtor.com, your information has been sold and re-sold dozens of times to agents like this, and your inbox will be full of spam from agents and mortgage brokers trolling for new business. I find all of this disrespectful and it’s part of why I have never advertised my business on any of these sites.

I will sometimes send out postcards featuring a new listing to the surrounding neighborhood, but I find that most people welcome these mailings because they are curious about their neighbors’ homes for sale.

When I contact former clients, I want them to know it’s because I care about them and am genuinely curious about what they’re up to and how they’re enjoying their homes. Automated email and junk mail sends the wrong message, it says: “Hey…remember me? Yeah, I could use some more money so definitely help me out…k thx bye.” That’s not how I feel about my past clients at all! I value them as people and when I send a card or call them up, it’s because I actually like them and want to stay in touch.

I am often contacted by new potential customers who ask me questions or request to see one of my listings and then “ghost” me. That’s OK, I understand. Sometimes a customer just wants quick info and doesn’t want anything more, or isn’t interested in working with me. My policy is to follow up once just to make sure the customer has been heard and they know I’m available if they want help. After that, I move on. I know some agents are being trained to follow up relentlessly via multiple channels regardless of interest shown by the customer. I believe this is neither respectful nor professional.

Successful business relationships are built on trust and respect. I show my clients and customers they can trust me with their contact information and that I respect their time and attention by refusing to send them spam or other automated messages.

Jay Villella