ad response - voicemail, or no? - Posted by Greg_CT

Posted by d.hendeson on June 04, 2000 at 14:35:36:

It’s an AT&T…7720, cordless phone with answering machine, bought it at Wal-Mart. The caller ID is right in the hand-set, so that you can pick it up (without answering)(it will also record conversations with the touch of a key) and see who’s calling. I have 4 cordless phones with answering machines in our home and business. I have started replacing all of them with this phone because it has so many features that I need plus clear tone.

ad response - voicemail, or no? - Posted by Greg_CT

Posted by Greg_CT on June 04, 2000 at 02:16:21:

i have material by ron legrand recommending the use of live answering when taking calls in response to ads, but i also see the logic in the “money making article” on this site which explains that a caller who will leave a voicemail message is necessarily revealing his greater motivation.

both legrand, and the author of the article i mentioned on this site mention the benefit of using your time for offers, and not prescreening calls. this part makes sense…but

from the experience of the pro’s on this site, should calls be taken by voicemail, or in person (even if not by you)?

if voicemail does not turn too many callers off, does it make sense for a beginner to invest first in a voicemail, before hiring staff?

(any successful voicemail messages out there?) i am familiar with ron’s csg phone direct system, but would be interested in other scripts you may have :slight_smile:

thanks for your input!

Re: ad response - voicemail, or no? - Posted by Carmen_FL

Posted by Carmen_FL on June 05, 2000 at 14:23:17:

Since I don’t know the answer to this either, normally my advertising (postcards, ads, flyers, business cards, web page) lists BOTH a “24-hour recorded message” and a “to reach us directly” number.

I do know that I don’t like answering services. From the ones I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with (when calling other people’s ads), I’d be afraid to hire them. A lot of the time, the person who answers is uneducated and rude, and can’t answer a simple question like “is there a direct number where they can be reached” or “what are the office hours?”. Of course, this lack of info also reflects on the person hiring the service. Scary.

In any case, with the two options available, you can reach anyone - you can give those who can’t quite get up the nerve to talk to you all the info on a recorded message (and if it’s interesting enough, they can leave their number), or have the “I must know right now!” type of people a direct number. The direct number rings into the office - and if we’re on the phone/not there, then it does ring into voicemail; that number then will page us so we can call back quickly, and we let them know that. We don’t get too many hangups - I guess because those people who call directly (rather than calling the 24-hour message number) are usually the ones who are not shy in the first place!

Re: ad response - voicemail, or no? - Posted by John (OH)

Posted by John (OH) on June 04, 2000 at 18:18:30:

I use live answering service for “We buy homes” with a phone number that is for that purpose only.(they provide it with the service for $29 per month)
I use answer machine for all other calls.
I get quite a lot of hangups on the ansering service, but I still suspect about 10-20% more calls answered with the service that with out.
For the Tenant/buyers, they will leave a message on a machine.
If your are just starting out, just get a cheap answer machine right away!

Re: ad response - voicemail, or no? - Posted by B.L.Renfrow

Posted by B.L.Renfrow on June 04, 2000 at 09:11:10:

I have been debating this issue since day one, and have tried various approaches. I think most people on this site agree the live answering services generally aren’t worth the money, and unless you are particularly fortunate, you give up a lot of control to minimum-wage call-takers.

I generally take calls in person when I am home, but since I also work out of town a couple of days per week, there’s plenty of time when I’m not here.

I have used a simple answering machine, but it does not provide the flexibility I need. I am presently using a (not inexpensive) voice mail system, but I am not happy with that either, mostly due to quality problems with the device itself. I am also looking at a (Mac) computer-based solution offering unlimited mail boxes, various outgoing messages, etc., which I will probably switch to IF I can get it configured correctly, which has not yet been the case.

I also get a fair number of hang-ups. I also employ caller ID, though I don’t return calls from those who refuse to leave a message. I guess I am a subscriber to the theory that if they aren’t motivated enough to leave a message, they’re likely going to waste my time.

The biggest “problem” in my view - though it isn’t really a problem, just a major time-waster - is repeating the same info 30 times over when I am advertising a property. And of course, 90% of the callers are not qualified anyway. I have gone to my own version of Joe Kaiser’s system…“push 1 if you are calling about the Elm Street property…” which takes them to a mailbox describing, briefly, the property and its location. The callers are directed to drive by and inspect the property, where flyers are placed further describing the house and the financing options available.

What I have found, though, is a number of people will bypass that message in the voice mail system, and just hit the key to directly leave a message, leaving something about how they are calling on the ad for the Elm Street property, and please call them back - which obviously defeats the whole purpose of the system! But, I also need to retain the bypass option for those who don’t need to listen to the entire detailed message.

The point of this rambling is that no, I wouldn’t hire anyone, particularly as a beginner. There are plenty of hardware and software solutions available…although I have yet to come up with the perfect one. If you are just starting out, you can pick up a 3 or 4 mailbox digital answering device for under $40. I would start there, then expand as your business grows.

Brian (NY)

Re: ad response - voicemail, or no? - Posted by d.henderson

Posted by d.henderson on June 04, 2000 at 07:41:48:

I had to start on a shoestring even though I had another business with fax, phone etc. I chose to get a seperate number, answering machine with caller ID with two mail boxes. This way I can see whos calling and if the same person keeps calling. I put the basic information in the paper ad and then on the answering machine, I tell about the home(s) or mobile(s) saying if you would like to bypass this message press 2 for mailbox 2 and start speaking. This is for the ones that call my number that call once or twice before they get the nerve up to talk. Also people that I need to do business with on RE won’t have to listen to the whole message.
This has been working well, if I see their name more than twice on the caller ID, I will call them back asking how may I help them find a home.
I also explain that I work with people with scarred credit-trying to find them their own home that are willing to work with me to repair their credit.
hopes this helps some,

Re: ad response - voicemail, or no? - Posted by Paul_NY

Posted by Paul_NY on June 04, 2000 at 18:52:15:

Hi Brian,

I find that returning calls to those who won’t leave messages, but their number shows up on caller ID, worthwhile. Many, many people ‘hate talkin to those darned machines’. I’ve done business with people who wouldn’t leave messages. Thereafter, if they call when I’m not home, they know that the caller ID will show that they’ve called.

Re: ad response - voicemail, or no? - Posted by JohnE

Posted by JohnE on June 04, 2000 at 10:06:02:

Could you post the name of the machine you use?