It’s the end of a fantastic first meeting, and you think that you’ve done it – you’ve made a real connection with an enthusiastic, friendly, and engaged client. They seem like wonderful people, and you truly want to help them find the best deal possible on their home sale. You extend your hand with a smile and tell your new favorite client that if they have any questions, they should feel free to call you.

Oh, they said offhandedly, I actually prefer to text – is that okay?

Your smile wavers for a moment before you agree and say goodbye, a little thrown.  

Technology is shaping the way we communicate with our friends, colleagues, and clients – and for realtors, the change can be more than a little jarring.

Real estate is a fundamentally personal business. Realtors are expected to help their clients find or move on from their homes. The decision to sell or set down roots is an emotionally charged one, and the often stressful nature of the transaction puts pressure on an agent to communicate effectively. Agents have to be able to gauge reactions from the clients in order to make the home search or sale a productive and painless process.

In the past, these communications occurred face-to-face, or in conversations over the phone. However, technological innovations have made it easier to replace personal phone calls or inconvenient in-person meetings with brief texts and emails. Traditional lines of interpersonal communication fall flat in today’s text-centered world, and real estate professionals need to reassess their approaches in order to adapt to the tech-savvy landscape.

 

Establish expectations.

Texting culture isn’t going away.

According to CNN Money, millennial borrowers made up approximately 45% of all purchase loans as of January, 2017. Younger clients are entering the housing market as first-time buyers at an increasing rate – which means that reliance on texting and quick communication will likely increase accordingly. 

Realtors have to adapt to changing client needs in a pragmatic way. Establish which method of communication the client prefers, and set an expectation for a response turnaround time. Doing so will aid in forming a relationship, and in overcoming the initial disconnection.

 

Embrace online platforms.

Client dependence on online research puts pressure on agents to build a helpful web presence for their listings. Page optimization is a must for web-savvy professionals, given that unattractive or confusing web pages will more than likely deter potential clients.

 

Prioritize customer service.

In our Google-centered culture, odds are good that a client conducted research online into the market before they reached out to a realtor. The wealth of information is a wonderful help to agents, as it allows them to work with better-informed and often more engaged clients. However, the easy access to basic information means that a good realtor has to be ready to answer trickier questions that can’t be solved from a quick Google search.

That said, establishing a relationship with the client beyond answering questions is a must, and requires at least some fluency in social media. For all that technology and texting culture acts as a disconnecting force, social media has the potential to reconnect and even engage their clients in a new medium. Real estate is a client-centered business, and connecting with clients in through any effective means is vital.

 

The old methods of interpersonal communication may be fading, but that doesn’t mean that real connections can’t be made. Real estate is an industry that has a profound effect on the lives of individuals searching for home; as such, it is tremendously important for professionals to overcome the technological disconnection and build a real, productive relationship with their clients.