Careful how you answer the phone....

Real Estate Agent with Long Realty West Valley AZ RE Lic. #SA560004000

One of the more effective ways I have found to network is simply picking up the phone and calling people. Over the years I have built an extensive network with fellow Realtors around the country.   But one thing always strikes me when I call. Every two or three phone calls an agent will answer the phone "hello" leaving the end user, me, to ask if I've reached the right person.

Now, we read all the time how first impressions make a huge difference.  We dress to impress, we drive impressive cars to make a great first impression, and we spend thousands on marketing materials to do the same.  Yet when it comes to the most fundamental tool at our disposal so many Realtors really drop the ball.

I'm sure we've all read about answering the phone with a smile and how that attitude projects through the phone line.  And I very much believe in that. But please, when answering the phone, introduce yourself.  You're a professional. It will go a long way to conveying that to potential clients.

The second leg to the phone discussion is answering the phone and returning calls.  I find this offense to be most common amongst the R.E.O. agents.  Sorry R.E.O. agents, prove me wrong.  Getting them to respond to a phone call about an offer you sent over, or a lockbox code on a listing they have is like pulling teeth.  Then having to explain that lack of professionalism to your clients is even more embarrassing.

Unfortunately our reputation as a Realtors is only slightly better than lawyers. A little common courtesy and professionalism on the phone can go a long way in shoring up our image out there.  Come on folks, it's not that hard.

To learn more about the Phoenix, Anthem AZ, and Scottsdale real estate markets click here.


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Valerie Spaulding
Windermere Peninsula Properties~Allyn~Belfair~WA - Belfair, WA
Allyn-Belfair-Hood Canal-Local Expertise!

Agreed.  You know I don't even mind if I have to leave a message as long as they CALL ME BACK BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR - geeshh... that is my biggest complaint is not doing what they say they are going to do and then blowing it off as if they never got the message. How rude. It is a lot easier to just answer the dang phone.  Any call that I know is not my family is going to hear a professional greeting and who I am.  The Reo's you are so right !  I visited 2 that were BY APPOINTMENT ONLY with office #'s only that went straight to voice mail.  grrrrr....  good post Jerry.

Jan 19, 2009 10:03 AM #1
Stephanie Logan
Dune Lake Properties - Moses Lake, WA

You may not be wild about this my idea, but it works well for me---I have two phones. My business phone has all related numbers in it and I always answer with a pleasant greeting and my name. My other phone is for friends and whoever else wants to get ahold of me. That way I know when to be professional and when I can be a bit lazier. I like keeping my business info completely separate from my private/personal life and the extra phone line only runs $10 a month. Great blog. -S

Jan 19, 2009 12:54 PM #2
Joe M.

Dont be so quick to criticize until you have walked a mile in another persons shoes. Many of the listing agents that you are complaining about are successful only because they don't drop everything they do to answer the phone each and every single time it rings. I personally sold 98 homes in 2008 and I can tell you that I didn't do it by giving buyer agents a 24 hour direct hotline to me. If I would have, my production level would have been lucky to reach 25 sales. Also, try email. Most MLS have an email directory. The phone is great for chit chat, but if it isn't in writing, it wasnt said. Plus your question can be responded to after hours and it is tough to attach a document to a voicemail.    

Jan 19, 2009 02:45 PM #3
Chris & Karen Highland
eXp Realty - Frederick, MD
Integrity, Experience, Enthusiasm!

You bring up a good point, that we have to explain other agents' rudeness and lack of professionalism to our clients.  This reflects on all of us.  I find unprofessional agents in all places, not just REO.  We could all stand to do better, thanks for the reminder.

Jan 20, 2009 04:58 AM #4
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Whether it is on the phone or in person your attitude could be the difference whether someone wants to do business with you.

Jan 20, 2009 08:52 AM #5
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Jerry, I find it is critical to respond to calls, especially if you are a listing agent, since this is a relations bussiness, it is good to have good relations with fellow agents. They might be bringing the next offer. I have found in my experience agents who  want to be contacted via e-mail they do or should write it on the showing instructions portion.... Anyway it was great talking with you this afternoon. Thank you for reaching out.

Jan 20, 2009 11:50 AM #6
Christopher Bonta
The Bean Group - Londonderry, NH
Realtor, Integrity and Honesty

Jerry, your 100% right and it is embarrassing to explain to customers/clients that you cannot get a hold of the other agent etc.. As for where we stand in Consumers eyes, I think we are between lawyers and used car salesman!

Jan 20, 2009 11:37 PM #7
Debi Ernst
St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors - O'Fallon, MO
GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate

Jerry - I agree with you.  How we answer the phone is so important.  Not only should we answer using our name, but we should show a good attitude as well.  If we're cranky when we answer the phone, it shows...!  :)

Jan 26, 2009 02:12 AM #8
Joshua & Kathy Schmidt
ERA Henley Real Estate - Cabot, AR


     I have to say I agree on the part about answering the phone, and yes at times it is VERY difficult to get in touch with REO agents/brokers.  Having a simple saying that identifies who you are when you pick up the phone is very important and lets me know who I am talking to immediately.  I can't stand when someone picks up and says hello....I then have to identify who I am and ask who I am talking to.  I guess it isn't to many extra steps but it just seems unprofessional of the person answering the phone.  If they do it to me you know they do it to clients that call them.  If they can't take care of this small detail, why would someone want them representing them in the sale of their house?

Jan 26, 2009 02:43 AM #9
Gerry Khatchikian
Red Lodge, MT


Thank you for calling me this morning.   You are the first person from AR from which I received a call and you made a very good first impression.  I look forward to the networking and referral opportunities that you created with a simple phone call.

Jan 26, 2009 04:30 AM #10
Lara O'Keefe
North Texas Home Finders - McKinney, TX

Jerry, this seems like such a basic thing that we can all be better at.

Jan 26, 2009 12:00 PM #11
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Jerry Murphy, CRS, SRES

Anthem, Phoenix, and Scottsdale AZ Real Estate
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