When I began my career in real estate things were different. The success of a broker was based upon the number of signs they had in sellers yards, and agents took advantage of "floor duty". Floor duty was when an agent sat at the phones waiting for them to ring. There was no internet, cell phones were a luxury many couldn't afford, and the only number on the sign was the brokers. Buyers would call the number on the sign, ask to speak with an agent about the home for sale, and the agent would answer their questions and generally end up helping them buy the house, or another one.
Fast forward to the here and now. Signs still exist, but now the agent has a number on the sign along with the broker. Buyers don't ride around like they used to - they surf the internet. With all of the portals out there, the information about the home is readily available and easily accessed. The phones in the office don't ring like they used to. Now - the buyer may send a text, send an email, call the agent, or call the office. Sometimes they call the seller directly. To say that Floor Duty has changed is an understatement.
Tech has made us available to everyone, but we've actually become more difficult to reach. Most - not all - real estate agents are deluged with a constant drumbeat of texts, calls, and emails. The sellers of industry collateral - websites, social media programs, lead generation systems, direct mail companies - all compete for access to the real estate agent. Mix this in with all of the texts, emails, and calls form those that need to buy, sell, or rent, and it becomes deafening. After awhile, the volume of people trying to get to you becomes overwhelming and agents stop responding to all of the inquiries.
Buyers are not stupid. They know agents are getting deluged with calls, emails, and texts. The buyers average 11-13 inquiries to various agents through text, email, and calls because so many won't answer their phones. Its madness - but true. When someone does finally answer their phone - the buyer may not even know who actually called them back due to so many unanswered attempts.
One of my agent affiliates actually had a person say to her "Thank God you answered your phone - I have left messages with 5 agents and you are the FIRST ONE I have spoken to - now you are STUCK with me!" Turns out she had a house to sell in preparation to buy a new one. All it took was a simple "Hello." 5 others missed the opportunity...
So - the secret to success in real estate is very simply - answer your phone. It's not sexy, it's not the latest app that will change the world - but it's the most effective thing you can do for your career. It may be a renter, or someone who can't buy a home - but they are worth your time. They may be someone that wins the lottery tomorrow, someone that WILL buy a house in the near future, or someone that just needs a quick question answered. But if you answer - you will be far ahead of those who didn't - and for that alone you may win the buyers loyalty simply because you answered the phone when no one else would.