Anatomy of a deal killer: Missed emails and lack of follow-up

Posted on December 26, 2019

There are a lot of articles out there regarding the importance of working efficiently with email. But something happened recently that made me think I had to write another post about it. There was an unfortunate breakdown in communication of epic proportions that I can’t help but share. And it’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

We were working on an escrow. An email was sent to an agent on my team (unbeknownst to him) but nobody on the other side of the transaction made a subsequent follow-up call to make sure that the email was received. No follow-up action was even taken to explain what the note concerned, and it wasn’t something small. It was a request for repairs from the buyer’s agent. To make matters worse, the agent at my brokerage didn’t just overlook the email, he never actually received it.

In my opinion, follow up calls are the glue that keeps deals together

I cannot for the life of me understand how people don’t follow up with a phone call on a deal, especially when a significant amount of money is on the line. I understand we are all busy and stretched and feel like email solves everything. But this entire situation could have been avoided by a simple, polite, two-minute phone call, voicemail, or even a text to ensure such an important message was received. So what transpired?

The agent and their client thought we were ignoring them

The buyer sat around with their frustration building as they had not received a response. In fact, they were ready to cancel. Both the buyer and their agent thought we were ignoring them or delaying our response, when in fact, we never received the email. We never knew to look for it because there wasn’t a call ahead of time or after it was sent to make sure we received or understood the details on the request for repairs.

Luckily, I ended up getting involved to save the deal

I was forced to step in to try and keep the deal together. I told both agents on the phone that they should see this as a lesson in communications. Not to scold anyone, but this is critical to our business. True professionalism starts with double, triple, even quadruple checking. There is nothing more important than following up when you are in the middle of a deal. Whether you are a seller’s agent who hasn’t heard back from the buyer’s agent or vice versa, it is your duty as a real estate agent to interact with each other instead of just sending over an email without any follow-up.

There is a great post that was just published on Inman emphasizing this very thing.

“Communication is critical for the success of any team and none-more-so than in the business of high-end real estate,” write the authors. “Having an open and fluid line of communication with all team members is paramount, but also so is streamlining the process to ensure messages and emails are of importance and not time-wasting. With so many moving parts and team members always in motion, having a well-defined communications plan ensures a team is operating at its highest efficiency.”

I could not agree more and hope my little story is a reminder to all that if you aren’t making those follow-up calls, emails, texts – you risk losing the deal. Do you have similar stories to share? What do you do to keep yourself or your agents and teams communicating effectively on real estate deals? I would love to hear in the comments.