Nick Bastian asks… Can We Talk?

Remember when a phone was just a phone and people actually used phones to talk to people? You might have to think back a few years, but there really was such a time. It was a time before listing agents had comments in the remarks section that say, “Do NOT call me. Send a text or email only to 602-IM 2 COOL.”

While the agent-to-agent thing is one pet peeve of mine, this is just one of several examples of how “un-cool” it can be to talk on the phone these days. I’ll admit, I am kind of a geek. In fact, many of my friends are hard-core geeks. Often, we will send MANY text messages or Twitter DMs (direct messages) instead of talking on the phone. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE having the ability to text and DM people for quick questions and certain conversations. For example: Someone sends a text, I respond. But when this is followed by a dozen or so text messages, a simple two-second conversation would have been much more efficient.

Can we  talk?The thing is, I am still kind of “old school” when it comes to communicating with people. I really have no problem racking up a few thousand minutes in a month on a cell phone. But today, many people “prefer” not to be “bothered” by a phone call. Heck, you see this photo of a phone below? It has a CORD, and it sits on my desk. I even USE it once in a while. I can hear the grumblings from some of the geeks now. You still use a corded phone? Really?

The fact is, there has been a shift in communication for many people over the past several years. My friend Jay has two teenagers; they can send 80,000 text messages in a given month. Hey, I probably text more than the average (old) guy, but I seriously doubt I’ll ever come close to those kids.

As real estate agents, we need to learn to adapt to however our clients want to communicate. If we don’t, it is very easy for them to find someone who will. Phone calls, text messages, Twitter, Facebook, email or carrier pigeon, I really don’t care how people prefer to communicate, I just want to know how to best help them, and I think that should be our focus. I prefer to let someone lead in the beginning. Heck, I know several people who I don’t even have their number or email address in my phone, but we can carry on conversations via messaging. It works for me, does that work for you?

I do a LOT of talking while driving. ( Thankfully, that is still legal in Arizona. ) The drill goes something like this. I get in a car, I immediately have someone on the phone. It’s just the way I am wired. I “try” not to text and drive, but sometimes I will sneak in one or two at a stop light. While I am driving, I hate to “waste” time that I could be following up or reaching out – it’s what works for me.

I’m curious to see what agents think of communicating with customers or clients today. Do you force them to communicate in a way that is quick, easy and convenient for you, or do you still pick up a phone once in a while?

I have a lot of opinions about this stuff. If you want to chat about it, “just call Nick.” I’d love to hear your $.02.

Oh, if you don’t like to talk, you can always leave a comment below. We geeks think that’s really cool, ya’ know.

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