A quick glance at the business cards in the offices of most real estate agencies reveals an alarming trend: a trend that is causing many brokers to lose a surprising amount of sales commissions each year. It’s not mortgage rates, market trends or even the local housing market. It’s far simpler than that. It’s what is being printed on your agents’ business cards. More specifically, it’s the phone numbers that are printed.
As a broker, if you allow your agents to print their mobile phone number on their cards, your business could literally be walking out the door.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Is it really that big of a deal? I want clients to easily reach my agents.” Therein lies the problem. With high rates of turnover, agents are likely to take their clients with them, should they leave your firm.
And clients want to be able to quickly get in touch with their agents. So what is the one number they are likely to store in their own phones as a contact number? That’s right, the agent’s mobile number. So how do you keep this from becoming a major issue?
Direct Inward Dialing Numbers
Direct inward dialing numbers (DIDs) are virtual numbers that allow you to route calls to your existing telephone lines. DIDs were developed to assign employees a direct number without requiring multiple physical phone lines. By issuing each of your agents a direct inward dialing (DID) number, the one number that is associated with your agents now belongs to you. This should be the single number that is published for the agent, and it can easily be forwarded to the agent’s mobile number.
Should your agent leave to work either with another broker or on their own, you can simply route their DID back to your main number or reassign it to a new agent.
You can even install a mobile extension from your phone system and present your caller ID when agents make outbound calls.
And all of the calls from that agent’s clients stay within your firm.
Another benefit of routing calls to agents through your DIDs is the capability to see reports on call volume for each agent. You can use these “call detail records” to correlate numbers of calls and sales, making it easier to assess agent performance and assist in forecasting. By monitoring your call reporting, you can also minimize your overhead by only paying for services that you need.
If you are utilizing a hosted PBX or IP-PBX that allows for virtual extensions, you can also reach your agents by dialing an extension number on your office phones. This can make life much easier for a receptionist, by enabling them to simply transfer incoming calls to an agent’s mobile by simply dialing their extension.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the decision to implement DIDs comes down to control, management and reporting. When you allow direct calls from clients to your agents you will have none of these. You may need to stress to your agents that the move to DIDs is not one of trust (or lack thereof), but a decision to help you manage the operations of your business.
At the end of the day, any steps you make to improve your business will have a positive impact on your agents, as well. The more you help your agents, the more likely they will be to stay with your firm anyway.
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