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It's Not JUST A Numbers Game ...

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Award BRE # 01924314

In a business polluted with sales “professionals” it’s so important that we create efficiencies in our day wherever possible. BUT, can you be too efficient?


I would argue … YES!


Nina Hollander wrote a wonderful blog about the Carolina MLS warning folks about calling on expired listings, making sure to check the MLS status before you make a call and an note about the Do Not Call Registry (See her blog here: http://actvra.in/4Mvy) and it got me thinking … when the FTC has to start creating things like the Do No Call Registry … maybe it’s because we (and real estate isn’t the only guilty industry) are trying to get TOO much done in a day.


I get it, life isn’t getting any less expensive but sometimes sales people press so hard that they lose their authenticity.


An example? SURE! Auto Dialers! Have you heard of them? Are you using them? Look, I’m not knocking those who use an auto dialer but when one uses an auto dialer … they’re in some ways saying “you’re on my list for a reason and that’s all the info I need.” What happened to doing the research? What happened to making an informed call? You’re just calling on expired listings because some third party site is telling you that’s the current status of the home … but did you look it up on the MLS before you called ... is the information you PURCHASED even accurate? Maybe not, because we often are too trusting in the third party vendors that we are buying data from and instead of using the data as a starting point we look at it like the Bible and just assume all of the information to be true and accurate.


It’s the same as the Do Not Call Registry … the fines can be up to $16,000 PER OFFENSE! Did you look at the FTC site BEFORE you started auto-dialing … or just “regular” dialing for that matter? Shortcuts can get you into trouble.


SERIOUSLY, take a look at https://www.ftc.gov/ and read the fifty or so pages about the Do Not Call Registry. Even gotten a pre-recorded message that never rang into your phone? Yeah, stuff about that is on there too. In fact, I had a loan officer trying to earn business and “give us access to this great new system that allows a caller to ‘not bother’ someone and gives you back door access to their voicemail so you can go straight there and leave a pre-recorded message with thousands of prospective leads at the same time … if you want to.” Sounded like it was TOO easy so I did some homework … and did you know that according to the FTC it’s a violation to leave such messages whether the recipient of the message is on the Do Not Call Registry or not?! Yeah … I called the loan officer back … he was a little ehhhhh about the call at first but I got one back a few days later with a big “thank you” and he stopped a whole campaign because he didn’t want to risk the fine but didn’t realize he couldn’t make those calls at the time. Just because the service is available doesn’t mean that you can use it … maybe you think it was created for your great little campaign but it’s also possible that multi-billion dollar corporations could use such services and have a qualified reason to do so … again … just because it’s out there, doesn’t mean it’s for you and doesn’t mean it’s intended for your purposes. REMEMBER, the vendor is selling a system but YOU THE COMSUMER/BUYER are the required party to ensure you are using that system within the boundaries of the law … YOU ARE LIABLE! Don’t be “THAT guy.”


There is more than one way to contact a lead … so instead of just saying “oh, sorry … the data I received must not be up to date … I’ll make sure to take you off my list” how about just respect the Do Not Call Registry participants to begin with and stop making Sellers feel like victims and leave them feeling like all agents are just “dirty vultures.”


The end message is just that perhaps there are times we need to stop looking at this business like a “numbers game” and start looking at it more like an “authenticity game.” SLOW DOWN, do your homework … don’t be afraid to make ten less phone calls and dial the number manually but maybe actually know a little more about the prospect so you can add better value to your calls.


YES, there are plenty out there that have made their millions being ruthless … and don’t get me wrong … I’m trying to get there too but I’d rather have my prospective clients have a different experience with me and if that means I work with a few less then fine because their word on referrals will likely be a stronger one than those that got pounded by phone calls for two weeks straight.


So, it's a numbers game YES ... but it's not JUST a numbers game. Do your homework, be authentic and play the game with an educated mind! Let's bring some humanity back to this business.


Good luck out there and HAPPY SELLING!!!


Blue Skies,

James Hoff

Thomas McCombs
Century 21 HomeStar - Akron, OH

You wrote a good, well thought out post. Thank you for that.

I did not know that the direct to voicemail services could be a problem. I will have to check in to that. I have not used one, but I have  considered it.

Jan 12, 2016 08:37 AM
James Hoff
Century 21 Award - Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
Real Agents Work

Thanks Thomas McCombs ... Check out the link below. It discusses it in great detail ... along with the rest of the types of sales calls you can make. Also, found it interesting that one can make calls to someone EVEN if they are on the Do Not Call Registry so long as they have not asked you specifically to not call them and assuming you have had an established business relationship over the past "x" period of time. I think this stuff is great to read and knowledge is power so check it out. Pretty cool stuff in my eyes.


Jan 12, 2016 09:04 AM
Jeanne Gregory
RE/MAX Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
The most important home I sell is YOURS!

I recently had a buyer who was transferred to Philadelphia and then was offered her dream job back here in Houston.  She jumped at it!  We took the house off the market and less than one day later and agent IN MY OFFICE called her at 7:45 in the morning.  She had bought the information and used an auto dialer.  My client was a bit less than happy and I confronted the agent.  Vulture is a correct term.  She hardly let the body get cold. 

Jan 12, 2016 09:52 AM
James Hoff

Not just that Jeanne Gregory but even though most of us work for ourselves under a brokerage ... many "consumers" don't understand the separation between our respective businesses ... the agent technically doesn't have an obligation to check in with you but what would be the disadvantage. I don't mind the not letting the body get cold ... and I mean that honestly as I have campaigned for listings of deceased home owners ... but doing research and knowing the situation is better. In this agents case, just a quick check to see who the previous agent was and reaching out to you may have avoided a bad taste in your client's mouth. I also think she made your brokerage look bad because it appears to show a disconnect between the agents there. Thank you for your comment. Quite frustrating indeed.

Jan 13, 2016 12:52 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Auto dialers are one reason I let almost all my calls go to voice mail. If I look and see a "real person" there I pick up. If I don't recognize the number I listen to see if someone "real" is talking. Nine times out of ten, it's a "junk call" even though we're on the do not call list. 

I could go through the hassle of reporting them, but... that's not how I want to spend my time. 

Jan 12, 2016 12:18 PM
James Hoff

Thanks for the comment Marte Cliff ... Even as an agent, sometimes I'll intentionally screen the call to find no message or a recorded message. So much garbage. There hardly seems an appeal for an honest days work anymore. But, I'm one of the lucky ones ... I actually LOVE what I do so working "hard" sometimes feels like I'm hardly working.

On a side note, I may need to know more about your writing for agents and all that it entails. Perhaps there would be an opportunity for us to work together.

Jan 13, 2016 12:56 AM
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Good advice. I get so many robo calls a day that it is an irritation. This has given me a bias.

We need to show some respect for the people we contact.

Jan 12, 2016 12:39 PM
James Hoff

Very much agreen John Wiley ... someone once told me (with respect to door knocking) ... "Hey, I don't door knock. When is the last time you had a doctor or lawyer come knocking at your door looking for business? Probably never ... right? AND, I make more money than they do so why the hell would I knock? I have too much respect for my prospective clients than to harass them."

Jan 13, 2016 12:59 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

It is a people business and we need to know the people we are working with and marketing to.  Now there is always a first contact, but even that generally comes from relationship building; blogging, referral or somewhere else.

Jan 13, 2016 08:22 AM
James Hoff

I agree Gene Riemenschneider but even if it comes from outside of a sphere the fact is we can all still make a stranger feel like they are speaking to a human :-) you are spot on Sir!

Jan 14, 2016 02:55 PM
MaryBeth Mills Muldowney
TradeWinds Realty Group LLC - Braintree, MA
Massachusetts Broker Owner

I receive so many unsolicited calls each day in my office that I have a very difficult time making a call that has not a true value to the party on the other end.  Thank you for a thought provoking post.


Jan 13, 2016 11:21 AM
James Hoff

Thanks for the comment MaryBeth Mills Muldowney ... you're right. All of these other "crap" calls make the rest of us struggle to get someone feel like we are just some other sales pitch. Ugh.

Jan 14, 2016 02:57 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Another well done post, James. Nothing turns off a potential client more than being at the receiving end of a robocall or someone calling who did not do any kind of research.  

Jan 17, 2016 04:05 AM
James Hoff

Thanks Kathy Streib 

Jan 17, 2016 05:13 AM