My New Outside Blog: ASSUME ... We All Know Where that Can Lead

ASSUME ... We All Know Where that Can Lead


Colorful BooksOne rule in our business ... Never Assume Anything!  Yet on a daily bases we get in a hurry or fall into our relaxed mode and the checks of our systems goes by the wayside.

Such is the case when it comes to our email communication with our clients and parties to a transaction.  We send a well thought out email outlining bullet points, etc. 

Did you call/text the receiver that the email was forth coming or ask for a reply on the email to acknowledge receipt?  If you were waiting for a reply and received no communication back did you follow up with a call? Assumptions are made that the communication was received.  Do you know for sure?

My favorite assumption is that your client actually read the entire email.  Ever outline some important communication and then have the client reply thanks!  Yet questions posed were not answered, etc.  Did they read all of it or just glance over? 

Avoid miscommunication by placing safety nets into your business:

  • Follow up in some manner to make sure the communication was received.  Also keep in mind that a left voicemail/text does not mean that the other party even received that message.  Make sure there is some manner the other party acknowledges receipt.
  • Call in advance to warn the email is on the way and when it will be sent
  • If your email content has action required from the party who receives, make sure you stress on the beginning that there are action items.  This alerts them to read carefully.
  • Organize the email with easy to read bullet points, avoid lengthy paragraphs, get to the point and stay on task with the message.
  • Don't ramble - this is a business communication so be professional and precise.  Bold/star/underline areas to bring attention to important action steps.

After all your effort and you still do not obtain the information/response sought, then there is no harm in resending your original message with a message.  In the previous email I sent there were a few questions/action items that I was looking to receive information, feedback, etc.  For your convenience I have the email attached below to reference (never assume they kept your email and may have deleted).  I look forward to your response and apologize for the inconvenience.  There .. polite message and getting them on task!

Avoid the Assumption that your emails are received and read.  It will open the door for better understanding, communications and give the right impression that you are a professional!

Comment balloon 9 commentsConnie Goodrich • March 05 2011 02:39PM


I enjoyed your post. You are so right --- Communication is Key! I couldn't agree with you more....have a great weekend.

Posted by Denise Scalvino, Real Estate Sales Associate Cell: 609-709-6678 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 8 years ago

Connie --- it's never good to assume but when communicating via email, it's best to know if this form of communication is the best.  I have some clients as well as some brokers where this method is not the most effective...they may not check in as religiously  fanatically as I do.   For them, I'll call them and let them know whatever needs to be discussed and then I'll follow up with an email so I have a paper trail.   You're absolutely correct, just because we sent it or left a voicemail, it's never good to assume when important information is being relayed.    

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 over 8 years ago

I like the idea of attaching the original communication to a new document.  Then it is right there for them to refer to even if they still do have it somewhere, great idea! 

Posted by Brenda Whitman, Live in Laramie Real Estate, Broker/Co-Owner, Laramie, Wyoming (Live in Laramie Real Estate, Laramie, Wyoming) over 8 years ago

Great advice, Connie, with Outlook you can highlight, change font/color and set reminders to aid in this communication style. Lately I have been working with a couple of clients that still prefer the telephone contact so I might send the email, call and document the email with telephone conversation. Hope your weekend is going well.

Posted by Teral McDowell (Referral Patners LLC) over 8 years ago

What is the the old saying? Never Assume because it makes an ass out of you and me".....usually me.  I suggested this because this is something we all need.

Posted by Joe Kenny, Better Than Your Average Joe (Realty Executive Midwest) over 8 years ago


We have several checks and balances when it comes to communication and follow-up, including a licensed assistant who does an excellent job at admin... g

Posted by Cherise Selley, Colorado Springs Realtor (Selley Group Real Estate, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Connie, great post.  I always call to make sure the person to whom I am sending something received it.  Last week I was waiting to hear from another agent concerning repair requests...I finally called her and she told me that she e-mailed me the buyer's request three days earlier.  I never received it.  She assumed I had it.  So as you say...never assume.

Posted by Judith Parker, CRS, GRI, CMRS, Charlotte, NC (ProStead Realty) over 8 years ago

Assumptions are tough and the critical negotiation phase Connie I would agree acknowledge those back and forth texts and emails.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

Denise - thanks for your visit .. communication is key to any business and it certainly can head off misunderstanding if you place a system to your correspondence.

Michael - very key to keep that paper trail.  I do the same.  I know some agents who like to use only email but I believe that leaves out the personal touch.  You can go back in email & highlight the verbal discuss as reference to both parties.  Great point!

Brenda - be sure if you attach a trail of documents that you are not forwarding an email from another source that may contain information not intended to be read or an emotion that you don't feel your client should see.  I have received sensitive confidential by accident by agents forwarding off other email and then reply ... not good! 

Teral - great tip on the highlight feature, thanks for the thought.

Joe - that is the thought I had when I first came up with the post .. you are so right and the pearls of those old sayings!!

Cherise - great to make sure your team is on the same page, a great additional idea to add to this post!  Thanks for the visit and your great tip.

Judith - exactly the point, people just assume they press send and it is received.  Then when they are upset you did not do something, etc. & you explain you didn't receive they find out they made a mistake in your email address.  Great practice .. call, send and acknowledge.

Gary - great quick way to say "I got it!" and saves time too.  Love it when other agents do this.

Thanks to all for all the great comments and great suggestions.  Appreciate your visit to my post!

Posted by Connie Goodrich, CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago