How's Your Phone Voice?

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Like most of you, I talk to other real estate agents on the phone pretty regularly. Some in the course of my real estate business, some in the course of my writing, training & speaking

And I tell ya - there are a lot of unfriendly voices out there.

Within an hour the other day I spoke with two different agents, about two totally different topics. The first was calling me to ask about some Open House signs I had listed on Craigslist. He was distant and dismissive and didn't seem much interested in having a conversation with me. The second was calling for information on a listing and she was delightful. The kind of voice you'd like to ask to meet you for Happy Hour, and be pretty sure you'd have a wonderful time.

Last week, I participated in a couple of Real Estate Week online seminars in which all participants had the opportunity to chat one-on-one with other participants on the call. The difference among the various voices I was matched up with was striking. Some of the voices were hesitant and unsure; some were bold and somewhat abrasive and a few were warm and inviting. I naturally have fond memories of the warm & inviting voices; not so fond memories of the others.

Hey, I'm the last one to tell someone to change who they are, but it's a fact that many of your clients and prospects are going to judge you by your phone voice. Of all the real estate agents I've spoken with on the phone this week, only two or three of them would have inspired me to pursue a professional relationship with the person, had I been in the market for a real estate agent.

If you can stand it, record some of your phone conversations. Then listen... and see how you feel about both the warmth and confidence of this person (that would be you!). Try to be objective - I know it's hard - on one hand you hate the sound of your voice, but on the other, it's tough to admit that perhaps you sound a bit unsure or conversely, brash.

You might also pay closer attention to the people you speak with on the phone, whether they're in the biz or not. What is your impression of this person? That they're confident? Competent? Caring? Knowledgeable? Or bored, scared or clueless?

It sounds trite, but if you stand up (or sit up) straight when you talk on the phone, put your shoulders back and smile, your phone voice will improve exponentially.

By the way, I met the afore-mentioned "distant and dismissive" agent in person later in the day, and he was quite pleasant in person. But that phone voice... ugh!





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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Linda Lipscomb 04/26/2009 07:45 AM
  2. Bob Volanti 05/02/2009 03:13 AM
  3. Donna Foerster 04/15/2012 03:03 AM
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Tim Monciref - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

I have to pace all over the office or my home.  I look like a nerd, but I sound in complete control with a very positive voice.  Now I need to learn to blog and pace......but I fall every time.....

Apr 27, 2009 10:26 AM #59
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at KW Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
Delivering Real Estate Happiness

Jennifer - Great reminder !  I always try to be pleasant even when I am in a bad mood.  Sometimes after I speak with someone (on a rough day) I will ask Stephanie if I was mean to that person just to make sure : ) .  This is a critical point in dealing with consumers.  And speaking with Agents is a great practice.  ~ Chris

Apr 27, 2009 11:34 AM #60
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Guilty as charged, that is why years ago I stopped answering the phone when I was rushed or hurried in anyway.

Apr 27, 2009 11:50 AM #61
Harrison Painter
GoGladiator Media - Carmel, IN
New Media Consultant

Have you ever had the person who just answers the phone: "Hello?" (In a voice as if you were interfering w/ their day)

I just called a guy who did this to me, and I asked him if this was _________ Realty? He was very rude, and said, "Well, you called the number didn't you?"

What did I do? I hung up! LOL

Phone skills are HUGE, and people need to take them seriously!

Thanks for sharing!

- Harrison

Apr 27, 2009 12:26 PM #62
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

OMG- Harrison! What on earth was he thinking???? My DBF answers the phone like this sometimes (he's not self-employed thank God!) - he does it to me when he doesn't check the Caller ID first and I almost hang up on him!

Apr 27, 2009 12:44 PM #63
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age


Great post. I had a similar experience as Harrison. It's true, you can size up a person fast just by listening to their voice. I'm 99.9% of the time in a great mood. I live by, "it's just a lot more fun if your having fun?"

Sidebar: Some of the best connections I've ever made via the phone were when some disaster happened. Like knocking the phone off your desk. Pacing around the office and stepping too far from the desk so the stretch cord cataputed your phone at you. Spilled coffee on it once and shorted it out while talking. Spilled hot coffe on myself while talking and sprayed it loudly.

I didn't win them all over... but usually people get I care, I'm friendly, serious about getting the job done, yet having fun.

Again, great post... thanks for sharing...


Apr 27, 2009 12:57 PM #64
Chuck Capan
REMAX River Cities - Moline, IL
REALTOR Licensed In IL. - Moline Homes Quad Citie

I know that I do not project well on the phone  So I try to go slow as I speak and yes I will stand up to talk for the most part on business calls.

I'm a "this is Chuck" on the announcement.  I like to keep it somewhat short because I am put off by the TOO LONG of an answer.  You know the type " Hello and thank you for calling the XYZ Realty IS a terrific day how may I help you?"

Apr 27, 2009 02:18 PM #65
Cindy Bryant
Redesign Etc. Home Staging - Houston, TX
"Houston Home Staging Pros"

I talked to a lady the other day that sounded like she had been smoking for 40 years, and had a scotch on the rocks while we were least that was my perception of her.  Phone voice and inflections are definitely important.

Apr 27, 2009 02:21 PM #66
Debi Gribbin
Gloria Nilson GMAC, Princeton, NJ - Millstone Township, NJ

Hi Jennifer, entering into our spring market we do over look some of the finer details in selling Real Estate. The older we get the more set in our ways, I find it in myself we get short and annoyed with some agents or clients who are difficult to deal with. Remembering that sugar in our voice will turn anyone from a sour pie to a sweet pie.

Thanks for your reminder.

Apr 27, 2009 05:52 PM #67
Laura Gray

Jennifer - Your are so on the money with this one. I have one client who really pushes my buttons and after the eith or tenth phone call of the day he starts telling me I sound mean on the phone LOL. I guess I should really listen to what he is telling me.

Apr 28, 2009 04:45 AM #68
Laura Gray
RE/MAX Realty Group - Gaithersburg, MD

Jennifer - Your are so on the money with this one. I have one client who really pushes my buttons and after the eighth or tenth phone call of the day he starts telling me I sound mean on the phone LOL. I guess I should really listen to what he is telling me.

Apr 28, 2009 04:46 AM #69
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Hi Jennifer!  Such a huge important subject!  We had a girl work for us who used to answer the phone almost like she was just felt good and had to smile, when you heard her answer!  Makes a difference to the caller.

Al and Peggy

Apr 28, 2009 11:10 AM #70
Sue Gabriel
Cleveland, OH

I had to call our local board today - and how appropriate that's exactly how the woman who answered the phone sounded - BORED! And like I was bothering her by calling!! Excuse me, but aren't our dues paying her salary?? I know that sounds snotty, but I do my best to sound cheerful and helpful to everyone I speak with, and get pretty darn annoyed when others in the service industry don't do the same.

So struck a nerve with this one!  lol


Apr 29, 2009 02:17 PM #71
Lisa Arnold
Weichert Realtors/Forked River - Forked River, NJ

Great reminder for everyone.  I find it especially hard to keep a good phone voice when I'm leaving a message on a voicemail.  No interaction, just me saying what I need to say, just makes me go off in a monotoneous tone.

Apr 30, 2009 12:44 AM #72
Sabrina Kelley
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Woodland Park, CO
Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land

Phone + Me = weakness. I am always rushing and talking over someone or I try to shutup and let them talk and it is silence, and then, as soon as I start to speak so do they.

It is maddening and I have been aware of it for a while now. Good information from all of you.

Apr 30, 2009 07:49 PM #73
Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh
Century 21 New Millennium - Upper Marlboro, MD
A doctor who makes house calls.

My daughter was just making fun of my "phone voice" the other day.  My mom taught me well how to come across on the phone and I pride myself in always seeming interested in what is going on.  I prefer to not answer the phone when i'm distracted rather than pick up and sound dis-interested.

May 03, 2009 01:46 AM #74
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Jennifer, We spoke on the phone today while I was on lunch break from a seminar class. was my phone voice?

May 19, 2009 08:50 AM #75
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Jennifer~ You really made me stop and think about my phone voice.  What I realized is this...I'm inconsistent.  Sometimes I'm warm and inviting.  Other times I'm impatient.  Sometimes I may even sound annoyed!  Uh oh!  Guess I need to sit up straight and focus on the task at hand.  If I can't focus on the phone conversation, maybe I shouldn't be answering the phone!

Apr 15, 2012 02:57 AM #76
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

EXCELLENT point, Donna. I need to remember the same... sometimes a call comes in that I'm sure is a sales call, so I answer somewhat sullenly... and oops... most of the time it ISN'T!

Apr 15, 2012 03:10 AM #77
Liz Wallace
Century 21 Sherlock Homes - Rockville Centre, NY
Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N

This is a great post, I came from the re-blog Donna Foerster did.  You phone voice is the first impression someone has of you and it needs to be good.

Apr 15, 2012 05:11 AM #78
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