In June, I decided that renting my home wasn’t worth it anymore and that it was time to put it back on the market. My thinking was that it would sell in a couple of months. It didn’t. By September, the lease was up, and my renters were out. There had been little interest in viewing the property, and I was beginning to panic.

  • Text messages have a 98 percent open rate, and if a prospect sends you a text, it means they expect a fast response.
  • Use whatever means of communication possible to make that crucial five-minute window for initial contact.
  • Make use of texting through your back-office CRM to have that information all in one place.

In June, I decided that renting my home wasn’t worth it anymore and that it was time to put it back on the market. My thinking was that it would sell in a couple of months. It didn’t.

By September, the lease was up, and my renters were out. There had been little interest in viewing the property, and I was beginning to panic.

By November, I had made it through paying two mortgages, but funds were diminishing quickly. I sent the dreaded email to my rental management company asking the question of how long it might take to find another renter.

Lo and behold, right after I sent the email I got a text telling me a showing was scheduled the next morning.

mimagephotography / Shutterstock.com

mimagephotography / Shutterstock.com

Truth be told, I am busy and usually don’t check my personal email until at least lunchtime or often when I get home at night.

Luckily, my agent recognizes efficiency, and his primary form of communication with me is via text message. The prospects viewed the house that morning and immediately were prepared to make an offer.

However, they had an offer on their existing home and needed an answer quickly. My agent had emailed me the offer but needed me right then, so he sent a text and within 10 minutes he had my attention and also my acceptance of the offer.

I am not the only person with this mindset. In fact, according to the California Association of Realtors (CAR), 40 percent of homebuyers prefer texts to other forms of communication. Text messages have an open rate of 98 percent, which is supremely important in the real estate industry.

How many emails do you get each day? Probably way too many to read, and in my case, it was vital that I got the information fast.

Unfortunately, many agents are not taking advantage of this super valuable way of communicating with leads. As I mentioned, nearly half of buyers want texts, but only about 15 percent of agents are using this resource, according to CAR.

OK, now that statistics clearly show all the advantages, it’s time to get on the texting train.

If your phone has as many text logs as mine, it would be nearly impossible to remember all the communications with each prospect.

The key is to use your back-office contact relationship management (CRM) to maintain this communication database. Every conversation that you have with a prospect, whether it be via text message, phone call, email or otherwise, should be recorded and easily accessible with a single click on that prospect’s profile.

Indeed, all of us in the industry know the importance of drip emails and follow-up phone calls. It’s always best to be the first in that prospect’s mind when he or she thinks about looking at properties or has questions about the process.

In addition to that, now that we are in the technology age. Zillow has said that as much as 70 percent of all their weekend traffic is now coming from mobile devices.

Once a buyer has signed up on your site, your CRM system should send a drip email, and a phone call is expected from you. Many buyers often screen or ignore phone calls, however, which makes texting an even more viable option.

You should send a quick text to avoid losing that crucial five-minute window in reaching the lead. Make sure you can do all of these things directly from your back-office CRM and still keep up with all those communications to review before your next prospect touch.

My guess is that the agents not currently using texting as a method of communication with their prospects are probably in the frame of mind that texting is too intrusive or bothersome on the receiving end.

This might be true for some, but in most cases, it isn’t.  And though we need to keep in mind that it’s always best to ask what method the prospect prefers, we also have to remember the importance of the five-minute window when you initially reach out to a prospect, as well as the urgency of some messages such as an offer.

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when you use text to communicate:

1. Do your homework

Check the prospect’s activity on your site, and send interactive messages that will elicit a response. For example, let him or her know you have a slot for a showing on Saturday, and try to make the appointment.

2. Be sure to include a link in the text that takes the prospect to the property on your website  

Your site should keep them engaged enough that he or she looks at the suggested property and keeps browsing. This gives you more information.

3. Be prompt in your responses  

A text from a prospect means they want an answer quickly — that’s why it was a text and not an email. If you are busy, politely respond by saying you will get right back with them.

4. Unless you have an established relationship with your prospect, you should always get major decisions in writing

A text message is not the same as a written answer to a question that will make or break a contract.

5. It’s best not to use emoticons unless you have a solid rapport with the prospect

We all understand the majority of texters are younger generations that say “LOL” regularly, but it’s just better to keep it professional.

6. Do not text while driving

It simply isn’t worth it. I know several agents who keep their phones in the back seat to avoid the temptation. If your phone chirps and you just can’t refrain, pull over.

These six tips will help guide you as you expand your communication techniques to include texting on the daily.

Do you have any texting tips of your own? Please share them in the comments section below.

Candi Looney is a marketing research analyst for Quantum Elite.

Email Candi Looney.

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