More on "Careful how you answer the phone"

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

The other day I posted a blog entitled "Careful how you answer the phone."  Basically it was a tirade against real estate agents who lack professionalism on the phone, and those who don't answer their phone at all.  I've received several comments on the post and almost unanimously they agreed with what I said.

But, as with everything in life, there was one dissenter.  Who of course didn't leave his name.  Now, I'm not writing this post to call this person out.  I just want to point out the short sightedness and lack of understanding of general business that this person exhibited in his comment.

The commenter in question stated, and I paraphrase here, "until you walk in someone else's shoes don't judge.  I did 98 transactions last year and if I had spent all my time answering the phone from every buyer broker out there I wouldn't have done that much business."

Okay, fine, maybe I shouldn't judge.  But let me point something out that I think a lot of business people, big and small miss.  Once you as a business owner start thinking about what's best for you, you're done as a business owner.  It's never about what's best for you.  It's what's best for your customer/client.

My answer to the dissenting commenter would be, how do you know that every call coming is a buyer's agent? Do you have all the buyer's agents numbers memorized.  Maybe it's someone calling off a sign or an internet ad you have out there.  And by not answering your phone you missed an opportunity to pick up both sides of a deal, or at least a prosepective client.

Even if it was a buyer's agent, by not picking up the phone you may have missed an opportunity to sell your listing because the buyer agent couldn't get the necessary information from you and his/her clients decided to move on to another home.  And if you're so busy that you can't respond to phone calls may I suggest you hire an assistant to handle those calls. 98 deals is great, but maybe you could have done more if you answered the phone.

When I owned my health club facilities up in San Francisco several years back one of the first things I did was extend the hours of operation.  Why? Because my customers wanted it.  Now I'm not saying that I did EVERYTHING my customers wanted.  Some of the suggestions were a bit outlandish.  But, none of the other previous owners of the health club ever took this step.  They were all looking out for themselves.  They didn't want to have to hire additional staff and/or man the desk themselves.  And lo and behold the business did not thrive under their leadership.

My point, as stated before, is we as business owners (and corporate America could heed this advice as well) need to stop thinking only about what's good for the bottom line.  Focus on building a better product and the bottom line will magically improve.  I say that all time about professional sports franchise owners.  Don't worry so much about cost cutting and revenue generation (of course pay attention to them) but instead putting a winning team on the field and those other things will take care of themselves.

And that's my two cents.

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Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Here in New York City, we have to call the listing broker to get access to the apartment.  Essentially the listing broker is the gatekeeper and outside an open house we won't be able to see the property.  Many listing brokers do not take phone calls or respond to email from agents, because they are waiting for a direct buyer to contact them for the property.  This is very frustrating, a lot of these brokers have developed strong reputations of this practice and when I see them have new listings I know its going to be an uphill battle to get my customer in there.  Most of these people who either don't answer the phone with professionalism or in my case won't show their properties typically are very successful brokers, kind of luck the guy who said he did 98 transactions. 

Jan 21, 2009 06:02 AM #1
Christopher Bonta
The Bean Group - Londonderry, NH
Realtor, Integrity and Honesty

Jerry, read your post and went back to view "Mr. 98 Transactions" comments and your response to his comment is perfect, I could not have said it better myself.

Bravo on a nice 1st post and response post.

Jan 22, 2009 02:45 PM #2
Joshua & Kathy Schmidt
ERA Henley Real Estate - Cabot, AR


     Great rebuttal!  I know that 98 transactions is a lot for anyone to do, but I believe you represent your customer better when you take ALL your RE calls.  Just my opinion, but like you said you could be missing an opportunity to sell one of your clients listings.

Jan 26, 2009 02:54 AM #3
Eileen Begley
Coldwell Banker, DelMonte - Carmel, CA
Monterey Real Estate

Good points about answering the phone - or not answering the phone! I get a fair number of leads from my websites and do answer most times! One of the busiest agents I know in my office answers his own phone too!

Jan 30, 2009 09:54 AM #4
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Jerry Murphy, CRS, SRES

Anthem, Phoenix, and Scottsdale AZ Real Estate
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