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Realtors, answering the phone is not sexy, but…

Answering The Phone Is Not Sexy but….

I know, I know… this has been said before and so many times.

I know, I know, we all forget.

I hate to answer the phone, I would much rather text or email, especially if I don’t recognize the number.

Recently, by picking up the phone I have received a new listing and 2 new buyers. And it is not unusual to hear them say, “oh, I didn’t expect you to answer.”

One of the buyers called from my Google Profile,two from different blog posts I had written. All moving in or selling from out of town. YAY,!…no referral fees.

We spend a lot of time on our marketing in the digital age, Our profiles are up there everywhere, we spend hours blogging on neighborhoods, and communities.

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Well most of us would say, that is where the consumers are…online. But, being online is fruitless if we don’t pick up the phone. After all, these are just tools, in the age of Digital Marketing.

By the time the potential buyer or seller calls…they are ready.


Rob Hahn, recently wrote a post, What’s up with REALTORS Who Love Technology. In the post he quotes a NAR survey about what consumers want. 

93% of all consumers wanted responsiveness as skill from their REALTOR.

Recently on Twitter someone DM’d me and asked,”What is a Technology Realtor?” (That’s under my Bio on Twitter.)

Technology is the skill that we use to pull buyers and sellers to us. It is not the skill that makes them “decide” to work with us. Responsiveness from their REALTOR is high up there at 93% of what consumers want.

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Smart Phones

We all have them, we brag about them, we compare them, we get the latest and greatest apps, we “play” with them. But, do we answer them?

Answering the phone is not sexy… but it works!

Written By

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.



  1. Ben Goheen

    April 26, 2011 at 8:58 am

    This is the #1 item on my list of real estate pet peeves. In the past few years, I'd guess that 95% of the time I get a voicemail. The only time I don't answer is when I'm in the middle of an appointment, or it doesn't ring because sometimes phones are fun like that.

    Most of the time I regret taking the out of area calls – they are mostly solicitations. But in those cases the end button is my friend.

  2. Jeff Brown

    April 26, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Hey Missy — Your thoughts are nothing short of common sense, a bar challengingly high for a large sector of our industry. If I didn't answer my phone, I'd be asking folks if they needed help with their bags out to the car.

    I'm reminded of Russell Shaw's searing observation, "It's so simple, even a Realtor can do it." Apparently for many, figuring out that answering their phone is a 'good thing' isn't so simple for some. Most days I have at least one caller who takes the time to express their surprise and appreciation for having their phone call answered, and for the time spent with them on the call.

    Really? I get kudos for answering their call and spending time with them? If that doesn't speak volumes to some of these yahoos, I don't know what would.

  3. Missy Caulk

    April 26, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Jeff, it is amazing to me how many are "shocked" when we answer. Lately it has been well worth it and..

    Ben I think this is why I cringe but as I get more solicitations I just add them to my address book, DO NOT (first name) ANSWER (last name)

    • Ron Armstrong

      April 26, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      Missy, Wanted to write just to say loved the idea of answering the phone but then read your comment about adding them via DO NOT (first name) ANSWER (last name)! That alone was worth the price of admission! (I know this was free but my time is not).

    • Ben Goheen

      April 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm

      Missy: I added a contact named 'spam' on my phone. Every solicitor that calls gets added to the list and I set that number to never ring. They don't leave a message, so I'm now oblivious to their calls.

      • Debbie McBee

        April 26, 2011 at 5:48 pm

        What a simple solution!

        Missy ~ Spot on with your post.

      • Missy Caulk

        April 27, 2011 at 6:27 am


    • Gina Kline

      October 7, 2011 at 6:31 am

      With the solicitors, my "smart" phone also has a smart trick: after saving the number and labeling it as DO NOT ANSWER (or I use SALES CALL) I can also set that number to automatically be sent to voicemail…and then I don't even have to listen to it ring!

      I handle answering my phone the same as you…I answer unless with a customer or in another situation where it would be rude to answer. Thanks for the post~

  4. Mark Jacobs

    April 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Answering the phone is not sexy, but a requirement if you want to take your business to the next level

  5. Sig

    April 27, 2011 at 5:22 am

    If I didn't want to "Talk" to you I wouldn't have called you. When I call, that's your cue to pick up the phone and say "Hello". we can get more done in a 2 minute phone call than a 15 minute test. Face it, something gets lost in a text.

  6. Chris Adams

    April 29, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I don't think it can be stressed enough to pick up the phone – EVERY TIME. The one thing that gets under consumers skin the quickest is having to wait and non-responsiveness. Although answering the phone might not always be feasible (too many calls, birthday parties, middle of the night, etc.) but then it makes a lot of sense to get a virtual receptionist – one agent I knew was using CallRuby to solve that problem.

  7. stephanie crawford

    May 2, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I strggle with this. I too would rather email/text.

  8. Missy Caulk

    May 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Stephanie, I picked up two more buyers just this weekend by answering the phone. And they both told me they had called other agents and had not received call backs.

  9. Jaz Cook

    January 19, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Love your post, I couldn't agree with your more. How about trying to reach a listing agent for 24 to 48 hours and you get their answering machine or no answer. It is 30 second question that does not get answered till 48 hours later. Sellers are not aware of it, Aagh! How difficult is it to answer the phone for 30 seconds, I don't get it, Missy.

  10. Michael Walker

    February 20, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Picking up the phone is business 101. It's the clearest form of communication between two parties other than in person.

    2 years ago. I spent a low 6 figure number for a ready made brand. It included a Top-level their 1-800 custom vanity. With a matching 7 letter .COM domain name and matching twitter and Facebook accounts. I did billboard and television marketing.

    The brand was built on sound fundamentals on searched key phrases and powerful keywords. I rarely e-mail and if I do. It's only to recap a conversion. Email should never be your first communications tools. It's the worst form of communication of the planet and I never text. I'm not 12 years old.

    You guys are professionals. Carry yourself like a professional.

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