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2007-01-30 09:30:00

Using The Telephone To Market Homes

The telephone remains one of the most powerful weapons in a real estate agent’s marketing arsenal. The telephone bridges the gap between the majority of buyers who use the Internet in their search for houses and the remaining few who have limited access to the Internet or no access at all. Telephonic marketing may strike a grateful chord with buyers who feel disenfranchised in the looming cyber age. And, the telephone remains a convenient device even for the “connected” majority of web surfers.


Fax On Demand

Fax on Demand technology allows a caller to receive information via fax after making a telephone call.  A buyer can call a number and press a number that corresponds to the report he wishes: “Press 10 if you would like to receive a list of HUD Homes,” “Press 11 if you would like information about financing,” “Press 12 if you would like to receive a list of rental properties.” The process is simple and requires no manual intervention to complete the task.

Property HOTLINE

“Call the ABC Realty Hotline for information about our listings. 800-555-3000.” 

This is a standard line that agents or offices can use on web sites, in the newspaper, in homes magazines, and in flyers and letters. Use a local voice-mail number or a toll-free call capture number with a pre-recorded message that lists properties presently available for sale, the list prices, and gives the caller a chance to leave a message with his contact information.

Keep it very simple. Here is a sample script:

"Thank you for calling ABC Realty's Property Hotline. The properties that are available this week are : 123 Main St., Toledo, $60,000 and 456 Broad Street, Canton, $90,000. These properties are available with special financing that lets you build the cost of repairs right in the mortgage. Leave your name and number and the best time to reach you. Have a great day!

That’s it. It is as simple as that. The call capture number will leave a record of the caller’s telephone number even if the caller does not identify himself.  

Call Capture Numbers 

Call capture technology offers distinct advantages over other types of telephone call in the real estate sales process. Call capture offers a 24-Hour Response Hotline that generates five to seven times as many calls as traditional ad campaigns that rely on human operator pickup. It’s a great tool to advertise HUD homes, a market where the inventory changes each weel

Here’s how it works. The buyer sees the following ad:

GOVERNMENT OWNED HOMES

Complete list of government homes
Free Recorded Message 24/7
ID#2006 –24 hours
Respond by March 21 and receive our free report,
ABC Realty Takes the Secret Out
Of Buying Government Owned Homes.


The buyer calls the ad to hear a recorded message listing the HUD Homes for sale. The buyer has several choices at the end of the recording:
 

  •  He can leave a message with his contact information and he can leave a detailed request for additional information and a call back.
  • he buyer can elect to receive a fax on demand. The system will automatically accomplish the fax delivery without the need for intervention by the agent.
  • The caller has an opportunity to be connected with an agent immediately by pressing a “0”. Studies show that callers who have the opportunity to speak with an agent without having to dial another number are twice as likely to do so than callers who are prompted to call another number to reach an agent.
     
     

Regardless of the choice he makes, the system makes a note of his telephone number and sends the agent a notice about the time of the call and the originating number.


Worried about making calls since the Do Not Call (DNC) rules went into effect? Scared about being hit with a whopping $11,000 fine for a misplaced call? That’s not a concern here. Once a buyer has called a 24-hour-response line, an agent is allowed to call the prospect as often as he likes for the next 90 days without DNC compliance woes.


Agents can receive leads by fax or Internet immediately after the prospect completes the call. Some call capture systems can be set up to deliver leads by pager or cell phone or by e-mail, complete with caller’s name and phone number and the source of the call.

Conference Calls Are The New Wave

Conference call technology is used widely for training and meetings. Coaches use paid teleconferencing venues to generate additional income streams, and free teleconferencing to generate new leads for their products and professional services. Real estate professionals have been slow to adopt this technology.


Consider scheduling a weekly or a monthly half-hour teleconference call and invite prospects to hear an “expert” speak about specific real estate topics—buying a home, staging a property before putting it on the market, how to become qualified and work with a lender. Give callers a chance to ask questions. An agent can bill himself as the expert speaker or he can moderate the call with special guests. 

Special guests who are lenders or other types of vendors may appreciate the opportunity to participate and “sponsor” the cost of the call. Charges for half-hour to one-hour toll-free conference calls with 10-20 participants may be $25-50 or more. The calls are free with most long-distance call conference plans.


Consider using a teleconference service that offers “recorded calls” as an optional service. Pre-recorded calls that convert to MP3 files can be posted online at web sites and used as podcasts. The “shelf life” of these calls can be long term, and the monies invested in the recording upgrade can be leveraged to reach a much wider audience than the group that enrolled on the original call.


As a way to offset the cost of a monthly service consider sharing the conference line with other agent(s) in the office or vendor(s) who may be interested in conducting teleconferences for sellers, first-time buyer workshops, and reaching other market areas.

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