Taking cell phone calls while with clients/customer

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty

Cell Phone I often find it amazing when I see agents walking around with clients/customers in the middle of demonstrating a home stop and answer their cell phone. Do they say excuse me? No, not these agents.

I know there are many reasons why we need to answer our phone. It could be we need to take a call from another agent we are meeting later on or we are waiting for more information about a house we are showing with these clients.

What about the agent that is sitting in the conference room writing a contract and stops to chit chat with a buddy. Is this rude or what? I see it all the time and I wonder what the clients are thinking.

A couple of weeks ago I had to meet an agent at a property he was showing in order to drop off an escrow check on a sale we put together. I pulled up in front of the house and waited for him to come out.

He exits the house on his cell phone which cracked me up and I get out of my car to hand him the check. He is still talking and talking to me at the same time. I just chuckled inside.

I am thinking where are his buyers? Out of the corner of my eye I notice the listing agent walking from the back yard with her phone in her ear. Where are the buyers? At least five minutes go by and both agents are still on their phones and then finally the buyers come walking out of the house.

Both agents say they have to run to whoever they were talking to and then they say goodbye. Everyone mingles in the middle of the street and off we all go.

I guess I might be "old school" but then again I wonder how the buyers felt being left alone to wander on their own while the agents are chit chatting. I guess I wouldn't mind being left alone to talk to my wife about the property but if my agent was taking phone calls that had nothing to do with us, that would bother me.

I feel if you are going to take a phone call then that phone call should be about the clients/customer, not about what tee time you have to make tomorrow or about your girlfriend taking little Johhny to the dentist.

If it's an emergency from home that is understandable and please keep your phone on silent. It's all about the client/customer not you.



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Sandi Tomas, GRI Principal Broker AllStar Brokers

A past boss used to answer her phone everytime we were in an "important" meeting.  I finally got fed up, stood up and walked out telling her that she could call me on her cell and we could meet that way.  It never happened again.  Customer service is sadly just about a thing of the past.  It is extremely rude and disrespectful to answer your phone while you're with a client (unless it's a call that pertains to them).  It makes them feel that they're not important enough for your time. 

Jun 12, 2008 05:46 AM #116
Ricardo Cobos
SunTrust Mortgage - Raleigh, NC

I am of the opinion that when Iam with a client and they have given their time to me, then that time is theirs and no one elses and the only calls that should be taken are those associated with that customer. Exceptions should be noted in advance.

Taking other calls is tantamount to visiting your attorney and having him/her consulting another client in the office while you are there. Imagine ladies if you are seeing your OB/GYN and in the chair next to you is another woman having her yearly pap! Yuck! Or guys over 40, you know, get in a line and cough all at once. Really it sounds ridiculous, but is it any different?

Think about it, Realtors are supposed to be handing the single largest transaction a person generally ever makes in their life. Can't you give that person 100% of your time? Aren't they worth it? Afterall, you ARE getting paid aren't you?

I am not a doctor or a lawyer but under most circumstances I make just as much as some. I am a professional and I expect to get paid 100% of my commissions whenI have earned them, but at the end of the day, if you dont act like a pro, you will never be percieved as one either.


thanks for the great post!

Jun 12, 2008 05:51 AM #117
sharona Hannuka

Hi Jay,

 It is a great post and you are right. I am a mother of two and I have to have my cell phone handy but When I am with a client,I am there totaly. If I happen to have an important call at least I apologise to the agent nad clients nad take the call. THat is the cell phone part ,but have you noticed that  people hardly  answer your hello on the phone? That really  is a killer, very rude.

 Anyway thank you for the nice post.

Sharona Hannuka

Du Rite Realty,


Jun 12, 2008 06:08 AM #118
Mary Ellen Elmore
Nunnelly, TN

I wrote a blog about this very issue from the standpoint of a Notary Signin Agent.

Lenders and Title Companies demand you not answer your cell during a closing, then get angry when you do not answer it.

My blog about this issue can be found here.

I agree, get the phone out of your ear when you are involved with business.

My voice mail greeting now states, "I am at the closing table. Please call my office at 615-378-1071 and speak to Marvin to schedule your closing."

I still loose closings over not answering my cell while I am at the table with someone else, but my honor stays intact.

Jun 12, 2008 07:26 AM #119
Katie Gay (Heritage House/Sotheby's, Rumson, NJ)

I totally agree with you.  I think when you are with clients you should be serving your clients and focus on them and their needs.   Would you want a cashier at a store on her phone while ringing you up?  In these times everyone feels the need to be accessible 24/7.  I believe there is something to be said for too accessible.  It think it makes you look cheap, dropping anyone at anytime for a call.  I am just one year into the business and would never think twice about putting my phone on silent, unless it was an expected call pertaining to my clients.  So I guess I am 'old school' and wouldn't have it any other way.

Jun 12, 2008 07:44 AM #120
A&M Mortgage Group: Larry Penilla
A&M Mortgage Group - Merrillville, IN
Northwest Indiana Mortgages - Home Loans

Great post Jay!

Obviously, you've struck a chord many of us are in tune to. I guess there are a lot of us "old schoolers" around. Cell phone etiquette is another thing they just don't teach you in school. You either get it -- or you don't. I also agree that the customer I'm serving is #1. I just wish they would always show the same respect.


All good wishes,

Larry Penilla



Jun 12, 2008 07:46 AM #121
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

Judging by the amount of comments and the'featured post'.........its a pet peeve a lot of people have...........probably the number one for me!  When I'm meeting with someone, Realtor, client, who ever.............we have a scheduled appointment and that person should be the priority.......an emergency call yes - but I put my phone on silent and only look at it should they go to the washroom or something!  Back to etiquette, I gues Emily Post's book should be rewritten!  :-)

Jun 12, 2008 08:31 AM #122
Doreen Johan
RE/MAX Sunset Coast - Saint Joseph, MI
Sunset Coast Michigan

RIGHT ON!  Old School Rocks!  I have had other agents ansewr a phone call at the closing table........how rude!  Manners and focus are needed!

Jun 12, 2008 08:52 AM #123
Rob Proctor

Jay...totally agree. So much so  that most of the time my phone is OFF so the silent vibrate dosen't get my attention and stop focusing on my clients.

Jun 12, 2008 09:11 AM #124
Maria Holland
RE/Max Elite, ABR,GRI, CDPE, SFR - Brentwood, TN
Realtor, ABR, GRI, CDPE, SFR

I really try and stay off of my phone when I am with a client.  I keep it on vibrate so that I can monitor who calls.  If it is one of my children, I excuse myself and answer it.  If it is about a property to be shown later that day, I will answer it.  Everyone else usually goes to voice mail and I return their phone call when I am not in tight quarters of a car with another client.  It is very unprofessional to discuss another client's contract or details of an offer in front of another client.  I try to be respectful of everyone while still being respectful.  When I do get a minute, I check my voice mail and return their phone calls  ASAP.  Good customer courtesy seems to be a lost art in our society.

Jun 12, 2008 09:42 AM #125
Nancy Schumacher, Re/Max PowerCentral, Medford, NJ

The person we are with should receive our undivided attention.  The person on the telephone should wait his turn!

Jun 12, 2008 11:25 AM #126
Amy H. Guinn

Good blog.  What amazes me is the number of people/agents who talk on the phone IN THE RESTROOM.  They aren't just looking in the mirror, they are actually USING THE RESTROOM!  Talk about tacky!  Yuck!  I can't believe it every time it happens. 

Jun 12, 2008 03:31 PM #127
Greg Vogel
ICOR - Fort Collins, CO

Dang cell phones.  My vote is to at least excuse yourself if you HAVE to take a call when with a client.

Jun 13, 2008 04:07 AM #128
Maria Picardi Kenyon
Re/Max Tri County - Hamilton, NJ

I couldn't agree more.  The client needs to come first.  On one occasion I had to meet the agent at the home due to the sellers request and when the buyers saw their agent not being very attentive they called me later in the week and asked if I would work with them.  Clients want and deserve personalized service and should always feel they are #1.

Jun 13, 2008 05:53 AM #129
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

I will answer my phone when I'm with a client but only if it's about them or I am in the middle of negotiating a contract. In busniness, some calls just can't wait. But if I think that might happen, I always prepare the person I'm with and ask for their understanding. I tell them I will do the same for them if and when it become nessessary on thier behalf. And I keep the conversation as brief as possible always keeping confidentiality of the person on the phone in mind. If you handle it in a professional manor, everyone wins.

Jun 13, 2008 01:52 PM #130
Ellie Benda

As a licensed professional real estate associate I was shocked when the head of a team I was associated with answered a cell phone in the middle of a listing presentation.  I'm not sure who was more shocked; me or the seller.  Needless to say that stopped the whole presentation and I did not get a listing.  I realize there are occasions when one must answer but it should be very rare.

Jun 16, 2008 09:48 AM #131
Tatyana Sturm
Exit Realty DTC - Aurora, CO
Denver Realtor, GRI, Denver/ Aurora CO Relocation

There are times when you are with a client that you may need to answer your phone, but excuse yourself and the apologize and let them know that you appreciate thier patience and keep moving along, but don't make it habit, that is why we have vm.

Jun 23, 2008 03:42 PM #132
Amie Varney
Prudential Verani Realty - Epping, NH

Hey Jay:


I couldn't agree more.  Most of the time I leave my phone in the car while in a house.  Of course there are exceptions to every rule.  Today, for instance, I was expecting a call from a client that had to be taken.  I excused myself, went outside and was back inside in just a few short minutes.  The customers I was with I have been working with for (gulp) 7 months and they were fine.  I do usually have my phone with me when my kids are at home alone as well but they will usually send me a text and know not to call unless it's an emergency. 

Jul 24, 2008 10:47 AM #133
Sasha Miletic - Windsor Real Estate
RE/MAX Preferred Realty Ltd. - Windsor, ON

Hi Jay,

I totally agree with you. LOL. Different post.


Best  -Sash

Jan 05, 2010 01:34 PM #134
Paul Gapski
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty - El Cajon, CA
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo

I agree how rude, they should ignore it or tell the caller im with a clients and ill callu back

Mar 06, 2012 01:18 AM #135
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