Phone Etiquette

The following thought came to me today: “There are times as Realtors when we wonder how others in this business ever stay in business!”

Without appearing too negative, I would like to touch on a few “pet peeves” that I’m sure you’ll recognize. I think we can become a cut above the rest of the crowd, whether it is in our real estate career or our personal life, by simply adjusting our approach with people.

Some of these things I have been doing for years, others I am still working on. The bottom line for all of us is that we do the work required to be successful. Too many times people are afraid to share their successes in the event that someone may surpass them in this so called “race.” My philosophy is to help push others up the ladder, rather than step on them as I make my way to the top!

Phone Etiquette -- (The Good, The Bad and/or The Ugly)
1. I called an agent regarding his listing for the second time and was directed straight to his voice mail. I left a very detailed message and then waited for his return call. Five hours later I still hadn't heard back so I called again only to hear that his message box was FULL….. are you kidding me!? Unless there is a REALLY terrific reason, like a near death situation, we should NEVER let this happen!

2. Occasionally I will get the “your mailbox is almost full” recording, and I am all about trying to get through those messages in an effort to free up space as soon as possible. If someone doesn’t get a hold of you on the first call they are already frustrated--then to get a voice message is discouraging--but you are going to lose business if people hear “this voice mail box is full.”

3. The really loud music that we, as callers, are forced to listen to “while our party is being reached” – we need to be considerate of those older clients and/or agents, (I speak as an older one!) who are not sure if it is a rock group or an advertisement for a really great night club!!

4. The message on the other end is very, very long and says that person will call you back immediately, and you wait and wait and wait…… then you call them back and yes, you got it, their mail box is full!

5. You reach a voice message that is so garbled and/or they give you another number to call that you can’t understand because they say it so fast!

Here are a few tips that I think will make a real difference. I do this myself and have had a lot of clients and agents respond positively.

1. Change your voice mail daily (yes, I really do this) if you just can’t seem to do that then please make sure you have a pleasant generic message. (have someone critique it for you) Mine simply says “Hi this is Sue with RE/MAX Metro, today is (the date), please leave your name, phone number and message or send me a text or email and I will get back to you as soon as possible.” I added the text and email because I have a BlackBerry and sometimes that is the fastest way to get to me. If I am going to be out of town or even gone for the day, I put this on a voice mail with another agent’s name and number if the caller needs immediate help. Another important thing to remember when you are setting up your voice mail – please listen to it carefully, have someone else listen to it until you get the hang of routinely changing your message.

2. MOST importantly RETURN calls or texts as soon as you can. We are all in a service oriented business, if clients and/or agents can’t get us to call them back regarding listings, contracts, etc then how in the world can we offer them terrific service, think about it!

3. Try to put a smile on your face and then it will transfer to your voice, it makes a huge difference to the person on the other end of the line!

4. Please be honest – don’t say to people that you tried to call them and that you have left messages or they are hard to get a hold of when in fact you may have only tried to call once…..I have had people tell me this, I know it isn't true because (1) I almost always answer my phone (2) I return ALL of my voice mail messages.

I know there are a lot of other items that fall into phone etiquette – hopefully some of you will comment with your problems and/or solutions. This is one of our greatest tools – study it and use it to your advantage!

Wishing success to you all!

Sue Benson

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