In the past decade, the real estate industry has changed significantly. Buyers are joining the real estate market with more information than ever before. Customers can now search homes by specific criteria such as location, neighborhood, square footage, etc. However, a real estate agent is still necessary for that in-depth personal knowledge of a community. It’s often that personal connection, real estate expertise, and negotiation skills that firmly plant agents in the middle of the home buying process.
How has the Real Estate Agent Role Changed?
One of the most important ingredients is having open and clear communication with clients. According to a NAR study, almost all REALTORS® use a smartphone to communicate via email or social media on daily basis. Technology has increasingly become a part of the home buying process. Real estate agents may no longer do an open house but go “live” on social media to show off a house and community. REALTORS® are joining Facebook groups and broadening their network in specific niches. Competition and buyer availability have soared in the past decade. An agent may not just be competing with his local community but those out of state and for-sale-by-owner listings. Buyers may come around the corner or hundreds of miles away from a Google Ad or social media post.
If anything, real estate has become more global and interconnected. Instead of getting to know people through open houses, agents are harnessing the power of their mobile devices to carve a distinct brand. It used to be a forgone conclusion that you would have to meet in person with a client or cold call someone for a lead. Now, an overwhelming 93% of REALTORS® prefer to communicate with their clients through text message first before calls or emails. Increasingly, agents are using new and different channels on mobile devices to reach clients. Mobile phones are not just for chasing leads though, many are starting to use mobile devices to sign important documents, generate social media postings, and film elaborate house reveals.
Technology has brought more simplicity and knowledge into our lives, and it will continue to do so. With the rise of virtual reality and social media, more and more agents are looking for ways to properly manage all these channels of communication. They need an all-in-one platform that can manage real estate communications across the board. A business-wide phone system for real estate is the perfect solution.
Business VOIP Phone Systems Benefits for Real Estate Offices
A VoIP phone system combines most of your communication into one central system, whether that be calls, texts, or social media marketing. On average, a VoIP is going to be much cheaper to install as well as scale compared to other systems. Real estate agents are also using multiple platforms to communicate with clients, which can make staying organized almost impossible.
One of the most important decisions someone makes in their life is buying a house. Because of this heightened nature of the purchase, clients expect more. Oftentimes, homebuyers expect open lines of communication in a preferred method (think Facebook Messenger or Email). When miscommunication happens, clients fall through the cracks. Don’t choose a phone system that allows that to happen.
Work in the office or at Home
Working as a real estate agent often means being on the go. You could go from calling leads at 9 am, to meeting with a client for lunch, to photographing houses in the afternoon. In fact, some people are even questioning whether or not some agents even need an office. The right real estate office phone system can help you manage all your communication even when you are out of the office. VoIP Services will forward the communications to your cell phone. Other systems use an app to manage communication even while you are away. The best part? It’s not just phone call forwarding, but email, text, voicemail, social media communications, and more.
3rd Party App Integration
Have a favorite app that is a part of your real estate process? Chances are, a VoIP service can offer app integration such as Google Workspaces, Microsoft Office, Salesforce, Zendesk, and more depending on the provider. This makes setting up a call or scheduling a showing simple!
Other systems can cost thousands of dollars for even just the basics. You can start with a VoIP for a couple of hundred dollars and scale for around $20-$80 per person for devices. Because VoIP’s can be a cloud-based phone system, you can also pay a monthly subscription per person. Oftentimes, this is much cheaper than adding a physical analog phone line. Keep in mind, you’ll also need to pay for internet and hosting. Most companies are already paying for internet so that cost is already taken care of.
Protect Your Personal Number
One of the most important aspects of real estate is self-promotion and marketing. You need clear calls to action, and you need to make sure your number is easily accessible. However, plastering your number on the internet can leave you open to prank calls or other happenings on your personal device. Instead, you can make sure that no one has your personal number, and you are not leaving yourself exposed.
Better Call Quality
It used to be that landline phones were offered the best call quality. However, technology has started to catch up. You can find some of the best call quality on VoIP systems. Not only will have better quality on phone calls but video chats as well, which is becoming more popular as people are buying homes sight unseen.
With traditional phone systems, you must install a line for each person which can be expensive over time. Traditional phone systems can also be difficult to implement over multiple office locations. A VoIP can be installed and run in multiple locations within a day. There are also many options to choose from, unlike traditional phone carriers, where you may only have one option to choose from in each location.
Best Features of Business VOIP Phone Systems for Real Estate
Integrating and advancing with technology is critical for real estate agents. A VoIP gives you the best chance to manage multiple channels of communication. There are some very useful features to help you meet customers where they are and simplify tasks.
Agents are finding SMS messaging a useful tool for communicating with clients while on the go. Instead of cold-calling leads, you can create a template to message clients and contact leads all in one go. A VoIP can allow you to respond on your computer or phone!
All in One Platform
Because agents are always on the move, their phone system needs to be as well. A VoIP system can forward calls, voicemails, emails, texts, and social media messages. Some VoIP systems can also convert voicemails into emails, saving you precious time when categorizing and filing leads. Its importance cannot be understated, as it can handle all of your business communication systems. You have all that you need in one unified communication system.
Unlike traditional phone systems, VoIP can allow for video conferencing and video chats. This is perfect for clients who may be out of state. Also, video chatting can be a great way to meet with potential clients who are on the go but still want that personal connection.
Web Chat Widget
If a potential client is on your website, make it easy for them to get in touch with you. You can have VoIP integrated into your website making calls or messaging and simple. This is extremely important if a client is visiting your website after a referral from another client. Show them that you are open to communication!
Call analytics may be one of the most underrated features for real estate agents. A VoIP can help you see data that you never have before. You can start measuring things such as call logs, call tracking, talk time, call recordings, answered vs. missed calls, virtual receptionist, voice clarity, and more! Using this data can determine the best time to reach clients as well as improve your calling or communication methods.
Caller ID Name
One of the biggest problems agents face is calling a potential lead, only to be directed to voicemail. When you aren’t talking one on one with clients, you are not putting your best foot forward. One of the reasons people don’t pick up a phone is because you are calling from an unrecognized number. Having a caller ID name can help identify yourself to customers before they even pick up the phone.
When it comes to marketing yourself, you need to stand out. A custom greeting can help you do just that! A custom greeting can help keep you in the mind of customers long after you’ve stopped talking. VoIP services can also include holding music or a virtual receptionist to make it easier when clients make a call.
Integrating Business VOIP Phone Systems into Your Business
A VoIP system can be set up in a number of hours across multiple devices and locations. You’ll most likely need to train your staff on the new technology as well as fine tun the process. In order to get started, you may need to submit a VoIP Request for Proposal and check out some of the top companies in the VoIP space. We’ve written guides about both.
Are You Ready to Make the Switch to a Business VOIP Phone System?
Choosing a VoIP system for your business can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. At 360connect, we can help supply you with multiple quotes on VoIP systems specific to the real estate business.
Want to know more about VoIP systems?