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.
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.
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?