Please slow down!

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

This message could be for those folks who barrel down the middle of our little country road, endangering dogs, calves who escape their fences, and even oncoming cars.

But… those people don’t visit Active Rain, so this is a different message.

This is about slowing down when leaving messages on answering machines.

I would think that real estate professionals, wanting their potential clients to return their calls, would habitually slow down, enunciate clearly, and put enough volume in their voices to be heard clearly.

But that is not always the case. At least it isn’t always the case with agents who call me withplease stop racing to get those words out! regard to my prospecting letter sets or to discuss having custom real estate copy written.

Some act as if they're in a race to get those words out - perhaps so they can move on to the next call?

Sometimes I have to replay a message 3 or 4 times before I can figure out a name and a phone number. And sometimes I’m still unsuccessful. There are a few people out there in the world who think I’m some kind of rude jerk for not returning their call.

Sometimes my answering machine picks up the phone number of the person who called – and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I can get enough of the number to see that it’s different from the number he or she used when calling. I can try calling that – but it’s likely to be an agency number, and since I couldn’t understand the caller’s name, I usually don’t call.

It seems a bit awkward to call a brokerage tht might have 50 agents to say “Someone at your number called me, but I don’t know who it was. May I please speak to that person.”

You may be racing to make a dozen calls in the next hour, but if you’re leaving a phone message, please:

Speak up! Usually it’s ladies who speak so softly that my machine doesn’t catch all the words, but some men also speak very softly. A few times I’ve found myself with my ear next to the machine, trying hard to hear the words.

Slow down – way down. Many people naturally talk fast, and I’ve found that many who doWhen leaving messages, make like a turtle. Go slowly so have some sort of pronounced accent. In person we can ask them to repeat something, but the answering machine doesn’t do that. Speak your name slowly, one word at a time. Then recite your phone number, one clear number at a time, with a slight pause between numbers. Instead of onetwo, say one, two.

Enunciate – especially if you have an accent. And, before you take offense, I’ve been told that ALL of us have a bit of an accent.

I’m in North Idaho, in a little town not far across the Washington / Idaho border from Spokane, Washington. One of my friends moved to Southern California. While chatting with another woman in a grocery store line she was interrupted by a gentleman who said “Excuse me, but are you by any chance from Spokane?” She said she was from a place very near there and he replied that he could tell by her accent. She was startled, because she didn’t think she had an accent.

The bottom line: Make it easy for people to hear and understand your messages. If you don’t, you very likely won’t get a return call.

 

Turtle Image courtesy of japanachai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Racing business men Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Rainmaker
3,633,359
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Marte. Once again you have hit the nail on the head. True, true, true.

Sep 07, 2019 06:38 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,543,496
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Grant Schneider - and when you can't understand one or more digits in a phone number... the game's over.

Thanks Sheila Anderson - This post was prompted by one of those messages - I couldn't understand either the name or all the digits in the phone number.

Sep 07, 2019 09:07 AM #14
Rainmaker
184,815
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Good point.  People who leave fast and unintelligible messages often are not worth dealing with!  (ending in a preposition!)  Thanks, Marte!

Sep 07, 2019 09:14 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,543,496
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

John Henry Hmmm... I never thought about it from that angle.

As for the preposition - the belief that it's wrong to end a sentence with one is an old wives tale. Or rather, an old high school English teacher's tale. Check out what Grammar Girl has to say: https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/ending-a-sentence-with-a-preposition

Note that she says it's OK as long as the preposition isn't extraneous - which means it's still not proper to say "Where are you at?"

Sep 07, 2019 09:22 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,086,195
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Clearly this is a common problem. I called an agent yesterday and her voicemail asked that callers repeat their name and phone number twice. She was definitely older, but it did make me slow down and be more cognizant.

Sep 07, 2019 12:12 PM #17
Rainmaker
1,543,496
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Margaret Goss Asking people to repeat themselves isn't a bad idea. If I don't think about it, I'll recite my phone number as if it was all one word. Because of my frustration at trying to understand the messages I get, I do slow down and state the numbers one at a time - and sometimes twice.

It's funny how my machine will sometimes capture the numbers and other times not. I've come to believe that all electronics are infested with Gremlins.

Sep 07, 2019 12:49 PM #18
Rainmaker
755,382
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I have a tendancy to speak fast when I get nervous. I have to make a conscious effort to slow down.

Sep 07, 2019 07:06 PM #19
Ambassador
4,011,257
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte:

That's great advice, and easy to follow. I have had quite a few calls when I could not understand the caller, and every now and then no follow-up number is left. But how about when you call a business and you have no clue who you have reached on the voice mail, or the person answering just says hello?!

Jeff

Sep 07, 2019 09:49 PM #20
Ambassador
3,349,499
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

This is certainly sage advice, Marte! I adhere to your recommendations and do wish that others did the same. I think most agents forget that they are in business - there is such unprofessionalism in our business.

Sep 08, 2019 10:15 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,543,496
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jill Sackler As long as you know you have that tendancy, you can control it. I think some people don't realize that they're difficult to understand when they "race talk."

Jeff Dowler, CRS That does create a problem!

 

Sep 08, 2019 11:05 AM #22
Rainmaker
1,543,496
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debe Maxwell, CRS Yes, there is, and we have to wonder why. Do real estate schools not teach students that they are now business people? Or do people not understand what it means to be in business?

Sep 08, 2019 11:06 AM #23
Ambassador
3,349,499
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

I don't believe they do. Funny but, I am helping some hand-picked newbies and asked one of them to do a quick video for me, sharing their biggest take-away from the first week. 

The response, "That we are business owners - I never really thought of it like that!" 

Sep 08, 2019 11:15 AM #24
Rainmaker
1,543,496
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Good for you Debe Maxwell, CRS - you're getting the message across!

Sep 08, 2019 12:57 PM #25
Rainmaker
2,036,474
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Fort Worth, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Marte Cliff - If I have to replay a message more than once, I just delete it. If it's important, they will call again. Time is precious and once you use it, you don't get it back. I don't have time to listen to long answering machine messages and if it isn't clear I don't have time to piece together incomplete sentences and phone numbers. 

By the way, I don't always get a call back number either. 

 

Sep 10, 2019 08:18 PM #26
Rainmaker
340,489
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

Marte,

That is a good reminder for all of us. I find myself replaying messages as well.  My wife reminds me not to shuffle pages or make hand movements when leaving a message (especially cell phones) because the phones pick up the background noise.  That is true because I have gotten messages where it sounded like they were building furniture while leaving the message. 

Sep 11, 2019 08:20 AM #27
Rainmaker
1,543,496
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - time is precious! I do worry about missing clients, however, so I listen at least twice before giving up.

Dana Basiliere I've never thought about that, but I'm sure you and your wife are right.

Sep 11, 2019 11:01 AM #28
Rainmaker
469,789
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Excellent subject for today ... leaving a clear and concise mesasage is one of my pet peaves.  I go out of my way to slow down, enunciate my words and always slow down even more when leaving my phone number.  Snd then I repeat the number twice.  If everyone would do that they would get more call-backs.

Sep 11, 2019 04:48 PM #29
Rainmaker
1,543,496
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree, Diana Dahlberg - there are some people/places who won't call back no matter what you do, but there's no sense in giving them a good excuse!

 

Sep 11, 2019 07:55 PM #30
Rainmaker
3,267,069
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Keep it short...and distinct...ez to understand !

Sep 13, 2019 03:35 AM #31
Rainmaker
1,543,496
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

That's right, Sally K. & David L. Hanson - slow down, enunciate!

Sep 13, 2019 07:26 PM #32
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