Right up front, I admit it: My name is James and I am a Google-holic. I’m not braggin’ or complainin’, but I love almost everything Google’s ever done and operate my electronic life largely within a Google universe. Sorry, Apple-ites. Your shiny white devices seem stodgy and old fashioned to me. I think when you pay for that new Iphone, 60% of what you’re buying is marketing. Just sayin’ . . .
So, leave it to me to tell you why I think you should consider Google Voice as the telephone system of choice for your real estate business.
1. Transcribed Voice Mail. When a caller on your GV number goes to voice mail, their message is transcribed into text and sent to you via email or text message. If you want to hear the message, you can still do that, but the beauty is that most times, you won’t need to. You’ll be able to get the information you need from the text. This can also be very helpful if you are occupied with something else and an important call comes in. For example, you are out showing property or in a meeting. A call comes in and goes to voice mail. In a minute you are reading a text or email version of the message. It’s something very important that needs your attention right away. Great. Now you can excuse yourself, step out and take care of the problem.
2. Amazing Forwarding Capabilities. You can program GV to forward your calls to any other device you may have: your home phone, your cell phone, your office phone. It’s very easy to change which device(s) ring. You can even put them on a schedule. But there’s more. Suppose you are in your office, on your office land line with a very important call. But you have an appointment out of the office and you have to leave NOW to make it on time. You don’t want to end the important call, so you push a button and suddenly all of your other devices begin to ring. The call seamlessly transfers to whichever device you answer, say your cell phone, and the caller never knows you’ve made the change.
3. Great Marketing Tracking. Google will give you ONE GV number for your Google account. (By the way: you get a Google account when you sign up for Gmail. The email address and password you set up there becomes your login credential for any other Google product). So, if you wanted to assign a different GV number to each marketing piece you did so you’d have a text record of how many calls each piece of marketing produced, you could. You’d have to open a number of different Gmail accounts, but think about it. Maybe you’d have one number for all of your signs. Maybe you’d use a different number for all of your mailbox marketing. Perhaps you’d have a number for print advertising and so on. Five or six numbers would probably give you the visibility you need. Now, I’ve heard that sometimes GV can take some time to assign you a phone number. That wasn’t the case for me: it was instantaneous. But, I did read about one person, wanting to track marketing via different Google Voice numbers, but delayed by Google’s backlog, who went to Ebay and bought accounts for about $6 apiece.
4. Personalized Greetings. Setting up a personalized greeting is so simple. You just find a contact in your messages and assign them a custom greeting. The first person to get a personalized greeting should probably be your spouse: ‘Hi, honey. Sorry I’m tied up, but I’ll call you as soon as I get free. Love you.’ Then do one for your kids. Then, every time you take a listing, take a minute to customize a greeting for each of your sellers: ‘Hi,Bill and Cathy. Sorry I can’t take your call at this moment, but you are among my most important callers, so rest assured I’ll be back to you as soon as I can. Thanks again for choosing me to market your home.’ Or maybe a specialized greeting for your buyers: ‘Hi, Sue. I’m probably out showing property at the moment, but I’ll call you back as soon as I can. If you’ve seen a house you like and want information about it, send me a text with the address and I’ll have all the details when I call you back’ (you may have just stopped Sue from calling the listing agent!). Or, how about this (it’s my favorite): a personal greeting for friends, family and business associates who call you a lot and don’t need to hear your long winded message: ‘Hey, Dan – leave a message.’
A long time ago . . . well, a couple of years . . . we had office switchboards, PBXs, and extensions with flashing lights for multiple lines. It was expensive and inefficient. Today you can actually run your business using a virtual phone system from Google. Google Voice plus a cell phone (or two) is probably all you need. Give it a look. (Be sure to watch the short video on ‘Block Callers’!)