Right or wrong, in our digitally driven world, communication has changed. Nowadays, it seems that more people use their phone to text than to make calls. And it makes sense, it’s a medium that allows us to read, ponder and reply on our own time—unlike a phone call where the person on the other end of the line is waiting for an immediate response.
Text messages are also read more quickly than emails—90 seconds versus two hours. So, if you want to grab someone’s attention right away, texting seems to be the way to go. So how does texting fit into the new home sales process? The answer is: carefully.
Texting is easy to do, but in the sales world, professionals must understand how to use this medium properly. You can’t text too soon, too often, or with TMI (too much information) — or you’ll risk hurting the relationship before it’s fully developed.
“‘Is it okay if I text you?’ is my go-to question,” said Kristie Ferguson, Broker, Realtor at Prudential Carolinas Real Estate. “I even have on my voicemail, ‘you may also choose to text me at the same number.’ People often prefer to do that rather than leave me a message.”
Consider texting a privilege, not a right. Ask permission. When you’re chatting with your prospect, ask if you can text your contact information. Many will say yes, but how they say yes will reveal their comfort level. Even then, keep your texts professional, brief and to the point. It’s a nudge, not a conversation.
“I usually find a way to ask if I can text a prospect that calls me,” said Andy Gottesman, an Internet sales associate at M/I Homes. “Asking, ‘Can I text you the address of the model home?’ opens the door and then I try to find other reasons to engage. It’s much more casual than email and it builds trust at a much quicker rate.”
You can use text to confirm an appointment, acknowledge receipt of or ask for information, report progress on an application, offer updates, and other such brief, but effective messages. If the customer has sent you a message (by text, phone or email) and you are unavailable at the moment, send a brief text acknowledging receipt and let them know you will get back with a reply as soon as you are back at the office.
f course, once the customer is on contract, you’ve established a relationship and can gauge how to use your text messaging communication. The California Association of Realtors reported that 29% of customers want to communicate via texting, but only 17% of the agents they worked with actually used this method.
If you know your clients are comfortable with texting, make sure to send them photos of the construction process, videos, updates, and follow up to make sure they’ve received important documents.
“I am able to send my clients quick snapshots of their home during their build process to update them on the process, or just tell them I love their color choices,” said Melissa Enrico, Realtor and sales coach at CBH Homes in Boise, Idaho. “I believe it’s another way to stay in front of them, keep them excited, and it helps me stay on demand.”