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Texting: when (and when not) to use it in client communications

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I wish I had a dollar for every person who asks me “Why shouldn’t I text people when that’s their preferred method of communicating?”  

It’s a good question and deserves a good answer.  I’ll give it my best shot. 

Texting has become a wonderful, convenient way to send a quick message to another person.  Unlike e-mail, it’s easy to quickly glance at. You don’t have to do much more than look at your phone.

Related: Scheduling appointments: Stop typing and start talking

A large percentage of the population texts regularly. And, yes, it’s a preferred and fast way to make plans, tell someone an important message, etc.  

The financial services industry is highly regulated. If you are a registered rep, you must follow the rules of FINRA.  And the rule is that texting is not allowed.  Unfortunately, FINRA can’t change its rules as fast as our technology changes.  

Most of the managers I know have come to a reasonable way of handling this challenge: You can text the logistics of an appointment. But that’s it.  For example: If you are running late, the best way to insure clients know you’re late is to text them.  

Use texting to help get a “phone date,” but do not use it to set the actual appointment.  I get a lot of flak about that from young advisors who primarily text their friends and truly do not speak on the phone to them. 

If you are in this business, you need to start training your friends and clients on the limitations of your industry. Therefore, if friends or clients start to have a conversation by texting, I recommend you immediately call them (they have their phone in their hands if they’re texting you, right?) and let them know you have to speak to them because the texted conversation has surpassed what you are allowed to do. 


Technology gives you another way of reaching out to a prospect or referral.  But it is not as effective as a verbal, in-real-time, phone call.  Your voice and inflection are critical

I won’t bother to spend time on misunderstood texts and emails.  Don’t take that chance with your clients.

Besides, how do you overcome their questions and problems when you aren’t speaking in real time together? It’s impossible.  Don’t expect an email or text to be as persuasive as a real person. 

Keep technology in perspective. Use it sparingly and as a tool to get a phone date.  Anything more will be less effective than your personality shining through on the phone. 

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