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In my business, I get a lot of phone calls from both motivated AND unmotivated sellers.

I also get calls from people trying to sell properties I don't want.

I used to spend hours talking to these prospects every day.

Whenever I would entertain conversations with the wrong people, it would be a complete waste of time—but how else was I supposed to know who I was dealing with if I didn't talk with them on the phone?

Let's be honest; we're not going to end up doing business with everyone who calls us. It's usually quite the opposite. You have to search high and low to find that one person who needs what you're trying to help them with.

So how do you eliminate the 90% of calls with tire-kickers who aren't serious about closing a deal with you?

Creating a Masterpiece Voicemail Greeting

The phone is a pretty big part of your life. This is one of the primary communication tools you will use daily to follow up with leads, close deals, and make money. If you're going to be effective in your business, you need to know how to manage your phone time. There's just no way around it.

When I got into my groove as a real estate investor, I created a voicemail message to help me deal with this issue. Over time, it turned out to be incredibly effective. It was a message that anticipated people's needs, answered questions, kept people on the line, and, most importantly, made them give me some answers before I invested any more of mine with them.

The idea behind this whole thing was to elicit some helpful information before I wasted another 10 to 15 minutes calling them back. This one message has saved me hundreds of hours of my time. And that's a conservative estimate!

Automated Greeting (Call Back)

You can listen to the first three-quarters of the message here…

After a year or so of using this message to screen my calls, I realized that even though it was very helpful in acting as a 24/7 “phone gatekeeper,” I still had to spend a lot of time calling these people back. So while it lessened the severity of the issue, it didn't necessarily solve the problem.

Automated Greeting (Website Push)

My solution was to build a buying website. Once this site was online, I revised my direct mail message and voicemail script instead of asking people to call me to simply instruct them to visit my website and submit their information online. And once they did, I could send them an automated offer—rather than spending 30+ minutes on a conversation that went nowhere.

I still allowed my prospects to call me. Because let's face it, many people still want to talk with someone on the phone. But if they chose that medium, my voice message explained in a compelling way that I was glad they called me, but it would be in their best interests to visit my website and submit their information.

Here's a clip from the first half of the message…

Note: In this example, I state my website URL (edited out in the clip above). This isn't completely necessary if you're already listing the website URL on your mail piece. I just took this extra step in my message to clarify my instructions.

Automated Greeting (Short Call Back)

Years passed, and the ‘website push' version of my greeting performed well for a long time.

However, I started noticing a trend as the real estate market heated up and I worked in more competitive markets.

Fewer people were willing to listen to my 2+ minute long voicemail greeting and leave a message because they had other options to sell their property.

When I worked in markets with many other land investors pursuing the same landowners, I didn't have the benefit of “no competition” in the market anymore. If I wanted people to call me and leave me a message, I had to make the process easier for them.

I could do this by either,

  • Sending them to a virtual receptionist via PATLive (more on that below), so they could talk to a real human.
  • Shorten the automated greeting, not push them to a website, and call them back for a real conversation.

The obvious downside of this approach is that someone has to spend time on the phone with these prospects. The benefit of saving time doesn't apply with this approach (which is a major drawback). BUT, when you're working in a market with competition from other land investors, you need to lower barriers and make the experience easier for your prospects.

Here's a clip from the message…

I found it was more effective at keeping callers engaged. The shorter message makes it feel like a real person is on the other line, waiting for the call, but they just missed it.

Note: It also helps if the caller can hear a few ringtones before the message starts playing (so it doesn't sound like an answering system where nobody is waiting by the phone).

I'll be totally honest; I don't love using this greeting. It puts me in a position that will consume more time (either my time or a hired hand), BUT, if I'm working in a more competitive market where this kind of rapport-building is required to get warm responses from motivated sellers, it's usually going to beat out those who don't care enough to know the people they're making offers to.

While it's not my first choice, I'll do what I must if the situation requires it.

The Benefits of Automation

When a voicemail greeting effectively gathers prospect information without requiring me to answer live calls, it's a MASSIVE step towards eliminating wasted time.

These days, I don't even pick up the phone when a prospect calls me. My phone system is programmed to route callers straight to voicemail, and this message (above) is what they hear.

RELATED: Are You Using The Right Phone System For Your Real Estate Business?

Now, I know what you're thinking.

“With this kind of voicemail system, aren't you missing out on opportunities along the way?”

Probably.

When I'm not willing to answer calls live or use a trained receptionist to answer calls for me, I will eventually lose some people.

But what do I get in return? I get freedom. My business doesn't control me; I control it.

There are plenty of other philosophies about handling phone calls, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages, but this is what I do, and it has worked well for me.

Even in cases when I am pushing prospects to my website, in many cases, when people do leave me messages, they're usually pretty short. They sound something like:

“Hey man, I just submitted my information on your website. Let me know what you think.”

Of course, you will inevitably miss some opportunities when you don't take these calls directly. But let's think about the type of person who wouldn't bother to leave a voicemail after hearing this message (especially the short one).

If somebody can't take 10 seconds to tell you their reference code, provide their information or visit your website and submit their information, does that sound like a motivated seller to you?

When a prospective seller doesn't care enough to leave a message, what are the chances they'll be responsive to your communication and willing to go through the motions down the road?

In a world with an endless barrage of phone calls coming at you from all sorts of people, it is imperative to separate the wheat from the chaff and find out who is serious about doing business. By creating a helpful, straightforward voicemail message that gives just enough information, asks politely for quick action, and determines if they care enough to follow through on their end, you can be much more effective with your time.

Alternatives to a Voicemail Greeting

Is a voicemail greeting going to elicit a response from every prospect who calls you? Of course not.

The whole idea behind this approach is to weed out the callers who aren't serious. This means only the motivated sellers will stick around to leave you a message.

One of the drawbacks to this approach is that some callers may be on the fence (or perhaps they just don't like listening to recorded messages) and will hang up before you find out how motivated they were.

PATLive LogoIf you're concerned about this and want to squeeze out more deals from the people who call you, that's where a virtual receptionist service like PATLive can be useful.

A virtual receptionist is significantly more expensive than the voicemail strategy I describe above, so if you're on a shoestring budget (as most of us are in the beginning), this may not be the best fit.

However, if you want to explore this option further, I've got an entire blog post explaining how it works. It includes what to expect, best practices, what a virtual receptionist can and can't do, and more. If you're interested, see this blog post (and both videos) to help you decide if it makes sense for your business.

Want My Voicemail Script?

When I created my first automated voicemail message, it took me a TON of time to figure out what to say, how to say it, and how to communicate the right tone in a way that would keep people on the line long enough to take action.

It worked quite well, but I've revisited this message several times over the years and continually tweaked and improved different aspects of what it says.

You can do the same thing. If you want to come up with your message and convey these points in a way that will resonate with your target audience, I do not doubt you can do it. That being said, I also know how time-consuming it can be to create this kind of communication that comes across the right way and compels people to act.

If you want to get this job done quickly and get your voicemail message up and running TODAY, you're more than welcome to download all of my scripts, along with some professionally recorded renditions of each message. I've included them in a male and a female voice, so you'll have some options.

Here's what you'll get:

  • Voicemail Script #1 (Call Back)
  • Voicemail Script #2 (Website Push)
  • Voicemail Script #3 (Blind Offers)
  • Voicemail Script #4 (Short Call Back)
  • Professional Voice-Over Audio File of Script #1 in a Male Voice (sample)
  • Professional Voice-Over Audio File of Script #1 in a Female Voice (sample)
  • Professional Voice-Over Audio File of Script #2 in a Male Voice (sample)
  • Professional Voice-Over Audio File of Script #2 in a Female Voice (sample)
  • Professional Voice-Over Audio File of Script #3 in a Male Voice
  • Professional Voice-Over Audio File of Script #3 in Female Voice
  • Professional Voice-Over Audio File of Script #4 in a Male Voice
  • Professional Voice-Over Audio File of Script #4 in Female Voice
  • Video Tutorial on How to Upload Files to RingCentral (FREE – see below)

What Can You Do With These?

This information gives you different ways of delivering the same proven messages. If you'd rather record the message yourself or hire someone from Fiverr as I did (i.e., if you want to change the message or insert any specifics like your name or website URL), you can do it by working directly with my scripts.

And lastly, I've included a short video showing how to take these audio files (or the ones you create yourself) and upload them to a service like RingCentral.

Here's a quick overview of how it works:

Click Here to Check Out RingCentral

Following these steps, you won't even have to pick up the phone. You can have a world-class voicemail recording fielding your calls in seconds with a few clicks.

Can you succeed without this? Of course, you can! There's nothing wrong with writing, recording, and perfecting your message (just like I did). But if you're looking for a faster solution and would rather implement the work I've already done, feel free to check it out!

voicemail package

Note: When you sign up as an REtipster email subscriber, I’ll send you an instant $20 off “Discount Code” for this item. And if you enroll in the Land Investing Masterclass, you'll get access to this item for FREE. There's no pressure, of course—I just want to be sure you're aware.

About the author

Seth Williams is the Founder of REtipster.com - an online community that offers real-world guidance for real estate investors.

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