Cell Phone Etiquette..It's not Just for Realtors Anymore

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio

A year or two ago when I was extremely busy and my phone was ringing off the hook, I found myself answering it all the time, at the expense of my family, friends and other clients.  As I recall, it was during a casual conversation with another agent who told me that she never answers her phone while with a client that I made a vow to do the same.

Now I must say that I rarely picked up the phone during a listing appointment but I did answer a lot while with buyer/clients. I say rarely on a listing appointment because I make one exception to not taking calls and that is if it is from my daughter.  The same is true if I am with buyer clients. I will pickup if it's my teenaged daughter.  The other exception would be if the buyers have asked me to call the listing agent to ask a question and the lister is calling me back.

But phone etiquette is not just for realtors. It's for everyone. When you answer your cell phone while with some one else, it's like saying "You're not as important as this phone call", and that is not the message I want to convey. Here are some tips for all of us and ones I try to abide by, though I am by no means perfect.
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Stay off your cell phone when you are in a line, such as in the grocery store, bank, or waiting to place a food order.

Stay off your phone while in a movie theater..sounds obvious,  but people moviesdo it all the time, and remember to set your phone to vibrate.

With new technology like bluetooth, it's great when driving but it does not need to be in your ear 24/7.

If it's difficult to get back to someone in under 30 minutes, consider a message such as, "I can't take your call right now as I may be with a client, but I'll call back as soon as I can". That lets the caller know that you value and respect your clients.

These are just a few ideas for cell phone etiquette. I'm sure you all will be able to add a few more!




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Rainmaker
796,443
Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677

Good information.  I do not have my phone in listing appointments (or with any client at any time) I make a point of telling the client that I am readily available to them, but if they go into my voicemail, it is probably because I am in an appointment, like this one, where I don't bring my phone.  However, I WILL call you back.

Apr 29, 2009 09:07 AM #1
Rainer
125,171
Sandra White
John L Scott Real Estate - Port Townsend, WA
Experienced Residential Resale Broker

Thanks for the reminder.  I have a habit of leaving my cell on vibrate when I am with clients, or in a meeting.  At least you know someone is trying to reach you, but I agree.  You have to give your clients your full attention.  You can always get back to the caller.  I hope I never have a blue tooth gadget hanging on my ear. 

I can't remember what we did without them.

Apr 29, 2009 09:09 AM #2
Rainer
425
Diane Yetman
Weichert, Realtors - Staten Island, NY

You are so right. One day I was so exausted I decide to get a pedicure. Thinking this is going to be relaxing. I sit down next to another woman who answers her cell and has a 1/2 hour conversation about almost nothing. Thank goodness the last few minutes were peaceful but...  As long as you have voice mail all is well. Everyone needs to be respected.

 

Apr 29, 2009 09:16 AM #3
Rainmaker
553,708
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Cindy, I feel I have to carry it with me as my daughter may need me but I really try to make that the only exception.

I lke the virate option too. I do own a blue tooth but try to keep that just for driving. It's a bit safer?

Diane, I never even thought of that one and that would be so annoying!

Apr 29, 2009 09:24 AM #4
Rainer
48,230
Sara Goss
HatmakerGroup.com GMAC Real Estate - League City, TX
Realtor - Houston Bay Area, Texas

A lot of conversations are private and I dislike when it seems that I am unintentionally eavesdropping, at the grocery store, etc. I prefer face to face conversations with eye contact but of course that is not always possible, especially in the real estate business where cell phones are invaluable. Quiet time is a true luxury these days.

Apr 29, 2009 09:32 AM #5
Rainmaker
207,960
Peggy Wester
Realty Executives Integrity - Grafton, WI
Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County

Could not agree with you more, Barb. I never answer the phone when I'm with a buyer/seller (except as you mention above, if the buyer asks me to contact a listing agent and they're returning the call). It just seems that basic courtesy and respect are dwindling the more technological we get. Maybe things will turn around some day...one can hope. :)

Apr 29, 2009 09:48 AM #7
Rainmaker
553,708
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Hi Sara, There's no doubt that we need them but just not all the time and you are so right about quiet time..not nearly enough of it.

Apr 29, 2009 09:48 AM #8
Rainer
14,164
Wanda Phillips
Success Investment Realty - Altamonte Springs, FL

I agree - I don't use my cell phone when I am with clients (unless we are jointly looking for an answer).  My pet peeve is when I wait patiently for my turn to make a purchase or for an appointment and then the person I was waiting for is constantly answering the phone.  I think this is the equivalent of someone barging to the front of the line.  I always wonder if I should just leave and phone in my purchase or request instead.  

Apr 29, 2009 09:51 AM #9
Rainmaker
553,708
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Peggy, I'm am more worried about our kids who don't even seem to know how to interact or act without their cell phones. It's like an extra arm that they can't live without. I set limits with my daughter and she's o.k. with that.

Apr 29, 2009 09:52 AM #10
Rainmaker
553,708
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

I know what you mean Wanda. Depending on my mood I might just leave at the store what I wanted to buy with an evil look to the salesperson LOL

Apr 29, 2009 09:58 AM #11
Rainmaker
301,963
Dan and Amy Schuman
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Solon, OH
Luxury Home Specialists

Barb, I do the same thing as you, making a point to tell clients up front that I want to give them my full attention and will only take calls if it's an emergency from the school or another agent we are waiting on. Although it's expected, I think people appreciate it if you go out of your way and say it to them.

Apr 29, 2009 10:43 AM #12
Rainmaker
553,708
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Dan, You're right and I forgot to mention that I do tell my clients that I will take a call from my daughter but only my daughter.

Apr 29, 2009 10:56 AM #13
Rainmaker
688,398
Pat Champion
Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty - Mount Dora, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

I agree with you when we are with customers unless it an emergency; I am like you if my children call it is an emergency I will answer the phone. Other than that I let the answer machine pick up.

Apr 29, 2009 11:04 AM #14
Rainer
156,952
Sandy Childs
Keller Williams Realty - Spartanburg, SC
Realtor - Spartanburg, SC

Barb: We leave our cell phones in the car when we are on listing appointments or in a buyer consultation, other than that, I answer my phone or call back as quickly as possible.

Apr 29, 2009 12:57 PM #15
Rainmaker
553,708
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Pat, We are on the same page

Sandy, I can do that also if I know my daughter is with my husband. Hope that doesn't make me sound overprotective or paranoid!

Apr 29, 2009 01:13 PM #16
Rainer
205,587
Sylvie Conde
Sutton Group-Associates Realty Inc., Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Broker, Toronto Real Estate

Barb, when I'm on a listing appointment, I turn off the volume/ring on the phone.  If a call is urgent, it will be paged through the office, and it will come in with a 'chirp', so I know it's urgent.

When I'm out with clients on showings, I only answer phone calls that have something to do with those clients (i.e., if we're waiting for confirmation on other showings, then I'll take it).

People calling will know to page me through the office, if it's urgent.  The paging system comes through my blackberry on a different ring, and also as an email. Only then will I explain the urgency, and will excuse myself to make a call.
Other than that, I give my total attention to the clients I'm with, and will return all calls as soon as I become available.

 

Apr 30, 2009 03:45 PM #17
Rainmaker
553,708
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Sylvie, You've really got your phone sytem working well for you. Way to go!

Apr 30, 2009 10:12 PM #18
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Rainmaker
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Barb Szabo, CRS

E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes
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