Improve the Sales Relationship with this Fact-Finding Question

Real Estate Agent with Dirt Road Real Estate SA676002000

As Realtors and as sales professionals, we ask important questions to improve the sales relationship to move the sales lead from the initial property inquiry to an accepted offer to hopefully close of escrow. However, there may be one fact finding sales question we may fail to ask. That question is simply:


What is your preferred method of communication?


Not being a text person, I have had numerous clients who prefer texting. I have learned to text them if I have sent them an email to esign document.


Then there are those who wish to be personally called. This has provided another learning moment because I now must ask if your voice mail set up. I have been amazed by those who say call me and the voice mail box is not set up. When this happens, I do send a text and let them know. Of course, not all texts are read. In the past, sales leads have called back and ask why I have not called them. I must gently explain to them their voice mail box was not set up.


Email communication is preferred by others. Sometimes with sales leads being busy, they may not view the email as quickly as necessary. This may require you to do a phone or text follow-up.


Finally, snail mail or fax communication especially when it returns to documents requiring signatures may be the only options. Not everyone has email or access to email.


Communication has evolved from snail mail to telegraph to party phone lines to faxes to email to finally texts. We as sales professional and Realtors must recognize this evolution and meet the customer at his or her comfortable level of communication.


Through the fact-finding discovery process by learning the preferred method of communication we not only improve the sales relationship; we eliminate potential future sales obstacles. The more sales obstacles we can eliminate, the greater likelihood we will increase sales.


Graphic Courtesy of


Posted by

Leanne M. Smith, MS, GRI, rCRMS

2018 KGVAR Rookie Realtor of the Year-55+
219.508.2859 MST
Life Begins Where the Pavement Ends
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Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

Hi Leanne Smith. Most inquiries from website or other leads come in for me by email followed by phone and text. However the photo in your blog is definitely how I first greet. It is all air fist pumps now adays. Jeff 

Apr 09, 2020 09:46 AM #2
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Leanne Smith -  that is a good question.  I admit that I have not used text that much but I am using it more now.

Apr 09, 2020 11:02 AM #3
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Always a good question, some clients like specific apps, I have even had clients say contact me though Facebook Messenger, that was a first.

Apr 09, 2020 12:12 PM #4
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

I am glad I'm not the only agent to ask this question. It makes communicating with each other a lot easier!!


Apr 10, 2020 07:25 PM #5
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

What amazes me is when I run into a real estate agent (not going to call them professonal) who either has not set up their voice mailbox or whose mailbox remains full day after day.

Some people don't care - one such person worked for us for a short time last year. If you happened to call when he answered, fine. If not, too bad. His mailbox was full. When I mentioned it he said "Everybody tells me that."

Apr 10, 2020 11:33 PM #6
Brian DeYoung
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ithaca, NY
Brian DeYoung

Excellent reminders and post.

If I get a sales call without a previous contact to ask for it, they do not make the next round, or the sale.  I text ferociously, but I prefer email to communicate, why?

I like to refer back to the communication. Clients also have preferences and it is good ( key) to learn these.



Apr 11, 2020 05:10 AM #7
Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

My kids taught me to text.  Many times, it was the only way they would communicate so now I text.  I do what my client prefers.  Still, for important information, I still like the old fashioned phone call followed by an email or text.

Apr 11, 2020 05:52 AM #8
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

It is a great question and one that clients appreciate. Another than gets a big thank you for us, "What is the best window of time for communication for you?" Then, we let them know ours. For example, I generally do not look at my phone after 9:00 PM. 

Apr 11, 2020 07:41 AM #9
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I have used this question before and find that usually, communication involves texting, emailing and phone calls depending on the subject and how much discussion is required.

Apr 11, 2020 08:15 AM #10
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Yes today many communication interactions are indeed a combination of all three. Good morning and thank you Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR 

Apr 11, 2020 08:48 AM #11
Richard V. Foster, Esq.
Nevada Perfect Homes - Henderson, NV
Broker (58356) - ABR/M, CREN, CRS, GRI, RRG, SFR

Be ready to adopt new technologies . . . I learned this lesson way back in 2003. I had a client that wanted to text, while today a main stream, back then I sent maybe 20 texts a month, and fought the concept, and tried to force my client to use my preferred method . . . Long story short, I listened to the client, and it has served me well; I sold millions of dollars of properties for her, and was able to communicate better with clients moving forward too.

Apr 11, 2020 10:14 AM #12
Anna Banana Kruchten Arizona's Top Banana!
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

 Hi Leanne - great post! One of the intial questions when I'm first meeting a new client - is definietly 'what is your preferred way to communicate with me throughout the process'?   The answers vary dramtically depending what they do for a living, do they travel a lot, etc etc.

Apr 11, 2020 10:31 AM #13
Dennis Erickson
Berkshire Hathaway - Bozeman, MT
I help people make good real estate decisions.

Nice post, good information and a great reminder that we need to be effective communicators of information.  

Apr 11, 2020 11:01 AM #14
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Leanne:

This is such an important question in these days of technology, and rarely do I find that people bring it up - it's up to me and I do with each and every person. It's important to find out, and I think people appreciate being asked...and it shows we care!

I always let people know that while texting may be preferred sometimes a call or email is essential. And for those who are not big emailers I usually send a text that an email has been sent.

I also remind people that while they might not normally check messages or email often, that it's essential to do so regularly when we get started in a transaction so they don't miss anything. Often people are surprised at how much back and forth communication there is in a transaction, especially in the first couple of weeks.


Apr 11, 2020 05:27 PM #15
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Yes I believe it is an essential question and one that eliminates future potential problems.  My only negative is attempting to copy texts into a CRM or a file for future reference. This is why I text and let them know something is in their email in box. Documentation is also essential.

Apr 12, 2020 06:33 AM #16
Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

A great reminder. The last question I close out a first meeting with with anybody: client or networking partner is:

What is your preferred method of communication?

Apr 12, 2020 09:57 AM #17
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

This is one that I absolutely NEVER forget to ask! I even ask if of my fellow agents on the other side of transactions. When you know the answer, it makes a world of difference, Leanne! 

Great reminder!

Apr 12, 2020 02:08 PM #18
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

It's a a great way to start off communicating with clients on the right footing.  Great post!

Apr 13, 2020 01:20 PM #19
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

I always ask my customers (clients) what their best and preferred way of communication is ... and then I abide.  Everyone is in a different place ... we need to accommodate.  Great Post!  Leanne Smith 

Apr 14, 2020 04:09 PM #20
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Congratulations on getting your post FEATURED!    Yes this is an essential question to ask each client, and to try to adapt to their preferred style.     There are just some things that fit best into a call face-time or zoom, while others can easily be handled by text.    Still, it seems to me that, for documentation and disclosures, e-mail is best.    Often have to combine e-mail with text though LOL.

Apr 14, 2020 06:54 PM #21
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Leanne Smith

Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom
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