Every Real Estate Professional Should Have a Toll-Free Number!

By
Real Estate Agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

Every Real Estate Professional Should Have a Toll-Free Number!
by Rob McQuade, ABR, Sacramento
REALTOR®
Sacramento CA Real Estate

It's easy to justify using a plain ol' local number--maybe even just your cell phone number--when marketing yourself on business cards and in advertising. Heck, most people seem to use email as a major communication tool anyway, right? And, well, just about everyone using a cell phone can make long distance calls at no extra cost...

I agree, for most day-to-day marketing a local number is fine. Having said that, here's why I recommend that every real estate professional have their own toll-free number:

1. You look like a business. You are a business, right? I mean, you conduct business and you have clients and customers. It's a level of professionalism that can set you apart from others.

2. It will help your customers reach you. Yes, there really are people out there who don't have cell phones or email. Or, at least, who don't have super-cheap or free long distance.

3. You can capture caller information. Most toll-free services allow you to capture a caller's information even if they have their number blocked. While I don't recommend stalking a caller who doesn't want you to contact them, sometimes a person can leave a garbled message and this is a fail-safe that makes it easier to follow up with them.

4. What happens if you leave your current brokerage? If you've been advertising your firm's toll free number or other numbers, some people won't have your new contact info if you change firms. I recommend everyone publish contact info they have control over--with the broker's permission, of course.

5. It's surprisingly cheap. Some telephone service providers (AT&T, Vonage, Sprint, etc.) will allow you to choose a toll-free number and add it to your existing phone plan for as little as a few dollars a month and a small per-minute fee for inbound calls. But be careful, not all of them will capture caller ID info.

For those interested in taking it to the next level, some providers add a "virtual PBX" feature that can add an extra layer of professionalism to your business. When a caller dials you, he or she is presented with a menu of options. I use mine as a way for callers to reach my whole team using one number. As an example: Press one for me, press two for my assistant, press three for my transaction coordinator, press four for a list of properties available, press five for a market update, press six for my full contact info and website addresses. From there, callers are transferred to wherever I am--even a cell phone, home phone, or my regular office desk line. Easy to configure and everything!

The company I use (because it's the cheapest and easiest to configure so far that I've found) is GotVMail Communications.They give me a toll-free number, a local number, and an easy-to-configure web interface for less than $50 a month (hmm... might be less than $40 now that I think of it). I own my numbers and they'll follow me for years to come.

I currently have three toll-free numbers with them. One (you'll see it below in my signature block) is a "vanity" number that I selected because it's (hopefully) easier for urban real estate buyers and sellers to remember. One I use for my high-end listings ("Recorded property info available 24 hours a day"), and one as a secondary toll-free I use to test specific marketing.

I'd love to hear what others are doing for their toll-free numbers!

Rob McQuade, ABR, Sacramento REALTOR®
McMartin Realty - Sacramento Real Estate
2031 K St Ste 100
Sacramento, CA 95814-4216

Tel (916) 444-7577 or Toll Free (866) 720-CITY (2489)
Fax (916) 444-7977

On the web at http://www.RobMcQuade.com/
Visit my blog at http://www.CentralCityGuy.com/

You can email me at Rob@RobMcQuade.com 

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Rainer
11,970
David Hood
Keller Williams Realty HomeSaleChinoHills.com 909 972-5569 - Chino Hills, CA

I use ureach.com

uReach.com strives to provide solutions that meet a wide range of customer needs. We offer everything from single solutions for specifc needs like toll-free numbers and email to more robust bundles that can simplify managing all forms of communications - email, voice mail, fax, conferencing, outbound phone calls, even International Dialing.

I like the idea of 800 for tracking  specific marketing.

Dave

Jan 14, 2007 06:06 PM #1
Rainer
13,170
Rob McQuade
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Sacramento CA Real Estate

Hey, Dave!

Thanks for suggesting ureach, I took a look and they look like a good solution, too. I like GotVMail Communications because of the unlimited message storage (I noticed ureach stores up to 30MB of voice and data files, GotVMail has unlimited message storage but doesn't store data files) so I can save messages forever if I want.

I'm going to check ureach out some more, they have some great features, too!

Rob 

Jan 14, 2007 09:09 PM #2
Rainmaker
356,756
Debbie Cook
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc - Silver Spring, MD
Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate
Try Freedom Voice, recommened to me by Michael Russer "Mr. Internet"  http://www.FreedomVoice.com
Jan 15, 2007 07:23 AM #3
Rainmaker
113,451
Dave Jones
Dave Jones Realty, llc. - Prospect, CT
Broker/Owner - e-PRO Dave Jones Realty llc Prospec

Does anyone know of a PC based virtual PBX system?  I know I wont have the 800# for them to call.  But I was hoping to set up a PC based information service where people can call in, my PC would answer the call, and give the caller options to hear info about my listings.  One quick question about "gotvmail", I dont see it specified on their site.  Do they offer call capture, or jsut caller ID?

 

Mar 07, 2007 07:07 AM #4
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Rainer
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Rob McQuade

Sacramento CA Real Estate
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