Professional Texting Etiquette

By
Education & Training with The Lones Group, Inc.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Professional Texting Etiquette

Many agents have asked me about proper and professional texting etiquette in our modern world. Texting can be a great way to send a quick message on the go, but you have to use it appropriately.

First of all, if you're texting someone and that person isn't responding immediately, you need to remember they may not want to or be able to. They may be driving, in a meeting, or out having a nice meal. Their phone could be out of battery or momentarily left behind. Be aware that texting may not be the best way to communicate, especially if you expect an immediate response. Your client or contact may not be as available as you are at the moment. If you text, text wisely.

Now, the rules of professional texting etiquette:

Consider Your Audience
Who are you texting? Why are you texting? I know many people who love texting, and that's fine. But what if your audience doesn't love texting? It's a good idea to ask your clients how they like to be contacted, make a note of that, and then follow-through with that form of communication.

Consider Your Message
You need communicate relevant information or a question very clearly. Sometimes this is easiest when you have words written down in black-and-white, but tone-of-voice doesn't translate well over text.

Watch Your Auto-Correct
I can't tell you how many incoherent text messages I get because auto-correct substituted the wrong word. Sometimes people get so used to texting and so quick to fire back a short reply that they don't re-read and proof the message before sending it out.

Respond Promptly
Even if you can't answer a question right away, take a moment to say "I'm away from my desk. I will respond (by text or by email) by (timeline.)" This lets the other person know that you are aware of their message and working on a response. It's polite while still providing you breathing room so you don't have to drop everything.

Cool it with the Emojis
This is definitely a topic that is driving some people crazy. Emojis are fine on a personal or casual level, but on a professional level, they can look a little weird and out of place.

Keep it Short
Don't be long-winded on your text messages. I get some text messages that are unreasonably long, which would require an equally long response. Texting just isn't the medium for that kind of communication. If it's more than 2 sentences, break out your email app. When I receive a long text message, I will respond with "Thank you for your text. I will respond by email."

Know When to End the Conversation
Keep in mind that not everyone has unlimited texting on their phone. Don't drag-out the closing statements.

Watch the Clock
This is so important. If it can wait until morning, then wait! The recipient of your text might have an older parent living with them, or a sick child, or a shift worker that gets up at 4 am so they're in bed early. Or the person you're trying to text just likes going to bed earlier than you. Your late-night text could wake them or a family member.  A lot of people put their phones on their night-stand and don't turn off the ringer. For example, I often leave my ringer on because I want my mom to be able to call me any time she needs me. Late-night communication should be reserved for family and emergencies. Consider the golden rule, know what time you are sending that text message and be courteous.

Be aware of when and what you send, and use texting for what it's there for: clear, concise communication.

Until next time, take care.

 

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Comments (23)

Cara Marcelle Mancuso
Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ - Tucson, AZ
Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE! LONG REALTY

Nice thoughts, thanks for sharing.  My talk to text is anything but accurate...I HAVE to proofread!!!

Oct 27, 2020 03:50 PM
Denise Lones

We have all seen some of the most awful and and embarrasing auto-correct mistakes, yet we're still falling victim to it. Always proofread. Thanks Cara - Denise

Oct 29, 2020 10:32 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good evening Denise Lones ,

Thank you for sharing..all good points to make about texting especially about the length and the emojis!!

Oct 27, 2020 06:51 PM
Denise Lones

You're welcome Dorie!

Oct 29, 2020 10:33 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

A fantastic post, Denise. All of your points are well taken and so often ignored. I know one person who texts and if there's no response in like a nano-second texts with question marks follow. More than once, when stopped at a traffic light I've texted back in all capital letters DRIVING!!!! At the end of the day, there's very little in life that requires an immediate response to a text.

Oct 28, 2020 04:48 AM
Denise Lones

Yes! You nailed this point. Text is fast, but it isn't instant conversation no matter how many times you hear it called "instant messaging". Still, people should respond promptly once they safely can do so, even if it is briefly as my point in the original post. Thank you Nina, excellent comment! - Denise

Oct 29, 2020 10:36 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Carol Williams good morning, Carol... I'm recommending this post for your Second Chance Saturday post.

Oct 28, 2020 04:49 AM
Denise Lones

Thank you for sharing Nina!

Oct 30, 2020 09:28 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Good morning Denise,
So many people use texting as some kind of a code talk, with all the abbreviations. And, Talk to text is the worst for translation. Proofreading is critical in all cases!

Oct 28, 2020 05:23 AM
Denise Lones

Absolutely Carol. Good to see you having fun with a Halloween theme - Denise

Oct 29, 2020 10:37 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Love texting . You can get so much done communication-wise . I wish I had it in my teens and 20’s 

Oct 29, 2020 12:16 PM
Denise Lones

Me too, it can be a great tool. Too many agents are too casual with this tool.

Oct 30, 2020 09:30 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks for some very wise suggestions, Denise.  Texting can be a very good thing, but it's not for everyone, and there are times when its not appropriate. I always check with people to verify if I can text them when needed, rather than assuming.

Jeff

Oct 29, 2020 05:39 PM
Denise Lones

That's permission based communication! Knowing how your clients prefer to communicate is fantastic, I've covered it before. Good work and love the halloween themed picture Jeff! - Denise

Oct 30, 2020 09:31 AM
Paddy Deighan MBA JD PhD
federalfinanciallawgroup.com - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

to me the single biggest texting faux pas is utilization of voice to text without correction. If you are going to text, it is your message...your words...do it correctly including grammar!!! it is your image!!!

Oct 29, 2020 08:18 PM
Denise Lones

Definitely. I've also been thinking lately of how your text messages, like email, can be part of your transaction record, if that ever needs to be seen by others.

Oct 30, 2020 09:34 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

I recommend adding your signature to each text because some states require you identify yourself and your brokerage. I also recommend finding an app to back up all your text messages as part of your file maintenance process. I use SMS+ to email myself a copy of every text message. This not only gives me a record, it makes it easy to search.

Oct 29, 2020 08:25 PM
Denise Lones

Nathan - Interesting, I'll check SMS+ out. Thanks for the super comment! - Denise

Oct 30, 2020 09:35 AM
Sam Kader MLO 130505 MB 78982
Pacific Coast Financial LLC Lic# MB78982 - Seattle, WA
Real Estate NMLS 91980 Mortgage Broker Lic MB78982

Thanks Denise. Very useful information and a great reminder. 

Oct 29, 2020 09:52 PM
Denise Lones

You're welcome Sam, Nice to see you here on ActiveRain. Since you're in the Seattle area, maybe I'll see you in a class once this Covid thing has passed - Denise

Oct 30, 2020 09:35 AM
Rose King
David Tracy Real Estate - Friendswood, TX
Friendswood / Pearland / Houston Bay Area

These are great suggestions, Denise! The best one is to watch the clock. I do not turn my phone off at night, in case there is an emergency and a family member needs me. So, if I hear a text come in during the middle of the night, I will get up to see if it is an emergency. If it's not, then I get very irritated! 

Oct 29, 2020 10:05 PM
Denise Lones

We have pre-arranged ways for people to reach out for emergencies. I suggest turning off text notification sounds and asking family to call you instead. You're less likely to sleep through a phone ringing if it's truly an emergency. Get a good night of rest. Thanks for sharing Rose! - Denise

Oct 30, 2020 09:39 AM
Jan Deckard
ABACUS Realty - Bloomington, IN
Genuinely Serving Bloomington Buyers and Sellers

It's always good to double check the recipient prior to sending.

Oct 29, 2020 10:38 PM
Denise Lones

That goes for email too. I have to watch out when Outlook and other email programs auto-complete recipient names. It's an easy mistake to make. Thanks Jan! - Denise

Oct 30, 2020 09:41 AM
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

FANTASTIC POST that should be a mandatory read for all!  Texting has become way too overused (IMHO) and I can't begin to guess the number of times I encourage people to pick up the phone.  As you've noted, tones can't be determined (which is why emojis are helpful at times) & often a direct call will calm everyone's perceived emotions. 

Oct 30, 2020 04:35 AM
Denise Lones

Yes! If you have any doubt about the attitude of the person you're texting, it's time to take it to the next level and call. - Denise

Oct 30, 2020 09:42 AM
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

Jan Deckard makes a good point of confirming who you are sending the text too, especially if you have more than one person in your phone named John!

Oct 30, 2020 06:06 AM
Denise Lones

She did! And it's good to see you again too Anne. - Denise

Oct 30, 2020 09:45 AM
Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038 - Downingtown, PA
SRES, e-PRO,ABR,GREEN,CSP

Thanks Denise,

 

I find myself changing way too much Voice Text corrections.....sometimes better to not send via voice, LOL.

Oct 30, 2020 06:23 AM
Denise Lones

Sometimes they are just impossible. I've had better luck with "swipe" typing accuracy. Of course, that's not hands free, but if I can't use my hands, I don't text. - Denise

Oct 30, 2020 09:47 AM
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Fantastic info Denise Lones   I am going to share this blog both here and on my other social pages.  I have a pet peeve about folks not using complete sentences and using way too much slang and abbreviations.  

Oct 30, 2020 08:15 AM
Denise Lones

Me too. I get it why people do it, I know that we are all busy, and I get that texts are meant to be short. But, like you, I think being professional is more important. Good to see you again, Mike! - Denise

Oct 30, 2020 09:49 AM
Kirsten Mellinger
Emerald Funding & Realty - Simi Valley, CA
Ventura County Real Estate

This is a great reminder, but also sad that common sense is missing!

Oct 30, 2020 10:00 AM
Denise Lones

If it were so common, we wouldn't have to mention it. No, I wanted to focus on specific things and a catch-all of "use common sense" diluted what I wanted to get across here. Thanks Kirsten!

Nov 02, 2020 09:58 AM
Janice Zaltman
United Realty Group - Boca Raton, FL
South Florida Residential Real Estate

Really like your advice to keep it short. Many agents say, only text me and long texts that can be miscontrued is not a good form of communication. Having conversations at times when people are available is still essesntial. On the other side, when anyone texts us, they expect an immediate response. Thanks for your great tips.

Oct 31, 2020 06:01 PM
Denise Lones

You're welcome Janice. Nice to hear from someone (you!) there in beautiful Boca Raton. - Denise

Nov 02, 2020 09:59 AM
Greg Mona
eXp Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Hi Denise Lones. I found myself nodding my head in agreement with each subject you mentioned. You hit all of the high and important points, so there's nothing to add (except that auto-correct can reword your message in a most embarrassing way depending on what it decides to change it to!)

Nov 01, 2020 04:12 PM
Denise Lones

Already have you covered, Greg. That was my third point. Have an incredible day! - Denise

Nov 02, 2020 10:01 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

All good points!  I dislike very long texts that should be phone calls! And texting anyone--including friends and family--very late at night or very early in the am is just rude!

Nov 03, 2020 01:29 PM