By Peter Ricci
Today’s real estate agents should always be thinking of ways to utilize technology to better communicate with their clients and potential homebuyers, and instant messaging programs, which can be incorporated into agent’s real estate websites, are a wonderful way to accomplish that and become a more interactive real estate professional.
Instant Messaging and Real Estate – The Benefits
There are a number of benefits to pursuing instant messaging capabilities on your site:
Instant Gratification – The data could not be more clear that consumer’s in the modern economy demand immediate action from real estate professionals. According to the latest REAL Trends Online Performance Survey, 96 percent of respondents expect responses from agents within 30 minutes of their initial contact, and 89 percent cited response time as an important factor in the agent they chose – and what form of communication is more immediate, more presently-minded, than that of instant messaging?
The Answer Man (or Woman!) – As detailed as our websites can be, there will inevitably be a visitor to the site who will leave with unanswered questions, and an instant messaging program could be great for providing those answers. Say you’re logged in to your site, and a potential homebuyer begins looking at a property on your site; with an instant messaging program installed, you would be able to easily initiate a discussion with that homebuyer and answer his or her questions.
Untapped Resource – Instant messaging is common on tech sites, but real estate agents have been slow to integrate it, so it could be a great way for you to stand out from the pack.
The Possible Drawbacks of Instant Messaging
As great as instant messaging is, though, there are some possible drawbacks to the approach, including:
Right Place, Right Time – We just described the wonderful interaction that instant messaging programs can provide for you with clients and potential homebuyers, but we left out one critical fact – those interactions are only possible when you are online at the same time as those users! If you (or your communications team member) don’t make a habit of being logged on to your website, you’ll be missing out on any potential dialogue with clients and consumers.
Informalities – Though you’d be communicating with clients via instant messaging, which has always been the domain of informal chatter, you’ll want to keep your LOLs and LMAOs and BBLs in check. You’re utilizing instant messaging as a professional, and your language should reflect that stature when communicating.
Instruction Manual? – There’s a very good chance that you read this post waiting for an explanation on how to install an instant message program into your site; sadly, that’s something we cannot provide in this space, and probably the ultimate drawback to an instant messaging system is having to install it. There are numerous sites available, though, that do list quite a few possible messaging programs, and as with many tech sites, the user comments are just as, if not more, informative than the articles themselves!