Use A Call Answering Service And Never Miss A Motivated Seller Call
As a real estate investor, have you thought about how you can leverage a call answering service in your business?
There are several benefits to implementing this type of service in your business, but the greatest benefit is ensuring you never miss another motivated seller call.
Most call answering services will operate outside of your business hours, and some even operate 24/7, so essentially your business is operating even after you’ve left the office.
But how do you transition from answering all the inbound calls for your business to having a call answering service answer them?
In this post we are going to discuss how to implement a system in your business for your call answering service.
Having this system in place will make the transition simple.
We did cover this topic in a training we previously hosted, and you can watch the replay below.
A lot of times as you get busier answering all of your calls, at least the first calls that you receive, those upfront screening calls become a little bit of a burden.
And it’s a place where you can start to lose leads and you lose consistency because you get so busy on the back end of the business, like structuring deals, and making sure that you have everything in place for a specific deal that you’re working on.
So, sometimes when new leads come in, those leads start falling through the cracks.
What we’re going to talk about in this post is setting up a system so you can ensure that you will not miss another seller call.
The framework we’re going to walk you through is going to help you build a predictable system for ensuring that all of your inbound calls will be answered, whether it be by somebody on your team or a call answering service like PATLive.
Even if you’re answering your own calls today, if you’re not using a call answering service yet, this same framework and these same principles are going to help ensure that you’re not missing any calls. And then it’s going to be easier to hand it off to a call answering service or an acquisition manager, or an inside sales rep, when you get to that point.
How Do You Implement A Call Answering Service In Your Business?
So, how do you set a system up to make sure that you never miss another seller call?
There’s really three steps.
The first one is you need to ask yourself three questions. And we’ll talk about what those three questions are later in this article. The three questions are going to help build the structure and the framework for this system.
You’re then going to need to create a call tracking number. You can easily set up a call tracking system inside REI BlackBook. Again, if you’re using a different tool like CallRail or something, you can set it up there too, but then you have to worry about all these integration points, and making sure that your leads go into your CRM, and it becomes a big headache.
Then step three is creating an intake form.
So, you want a call tracking number in place so you can put that number on your marketing pieces. This will allow all your leads to be tracked inside your CRM.
As an example let’s say you’re doing direct mail. It really doesn’t matter where you’re marketing. It could be online, it could be offline, it could be billboards, radio ads. You’re going to have a call tracking number that’s then going to forward to whoever is answering your calls.
And again, it could be you, it could be PATLive. It could be a number of other call answering services. It could be a member of your team. But that call needs to go to that person every single time.
And then they need an easy way to input the lead. And that’s where this intake form comes into place.
1. Ask Yourself These 3 Questions
There are three questions you need to ask yourself.
The first one is “Who’s going to be answering my calls?”.
Again, this could be a call answering service. It could be somebody on your team. It could be a virtual assistant. Today, maybe it’s you. But you need to know who’s going to be answering your calls.
The second question is, “What do I want to happen when a call is answered?”.
And you want to be specific. And we’re going to walk through an example shortly.
Then the third question is, “How do I want to be notified when I get new leads?”.
You want to make sure that when you receive a new lead, you or whoever on your team is responsible for following up those leads, is notified right away. An immediate notification allows you to start analyzing that deal immediately.
Ideally, when the lead comes in somebody is typing their information into an intake form. And then you’re receiving all that information right away: their name, their email address, their phone number, and their property address.
Then you could ask some qualifying questions. You might want to ask, why they’re selling, how soon they’re looking to sell. We’re not going to go into detail about qualifying questions in this post, but those are a couple examples you could use on your intake form. Then you want to make sure that information will be sent directly to you when those new leads come in.
So, here’s an example of how you could answer those three questions.
“Who’s going to be answering my calls?”
For this example, it’s going to be PATLive. Write their number down. You’re going to have to make sure that all the calls are forwarded to their number.
If you’ve never worked with a call answering service before, they will give you a number. You want to be cautious with this number though. What ends up happening a lot of times is investors will actually put the number that PATLive gives them on their direct mail piece.
The problem with that is now you’re tied to PATLive. The PATLive phone number is on all of your marketing pieces, which means it’s going to be really hard, if you want to take your calls in house, because now all these people, you sent out thousands and thousands of mailers to will call the PATLive phone number on it, instead of your call tracking number. So, now it’s really hard to cancel PATLive or move services.
So, you want to put your call tracking phone number on your direct mail pieces. Then forward all those calls to PATLive.
Then let’s say, PATLive is not cutting it, or you decide to bring all of your calls in house. Instead of having to change the number on your marketing piece, you just go into your call tracking software and change where the call is being forwarded.
If you’re using REI BlackBook, you would go into Profit Dial and change this. It’s super easy to do. So, you want to know who’s answering your calls and you need their phone number.
2. Create A Call Tracking Number
Next, you want to ask yourself, “What do I want to happen when a call is answered?”
And again, you want to be specific.
So, I want to make sure first and foremost that every single lead that comes in is automatically being sent to my CRM, regardless if the call is answered or not, regardless if they’re able to fill out the intake form or not. I want to make sure that that phone call is dumped into my CRM.
Then next, I want to make sure that a source will be applied, so I know where that lead came from.
So let’s just, again, for this example, let’s say we’re using direct mail. I want to know because then you could go back and look at reports later and say, “I’ve got these three different marketing channels, direct mail, billboards, and bandit signs.” And you want to know which ones are performing best because you’re spending money on all of them.
You can then go back and you can look at how many deals you closed by source, how many leads you acquired by source, how many appointments you booked by source. So, setting the source is important.
The next thing you want to do is apply some tags.
Tags are a more granular way to segment your list. So, I want to make sure that every contact, every new call that comes in, has a tag automatically assigned seller lead.
And then let’s just say that this campaign is a probate campaign. So, I also want to use the tag seller lead-probate.
Then I would also want to use the tag lead-intake form complete if the intake form is in fact filled out because then I can segment my database. I can segment my leads and see how many leads I’m getting from direct mail, if you want to go super high level.
Or if you want to really kind of zoom in and say, “How many leads have I gotten from direct mail that resulted in an intake form being filled out?” You could also do that. And you can run all these different reports inside of the CRM and REI BlackBook, which is really cool.
Then the third question is, “How do I want to be notified of a new lead?”.
In this example, I want to receive a text message and an email with the new leads information.
So, what does this look like in practice?
If you’re an REI BlackBook user you would set up a callflow that forwards all incoming phone calls for that call tracking number to PATLive. In that same callflow you will include a text message and email notification that will be sent to yourself with the new lead’s information.
To see a more detailed training on how to set this up inside an REI BlackBook account check out this training.
If you’re using a different system make sure you’re system is set-up so all inbound calls will be forwarded to the call answering service. And you receive notifications via text and email with the new lead’s information.
So when people call the number on your marketing piece that call is going to automatically be forwarded to your PATLive number, or whoever’s answering your calls. Then you’ll receive notifications via text and email with the new leads information.
And then the beauty of this is, it happens automatically. You will set everything up once beforehand and then the system does the work for you after that.
3. Create Your Intake Form
After setting up your call tracking, you’ll want to set up your intake form.
An intake form is, sometimes you hear us talk about these at REI BlackBook as being internal landing pages. Essentially, it’s just a landing page or a web form that you’re using for internal purposes, for your internal team. And we would consider a PATLive agent a member of your team.
You don’t need to purchase a domain for this intake form either. Since it’s just an internal form you’ll be using the automatically generated URL will suffice.
The agents of the call answering service you’re using can bookmark this link on their browsers. This will ensure easy access to the form when a call comes in.
Again, this is just a form that you give to whoever’s answering your calls. It’s going to ask all the questions that you would normally ask on a call.
As you can see in the example below your intake form can be simple. You can add your logo if you’d like, but it’s not necessary since this will be an internal form that isn’t customer facing.
You can add simple instructions as well or notes/tips for the agent of the call answering service.
So, the way this works, is a call comes in. The call is answered, in this example by a PATLive agent. They then have a link to your intake form. So, you give a link to a PATLive agent that they just fill out every time they get a new call.
Then what happens is that lead is dumped directly into your CRM. If you’re using REI BlackBook, they’ll already be inside of your CRM because they called in. So, that contact record will just be updated with all of the information that the agent gets.
And then what happens automatically is when a form is submitted, you can trigger a workflow. Which is very similar to a callflow. They are just slightly different because an inbound phone call was not made.
So, you can’t forward a call, if a call was not made. If a form is filled out, though, you can still apply tags. You can still create notifications, you can assign tasks. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen when you trigger a workflow.
Imagine this, a call comes in from direct mail, instead of going to your cell phone, it goes directly to PATLive. They conduct that initial discovery call, where you’re asking your base level questions.
Then that lead is delivered directly to your CRM, and you get a notification right away that says, “Hey, you’ve got a new lead. Go review the call.” You can listen to the call if you wanted to, because the call was recorded.
You can certainly look at all the information that the call answering agent, the PATLive agent put into that intake form. Then you can go back and pick up the phone and call the seller, if you need more information. Or if you’ve got enough information, you can start to analyze the deal and start to put your offer together.
So, to recap…
We discussed how to build a system, so you never miss another seller call.
You want to start by asking yourself three simple questions.
You need to create a call tracking number.
And then you need to create an intake form that your call answering service can use to fill out on your behalf.
If you do that, you will have a pretty airtight system for generating leads and making sure that all of your leads are captured, they’re delivered directly to your CRM.
No lead is going to be left behind.
No call is going to be missed.
And most importantly, you’re going to have a greater opportunity to convert more of your leads into deals, which is the name of the game.
The beautiful thing about having a system like this setup is, again, you’re ensuring that all of the time and energy and money that you’re putting into your front end marketing machine, you’re getting the greatest return on that possible.
You’re making sure that that initial experience that the sellers are having is a flawless one. Meaning, they call, somebody answers to ask some very specific questions, and then a member of your team or yourself follows up to get additional information.
Yes this system will give you a greater opportunity to convert more leads into deals, but that doesn’t mean every single person will say yes.
For those who don’t say yes, put them on a follow-up campaign until they opt out, or a deal is made. For more information on this follow-up campaign download the FREE Seller Acquisition Map. You will see how you can start nurturing and converting more leads into deals!