Photo illustration: REALTOR® Magazine
The whole room started chuckling when Linda O’Koniewski, CEO of RE/MAX Leading Edge in Melrose, Mass., made a peculiar suggestion for improving agent-client relationships during the broker segment at Inman Connect in New York. She said agents who use emojis — hearts, smiley faces, animals, if it’s fitting — sometimes have stronger communication with clients.
Go ahead and laugh; get it out of your system. But I’m telling you: Once I let it sink in a little deeper, it kind of made sense to me.
“When my agents put hearts on their texts and e-mails, it’s like they’re sending a little bit of love,” O’Koniewski said. It sounds silly at first, I know. But think about how you communicate with your friends and loved ones. When you have something particularly exciting to share, don’t you sometimes send a happy face with your message? Or if you want to show you understand that a friend is down, don’t you send a “frowny” face?
It’s in the little details where we show people that we are connected to them and empathize. That’s what real relationships are all about. So if you’ve spent time getting to know your clients, building trust, and forming a real bond, then they’d probably receive an emoji from you in the same manner they would a trusted friend. And isn’t it your goal to be seen as a trusted friend to your clients?
I know that I share dumb little smiley faces with REALTOR® sources I’ve developed for my stories over the years. We have a business relationship, but there’s nothing I view as unprofessional about fun emoji expressions in our communications. It makes me feel more like I can be myself with them. I think that’s what O’Koniewski was getting at.
Of course, the notion of communicating with emojis may not suit everyone, and at least it’s good for a little laugh. As session moderator Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, said: “I usually put skulls and martini glasses in my texts. I don’t know what that would say to a client.”