How to Choose the Right Answering Service for Your Real Estate Firm
As virtual receptionists grow in popularity, find out how they can help enhance your real estate business.
Does your real estate office have one receptionist manning the phones for dozens of agents? Do leads ever fall through the cracks due to insufficient follow-up? Have you lost money as a result of not being able to answer the phone at exactly the right time?
Your real estate firm might need an answering service.
Answering Service Defined
Essentially, a person known as a virtual receptionist sits in an off-site location and, at the assigned times, answers the calls that come into the number you specify. They answer the phone as if they work in your physical office, and can perform any number of customizable functions to help your caller get the service they need.
Among other features, an answering service can:
- Take messages
- Book and confirm appointments
- Provide directions or information about showings or open houses
- Collect contact information
- Forward time-sensitive or business-critical calls
- Forward messages to you via text message or email
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Virtual receptionists can offer any number of additional services. Your answering service is completely customizable for your own business. For instance, you can use your personalized greeting, and can train your VR to use just about any company-specific forms or software that you need.
But let’s get into some specifics.
How can an answering service benefit your Real Estate Firm?
- They can provide service for any of the channels you need, whether that means over the phone, web chat, email or SMS (text messaging).
- They can provide local, native speakers.
- An answering service can allow you to focus on revenue-driving activities, like marketing and meeting with buyers and sellers.
- They can give you 24/7 coverage, which allows for buyers and sellers to get the info they need at any time, day or night.
You can come across as a true professional—having your own receptionist can make you sound like a large player that buyers and sellers alike want to do business with. This can be particularly useful when trying to impress real estate developers and HNWIs.
You can tailor the service to your specific needs. You can set up a customized greeting, and have calls screened and messages sent through email, text or phone. You can even set up VIPs that will be forwarded to you no matter what.
You can have calls taken by your team of receptionists while you meet with clients. No need to interrupt your showing by answering that important call you’ve been waiting for.
When you are in the field most of the day, you can lose lots of leads. With a virtual receptionist, you will capture every single lead that comes in, no matter where you are physically.
Clients will be more likely to stick with you instead of moving onto the next listing. You can have your virtual receptionists set up appointments or forward additional info to your potential clients with absolutely no time taken out of your schedule. Move potential clients along in your pipeline by giving them more detailed information than they will get from an online listing. Send them brochures or ask to set up an in-person viewing.
Once trained, have your virtual receptionist update and manage your MLS listings through your CRM. Did you just decide to run an open house for this upcoming weekend? Shoot a quick email to and they can update the listing and notify any prospective leads who might be interested.
How to Pick the Right Answering Service for Your Real Estate Firm
Okay, so now that you know you need to hire an answering service, how do you know which one to pick?
We have a few basic ideas for you to think about:
Cost—You can balance this against the number of minutes you will require your virtual receptionist to cover your phones, but costs shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Reasonable plans start at around $200 and go up from there. Be wary of very inexpensive plans. You might not be getting the best quality of service if you’re only paying pennies per minute of talk time.
List of Services—Does the firm offer the services that you need? You might just need someone to answer your phone at night or when your receptionist is on vacation. On the other hand, you might want them to perform data entry and follow up on complicated issues with mortgage lenders and other banking professionals.
If you just need a basic answering and message service for now, but might expand later, consider going with a company that offers a wide range of services. It will be easier for you to upgrade your service, rather than moving to an entirely different firm and starting from scratch.
Location, Location, Location—Finally, location can be an issue when deciding which answering service to go with.
Ideally, you want a company that offers native speakers with friendly demeanor and plenty of professional experience. With a good answering service, customers shouldn’t even really notice that they are speaking with someone offsite. They will naturally assume that the person answering the phone works in your office.
All in all, an answering service is a great way to optimize your real estate office and make sure that you are spending your precious time and energy on the important stuff—drumming up hot leads and closing deals. With a virtual receptionist, you can have a valuable partner that will help you keep your calendar full and your message inbox up-to-date.