She’s Just Not That Into You!

Have you ever received a phone call from an ad or yard sign and the call went something like this:

You: Good morning! This is Matt with FavoriteAgent Realty. How can I help you this fine morning?

Caller: Yes, I was calling about the house on 4th Street. Can you tell me how much it costs?

You: Sure, I’d be happy to. (fumbling around frantically, trying to stop the car to look it up) Let me check for you. (dead air, customer impatience is palpable) OH, here it is… it’s $179,900. Are you looking for a home in that price range?

Caller: Thanks. (click)

hang upNow, the minute that click happens, how do you feel? Are you still feeling the “How can I help you this fine morning?” Probably not. There was your only call while on floor duty and it’s gone! No lead. And you needed the business. Grrr.

Maybe you tell yourself she was just a tire kicker. “She probably wasn’t really interested in buying a home.” “She probably had bad credit anyway.” Classic sour grapes. Or maybe you were honest with yourself and felt like you blew the call and you tried to replay it again and again until you had the perfect way to handle it next time.

Caller: Yes, I was calling about the house on 4th Street. Can you tell me how much it costs?

You: Sure, I’d be happy to. Let me check with the listing agent and call you back in about five minutes. What’s your direct number?

Caller: The sign here says Matt Jones… didn’t you say you name was Matt? Don’t you know how much it costs?

Or this was one of my all time favorite ones. I actually heard an agent use this lame reply while standing next to the duty desk one day.

Caller: Yes, I was calling about the house on 4th Street. Can you tell me how much it costs?

You: Sure, I’d be happy to… err…. but we’ve been having trouble with the phones here. Let me get your phone number first in case we get cut off.

Caller: (click)

I know, we all laugh at this scenario because it is funny. But it’s sad too. The agent is in a no-win place. He or she wants to control the conversation and eventually win the unknown customer over, hoping to do business with her. But the customer simply wants information and and at this point in the relationship “she’s just not that into you!”

Because the agent has no power, those lame attempts to take control simply come across as deceitful and desperate. And I could go on and on with different “strategies” experts have taught us to effectively solve the same problem, but they are all just more of the same: shallow, manipulative, and deceptive.

If you are truly honest with yourself, using “techniques” like this just leave you feeling dirty. I know it did for me. But what’s an agent to do? We have to eat and pay our bills. We have to get a return from our advertising or else why even do it. So we make little compromises and find the least slimey of the manipulative strategies and just use that.

But after struggling with this dilemma for a while, I discovered there was a better way. And it didn’t leave me feeling like I needed a shower. As you would probably guess, knowing me, it involves using technology. Here’s how a call like that goes now.

Information Hotline: (recorded) Thank you for calling my 24-hour information hotline. Please enter your four-digit code now.

Caller: (keys in property code from the ad)

Information Hotline: (recorded) All of our representatives are currently busy. Please hang up and someone will contact you shortly.

Caller: (click)

Next, within seconds of the phone call, three things happen. First, the caller’s phone number and the property they called about is sent to my cell phone by text message with a clickable link so I can dial it with a tap of my finger. Very cool.

Next, the same information is emailed to my inbox and is entered into my client manager complete with the actual phone number they called from, the date and time, and the property they called about, making followup much easier. I don’t even have to take time to enter them into my database. Just like magic, it all just happens.

But more importantly, here’s what doesn’t happen. I don’t have to play verbal games to try and somehow extract their contact information. I don’t have to find a pen and paper to write their number down. I don’t have to pull my car over so I can get their information. And I don’t have to feel dirty.

What’s more, the customer doesn’t feel manipulated. She has been set up to expect my call, so there is no uncomfortable “gotcha” moment when I call back. There is no fake number given just to get me off the phone — instead I get her real phone number.

The games are all gone, and it is simply an opportunity to serve a new customer and to win her over. And if you do it my way, you might just find that she really is into you.

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