You may have noticed that many of your clients, particularly the younger set, prefer to communicate via text message. In fact it’s estimated that over 8 trillion text messages will be sent this year. Texting is a convenient way of sharing information quickly, but it’s not without its pitfalls for professionals.
To help you navigate the sometimes murky waters of today’s digital communications trends, we’ve created this handy list that highlights the dos and don’ts of texting for real estate agents:
Do keep it professional. Maintain your professional image by using complete sentences and texting during reasonable hours. Avoid overusing abbreviations, emoticons and exclamation points e.g. “c u 2moro @ 5PM 🙂 this house is gr8!!!” This is especially important when texting new prospects with whom you have not yet established a rapport.
Do send photos and videos of listings. Over 62% of mobile phone users in Canada have smartphones. Take advantage of advanced features by texting photos and videos. Sending your clients additional photos of a listing via text message will make them feel like they’re getting the inside scoop. You can also create video walkthroughs of a listing to send to busy or out-of-town buyers.
Do respond as soon as possible. People text because it is a more immediate form of communication than a phone call or email. If a prospect texts you, that means he/she is looking for a response sooner rather than later. Reply as soon as possible. Even if you’re busy, you can let them know you have received their text and will get back to them within the hour.
Do follow up with a call or email as appropriate. Not all conversation is suited to text message communication. If your homebuyer texts you a question about escrow or contingencies, don’t hesitate to reply that the answer is complicated and ask if they prefer a call or email to explain it thoroughly. Also, it may be a good idea to send a confirmation email after a particularly long text exchange.
Don’t text spam or group message. Just because someone gives you their cell phone number, it doesn’t mean they want you to use it. Ask new clients if they want to receive occasional texts and be selective when texting to avoid spamming your entire contact list with a link to your new listing. Also, avoid group messaging for the very reasons stated in this funny Forbes article.
Don’t text bad news. Bad news should be delivered in person or over the phone whenever possible. Texting and emailing bad news can seem insensitive or harsh without the warm inflections of a human voice to convey sympathy. Additionally, the recipient may have questions about the news that would better answered in a proper conversation.
Don’t text and drive. Although we encourage you to respond promptly, never let your rush to reply endanger your personal safety. Studies show that texting while driving makes a crash up to 23 times more likely. Don’t do it!
Don’t hit send before proofreading. Autocorrect is usually helpful, but it can also be very mischievous. Proof all texts before hitting the send button to avoid accidentally having a conversation like this:
Do you communicate with your clients via text message? Have you ever had a funny text exchange by mistake? Share your experiences with us.