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If You’re Going to Text People for Business Purposes…

My fiancé and I are currently looking for a house. So we’re talking to a realtor and a loan officer who’s helping us apply appropriately.

We haven’t met either of them in person yet. However, all our conversations have been extremely pleasant and professional so far.

Except for the other day via text message.

We had officially submitted our pre-qualification application to the loan officer (let’s call her Natalie) on Friday. And Rob went on to text her on Tuesday to make sure she’d received it.

Both of us were a little taken aback by how abrupt her response was a few hours later:

Good afternoon. I will be back online this afternoon.

There was no pleasantness. I’m not sure I’d call it professional either considering how it sounded like the bare-minimum out-of-office response.

It threw my fiancé off enough that I ended up asking whether he wanted to look for a new loan officer altogether. And, when I did, I half-expected him to say yes.

In which case, she would have lost a client over something as simple – yet ultimately important – as a text message.

When Rob messaged me to say, “I don’t know if I like her response. Very impersonal,” I knew exactly what he meant.

It was extremely impersonal to me too, coming across as a brush-off or even a slap-down: an “I’m busy. I’ll make time for you when I make time for you.”

If that sounds like we’re being ridiculous in those interpretations, perhaps we are. Then again, this is an enormous step to take for two people who have never owned a house before.

It would be an enormous step even if we were already homeowners looking to find another place. There’s a lot of money, effort and time involved. Therefore, there’s a lot of emotion as well.

Whenever all those factors come into play, it’s best for the seller to choose her written words more carefully. She can be the most pleasant person on the planet in person – and, for the record, we ended up having a great conversation with Natalie that evening – but that same consideration has to come across in messages as well.

In fact, I’d argue that’s true with any item at any price. There’s always the chance you could come across wrong, so you always want to minimize the odds. Within reason, of course.

If the potential sale seems worthwhile to you… don’t make the buyer want to spite you or feel uncomfortable about the idea of working with you, even for a moment. Especially when you don't have the benefit of tone to clarify your intention.

Deals are made or lost in a moment. And an increasing amount of that transactional time is spent electronically.

If you’re in the business of selling something – anything – that involves written communication, think before you send.

That’s not meant to sound snippy, for the record. But it is supposed to be direct.

Most of us probably understand that with email correspondences. But the same applies to text messages.

Just because the medium began as an informal means of exchanging information… just because it comes complete with emojis galore (some of which I rather doubt are ever used)… and just because it seems so effortless to throw something in there and press send…

Doesn’t mean it’s going to be taken so lightly.

So watch how your writing comes across. Put a little extra consideration into the words you enter.

Your customers will appreciate the effort – perhaps enough to recommend you to a long list of potential customers down the line.

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