A reminder: Leave clear messages

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

It happened again last week… a gentleman called and left a message asking me to return his call. But I didn’t, and I never will.

Why? Because I can’t determine what his phone number is.leaving a phone message

I think I got the first few numbers, but the last couple were garbled. In addition, my telephone either didn’t capture the number he called from, or he called from one number and wanted a call back on another. Since my phone records the numbers of the many spam calls we receive each day, I’m not going to try calling each of them in hopes of finding someone named Mario.

So – Mario thinks I can’t be bothered to return his call, when in fact I wasted considerable time listening over and over to his message, trying to learn his number. I even tried dialing some of my best guesses.

A similar call came in this morning, but this time my phone captured the number. Two of the numbers were different from what I thought I heard after listening to the message twice. This time I was lucky.

Communication demands clarity.

When you leave a phone message, slow down, speak clearly, and enunciate each number separately. My number is 208-448-1479. If I rattle off “Please call me at 2084481479,” it is much more difficult to understand than if I say “2, 0, 8, 4, 4, 8, 1, 4, 7, 9.” For good measure, repeat that number again at the end of your message.

Names aren't always easy to understand, either. But at least ifyou have the number you can call and say "Someone called me, but I couldn't catch the name." It doesn't work if you're calling a large office, as I lerned a few times. Since most have cell phones now it's not the problem it was several years ago.

Also - If you have a habit of letting the volume of your voice drop at the end of sentences, make a conscious effort not to do that. In a phone number, the last number is as important as the first one.


Image courtesy of podpad at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments (21)

Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Marte... in this "age of constant communication," it makes me crazy that we even have to remind people of this. When I leave a message I leave my phone number, enunciated very clearly, and then repeated a second time at the end of the message.

Feb 22, 2020 04:29 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Marte - This is definitely a pet peeve and one that seems so easy to solve.  So frustrating. 

Feb 22, 2020 04:50 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Oh my gosh, this frustrates me to no end. Speaking slowly and clearly definitely improves the odds of getting a call back!

Feb 22, 2020 06:08 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, Marte Cliff it's very frustrating when one needs to listen to the same message 15 times in a futile attempt to determine what the hell they're saying!!!!

Feb 22, 2020 06:12 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Marte. I am with you. If the message or number isn't clear, I no longer worry about it.

Feb 22, 2020 06:48 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Happy Saturday Marte,  This is so true and happens so often to me from people that could be future clients.  Can I reblog this down the road.


Feb 22, 2020 08:30 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 I like your "Do unto others..." My husband is hard of hearing, so generally "reads" TV. Some of the words the transcription comes up with are nonsensical and others are downright funny.

Nina Hollander I agree - no one should need a reminder. But...


Feb 22, 2020 10:17 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Michael Jacobs Yes - it takes almost no effort to slow down and speak clearly, and yet, some people race through leaving messages. If they didn't have time to talk, why did they call?

Kat Palmiotti Right. And it should be safe to assume that if they called, and if they did leave a message, they did want a call back.

Feb 22, 2020 10:20 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Barbara Todaro It IS rustrating, and I have listened to some messages darn near that many times before giving up.

Sheila Anderson You're right, of course. If there's nothing you can do about it, there's no sense in worrying.

Feb 22, 2020 10:22 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Hi Will Hamm Yes, the fact that it could be a future client is what makes it so frustrating for people like you and me!

And also yes - you're always welcome to reblog anything I write.

Feb 22, 2020 11:10 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Marte- you're absolutely right. The other day Larry asked me to listen to a message he'd received because he couldn't understand it. I listened to it as well (and I have excellent hearing) and couldn't make out the message. 

Feb 22, 2020 06:36 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kathy Streib - Sometimes you could listen 100 times and still not understand. It's frustrating!

Feb 22, 2020 06:55 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Marte Cliff - I have the same complaint! It's my pet peeve! Recently, I had some serious medical tests done. Doctor Offices now want patients to go into their portal to ask questions, get resutls, instructions, etc. I had very important questions and took my time to ask my questions as per their instructions. I got a VM. I couldn't understand the message, the name of the person who called, or the phone number. I knew for sure it was from the Doctor's office - but that is all I knew. So I called the Office. Guess what? The person at the front desk told me she'd get someone else to look at what that Nurse Practitioner said, read my notes, and get back to me. it was a transcript in broken English, poor grammar, and made no sense to me at all.

I got a new doctor. 

Feb 24, 2020 11:13 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP Good idea! I find that shocking, to say the least.

I hope your new doctor was given access to the test results so you didn't have to go through it all again.


Feb 24, 2020 11:44 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Marte Cliff - Actually, as a patient, I requested all my tests. They gave it to me with no problem. I just had to go to the Hospital in person, show ID, and wait. But it didn't take long. 

Feb 24, 2020 11:49 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is a good reminder for all of us.

Our voice mail message asks callers to repeat their phone number.

Feb 25, 2020 07:19 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Roy Kelley That's a good idea - I should change my message and make that request.

Feb 25, 2020 07:47 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Marte Cliff - I always repeat my phone number and sound it out slowly.  Because I have a name that constantly is misspelled, I spell out my name as well. My time is valuable and so is your time. You shouldn't have to waste it. 

Mar 01, 2020 07:14 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

That's my feeling exactly, Sheri Sperry - MCNE®. I really don't enjoy wasting time trying to figure out a return number. I wouldn't do it except for the fact that it might be a client.

Mar 01, 2020 09:48 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi Marte, Thanks so much for reminding us of the  importance of leaving a clear message - though here,you are preaching to the choir.  We have all missed returning calls, and possibly business due to unclear messages, and experience your frustration!

Apr 11, 2020 07:21 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Bob Crane It happened to me again this week. An agent called with a question about my letters and I could not return the call. They had a blocked number, so my machine didn't pick it up - and they rattled off the number so fast that even after listening 3 times, I only had 9 of the 10 numbers.

The bad part is that people think you are the rude one for not returning the call - when in fact, you could not.

Apr 11, 2020 07:47 PM