Should I Call, Email, or Text Them?

By
Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

Should I Call, Email, or Text Them?

 

I was at a mastermind meeting the other day and we got into a discussion about communication with clients.

 

It turned out to be a lively roundtable, since there were differing opinions as to what people preferred to use versus what their clients might want, as well as the pitfalls of different forms of communication, especially when things got dicey in a transaction and emotions ran high.

 

Should I call, email or text them?

 

There are no doubt varying opinions on this matter so chime in.

 

Are we a society of emailers?Use of email and text messaging has grown tremendously in recent years, to the joy of many but the chagrin of others. We’ve all heard the discussions around how we are becoming a society that communicates electronically and that personal conversations are few and far between.

 

Many refuse to use texting, and some do not email (I’ve had 2 clients in the last couple of years). A lot of us may miss the more personal conversations and phone calls at the same time we fully embrace the use of texting and emailing, possibly more than we should.

 

I think it’s a good practice to ask clients and prospects how they prefer to communicate, and how they would like us to communicate with them. Should we force OUR preferred method on someone who doesn’t like it? Probably not. Texting in particular.

 

Can you develop a relationship elctronically?And isn’t it a good idea to find how often they want to hear from us. Daily? Weekly? Only when there are updates? Finding out their expectations makes a lot of sense, and then one should probably exceed them.

 

Keep in mind the many polls where sellers say the biggest complaint is lack of communication.

 

There seem to be some generational differences and preferences in terms of phone calls, emails and text messaging, but one cannot make assumptions about what someone prefers based on perceived age.

 

One issue with emailing and texting is the lack of feedback about how people are really feeling…the tone of the voice, for example. I think it’s often easy to misread, misinterpret, or perhaps not even feel, the emotions expressed in electronic communication which may be good or bad depending on the circumstances.

 

Who hasn’t written and sent an emotional email in the midst of a tense situation, only to wish they hadn’t?

 

It’s harder to develop a real personal connection with someone when the communication is all electronic, but it can happen. No doubt that depends on the person who is open to that sort of relationship as opposed to face-to-face and on the phone.

 

And we know that some buyers and sellers are just not ready for a phone call early in the process when they are exploring the Internet but email is OK.

 

And if someone texts you out of the blue, doesn’t that suggest they are OK with a text back? Or should you call?

 

One advantage of emailing, and to some extent text messaging, is having a written record of a conversation, responses to question, or feedback. Taking notes after a call works but a follow-up email can be handier and good protection. Sometime people forget what was said on both sides of the fence.

 

And what about typos and abbreviations, especially in TMs?!

 

Or emails and texts we assume are delivered, and seen, but aren't?

 

I could go on but let’s hear your thoughts.

 

What are the pros and cons of these forms of communication?

 

Do you have a preference for one form or another and why?

 

What are the pitfalls to watch out for?

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Rainmaker
1,018,210
Tim Lorenz
TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team - Mission Viejo, CA
949 874-2247

Anything written can be misunderstood because the reader does not hear the differences in body language and tone of voice.  All important in communication.

Oct 12, 2012 12:41 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,262,298
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning Jeff,

That is one of my questions when I sit down with a lient as to how and when.

Make yourself a great day.

Oct 12, 2012 12:41 AM #3
Rainmaker
743,948
Rob D. Shepherd
Windermere/lane county - Florence, OR
Principal Broker GRI, SRES

Great Post! In my area most clients are old enough to be my folks and I am mid 50's. Texting is never used here.

Oct 12, 2012 12:43 AM #4
Rainmaker
1,396,986
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

I like to do a combo...I call or text...then I follow up with an email reminding them of the conversation (and to create a paper trail for me if we have any issues later on).

Oct 12, 2012 12:56 AM #5
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Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216,www.JeremiahNewman.com - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Jeff. I normally ask my clients how they would like to communicate, and how often too. I have found it necessary to use any type necessary to get the message across. Nothing can really replace our phone calls, but at least electronically, we can stay current and up to date with any issues.

Oct 12, 2012 01:16 AM #6
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Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Know thy clients. I have one woman who I've been working with for months, with almost daily phone calls. She's quite needy...thankfully, we got news of the short sale approval this morning. We'll be closing at the end of the month. Wonder if she'll still need those daily chats. :)

Then still, other clients are fine with the once a week check-in. I have found ( and I hate to be agist) that younger folks prefer the texts...boomers like texts, emails or calls ( a variety usually) ...and older folks prefer the call. Just a big generalization - but true in my world. :)

Oct 12, 2012 01:43 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,037,119
Mark Loewenberg
KW of the Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
KW 561-214-0370

yes yes and yes.. eventually their medium of choice comes out and you work with them that way... but calls are always king!

Oct 12, 2012 01:53 AM #8
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Gary - well I think that makes the most sense. Some people are pretty firm about what they want or need and others are not. I think the situation also can dictate what makes sense regardless of what someone likes. A long discussion does not work well on text IMO

Tim - those are definitely the shortcomings of email and espeically tetxts which tend to be shorter. I suspect in somse cases NOT having all the emotions may be a good thing.

Jeff

Oct 12, 2012 02:10 AM #9
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Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Jeff ..Emails Text Phone calls whichever works as long as you communicate ..it is when there is not any communication that is when you run into a problem

Oct 12, 2012 02:59 AM #10
Rainer
240,177
Peggy Hughes/pha logistix, inc.
pha logistix inc - San Francisco, CA
SF NYC LA

Jeff... great discussion. My experience has been similar to Debb, #7.  Although, there are exceptions.  I just finished a job for a young CEO of small tech firm - his choice of communication was phone first, then email - no texting!!  No problem :)

Oct 12, 2012 03:19 AM #11
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George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Jeff some times you have to do all three.  But my preferred choice always is a phone call.  A quick phone call takes care of things much quicker than e-mails or texts.  E-mails and texts just lead to more e-mails and texts, to more e-mails and text, when a simple phone call could have taken care of the issue much quicker.  However, if a Borrower needs to be sent a list of documents to bring or something else of that nature, then e-mail is the best method for me.

Oct 12, 2012 07:53 AM #12
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Raymond - good for you. I do as well. I don't think most buyers or sellers think about it so we need to bring it forward.

Rob - interesting how different areas can be. It is not just an age issue - I just worked with some clients in their early 60s and they were text fiends, in fact insisted on it unless a call was needed.

Jeff

Oct 12, 2012 10:00 AM #13
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Jeff- I take my lead from my client, but I'd feel better if I could just have one call at times.  I've had out-of-town clients with whom I've never spoken.  Everything was done via email.  

Oct 12, 2012 01:57 PM #14
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Jeffrey - that's good strategy. I sure like having the documentation

Jerry - so true. And sometimes the situation dictates the particular communication, such as a phone call as opposed to an email.

Jeff

Oct 13, 2012 01:47 AM #15
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Debb

"Know thy clients." Love that and it makes so much sense. I see a lot of variety in the communication that people prefer and the worst thing is to make assumptions and be wrong. I think buyers and sellers appreciate when we ask what works best for them.

Jeff

Oct 13, 2012 03:15 AM #16
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Mark - I think that's probably true for buyers and sellers. I have never had ANYONE say please do not call me!

Hannah - for sure. We hear over and over that lack of communication is, perhaps, the biggest gripe consumers have with RE agents.

Jeff

Oct 13, 2012 02:00 PM #17
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Peggy - that's just further confirmation that we really need to ask to be sure and not make assumptions, or communicate only the way we want and NOT what the client wants.

Jeff

Oct 14, 2012 04:50 AM #18
Rainmaker
1,166,184
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

I like to call and then follow up with an email.  And I am one of those who hates texting, which unfortunately is becoming common amongst agents.  Thankfully my clients, for the most part, don't text.  I guess if we can't beat 'em.....

Oct 14, 2012 11:43 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,320,331
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Jeff, just have to go with what they want.  I do like to call, but I know that emails and texting are less invasive.  With that said...I hate to text.  I have clients who write books worth of text messages...my reply's are always brief and sometimes will simply call...

Oct 15, 2012 09:53 AM #20
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Kathy - the client lead really IS important.It's interesting how our communications have changed in the last few years.

Jane - I know a number of people who hate texting and refuse to do it at all. I don't mind it,persoanlly, and use it a great deal both in my business and personally with my wife and kids.

Nick - brief is probably better but even that can be a challenge sometimes. I simply can't do it all that fast and typos are a big problem.

Jeff

Oct 16, 2012 12:42 AM #21
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