The other day I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who owns nine real estate offices in Atlanta. We were talking about eliminating overhead, and he told me that he paid over $6,000 every month on phone bills! I told him that my brokerage paid zero! He was floored! Here’s how I do it.
What is one thing that every single agent has on them at all times? Their pocket real estate license.. right? Hardly! No, it’s the ever-present mobile phone. We are a culture obsessed with our phones. Half the TV commercials today are phone companies. The other half, it seems, are drug companies… I digress.
Yet today, brokerage after brokerage spends hundreds if not thousands of dollars in redundant telephone service. Your customer must first call the office phone, only to be transferred by the office staff (remember the receptionist I already told you to fire?) to an agent’s mobile phone. I saw that as a bad idea for several reasons.
First, it was the needless redundancy, costing lots of money. Second, there were more opportunities for balls to get dropped. You know what I’m talking about: the messages that were taken incorrectly or maybe never even delivered. Then of course there was the most important reason of all: the extra hassle to the client. I decided that we would boldly go where no man had ever dared to go before. We fired the phone company.
If you visit our office, you won’t find a single office phone on a desk. No cords everywhere. No continual maintenance calls to the local phone company. It’s actually wonderful. If you call our office from one of our advertisements (in other words, you’re a sales lead), then your call is directed to our call-capture hotline, patched through to the appropriate person’s mobile phone, and seamlessly inserted into our client management application.
If you call our main office line, you are actually calling our Google Voice line and that line will simultaneously ring the mobile phones of all the staff who handle those calls, until either one of them answers, or, if they are all busy, you are directed to our free Google Voice voice mail. The transcript of the message, as well as a recording, are then forwarded by email to the appropriate staff for followup. No payroll, and no phone company.
Anyone calling out, calls on their own phone, using Google Voice so as not to give away their actual phone number. Then when people call them back, they have the option of pre-screening the call, answering, or sending it on to voice mail. They also have the option of scheduling when they will be available to receive calls. It’s simple, it’s seamless, and it certainly doesn’t cost us $6,000 a month!
So, in this time of tightening our belts, if you are a broker , or even if you are an agent that spends too much on phone bills, think about firing the phone company. What could you do with that extra money? Hey, it’s nice outside today. I’d rather be piloting my boat along the Intracoastal Waterway. Hmmmm. Fresh tuna for lunch. That’s the ticket. That’s Max-Bang!