Answer the phone or let it go to voice mail? - Posted by Eric Graham

Posted by Carmen_FL on February 22, 2001 at 10:14:47:

but it’s still pretty cheap. I think they charge $4.95/month now for an 800-number, and there is a per-minute charge after the first 30 minutes or so (have to go back and read their rules again - I have to “renew” my numbers before March 15 or they will get disconnected)

Answer the phone or let it go to voice mail? - Posted by Eric Graham

Posted by Eric Graham on February 20, 2001 at 19:49:36:

When someone calls your “I buy houses” phone number do you usually answer it right then or do you make them leave a message on a machine or voice mail?

If you do not answer it, what are some of the things that you say in your greeting message?

Thanks,
Eric

Both! - Posted by JoeKaiser

Posted by JoeKaiser on February 21, 2001 at 18:28:21:

For the last year or so we’ve had a system in place that is a perfect fit for investors who get lots and lots of phone calls. If I had to answer all the calls, I don’t think I’d ever get anything done.

We use a “call through” system and find it works like a charm.

When sellers call, they go to my voice mail and get a one and one half minute recording that tells the general story of what we do and are invited to “leave their name and number.” Nothing special there.

However (here’s where the magic happens), we continue by saying “but, if you want to get this thing out of your hair right now, today, call me on my cell phone at 123/456-7890. I only give that number out to people who want me to drop everything and head over to their houses to get the thing signed off today.”

Now, when people leave a message on my voice mail, I call them back when I get a chance, maybe today but more likely next week. However, when they “call through” to my cell, I know they’re ready to deal and I if it sounds like a deal, I most definately head right over to get them signed up. They are prescreened and have already committed to signing, so call throughs are nearly always slam dunks if they’ve got anything I’m interested in.

Set up a the “call through” system and now when that cell phone rings, you jump (it’s a good thing).

Joe

Re: Answer the phone or let it go to voice mail? - Posted by Merle E Woolley

Posted by Merle E Woolley on February 21, 2001 at 12:10:29:

We use an answering machine and rarely answer the phone when they call. Almost always call them back. We have caller id so we can screen calls when we are at home.

Even when we first started in the business, we did it this way. Our machine message does not mention that we buy houses … it does refer to the houses we have available. If you would like to hear our message, email me for the phone number.

We use a 2-line machine with 4 mailboxes. First is our “home” phone. Second is our business line. Mailbox 3 holds a recorded message descibing the houses we have available and mailbox 4 describes how our easy-qualify, rent-to-own program works.

Five years ago, we hired a full time bookkeeper. She answered the phone during the day. Two years ago, she decided to work part time only. She now does all the bookkeeping in about 16 hours per week … the same work, along with phone calls, used to take 40 hours!

She is very efficient. We know that the phone consumed most of that time.

I return most of the calls from my cell phone while driving. Carry a micro cassette recorder with you for notes from your calls … much safer than trying to write and drive.

Time is money. Spend it wisely. If you have nothing else (productive) to do, then by all means take those calls. Decide how much time you have to devote to your business, then organize that time for the utmost efficiency. Not only will you make more money, you will have time to enjoy it.

Merle

Re: Answer the phone or let it go to voice mail? - Posted by Laure

Posted by Laure on February 21, 2001 at 04:14:06:

I forward to my cell during the day and answer EVERY CALL. Sometimes it gets overwhelming and I take a “phone vacation”. I picked up a house two weeks ago. Retail 40k. I paid 14k. I’d have lost that if I hadn’t taken the call. I went to her house within half an hour of the call and signed a contract on the spot.

I also get a lot of dead calls. I was afraid, at first, not to check out every lead, that it would be rude, or un-professional. Now I tell them a few things right up front and don’t waste anyone’s time.

Just about the first thing out of most callers mouth. “what kind of houses do you buy??” I say price is not issue, but location is. I want to be within a certain area so it is easier for me to maintain my houses. They understand that and it is true. I don’t want a house a half an hour from home. Just too far for me to deal with. (but that’s just me) I’d drive a half an hour, get to the house, and forget the extention cord… you know what I mean? My garage already has 10 caulk guns, 4 hammers, 7 extention cords… LOL.

My next favorite call is : “We are getting ready to sell our house, was going to put it on the market, and thought you might want it”. I ask them how much they want for the house, then how much they “need”. I always get two different prices. If there is no profit, I tell them I am an investor. That the most I pay for a property is 70-75% of Appraisal. Honestly, they would probably do better listing it in the newspaper themselves or with a Realtor. I ask them if they have already purchased a replacement home and have two payments to be made? What is the reason they want to sell? Sometimes I’ll get a clue that there is a deal to be made. But most of the time, sellers are coming right out with their problems and their bottom dollar prices. If there is no motivation to sell, there won’t be a great deal there. I also offer to keep their name in case I run across someone looking for what they have. I explain that I am NOT A REALTOR, do not make a commission, and may just have an opportunity to pass their name along. I have done this twice and the two families put deals together.

I was really uncomfortable with the callers at first. Didn’t really know what to say, how to handle them. How to answer their questions. But it’s getting easier and easier.

I love the “investors” who tell me how much money I can make on their property buying it for retail from them !! LOL.

Laure :slight_smile:

THANKS for all of the great suggestions! (nt) - Posted by Eric Graham

Posted by Eric Graham on February 21, 2001 at 01:37:54:

nt

Re: Answer the phone or let it go to voice mail? - Posted by B.L.Renfrow

Posted by B.L.Renfrow on February 20, 2001 at 21:46:56:

Answer it. I use my cell phone number in my marketing, and I make every effort to answer directly when potential sellers call.

On the other hand, for my potential buyers, they get a different number with voice mail. “Push 1 for the Main Street property, 2 for the Scumbag Boulevard house…” While I realize I may miss callers doing it this way, I get WAY more calls from wanna-be buyers than from sellers. Most of them aren’t real buyers. So I use voice mail to weed them out.

But the ones who want to sell, often want to sell RIGHT NOW! So I do my best to talk to them when they call.

Brian (NY)

Re: Answer the phone or let it go to voice mail? - Posted by Fran CA

Posted by Fran CA on February 20, 2001 at 21:21:54:

Hi Eric,

I totally agree with Steve and Jim. You should always answer the phone if you are there. I always answer my phone unless I am at my J.O.B. I have a message on my voicemail that says:

“Hello, my name is Fran, and I buy homes in any area, any price range and any condition. Please leave your name, your number and a good time to call you back, and the property address to be sold and we will call you back within 24 hours.”

I really need to get a caller ID for the business phone, but the people that have called, mostly realtors that are looking for rehab projects for me think it is really professional, or so they say. :slight_smile:

Hope that helps.

Fran

Answer it!!! - Posted by SCook85

Posted by SCook85 on February 20, 2001 at 21:07:52:

I firmly believe in answering the phone when it rings.

Two big reasons why, people hang up and don’t leave messages, and

returning calls sucks. Many people are hard to get in touch with- in fact you never get in touch with some people, and you have to return calls when they are available. If you take the call right then and there you will save yourself a lot of time and make the most of every single call.

Steve

Re: Answer the phone or let it go to voice mail? - Posted by Jim

Posted by Jim on February 20, 2001 at 21:05:21:

Well Eric, put yourself in the position of the seller. You’d want to sell fast, and an answering machine don’t buy houses! I’d be willing to bet that if you were the seller, that you would call the number right above or below yours.

There is no substitute for personality, and a truely motivated seller will seek that out.

You will lose a lot of deals by not answering your phone!

My question to you… Why don’t you answer?

Jim

Great post!!! Thanks Joe! (nt) - Posted by Eric Graham

Posted by Eric Graham on February 21, 2001 at 23:27:30:

nt

Re: Both! - Posted by Erik Bergerud

Posted by Erik Bergerud on February 21, 2001 at 19:04:06:

Joe-
I enjoy reading your articles and posts. In response to your reply, do you know of any automated message services that I can have set up to answer my calls and to collect messages. I really like your suggestion in letting your voice mail answer calls to describe what you do and then give them your cell if it is important. What is the best way to set this up? Should I get a 800#? Or just have a second line answering machine in my house/office?

Re: Answer it!!! - Posted by Veotis

Posted by Veotis on February 21, 2001 at 08:01:26:

I agree that you should answer the phone and take the call right then. The problem I have is that at this moment, I work a full-time job that has a rotating shift. Sometimes, I’m at work in the day. Sometimes, I’m asleep from working all night. How would you recommend handling this? I can’t afford a secretary at this moment, so I was thinking of an answering service. I would at least be able to return their call within an hour or so. This has been a stickler for me to deal with, so any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Veotis

WWW.UREACH.COM - Posted by Scott Az

Posted by Scott Az on February 21, 2001 at 20:49:18:

Eric setup a free toll free number at www.ureach.com.

Answering Services - Posted by Rick(CA)

Posted by Rick(CA) on February 22, 2001 at 02:51:11:

I know everyone has different opinions about answering services, but here’s by take. I used to have a service and found that it was an expensive answering machine. lol

Many people will want to talk to you about what you do and what you can do for them. The operator on the service cannot and generally does not answer this information. In fact, they usually disclose that they are just an answering service anyway.

Better to have call forwarding or a reliable voicemail on your phone that you can check remotely and often.

Re: Answer it!!! - Posted by Nate

Posted by Nate on February 21, 2001 at 11:52:33:

You could do that, or get a pager or cell phone with voice mail. That way, you can take the call when it comes in, or have voice mail pick it up if you can’t take it. Is your job of the type where you can have (and use) a cell phone during work?

Re: WWW.UREACH.COM - Posted by Erik Bergerud

Posted by Erik Bergerud on February 21, 2001 at 22:48:46:

Scott-

Does ureach.com charge for minutes that people call your number. How much per minute? Do you use this service?

Re: WWW.UREACH.COM - Posted by Erik Bergerud

Posted by Erik Bergerud on February 21, 2001 at 21:03:42:

Thanks. I tried to search for one. Hopefully I can set up an answering service.