It’s very frustrating for me to be at work and get a phone call from my probate marketing. I can hear the money going down the drain. There are a few ways I can counter act this such as getting an answering service from a company like Patlive. This past mailing seemed worse then others with the day time callings. I counted 3 missed calls, although I will say I enjoyed the fact that I missed the angry fella who left me a message. The other person left no message at all and I was lucky enough that the third caller left a message I could understand.
There are different ways to attack the problem of not being able to answer the phone during the day and getting calls that the person leaves no message. I’m going to go over a few answers that I have found works well or am planning on trying in the near future.
Automated Answering Services
Patlive: Probably the most well known of the automated answering services. They pretty much offer every combination of answering the phone you could think of. For me the most attractive part of patlive is the live receptionist service they have. It’ costs $60 a month though which is a bit steep for someone not getting any income from investing just yet. As you all know, I work a 9 to 5 job and having someone able to answer the phone and do some sort of information gathering would be great. Here are some of the bullet points about what you get with the live receptionist…
- Custom scripts for your business
- 24-hour Live Receptionist.
- Receptionists answer and screen calls, offer e-commerce support, take messages, perform order entry, and much more
- Receptionists answer overflow calls, after-hours calls, or every call
- Pre-screened callers mean increased revenue
Ring Central: Has an office phone system in a box sort of setup. You can get a beginner package that has 1 voice line, dedicated fax line and unlimited calling and faxing. You can also have up to 10 extensions which is cool cause you can use different extensions to segregate your marketing techniques. This 1-user phone system will set you back $50 a month.
Some good points
- Unlimited Minutes on RingCentral Office Plans
- Feature Rich
- No Charge to transfer 800 or Local Numbers
- Click to Call/Ring Me web buttons – add a button to your website that easily allows people to call you
- Microsoft Office and Outlook integration – place calls directly from outlook
- You can expand your plans as your business grows
Some Negative Points
- 100 Voicemail limit
- 1 incoming line on most plans
- Not very responsive Customer Support
Google Voice: This is what I use, mainly because it’s free! You can get a free number and it has features such as SMS, voicemail, custom number forwarding to any phone. It will send you an email and text messages with the transcribed voice mail message. It’s not very accurate but you can get the gist of the message very easily. So far it’s been great and has been everything I’ve expected.
If you are just getting started I’d suggest jumping on the Google voice bandwagon until you start bringing in deals consistently. During the day you can have the calls forwarded to a partner and when you get out of work switch it back to your cell, home or office. Only problem with Google voice is that you need to be invited to join the service. Google tends to do this for it’s beta releases, but it’s not to hard to get an invite. Here is a link directly to the Google Invite Request page. Another way to get an invite is to have an existing user send you one, as each user will get an initial lot of 3 invites. A great place to look for people offering invites is here.
No Message Left
Now what do you do if you’ve missed a call and they caller did not leave a message? The good news is that you have a phone number so just call them back. You’ve got an easy in, just say something like “I noticed you called and was wondering if you were looking to sell a house?”
Some other options you can use if you’d like to get the name and some information about the caller is to use one of the following methods..
Skip Tracers: This is a service that will help you find a person for many different reasons. If you have a phone number or address it shouldn’t be to hard to find the person. Here are a couple of Skip Tracers and there costs…
- http://www.aaronspi.com/ – $50
- http://www.peoplefindernow.com/skip.htm – $50
I haven’t used any of these services, so maybe someone can recommend one that is good and a bit cheaper.
Reverse Lookups: This is simple taking a phone number or address and going to a page like Whitepages.com or one of these. On average the cost is around $5
Google Lookup: Last but not least is a simple Google search for a phone number. This will only return a good result if it’s not a cell phone number as those lines are not in the public records databases. So before you go spend $5 on one of the reverse lookup sites, give Google a shot and you might get lucky.
These are the ideas I’ve come up with and I haven’t tried any of them just yet. They are all options for the future so I wanted to get them down on paper. Any other suggestions?
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