How do you keep your clients in the know without seeming annoying or underwhelming?
Toeing the line between necessary communication and annoyance with your real estate clients can be a tricky business. More than anything else, it requires that you find a delicate balance between the two extremes.
To start off, you have to keep your client in the know. There is nothing worse than your client missing out on an opportunity because you weren’t keeping them adequately informed. Or than a seller client being angry because they had to leave their home at the last minute because you didn’t (or weren’t able to) inform them that a buyer was coming to look at their house. A lack of communication can cause friction and will make you look like you don’t know what you are doing in your client’s eyes.
The flip side, however, is that you don’t want to be constantly contacting them to the point of annoying the crap out of them either. At best, the constant calling might cause the client to become slightly aggravated with you. At worst, it may cause them to think you are uninformed or unprepared and so have to constantly contact them to tell them things you forgot to remind them of before. Maybe they even stop picking up your phone calls all the time because they think your call is inconsequential or they just don’t feel like talking to you…yet again.
So where is the sweet spot? How do we strike this balance?
The most important thing to remember is that your client is probably not all that different from you. So empathize and put yourself in their shoes. When you think about it, it is not super difficult to know the difference between informing them of what they need to know when you think they need to hear it, and coming off as either overbearing or not caring. How would you feel if you were the client and your agent was acting the same way you are? If you feel like you’d be satisfied, then your current client most likely is too.
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But aside from using common sense, the wonderful modern world we live in is constantly providing solutions to our problems. In this case, I am referring to texting. Yep, texting. That practice, once derided by parents and embraced by the youth, has become increasingly critical to the real estate industry. And it is the key to achieving a balance between being annoying and being negligent.
This is primarily because the vast majority of people do not find texts to be a nuisance. This is in contrast to, say, phone calls, which more and more people see as an interruption or intrusion into their lives. I heard it once put like this, you should only call someone if whatever you need to discuss would warrant meeting with that person unannounced. If whatever you have to tell your client is not so urgent that you would show up unannounced, then send a text message.
People are on their phones all the time and a text does not get in the way of whatever your client is currently doing. This means you are likely to get immediate feedback on whatever you need to discuss and you get it in a frictionless way. This is not the true for voicemail or email.
Voicemail requires too much effort on the part of the client. Again, they have to take time out of whatever they are doing to return your call. Unless it is something very important, you don’t want to create work for them. Whereas calls can sometimes be too aggressive, emails are often too passive. As you probably know, we are all inundated with email—work, personal, and endless promotional messages. It’s all too easy for your email containing important info to get lost in the bunch.
Texts have yet to become like emails—they are still thought of as things you have to read, not things you choose to read or not. A 2017 report from National Association of Realtors found that 62% of all home buyers prefer their agent to send property info via text message. According to Pew Research Center, text messages lead to higher response rates than email alone. About 45% on average. Emails, on the other hand, have an 11% response rate according to MailChimp.
However, the California Association of Realtors found that only 5% of realtors communicate by text. This means that in addition to helping you toe the line between annoying your clients and keeping them informed, using text messages as part of your marketing, follow-ups, and client relationships gives you a considerable competitive advantage.
So how not to annoy your clients? It starts with using common sense and empathizing with your them. If you would find something annoying, overly aggressive, or just not enough, most likely your client feels the same way. It ends with communicating with them in the way they’d most prefer. And increasingly, that is the non-intrusive, easy-to-respond-to world of texting.