In a stinging rebuke of agents addicted to their mobile phones, RE/MAX WA managing director, Geoff Baldwin, said a radical paradigm shift is needed to change what is a bad habit undermining the industry.
“It is not unusual for an agent to break away from a conversation, meeting, seminar or other activity to answer their mobile phone, leaving a tarnished perception on those present and also drastically reducing their effectiveness with the person who made the call,” Mr Baldwin claimed.
“Studies have shown that, when a call is answered, the person who made it is in control for around 8 to 12 seconds which means the agent answering the call is in catch-up mode from the outset, especially since he or she has been concentrating, or should be concentrating, on the activity at hand or the person they are already conversing with.
“Often the result is substandard telephone conversations where the agent is underprepared, does not have access to the required information, is defocused and, ultimately, is perceived as unprofessional.”
Mr Baldwin said he made the decision to not answer his mobile phone unless he recognised the number, and only if he wasn’t interacting with another person.
“Onlookers sometimes comment on or question this, however, I believe it is a lot more ignorant to stand up and walk out of a seminar [or] excuse yourself from a conversation to take a call from a third party, [or] answer a call in easy earshot of other people,” he continued.
“Allowing calls to go through to your message bank rather than always answering your phone will ensure you are able to stay fully focused on your current activity, allow you to respond to the call backs effectively with all the information prepared, significantly lift your time effectiveness and your standing in the eyes of your clients and prospective clients.
He added that agents who put their phone on vibrate mode were simply copping out.
“It is not unusual to see agents reading their text messages when they should be concentrating on what they are doing or the person or people they are with, so there is no substitute for turning it off altogether,” he continued.
“For many agents it may be time to do a self audit and to reassess how they use their mobile and how it is effecting their career and public perception.”