How about email? Or leave comments on blogs? Yup, my hand is up, too. We all do it, but sometimes the message isn't what we intend. Anyone could be listening or reading and be forming an opinion about us by how we communicate. Could be the media, could be your seller, or could be a future client. It's never too late for a refresher on Communication 101.
Rants. Sometimes you just have to let off steam, but if you're ever tempted to do it in a voice mail, think "Alec Baldwin." Verbal or written, words live on no matter how much we want to take them back. Rant to your friend or spouse, even write a blistering letter to someone, but don't send it for at least 24 hours. Then wait another 24. Then tear it up and move on. This is especially true about blog comments. It's very easy to get wound up about a topic and forget that you are speaking to the world. Before you hit "Submit," read your comment aloud and picture it as the lead story in your home town newspaper.
Think it through. Make sure you cover the essentials. Just yesterday, I had a very long phone message with only a first name. I am sure the person thought she left me a number, because the message ended with, "Please call me a soon a possible." I have no clue who that was, and no way to respond. If you get in the habit of saying your name and phone number at the beginning and end of the message, you're less likely to forget these essentials.
Bits and pieces - almost as frustrating as the lack of a phone number is an incomplete one. By now we all know that cell phones can hit dead spots. If you suspect that your message didn't get through, call back and repeat your name and number. Yes, you're in a hurry, but how will it save time if the person can't call you back?
Just the facts, ma'am. When you leave a phone message, keep it clear and simple. Your name, phone number, email if necessary, who you are, and what you want, especially if it's to see a specific property. Believe it or not, many of us have more than one property listed. One of the most frustrating messages to receive is "Call me, I want to show your house." What am I supposed to do with that?? The cell phone number is blocked so I can't call back, and have no idea which property we're talking about. If this person had said which house and when they wanted to show it, then said their phone number, I could have confirmed it with a return call. As it was…no sale for either of us.
Ramblin'. Get to the point! If I have three phone messages and one of them doesn't have a specific question or reason for the call, which do you think I will return last?
No response required. Some calls don't require a response such as transaction updates. "This is Margaret Rome and I will see you at 3:00 pm at Greenwood for the home inspection." A few seconds and the message is transmitted with complete information.
Who's this? Have you ever had a message on your voice mail where it's clear they didn't listen to your message first? "This is the frame shop and your order is ready for pickup." Except I don't have an order at the frame shop, they didn't leave a number so I can call and tell them their call didn't reach its destination. Before you leave a message, be sure you've got the right number. If you're not sure, dial again and listen.
Say "Thank you." Just like your Mother taught you, say thank you and compliment people who take the time to leave good, complete messages. Express your appreciation for well thought out blog comments and emails. Who doesn't like to hear appreciation?
The time saved by these very simple but common sense rules would give us more time for the real estate business and enjoying life.