It seems as though baby boomers, once a dominant force in every industry, will be left by the wayside if they don’t adapt to today’s technology. That’s why this boomer agent has taken to texting — a method of communication that has worked very well with millennial and Gen X clients and agents.
I’m at the tail end of the baby boomer generation, yet I feel like I’m part of a club that by its sheer numbers has impacted the course of history. The trends that emerged from the 50s to the present occurred to a great extent because of the needs and the choices made by the tsunami of boomers.
However, my “club” is now much less considered in today’s digital and now artificially intelligent world. I know that if we don’t keep up, we will be left behind. Because of this, I’ve learned how very essential it is to embrace the monumental changes occurring around us at lightning speed.
When in Rome
When engaged with millennial or Gen Xer agents and clients, I embrace the “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” mentality, paying attention to what their communication preferences and needs are — and using them. As a result of this adaptation, my clients and my business have experienced more success.
A decade ago, I would not have imagined doing what I do now. I prospect and coordinate by text. I submit offers and answer questions by text. I negotiate by text — and I basically sell homes by text!
Not always, of course — only when it serves the best interest of my clients. Through trial and error, I’ve learned that if the other party can’t converse on the phone (or, heaven help us, in person), then I need to improve my skills and my style of communicating to conquer the situation at hand.
In some markets, many agents’ first language is not English. This is another excellent reason to apply the art of texting to get the deal done. We all could benefit from taking our business up a notch by adapting to the needs, purposes and intentions of everyone involved in the transaction.
Sometimes, you’ll experience a moment in the course of a deal that screams for a real conversation — most likely when you have to convey what cannot be misconstrued by typo-filled half sentences or embarrassing auto-corrected phrases. Use your intuitive judgement to text at the most appropriate times.
A well-constructed text can put the emphasis right where it needs to be in a pivotal moment of the deal. For example, mid negotiation of a counteroffer, the following cannot be misinterpreted:
Hello David, sorry, my seller client is not agreeable to your client’s last counter. There is a second showing by Susan at XYZ brokerage tonight at 5 p.m. My client wishes to convey that they would still proceed with your offer today if we can reach agreement — otherwise they might wait it out.”
Realtor translation: “Should your buyers come to their senses, we have a deal!
OK, I jest a bit. However, it’s been empowering to learn how effective a properly positioned text — followed by silence — can be. It’s the virtual equivalent of not blinking at the poker table.
The thing about texts is there are no hard and fast rules of etiquette surrounding how long an appropriate response time might be. It’s generally situational.
The agent on the sending or receiving end might be unavailable — they might be in a listing presentation, presenting a multiple offer, at the gym, potty training a toddler or in the checkout line for grocery discounts the first Tuesday of the month — we all get this.
Texting or not, put the client’s needs first
Negotiations are so time sensitive, so the more time passes, the less likely the two parties will come to a happy conclusion. This is why texting can work so well in my opinion. The response time is typically so much quicker.
There is a general understanding that a text is more urgent than an email. Unlike the satisfying whirlwind of volleying back counteroffers by text, a dragged out version that stalls by unanswered voicemail or email can bring doom to the deal. Therefore, the art of timely texting has evolved to become another weapon in the arsenal of a good negotiator.
While I use to lament the millennial agent (or client for that matter) who isn’t experienced in face-to-face conversation, I have a newfound understanding and appreciation for how this digital style of communication can serve my clients — and this appreciation has come as a result of selling many homes this way.
Now, when that long-awaited text comes in — “We have a deal. We are pending!” — rounds of celebration occur instantaneously, and suddenly everyone is available to virtually high-five each other and sprinkle emojis like there’s no tomorrow.
I then speak to my clients in person because a milestone like that simply deserves a real human interaction. Some things will never change, but embracing those that do can only raise you to a level of excellence that the people you serve deserve.