Are You in a Hurry or Do You Just Sound Like It?

By
Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California, Inc. CA DRE #01490977

Telephone Etiquette

I had 2 telephone experiences yesterday where both people I spoke to really sounded like they were in a hurry. It wasn’t just that they were speaking pretty rapidly, but the urgency in their tone of voice made it sound like they were in a rush to get off the phone as soon as possible.

It made me a bit uncomfortable, like I was keeping them from something else more important than my call. I felt like I was intruding despite calling for help.

In one case I was speaking with an administrator at a real estate office in Arizona, following up on a referral check that was to be sent to their office that day from an escrow company. I wanted to verify it was the correct office and address, since the information was different than on the referral form I had received.

red telephone graphicI found myself feeling a little guilty at first, but as the call continued (with me on hold for a bit, too), I found myself getting a tad bit annoyed.

I was trying to verify something I felt was important but the impression was that I was interrupting. I don’t think it was just me. But maybe it was a bad day!

I thought about it some more afterwards and I have to wonder…

Are there times when we answer
the phone or have a
conversation where we might
be perceived as being in a rush, or
not being helpful, or even rude?
  

Certainly there may be times a call comes in and it’s not the best of circumstances for us. But the caller doesn’t know that, and the manner in which we answer the phone and attend to the caller can convey a pretty powerful message…yes, I’m listening and trying to be helpful, or quite the opposite.

We’ve all been on those calls where the person we called is NOT helpful. It can be unpleasant and create a pretty negative impression about the person you called, and worse. Have we done that ourselves?!

Maybe it’s what we say specifically. Or perhaps it’s the tone of voice that conveys something we really don’t intend. Unfortunately while the words might convey a helpful attitude, sometimes the tone of voice says otherwise.

I know how I reacted when speaking with that administrator yesterday. I doubt it was her intention to sound so hurried, and implying she was trying to get off the phone quickly. Maybe not. We did accomplish my goal – verifying the needed information – but the whole exchange felt rather uncomfortable.

Something to keep in mind whenever that phone rings and you pick up, don't you think!?

Comments (55)

Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID
Owner,Broker

While I was reading this, I took yet another sales call trying to sell me advertising.  They wanted to hand off the call to their "manager" which would only take 10 minutes to explain their product and pricing.  I was so tempted to ask them for 10 minutes of their time first to explain the benefits of buying real estate here in Boise, Idaho.  Instead, I took the high road and wished them well. 

Dec 13, 2021 01:27 PM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727

Jim Paulson 
Taking the high road reduces tension I find. Before they start going, I try to say how hard I think their job must be - doing cold calls - getting rejected. Then I say in a respectful tone, "Since I am not going to be buying anything, please use this time for your next call where you might be more successful. And,, one more thing,  could you remove my contact info from your list? Good luck on your next call." 
Have it down to 20 seconds now! Take care - enjoy the high road! Lynn

Dec 13, 2021 07:30 PM
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty Beatrice Associates - Middleton, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

Jeff Dowler, CRS it seems the phone is no longer the way people want to communicate.  They would rather a text or an email.  I find a simple, quick phone call can cover a lot more ground and very quickly.

And, for myself, it is a reminder to make sure I have the time to spend on the phone if I pick up a call!!

Dec 13, 2021 01:49 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thank you so much Andrea Bedard  Communication and interactions have changed, with technology but also with the pandemic. Texting, emailing and social media for many have become the communications vehicle of choice. Yes, there is an appropriate time for these, but the phone can still be so powerful, and so some conversations is really important. 

Jeff

Dec 13, 2021 03:46 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker 

I like that - "good little checkup from the next up!" Not just what is said but how, and when in person making eye contact and smiling. And using those ears as they are meant to be used whenever you should be listening - on the phone or in person.

Jeff

Dec 13, 2021 03:49 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker

Jeff that's a saying that my Mom put in our heads whenever we needed a check up from the neck up!!  Thanks to her I learned it early on!

Dec 13, 2021 04:32 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Roy Kelley  I suspect we all get impatient at various times and perhaps aren't aware of how we might be perceived. It's tougher on the phone because there are no other cues as to what's going on (E.g., body language).

Jeff

Dec 13, 2021 05:02 PM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Jeff Dowler, CRS 
Yes, exactly what I was thinking of earlier today. So much to do by year's end - feeling "rushed" - so I stopped before returning a Client call. Spent 30 seconds eyes closed, breathing snd feeling grateful I had learned that process. Then I returned the call. Enjoy the rest of the year! Lynn

Dec 13, 2021 07:23 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Debe Maxwell, CRS 

Communication HAS really changed, although not for everyone. I have had some wonderful phone conversations recently and it was so nice as opposed to texting and emailing. But clearly some people, in our business and otherwise, clearly prefer a text or email, or just leaving a voice mail.

Jeff

Dec 13, 2021 08:08 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I do think that is the type of person that expects you to be busy and feels better if you are busykind of the addicted to hustle culture kind of person, you know

Dec 13, 2021 08:50 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

That's something to consider. We should stop, breathe, and smile before answering the phone. And... if we really don't have time to talk with someone, why not let it go to voice mail?

Dec 13, 2021 09:35 PM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

So appreciate your post.  Oftentimes it's obvious but the rushed tone, or short connection.  Either way it's frustrating!

Dec 13, 2021 09:38 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Before you pick up the phone or tap or slide the incoming call, smile. Deep breath, prepare for the how can I help you. If you are having a horrible day, it's not their problem as a service provider. Learned that in broadcasting thinking about the person out in the audience receiving the signal. Otherwise, they won't tune in again and flit, twist the knob to find someone in a better mood.

Dec 14, 2021 07:47 AM
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Communication has just changed and we should not beat ourselves up over it, I think. In the good old days, we didn't answer from our car, restaurant, walking on the street, or checking out at the grocery store. But now we do. Unless it's someone I really want to talk to, I don't answer, have it go to voicemail. And if I need something, even setting up an appointment for a buyer, I go straight to text and usually get an answer pretty quickly.  I don't expect the listing agent to just sit there waiting for calls.  Do I miss the olden days of leisurely chats? Actually, no, because that meant having to be near my office phone and was always worried that I missed calls, which I did, because often they would not leave a message.  Now I can ID everyone who called--and block the spammers.

Dec 14, 2021 09:43 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Debe Maxwell, CRS  How the phone is used, and how often, has really changed. Plenty of listing agents say "don't call" in their listings. But it's not just in our business either. How often does the voice mail of some businesses say - send us an email or you can take care of most issues on our website, or something similar.

Jeff

Dec 14, 2021 01:30 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Jim Paulson Taking the high road was the right thing to do, but I wonder what the caller might have said if you had launched into your spiel!?

Jeff

Dec 14, 2021 01:32 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thank you Kevin Vitali 

I think that's a pretty important thing to keep in mind. I hate when the person picking up the call says - I'm on another call can you hold?

Jeff 

Dec 14, 2021 03:14 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Good strategy Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727 

Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Jeff

Dec 14, 2021 03:21 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Marte Cliff  - as long as there is a commitment to responding to the voice mail promptly!

Jeff

Dec 14, 2021 08:25 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Jan Green  No doubt we all have these moments of being rushed but I think we need to try and keep in mind how that can come across to the caller.  And it's not limited to our business, of course.

Jeff

Dec 14, 2021 08:27 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Breathless Betty has no time for you! or at least that is how it feels!

People should take the time to listen to someone who has called without making the person feel like they are bothering them.  If they cant do that they really should let it go to voice mail and call them back.  

Great Post Jeff! Thank you

Dec 15, 2021 12:27 AM
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

I'm betting some folks don't even know what they sound like because they were poorly trained and didn't get a chance to hear recordings of their calls. If they did, and their bosses did, they would either change it or get them a different job w the company.

Dec 15, 2021 06:37 AM