Use Your Business Phone to Maximize Results

This article is Step Two in the series “10 Steps to Subject to: Get Paid to Buy Pretty Houses in Nice Subdivisions.”Seems simple, doesn’t it?

You’re starting your real estate investing business. You probably haven’t established an entity; You’re using your home for an office; and you’ve just sent in an order for signs and flyers.

Now you need a dedicated business phone.

Why can’t I just use my home phone?

Have you ever called a “business” only to hear a teenager answer and say something like, “It’s for you, Dad,” or hear the dog barking in the background, or maybe the person answering the phone simply says “Hello?”

You must have a separate business phone to take the calls. You don’t want your family answering the phone without the professional greeting that shows a prospect don’t a legitimate business.

We recommend you use a cell phone. You can get a cell phone about as cheaply as getting a second line in your home. Get a cell phone that allows you to receive calls while out of your local area.

Even if you haven’t officially established your company with the state, you should have the phone in your company name. It makes things a lot easier later.

You are uniquely qualified to answer the calls

Before becoming active real estate investors, we provided strategic planning services for our companies.

Part of that planning process was to identify the unique skills required to be successful. Not the general skills, but the specific skills that would make a department, division, or company successful.

When we applied that analysis to our real estate investing career, we identified all the skills we needed to run a successful real estate business.

It became apparent that WE are uniquely qualified to answer calls from buyers and sellers. No one else can interact with a seller better than we can, since no one knows our goals, likes, and dislikes better than we do.

The same with filling homes. I know my own desire to be flexible better than I could possibly explain it to a subordinate.

What does this mean to you?

Well, you can “farm out” just about everything in your real estate business–except answering calls. Every time we tried using a service, a relative, or an employee, our results dropped.

We know what’s best when dealing with prospects. And remember, prospects want to talk to us or at least to a person that can make decisions.

I work a day job–how do I answer my calls?

Here are a couple of suggestions. You can have a family member answer the phone, take some simple information from the prospect, then contact you at work via a pager or a message on your cell phone. A page should simply consist of a code that lets you know the urgency of the call and the number to call.

We used the codes 911 for “Call now–hot prospect:” or 711 for “Call soon–prospect is interesting.” Messages should give you as much detail as possible.

If you can’t use a family member, use an answering service. They’re great. They will use your script and ask a series of questions or provide some answers, then page you.

Respond to these pages quickly. No longer than two hours should pass before you contact the prospect.

Be sure to set up an answering machine or voice mail, even on your cell phone. It’s amazing how many calls you get simultaneously.

While talking with one prospective seller, our phone indicates that another call is coming in. We have a catchy message on our built-in voice mail system:

“Hi, this is About Homes. We’re on the phone right now, but we will call you within the hour. Please leave your name and phone number so we can get right back with you.”

This is recorded with enthusiasm. Remember, the callers want action. They want to feel they are dealing with a professional business and that you actually exist.

As your business expands, you may hire an office assistant. When we are in our office, we forward our cell phones to a land line manned by the assistant. This takes our business to a new level of professionalism.

Bottom line: To compete in today’s real estate investing market, you need a cell phone. You must answer your calls personally, since you’ll do a better job of filtering and making offers than anyone else. And finally, the next step in the process–Step Three. You need to learn what to say on the calls.

By CREOnline Contributor

A content contributor to the original