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Hello!!! Answer the phone!



miamism telephone

RING….RING……..Remember that sound?

To think that we talk about web2.0 here on a daily basis and make fun (sometimes) of going back to the very basics to improve or make our business grow and we can’t answer the phone?

This past week alone we picked up 3 buyers and 2 listings because we answer our telephone. The customers were so happy to get a live human being that they hired us on the spot. Is that INSANE or what?

When making appointments to see listings, we only get machines and don’t get return phone calls for hours. If it is frustrating for us, imagine paying customers?

We talk about blogging and how important it is to nurture relationships. We talk of how blogging’s purpose is to encourage conversation and dialogue. Our goal is for customers to know us before they even make a move. So please make sure that when that customer is ready to make THE move, you will be available to actually talk to them. Answering the telephone and returning messages and e-mails promptly should be the single most important business practice for any Realtor.

Or……you could just leave those calls unanswered and give more business to us! 🙂

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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  1. JB

    February 24, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Ines — I wish I’d a thought of that. 🙂

    No doubt much of your success is based upon your keen grasp of the fundamentals of giving your clients not only what they want, but what they can’t find.

    Isn’t it surreal in today’s techno world folks are genuinely grateful when you so something as human as answer your own phone?

  2. Ines

    February 24, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    JB – It is absolutely surreal – to think of how our world has changed…..but we can’t forget that we are in the people business and we still need human interaction.

  3. Chris Shouse

    February 24, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    So very true that we don’t answer our phones anymore send me an email is the cry. Glad you brought this up.

  4. Larry Yatkowsky

    February 25, 2008 at 12:52 am

    Geez me and my buddies talk about this all the time.

    It’s so terribly important that you have made note of this.

    I got to rant on this one……..

    I can’t count the hours wasted listening to some bs on a machine or some silky voiced woman at an answering service ask me if I’d like to leave a message. I’m not lonesome. I didn’t call to leave a message! I called because I need to talk to you.

    While I appreciate that responding to the ubiquitous cell phone when in a meeting is considerd rude by many, by the same token, most people realize that if it were they who were calling they too would get through to me. I take the call and deal with the issue and move on. So far not a problem.

    Most annoying is that many self important agents use their office answering service to take the call and then have the service call them on their cell. Then some 3 hours later they call back.

    What is that about?

    Thanks for listening. I feel better now .>)

  5. Matthew Rathbun

    February 25, 2008 at 6:09 am

    This is a fantastic point! The internet and social media is a invitation to come to our door… It’s an introduction, but you don’t answer the door and invite the client in, they’ll go to someone else’s house. Just because your internet presence intrigues consumers, it doesn’t mean that they are loyal to you, because you wrote a good post, or they found your information all over the place. Truth be known, if you’re too active in your blog and too busy to answer the phone, they’ll think you’re too busy to work for them.

    Well stated, Ines!

  6. Ines

    February 25, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Hi Chris! – I am the first one to admit that I love e-mail, but you better believe we do everything in our power to be accessible by phone as well. Funny how something so trivial is put on the back burner for many.

    Larry – rant away, I like to listen…..I showed Luxury properties last week and only 1 of 6 mega producers in Miami actually had someone answer the phone. That can’t be good!

    Matthew – my point exactly! if you are too busy to return a call, you are too busy to handle their business.

  7. Ginger Wilcox

    February 25, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Are you kidding? We still have to answer the phone in the 2.0 world??? This is dead on. It drives me crazy when I can’t reach an agent to show a property for hours on end. Customers have choices and they will choose to move on to choice #2 if they can’t reach us.

  8. Ines

    February 25, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Ginger – LOL! ….and that’s exactly what we need to remember – they will move on if they can’t talk to us…….I would.

  9. Teresa Boardman

    February 25, 2008 at 10:57 am

    I just answered the phone, and I am so sorry that I did. I always answer my phone. Bad habit.

  10. Kim Wood

    February 25, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Thanks for kicking me in the butt.

    It looks like I lost a listing because my client called my Work phone # (she had my cell), and left message there Sunday @4pm. Monday @10am I picked up messages and called her back. “Oh. I gave you until 9am, so I called someone else”. She doesn’t even want to talk. Unless this person screws up royally she’ll get a listing I was gonna have.

    My bad! I know! Like SC said, I should have forwarded the calls, so I’m completely chained to all calls!

  11. Ines

    February 25, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Teresa – you always manage to crack me up!! …..and then there ARE those calls that you wish you had never answered! 😉

  12. Jeremy Hart

    February 25, 2008 at 11:28 am

    nice job, Ines. The one exception I might take, however, is in the belief that you answer the phone when it rings. I disagree with Larry that you answer the phone when with a client – if you’re with a client, I’m of the belief that THAT client is the most important one you’ve got. Putting the person in front of you on hold while “you just take this one call” is rude, IMO. I realize there are e ceptions, perhaps you just make it known up front that you’re waiting on a call and you’ll have to take it. Other than that, I can see no good reason to make sure you’re always there. Maybe a daily change of your voicemail to give callers an approximate idea of when you’re in meetings vs. when you’re available?

  13. Ines

    February 25, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Jeremy – I agree with you. When we are with a client we don’t answer the telephone but make sure to return that call ASAP after we are done. When I meet with someone, I want them to give me their attention and I do find it rude when they answer the phone and constantly interrupt. (do unto others……?)

    Everyone has their own methods – but it’s about quick response and returning those calls as quickly as possible.

  14. Jeremy Hart

    February 25, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Different methods – agreed. It’s a sore subject for me when agents pick up the phone while they’re showing clients. It does not help our credibility. By the same token, neither does returning voicemails. You’re obviously doing something right, if you return voicemails as quickly as you return comments on this post!

  15. Ines

    February 25, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    🙂 at Jeremy

  16. Mark Harrison

    February 26, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Well said.

    At several companies I have REMOVED the voicemail system, because it’s forced staff to interact directly with (potential) customers rather than let “the machine” deal with it.

    There’s one Estate Agent (as we call them here in the UK) that I’ve bought nigh on all my investment property through – ln 12 years, I’ve never failed to get through to a human being on the first call with his office.

  17. Kelley Koehler

    February 26, 2008 at 8:52 am

    Just curious how others deal with the phone while out showing homes, for example. That can kill 4-6 hours of a day, easily. The absolute top guy in my area, not only for production but in reputation, will tell you he always answers his phone even with clients. I think his only exception is during a listing presentation. He tells his clients from the start that he always answers his phone, pointing out the benefit that if they call while he’s with someone else, they’ll get a quick answer too.

    So I’ve seen people do that very successfully, but a part of me still finds that rude. So I don’t. But I do tell clients that a quick text or email might be answered more quickly if I don’t answer the phone, because I can almost always sneak in a quick response to those things even out showing homes for hours on end. But then of course, that only remediates potential issues with clients, and not with prospective people making calls…


  18. Ines

    March 18, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Kelley – my e-mail notification is not working (sorry I never got to your comment) – I never answer the phone during a listing presentation – the rest depends on the situation. I may answer the phone at a showing if the client is walking through a property and doesn’t need me – I may answer the phone in the car knowing I can quickly say “I’m with customers right now, I will call you back when I’m done or call Rick”.

    I recently picked up a call while at a TV interview and it was a lady from Canada calling about a rental. I told her to please call me back or e-mail me with her contact information and I would call her back when I was done. That call turned into a sale a week later.

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Business Marketing

“House has spark” – burning up the MLS with typos and other bloopers



The year is starting a march toward its natural ending, friends…and it seems a few real estate careers may be also. This week I found some real head-scratchers in local real estate ads and the MLS.  However, I get submissions from all over the U.S., so no one is safe from the eyes of  the Blooper Scooper. Check out these blunders:

Do You Smell Smoke?

“House has spark” (Apparently your real estate career isn’t the only thing going up in smoke.)

“Big pep area in kitchen” (Is that the cookie jar where Mommy Dearest stashes her uppers?) 

“Dull Viking ovens” (Methinks there’s something in the cookie jar that will perk up those dull Vikings.)

“Large greenhose in back” (Large, naked Jolly Green Giant in yard.)

“Mush added to this house” (Was that the overflow from between your ears?)

I Think I See Flames

“Beautifully remolded guest” (Another cosmetically-altered Barbie hits the Hollywood party circuit.)

“Enjoy a drink poolslide” ( Hell, if the pool is sliding, I’ll need a whole pint of Jack.)

“Each bedroom has own bedrooom” (Hello-o-o, Alice, how are things down there in the rabbit hole?)

“Separate pod to build GH” (That should please my pea-sized buyers.)

“Play room for the kiss” (Something tells me this is the back seat of a ’67 Chevy.)

Still Smoldering…

“Ideal for gusts” (That’s great…if you want to live in a wind sock.)

“Impaccably detailed” (Incredibly challenged)

“Stylish pewder room” (Try burning a match.)

“Stone pillars flake driveway” (Flakey agent got stoned in driveway.)

Nothing But Embers (This Week’s Fave):

“From a bygone error” (You have just written your own epitaph.)



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Point & Purpose

What makes a top producer in real estate?



What makes a top producer?

Stop and think for a few minutes about who the top producers are in your market?

Ok, now think about what they doing that has allowed them to continue to consistently produce in a down market, when everyday REALTORS are throwing in the towel.

Every day I scan the MLS to see, what has sold, what is active, and what went under contract (I assume that is something most agents do every day.)

Over and over again the same names pop up as the listing agent with the home that sold or the actual buying agent that sold the home.


Except for one agent in my area, all the top producers have teams. Now it may be a two person, husband and wife team or a well oiled team with a team leader, several assistants, a listing coordinator or a closing coordinator. But, they all have HELP.

In my area, the names that keep popping up are on Teams. I believe it is virtually impossible to be a top producer without help. Well, you could do it alone but if you do how is that effecting time with your family? Realistically how many transactions can you juggle and give good service?

Running a Business

The second thing I notice about those top producers is the fact that they treat their business like a business. Real Estate to them is not just selling a house, but something they brand, allocate resources for, grow and manage. Not only are they thinking of ways to grow their business but they also thinking of the future and how to sell it down the road.

I remember being told by a entrepreneur friend of mine years ago, “all businesses are built to be sold.”

Far to many REALTORS, think of Real Estate as a job they do and someday when they retire then all the hard work of creating and nurturing relationships they have built is gone. (I’m outta here)

Focused and Positive

One other observation I have observed with top producers is they are focused and positive. I never see them “hanging out at the office”, or attending broker opens, or really for that matter, serving much at all on their local boards. Oh there are a few, but really very few.

Finally, I don’t see many top producers in my market on Twitter, Facebook, Empire Avenue or other social media sites during the day. I don’t see them at every conference known to man around the country.

What I do see is they work everyday, on their business and in their business.

How ‘bout you?

Think of the top REALTORS in your market, what characteristics do you see?

Flickr Photo Credit

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Business Marketing

“New bd pans inc” – Making a Splash on the MLS



I have two things to say this week: 1. When you drink, you can’t think. 2. When you drink you can’t- … uh, what was I saying? Oh, yes – the MLS.  It was so full of bloopers this week that I am led to conclude that happy hour started Monday and never stopped. Read these and tell me if it is any wonder I was driven to throw back a few martinis myself:

Booze ‘N’ Fools

“Free membership to gin inc” (It seems someone else beat us to it, Martini Mary.)

“Grab now use imagination” (That’s what Arnold said to his housekeeper.)

“House has new edition” (Agent lacks erudition.)

“Babblying broke runs in back” (Bumbling buffoon runs amuck.)

“Drop by for cocktail ho” (Oh, is the Sunset Strip for sale?)

Puff ‘N’ Stuff

“Near Sacramento airpot” (I believe his name is Jerry Brown.)

“Claw me for selling” (I’m too busy clawing my eyes out over your spelling.)

“Reduction on mid-century ner Holywod” (Another mid-sixties porn star is looking for work.)

“We can sake your home” (Can I get fried rice with my sake?)

Proof or Goof

“Nice streem” (Said Grandma to Grandpa after his diaper  exploded.)

“Nice for dog kids” (Uh, they’re called ‘puppies,” pal.)

“New bd pans included” (Thank you, Nurse Nancy – can you warm those first?)

“Good stable in neighborhood.” (Have you contacted Mary and Joseph?)

“Drawing for plasma” (Is this a blood-bank?)

And This Week’s Winner Is:

“Good school in areola” (Thanks for keeping me abreast of things.)


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