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Real Estate Professional

Is Your Cell Phone Greeting Losing You Business?

cellphoneAs Creative Director for Hobbs/Herder Advertising, my focus is always on how we can help clients build their business, generate leads and close more deals. I am highly tuned into the whole process of prospecting for leads and converting those leads. Particularly the bigger picture lead generating and deal closing strategies, tools and systems. I am not always dialed into the little things that play a part in this whole process, though.

With that back story in mind, I wanted to share a recent incident that was a bit eye-opening. I was following up with the Hobbs/Herder Production Manager, Patrick Huskey, the other day. He was in the midst of a call campaign to reach out to some of our past print clients to remind them of the value of making sure they get all their printing done before year’s end for the tax benefits. I wanted to see how he was doing helping our clients out.

Simple Fundamentals
As he was making the calls, time and time again, when he called the client’s phone,  he got a generic default message/greeting with NO indication of whose phone he was calling, just the phone number. It was virtually half of the calls he made. My production manager’s first thought/impulse was to hang up, thinking he got a wrong number. He expected a “business” greeting that would indicate the name of who had reached. Think about it, if you called a local service professional and all you heard was a generic “Please leave your message for 714-555-5555,” would your first impulse be that you had mis-dialed and reached some other person’s phone number? Of course. You would expect a message like “You have reached Tony’s Plumbing Services. I am busy on the phone right now or helping a client, please leave a message and I’ll get back to you right away.” It is a fundamental business practice, right? One that seems so obvious, you would assume every service professional is dialed into this simple fundamental business practice.

Vanishing Leads? Lost Business?
With me so far? Now, I have a theory on why this bad business practice is so prevalent. I believe the proliferation of cell phone usage is the culprit. I don’t have statistics on it, but virtually every real estate professional has a cell phone number, and because agents are on the road so much, they always want to be reachable to take calls that might be prospective clients trying to reach them to help them buy a home or take their listing. That’s why most marketing pieces prominently feature the cell phone as the main phone to call.

Two issues are at play here. Many agents use their phone for dual purpose, both personal and business, so they may feel awkward putting a business greeting for their acquaintances to hear (wrong, I know). The other issue is that I believe many cell phone users are either oblivious to the fact that they need to record a greeting for their phone, OR they don’t know how to do so.

Cell Phone Potentially Costing You Business?
I believe most people know how to record a greeting. But it is surprising how many times when you call someone’s cell phone you get the phone’s default greeting. Think about it, how painful would it be for a prospective home seller to call you off your direct mail postcard and they get a default greeting and they hang up. Then they get distracted, decide they will try later then they just decide to call someone other agent whose phone number gets in front of them. That is a painful scenario. I wonder how much it happens out in the real world?

So, the moral of the story is to check to make sure you are NOT using the default phone greeting on YOUR cell phone. Be sure to record a nice, friendly “away message.” Remember the fundamentals:

• Speak in a clear, friendly voice. (one tip is to smile while you are recording it)

• Don’t rush the message. Speak slowly, but conversationally.

• Let the caller know who they reached (by name).

• Let them know why you are not able to speak on the phone. (I’m on the phone right now, or busy helping a client, etc.)

Hobbs/Herder Clients Can it to the Next Level
If you are a Hobbs/Herder client and you have your own personal branded campaign, it is a great best practice to work your branding message into the greeting. You’ve invested a significant investment in creating your brand, it should be pervasive in all you do, even your phone greeting:

“Hi, you’ve reached Priscila Rodriguez, I’m Rising to the Challenge for my real estate clients. I’m not able to take your call right now, but please leave a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as I can.”

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or:

“Hello, you’ve reached Peggy Lucas. I’m helping a family with their real estate needs right now and can’t answer their phone. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you right away!”

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Sometimes, it’s all in the details. I just checked my cell phone and I have the default greeting! Oops. You know as soon as I finish this blog post, I will be recording a new message/greeting! I checked the cell phone greeting of another acquaintance. He indicated that his reverted to the default when he updated the phone’s operating system (something to watch out for). I hope this blog post helped. I would hate to know any agent out there lost business because someone got a default greeting and decided not to call back!

Dennis LeBlanc – Creative Director of Hobbs/Herder Advertising.

P.S. On the subject of branding fundamentals, is your Hobbs/Herder brochure and/or website up to date? Personal brochures should be updated every 3-5 years, or as the need for changes arise. It’s important that when you show up for a listing appointment, you look like you do in the brochure! Call us if you are interested in a Brochure Refresh.  800-999-6090, xt. 599.