The use of mobile phones by many real estate agents not only reflects negatively on our industry but is also counterproductive from a work effectiveness perspective and a radical paradigm shift is needed according to RE/MAX WA managing director, Geoff Baldwin.
“It is not unusual for an agent to break away from a conversation, meeting, seminar or other activity to answer their mobile phone leaving a tarnished perception on those present and also drastically reducing their effectiveness with the person who made the call”, Mr Baldwin said.
“Studies have shown that, when a call is answered, the person who made it is in control for around 8 to 12 seconds which means that the agent answering the call is in catch up mode from the outset especially since he or she has been concentrating or should be concentrating the activity at hand or the person they are already conversing with.
“Often the result is substandard telephone conversations where the agent is underprepared, does not have access to the required information, is defocused and ultimately is perceived as unprofessional.
“Many years ago I made the decision to not answer my mobile phone unless I recognised the number and only then if I was not interacting with another person or persons or involved in any other important activity, especially family time.
“Onlookers sometimes comment on or question this however I believe it is a lot more ignorant to stand up and walk out of a seminar, excuse yourself from a conversation to take a call from a third party, answer a call in easy earshot of other people, etc, etc.
“Allowing calls to go through to your message bank rather than always answering your phone will ensure you are able to stay fully focussed on your current activity, allow you to respond to the call backs effectively with all the information prepared, will significantly lift your time effectiveness and your standing in the eyes of your clients and prospective clients.
“Importantly, although people don’t usually give you their full name, contact details and the purpose of their call when you answer your phone they will almost always do so when they leave a message.
“Reading through your messages and setting aside regular, undisturbed time to answer them is important and it allows you to respond much more effectively that just answering your phone on the hop.
“People will rarely thank you for answering your phone but it is very common for people to say “Thank You for getting back to me” when you do later respond to their message.
“Putting your phone on vibrate mode is also really little more than a cop out and it is not unusual to see agents reading their text messages when they should be concentrating on what they are doing or the person or people they are with so there is no substitute for turning it off altogether.
“For many agents it may be time to do a self audit and to reassess how they use their mobile and how it is effecting their career and public perception”, Mr Baldwin said.