Ad Call Preparation

Tom Hopkins

By Tom Hopkins

IT seems like when you call the phone number on a sign in front of a property, you get a voicemail requesting that you leave your name and number. While I understand the thought behind capturing the contact information of interested parties, I fear some will simply move on without leaving it. In those cases, it’s easy to think, “Well, they weren’t all that interested.” However, from my perspective, it’s not about the specific property they call about. They’re pretty much shouting, “I’m in the market for a home!” I may sound “old school” here, but I still believe having a living, breathing person answer those calls is critical to your success.

For times when you’re not able to take calls, such as when you’re showing a property, attending a closing, or sleeping, I urge you to forward those calls to someone you trust to gather the information you need. Train them as to what information you need from the buyer and exactly how much (or little) information to provide about the property the buyers call on.

Here’s some advice for you when you do answer calls from ads or signs.

Some people in real estate believe that when they answer the telephone, their job is to sell real estate. It isn’t. The first thing anyone in real estate must realize is that people rarely invest in real estate over the phone and you can’t get your pen through the phone for their approval on the paperwork. Callers don’t say, “Here’s my credit card number. Just put it on this home in the paper. I know it’s right for me.”

Unfortunately, too many agents operate as if that’s what’s going to happen when they take an incoming ad call. They don’t understand that their primary goal when they answer a call must be to meet the caller. In order to do this, they must first obtain the caller’s name. The second bit of information they need to acquire is the caller’s phone number. Don’t let the caller hang up until you get a phone number. If you let them hang up before you get their number, you have nothing. The last thing you need to get before the call ends is an appointment!

If you get a name, number and appointment, you’re halfway home to getting a sale. So concentrate on those three needs and forget everything else when you answer that telephone.

Before you do that, you must be prepared. Remember, your success in getting appointments will be directly proportional to how well prepared you are before the phone rings. On days when you are answering ad calls, be certain that you have plenty of time to prepare. Part of being prepared is to have a working knowledge of the properties being promoted with your number. If you’re not familiar with them, you can’t build the interest of a potential buyer in wanting to see those homes.

Next, I recommend you pick out five of your favorite homes in various price ranges. A professional real estate salesperson always has five homes in his or her mind that they think are the best in the marketplace. These are homes that can easily be suggested to the buyer if, in gathering information, the caller determines that the home they called about is not for them. Then, get ready to record the contact information you are about to receive from the next call.

Real estate professionals are smart enough not to rely on their memories. You may receive 15 or more calls in one day. You can’t expect to remember each person and his or her needs. Take good notes that will set you apart from other agents and build trust with the client when you finally meet. By taking good notes, you won’t embarrass yourself by having to ask the same questions in person they have already answered in the phone conversation they had with you.

Finally, you must be mentally prepared to win. It’s a contest. Are they going to find out everything you know without meeting you? Or are you going to meet them, demonstrate a property and then close the sale? That’s the contest and many of them play better than we do!

You must realize why potential home buyers even call. Many salespeople believe they call to buy a home. No. They are calling to eliminate meeting you. Very few of them call up and ask if they can meet you. All they want is enough information about a property so they can either eliminate it from consideration or drive by on their own for an initial inspection. They don’t want you, just your knowledge.

So when the phone rings, say to yourself, “I’m going to meet these people.” Don’t worry at this point whether or not they’re qualified for the specific home they have called on. When you meet them, then you can qualify them as buyers. You can’t truly qualify anyone over the telephone as to their needs or financial situation. You can’t show them a property over the telephone and most importantly, you can’t close them over the telephone. That’s why your main goal when you answer that call is to set up an appointment to meet that caller.


Tom Hopkins has been teaching and training in the real estate industry for four decades. A record-setting real estate agent himself, his practical listing and selling strategies have boosted the careers of millions of salespeople around the world. He is the author of “Mastering the Art of Selling Real Estate,” numerous audio recordings, and training videos. Tom doesn’t teach theory. He teaches what to do and say with clients in order to succeed in real estate. Listen to his free audio on the mindset of a million-plus real estate agent at www.tomhopkins.com/milliondollar.