How to Pick Up Cues in Real-Time Messaging

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’re messaging back and forth with a prospect, and then all of a sudden a sentence makes you pause. You wonder, “Is she/he mad at me?”, rereading the sentence over and over again. Minutes pass by, and you still can’t tell if that person was offended by something you said or if you are missing a joke. So you craft a vague answer and hope for the best.

Picking up cues via digital communication is extremely hard. Not too long ago, realtors had an arsenal of tools, like cold calls, visits to buyers and meetings, to analyze things like tone of voice and urgency. Today, messaging has become the primary means of communication and, sometimes, it can be hard to read between the lines.

Here at YourMLSSearch, we facilitate real-time communication between realtors and buyers, and we are concerned with delivering stellar experiences to both parties. One question we ask ourselves constantly is how we can pick up on the essential cues and tones needed to build relationships with prospects. Here’s what we found:

1.     Figure Out the Style

More often than not, tone can be hard to detect over real-time messaging. In fact, according to one study, most people overestimate how often the recipient of a message will identify their tone correctly. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the context of the conversation before crafting your response.

  • Do they introduce themselves? If so, did they use their full name or just the first name? If they listed their job title and contact information, it might be a sign that they work for a big company and they are accustomed to formal communication.
  • Do they write in short sentences, using abbreviated words? It might mean that they want to get a fast and accurate response, or that they are more used to the messaging format and style.
  • Do they use a rich vocabulary or resolve to simple phrasing? You want your answer to be understood, so don’t get too technical when a prospect uses simple language.

2.     Pay Attention to the Opening Lines

It goes without saying that buyers with questions should be your top priority. But if a buyer opens dialogues with no introduction, it says a lot about the urgency of the question. Your lead is looking for a fast and accurate response, so it’s better to leave formalities for later. Respond to the question first and introduce yourself later.

3.     Less Is More

Without face-to-face social cues to help them, most people tend to misinterpret messages in two ways: as neutral or negative. According to one study by Syracuse University, people interpret positive messages as dull and assume the worst when they are confused. The best way to avoid miscommunication? Keep it simple.

Avoid using emoticons, sarcasm or jokes when connecting to a prospective homebuyer via real-time messaging. Be open and straightforward. Keep in mind that prospects don’t want a robot to spit out answers for them; they want authentic communication with a real person. So be helpful, but do it in a candid way.

Whether you like it or not, the days of phone calls and in-person exchanges are gone. Homebuyers prefer to connect digitally with real estate agents, and communication is mainly message-based. If you want to keep up, you need to understand your prospects based on the way they message.