Texting is becoming a more common and acceptable communication avenue between real estate agents and buyers, with a US survey indicating the right text at the right time could speed up the selling process.
In a study of more than 500 consumers and 350 real estate sales professionals, cloud-based mortgage finance platform Ellie May found over three-quarters of consumers believed text had the potential to improve the selling process, while 87 per cent of sales professionals planned to increase their use of text over the next five years.
But the ‘Great TEXTpectations’ report goes on to warn, it’s about the right text at the right time.
The found nearly half of buyers (44%–46%) believed it was appropriate for a seller/agent to text for each of the following reasons:
- Appointment reminders
- Missing document notifications
- Deadline reminders
- Status updates
- Urgent and important notifications
- When having trouble connecting through other channels
But consumer responses also showed text messaging can hurt sales efforts if not used in an appropriate fashion. Less than one-third of consumers felt it was appropriate for a seller/agent to text for the following reasons:
- Promotions or special programs (29%)
- Happy birthday wishes (26%)
- Just to say hello (19%)
“Consumers have been telling us that text messaging is well suited for their on-the-go, digital lives,” said Nick Hedges, Senior Vice President, Consumer Engagement Strategy at Ellie Mae.
“This detailed feedback can be invaluable for sales professionals looking to make smarter decisions about integrating text messaging into their digital lead generation and sales workflows.”
Meanwhile, sellers/agents cited three main challenges to implementing text:
- Compliance concerns (56%)
- No tool available (50%)
- Don’t want to use personal mobile phone (34%)
“Sales professionals have a tremendous opportunity to improve engagement and outcomes by integrating and synchronising text with other communication channels,” Mr Hedges continued. “They can deliver a more optimal consumer experience by aligning text use and other efforts to individualised preferences.”
Previous Ellie Mae research showed that all buyers, regardless of age, have a strong preference for more online and digital interaction with their seller.
The survey finds another compelling trend: the overall upward movement for text, and downward trend for email. Emailing is becoming less popular as the number of consumers who find email intrusive has grown over the last 5-10 years. The survey shows that text is already preferred over email for important and urgent methods.
“Though it has a long way to go, the widespread upward trend of preference for text raises the possibility that text might someday become the preferred method of communication,” Mr Hedges said.
“But for the foreseeable future, consumers prefer text on a situational basis and there is no contact strategy that is one-size-fits-all.”