Don't *star 67* yourself into oblivion

Real Estate Technology with ReachFactor - Content Marketing for Real Estate

I was interviewing a sales person last week and she made a comment I found very interesting. She said she commonly calls prospects by first dialing *67 so that it masks her caller ID. She said it helps her phone calls get through. I wondered why no one wants to pick up the phone when they know it’s her?

Crazy? No, I’m sure lots of sales people do this. Will she get the job? Never.

Here’s why.

Great sales people don’t have to use *67 because they’re great at adding value. In the first connection or meeting with a prospect they ask questions and listen. They are really good at understanding people’s problems and needs. Then they think night and day about how they can solve those problems. Then they follow up.

Good sales people get past the caller ID filter because their reputation is not that of a ‘salesperson’ it’s that of a ‘consultant.’

There are several sales people I love hearing from because they come with information and advice to help me solve my problems. When I recognize their phone number I pick up the phone. Sure, most of the time they’re selling something, but I know that good advice does not come free and usually they pitch something that’s directly related to the problems I’ve got.

Do you know how many times I pick up the phone when the call comes from ‘anonymous’? None.

I’ve noticed while reading real estate agent reviews that good real estate agents all seem to listen and solve problems. They’re perceived as consultants not ‘sales people.’ If you’ve gone on a listing presentation and you’re not getting called back, and you find yourself constantly using *67 I say stop wasting your time re-think how you approach your business.

In this transparent world we live in the tactics that drive you to use *67 will eventually make you obsolete.


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Alan Orman
Cherry Hill and South Jersey Realtor, RE/MAX Main St. Realty - Cherry Hill, NJ

I agree, I think it sets a bad tone as if you are masking your identity to trick someone into answering your call.  I never answer blocked calls for that reason and certainly will not use that tactic.  Great point.

Mar 17, 2011 04:07 AM #11
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

I do not answer "unknown caller". Why would I expect anyone else would?  Good post,

Mar 17, 2011 04:13 AM #12
Cory Barbee
San Diego, CA
Broker (760) 563-4022

I can think of several way to generate leads outside of *67....AR being one of them !!

Mar 17, 2011 04:21 AM #13
Irina Netchaev
Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc. - Pasadena, CA
Pasadena CA Real Estate

Talk about a "secret agent"!  Weird approach!

Mar 17, 2011 04:31 AM #14
Jim Poole
Tampa, FL
Zero Down, USDA Purchase Loans, FHA 203(K) Rehab & VA Streamline Loans

I pick up blocked calls on occasion but I already have a chip on my shoulder by the time I answer the call. No one likes to be made a fool of so I don't reccomend it as a way to sell yourself or your product.

Mar 17, 2011 04:41 AM #15
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

There are times that blocking your name and number is advisable . . .  this is not one of them!  Why would anyone want to speak to someone who has blocked their identity?  This speaks volumes about this person and how she feels about her business.

Mar 17, 2011 04:50 AM #16
Roland Woodworth
Q Realty - Clarksville, TN
Q Realty - Power In Real Estate

I always hate when I recieve calls that block the number. It is nice to know who is calling even if you don't who who they are or why they would be calling. :)

Mar 17, 2011 04:53 AM #17
Ritu Desai
Samson Properties - Ashburn, VA
Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949

I am with your ...I never answer calls from UNKNOWN NUMBER OR BLOCKED IDS....preassume they will waste my time.

Mar 17, 2011 05:00 AM #18
Christianne O'Malley
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Reno, NV
Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno!

She's just trying to get around the Do Not Call list, wouldn't you say?

Mar 17, 2011 05:19 AM #19
Kimberly Thurm
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff, Naperville, IL - Naperville, IL
Broker / Relocation Consultant ABR, CRS, GRI, SFR

I agree, I do not think that sets up anything that is build-able.  A Telemarketer is a Telemarketer!! Someone you try to avoid....   I have been a "Consultant" for over 25 years (I keep that as part of my title).

Mar 17, 2011 05:20 AM #20
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation

The surest way to identify a sales call is to check caller ID and see "unavailable" as the caller.

Mar 17, 2011 05:42 AM #21
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Suresh -- I never pickup the phone when it says private caller.  I know others who do and have gotten the rare client from it.  99% of the time, it's a telemarketer or someone who is so suspicious of agents hounding them, that it's a waste of time.  I'm big on transparency, both ways.

Mar 17, 2011 06:17 AM #22
Laura Sargent
Carolina One Real Estate - Mount Pleasant, SC

How interesting!  She is so stuck looking at a tree she's missing the forest!  If I answer a call from someone I don't want to talk to... I can professionally end the call and I'm sure her calls get ended quite often.

Mar 17, 2011 07:18 AM #23
Suresh Srinivasan
ReachFactor - Content Marketing for Real Estate - Danville, CA

The comments here about 'identity' and Chris, yours about 'transparency' got me thinking how caller ID and the *67 seems in many ways to have been the beginnings of reputation management -- just that the phone number was the proxy for our identity. There's definitely a different impression left by a sales person who constantly uses *67 vs. another who is transparent with their phone #.

I think that agents who embrace the concept of transparency whether via social media, ratings & reviews, actively blogging about their motivations, etc. will ultimately gain from being so open.

Thanks everyone for chiming in!

Mar 17, 2011 07:34 AM #24
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Apex, NC
Raleigh - Cary Triangle Real Estate 919-602-8489

Suresh, I agree.  I don't answer those calls either.  And although we keep a land line, I rarely see a call come through that isn't a telemarketer.


Mar 17, 2011 09:04 AM #25
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA Lepic-Kroeger REALTORS - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist

I agree that the unknown numbers/anonymous ones get filtered to voicemail.  If it is a local number that I do not recognize, however, I will answer it whenever possible, i.e. when I am not with a client at that time.  I think that it is important to remember that we are bombarded by charitable organizations, political campaigning, telemarketers.....*67 is just not fooling anyone!  Great perspective and advice...I hope that she took it to heart!

Mar 17, 2011 09:37 AM #26
Melanie Dawn Molina Wood
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Miami, FL

Interesting article Suresh. I am exactly the opposite. I will not answer calls when their number is blocked. I find it very odd that the agent you spoke with felt it was a better approach.

Mar 17, 2011 10:46 AM #27
Toni Hogan - Houston, TX

Her "logic" (used loosely) is baffling to me for the reasons that many have already stated. Using *67 is no more effective than sending emails using BCC: or from I just realized my emails FROM my "info" address go to spam regardles of whom I am sending to. I have to remember to change it when I am sending. I wonder if she tells that story in all of her interviews.

Mar 17, 2011 11:41 AM #28
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

I never pick up if it is caller UNKNOWN. Period. 

Mar 17, 2011 11:53 AM #29
Renée Donohue
Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Broker -

Either people want to talk to me or they don't - not tricking them into it!

Apr 26, 2011 01:48 PM #30
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