Animals may not be able to form words, but they can certainly communicate. Birds use songs and calls. Other animals use a combination of sounds and movements to communicate. Primates have an advanced system of communication. They use vocalization, gestures by hand and body language. But what separates man from less evolved living things is the ability to form a limitless number of thoughts into vocalized words. With the advent of e-mail and text messaging, I sometimes think that we have implemented the process of “reversed evolution.” It seems many agents and real estate related service-people no longer have the ability to vocalize, gesture, use body language or otherwise express themselves. There appears to be more audio interaction taking place in most zoos than in the real estate industry. Have we lost the ability to communicate with anything other than LOL, 4COL, AAF or A3?
We know that language among Homo sapiens began somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000 years ago. It most likely was an evolutionary adaptation. It was needed for survival and for social interaction. As things became more complicated around them, humans needed a more complex system to convey information to one another.The spoken word offered a most valuable solution.
It took humans 30,000 or more years to master the spoken word.This mastery allowed mankind to communicate with emotion. With the spoken word, humans could express fear, joy, sadness, alarm, excitement and a multitude of other feelings. An individual’s intonation, volume, cadence, accent, etc. offered man the ability to express far more than can be expressed by words, written or otherwise, alone. The ability to speak to one another offered mankind the most efficient and effective method of communication. Simply stated, it works incredibly well!
Have we, in a very short 20 years, done away with one of man’s most effective and efficient tools? Without doubt, we have done so in the real estate business. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s someone, somewhere introduced text messaging and e-mailing. This was the beginning of the end of the spoken word. Today I find it almost impossible to speak with anyone involved in real estate. I call other agents. I get no response! I call an escrow officer. No connection! I call a loan rep. Nothing! If I don’t text or e-mail, communication is not an option. This is an all too common situation that really makes me grouchy.
There is a time and place for e-mails and text messages but there is no substitute for hearing a person’s voice. Three minutes of live conversation can tell more about a person and/or situation than I can be told in 100 text messages. I crave the human touch. An individual’s voice communicates how that person is feeling, what interest they have in the subject at hand, his/her level of concern and so much more. A text message or e-mail has minimal personality. A man or woman’s voice is packed with valuable information.
I recently received a call from a local agent. We’ll call him Doug. He asked me what my seller thought of an offer he had e-mailed five days prior. He had never called, immediately after sending the e-mail, to verify that it had been received. The offer had not come through. Meanwhile, the property sold to another purchaser. Doug’s client had lost the opportunity to purchase an excellent investment property and Doug lost the opportunity to earn a commission, all because he was too lazy to pick up the phone.
It always amazes me how potential clients react when I pick up the phone and call them. In many cases they express total surprise and appreciation. I’m often told that I am the only real estate agent who has taken the time to talk with them in person. The impression the call makes lasts and, more often than not, earns the desired results. The phone and/or face-to-face contact produces incredible outcomes.
I truly believe many agents fear the phone. A text message or e-mail is so much safer: impersonal and less effective but not as dangerous. What is there to be afraid of with a call that could be more fearful than losing an opportunity? Please, from time to time, just try conversing with your voice.
By the way, when I call please PICK UP THE PHONE! I would like to know who you really are!