Here’s how I have my real estate investing business call system set up and what I look for in an answering service.
First, I have all different types of my marketing out to find motivated sellers. I use things like classified ads that have my toll free 24 hour recorded information line telephone number on it. I use different extensions for each type of marketing. So, my classified ad in the weekly free newspaper has a different extension than my post it notes that I have delivered door to door in my farm neighborhoods.
When a motivated seller sees my advertisement and wants additional information they can NOT call me directly. They must go through my 24 hour recorded information line to listen to a pre-recorded message that is about 5 minutes long and explains to them in my best presentation voice, the benefits of them working with me and having me buy their house.
Once they have listened to the message, I give usually give them two options: go to my website and submit a form or call me directly.
If they decide to go to my website, they fill out a web based property information form which is directly loaded into my Real Estate Investor Database contact and business management account for me to deal with when I am ready to talk to motivated sellers.
If they decide to call my office directly, they actually do not call me. They call my 24 hour answering service. Here are some things I look for in an answering service.
First, I must be able to forward my phone number to them. I have my system set up so that the 24 hour recorded information line actually forwards the call to the answering service instead of having the seller hang up and call into a separate number. I prefer this and it requires that the answering service give you a local number (not a toll free number) because, as I understand it, you can not forward one toll free number to another toll free number.
Second, they must be willing to input the leads into my Real Estate Investor Database for me directly. Imagine getting over 100 leads in a few days and having to manually add each one to your contact management system. It is a real pain, so the service must be willing to add the new leads directly into my contact management system (which is web based).
Third, they must be reasonably priced. What is reasonably priced? I think less than 50 cents per call is reasonable. If they are going to charge a monthly fee it should be a monthly minimum against calls and not a monthly fee in addition to a per call fee.
Fourth, they must have reasonably good response time. You do not want your motivated sellers on hold for 10 minutes waiting to get through. You want them to wait no more than 2 minutes and most times they should be able to get through immediately.
Those are the qualifications I look for in a live answering service for my buying system.
James Orr is a professional real estate investor and marketing expert.
You can subscribe to his real estate e-newsletter and access audio downloads, articles, marketing materials and educational real estate videos at his Real Estate Investing blog.